Talk About a Complete Outrage!

"I can't believe this is happening! It's a living nightmare! Why me? WHY ME?"
“I can’t believe this is happening! It’s a living nightmare! Why me? WHY ME?”

I’ve gotten lazy about posting – typically, I really need my dander to be gotten up to generate sufficient energy to bash out some screed. Well, today’s NY Times Style section – the section which typically gets me almost as riled as the Op-Ed and Business sections – really outdid itself, with this piece on the terrible scourge of people not receiving wedding gifts. I mean, sure, chemical warfare in Syria is pretty bad – but can you imagine not receiving a wedding gift? Have you no sense of decency?

For that matter, Ms. Kaas Boyle can also recall, in elaborate detail, which guests relished the five-course dinner at the ornate Rex Il Ristorante (now shuttered), and still failed to give a present.

Nineteen years later, it still irks her.

Nineteen years! NINETEEN YEARS! IN ELABORATE DETAIL! She is still holding a grudge because someone couldn’t buy her some tchotchke to gather dust in her house? I’m the first to admit to be being petty and mean-spirited – but this gal makes me feel like I’m the Dalai Lama!

And get this from Jodi R. R. Smith, an “etiquette expert in Marblehead, Mass., and consultant for the wedding industry” [Ed. note: “wedding industry” is a deeply depressing phrase for so many reasons]:

The way Ms. Smith sees it, it’s acceptable to confront those guests who have failed to send even a token. The best way to do so is with a delicate, in-person conversation. “You tell them that you’ve been writing your thank-you notes and realized that you haven’t written one to them: it’s an ‘I’ statement,” she said. “Then you let the other person talk. Either they’ll say: ‘What are you talking about? I gave you the serving platter off your registry.’ Computer glitches happen. You can then say, ‘I’m happy to follow up.’ If they look at you like deer in the headlights, count to the beat of three and move the conversation along to a totally different topic. Then you wait and see if the gift card shows up.”

She is no expert in etiquette if she thinks that “it’s acceptable to confront those guests who have failed to send even a token.” In fact, I’d venture to say that the word “confront” would never appear in any discussion of “etiquette.” And while it may indeed be customary to send a gift to newlyweds, it is never an obligation – NEVER. There is never any circumstance where one is required to provide someone with a gift. And to inquire as to why one hasn’t received a gift is possibly the grossest interpretation of etiquette I’ve ever heard.

Let’s take a lesson from actual etiquette expert, Judith Martin a.k.a. Miss Manners:

Etiquette is a little social contract we make that we well restrain some of our more provocative impulses in return for living more or less harmoniously in a community.

Of course, on top of just the all-around foulness of the whining greed-heads in the article, I can’t help but trot out the fact that most states in this country still outlaw same-sex marriage. My sister and her partner of over a decade just announced that they are headed to the Santa Fe County Clerk’s Office on Tuesday, now that a judge has found that discriminating against same-sex couples who wish to marry is, in fact, unconstitutional in New Mexico. Like most same-sex couples who have been waiting years, even decades, for the opportunity to enjoy the same rights and responsibilities as opposite-sex married couples, I can state pretty much unequivocally that my sis and sis-in-law are not concerned in the slightest with from whom or even whether they receive any wedding gifts.

Now, not sending thank you notes? Well, that’s a different story…

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I Feel Pretty! Oh So Pretty!

Another weekend, another bout of trying to ameliorate my singledom via the wonderful world of gay “social” apps. I was checking out dudes on one of said apps (not Grindr, because just no). Now, I will be the first to acknowledge that many of the users of this particular app are looking for interactions that are primarily physical and fleeting – which is fine, but not my cup of tea. Sap that I am, I’m actually looking to meet someone who might want to do something like go out for a drink, have some dinner or go for a bike ride. And I’ve had some limited success.

But anyhow, I saw some guy’s profile. He was a handsome sort and this was the extent of his description:

conv0

Now, I probably have only myself to blame here, given that of the seven photos included in his profile, six of them showed him shirtless. Far be it from me to generalize, but this is not typically an indicator of a person who is, for lack of a better phrase, my kind of people. But respond I did, thusly:

conv1

Not exactly Wilde-esque, I admit, but innocuous enough. Just a friendly hello, with a winky emoticon to keep it easy-breezy-beautiful. No “DTF?” or “Sup” or blatant sexual solicitation – a simple greeting. So, here’s his response:

conv2

Word to the wise: a sentence starting with the modifier “This will sound totally awful…” is a strong indicator that what is to follow might be best left unexpressed (this also applies to sentences starting with “I don’t mean to sound racist but…” and “Well, to be perfectly honest…”). Also, as a general rule, people do not take kindly to criticisms of their physical appearance from strangers. I know, it’s crazy! But people just don’t care for it!

Of course at this point, I should have just moved on – but if you note the time, you’ll realize that I was at the tail end of a bottle of my favorite moderately-priced Spanish rosé. And thus probably more loquacious than was appropriate. So I wrote back:

conv3

OK, yes, it was smart-ass response. And including a phrase en français may not have been the best choice (though both my Francophilia and pretension are well-known) – but it was, if you’ll (literally) pardon my French, le mot juste, non? I don’t think it was a particularly nasty reply – but it did call him out on being kind of dickish without actually using the word “dickish.” Plus, a smiley face! Easy-breezy!

Anyhoo, off to bed, didn’t give it a second thought, whatevs. But apparently he was still reflecting on things the next day and treated me to this charming response the following evening:

conv4

Oh man, there is a lot to parse here!

“The stylist inside of me” – well, the stylist inside of you seems to have an aversion to shirts, so I’m not fully on board with this stylist’s qualifications.

“if you’re interested in attracting a man like me…” – “which you are” Um, no.

“sans ink and jewelry” Oh, so you know French too? Formidable!

“(even though I LOVE it when it works)” Yes, I get it – it doesn’t work on me. You are a true master of subtlety.

“props and trinkets” Look, just because I was wearing my Mardi Gras beads and holding one of my Precious Moments™ figurines in my profile photo is no reason to judge me!

Anyway, it was awfully tempting to respond – but really what would be the point? Though with that being said, here are just a few of the responses that popped into my head:

  • HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
  • Thanks for the advice! I’ll be sure to contact you again when I’ve remodeled my physical appearance to adhere to your standards.
  • My cat’s name is Mittens.
  • tl; dr
  • Dale Carnegie, I presume?
  • I’m also ugly on the inside!
  • Go fuck yourself.
  • Oh, you’re a stylist? How can you find the time to message me, what with your busy schedule dressing JLo?
  • Somebody hold my jewelry…
  • I can assure you unreservedly, I have no interest whatsoever in attracting a man like you.
  • My nipples explode with delight!
  • “If you liked it then you should’ve put a ring on it.” Were truer words ever spoken? I think not…
  • What’s the longest book you’ve ever read? And, no, the September issue of Vogue doesn’t count.

And while I suppose the fact that I’m posting this somewhat belies my claiming  to take the high road here, I think I do deserve a bit of credit for not posting this fellow’s photo or screen name. And, for the record, here’s the entirety of our interaction. I wouldn’t want to be accused of editing this to portray myself in a more favorable light!