Friday, September 09, 2005

In which I rant about Uptight Squares and ask an etiquette question.

And this wasn't even what I was planning to rant about. I was planning to rant about A Girl I Hate, honestly I was, but after thinking about it a lot this morning I've realized I don't hate her anymore. My hate has dimmed and spread into general contempt for that entire lifestyle--the "get married early, be an uptight square" kind of lifestyle. Yes, when she didn't invite me to her wedding it hurt, because everyone else was invited, even a mutual friend of ours that she didn't know as well. (And I wish she had told me face to face so that I wasn't surprised. She told Mutual Friend flat-out that she only wanted to invite the people she really liked, which really hurt, and I wish she had told me we weren't friends anymore in person.) Yes, I was even more mad because Mutual Friend took his girlfriend, even though she wasn't invited, and Girl I Used To Hate didn't care, which makes me see red because if you're going to be an uptight square, you might as well do it CORRECTLY (Etiquette books, anyone?) and also it should have been ME at that wedding with Mutual Friend as my date. I fumed for a long time and hoped that Girl I Hate would die a horrible death.

Still with me? This is on my mind now because there was just a wedding, again. With the college friends, and sorority sisters, of which Girl I Used To Hate is one. And she was Matron of Honor at the wedding. I like the girl and guy who had the wedding, but they are so connected to a general pattern of Excluding Aarwenn--for example, the guy is my Big Brother in a fraternity, except his other little sisters hated me and routinely planned Family Dinners to which I was not invited, therefore effectively banishing me from the family, and Big Brother NEVER STOOD UP FOR ME, EVEN THOUGH I ENCOURAGED HIM TO DATE THE GIRL WHO IS NOW HIS WIFE, and of course Girl is very close to Girl I Used To Hate, and also GIUTH's Little Sister told me I was invited to HER wedding and then took it back...

So it's disconcerting to be told over and over again by Girl and Guy that they wanted me at their wedding, blah blah blah, lots of emails...and then I never got an invitation.

Girl reassured me that I was on their list of people to invite, but they knew I couldn't come (true, I had another wedding on the same day) and so they never sent me one...but I'm still in their database!!! Gee, thanks so much.

So, the question is: Do I still owe them a present?

And how can I be mad at uptight squares who have no etiquette? Isn't that hypocritical?

No. Etiquette is a set of tools for dealing with any social situation. Etiquette is a foundation of pleases and thankyous so that incredibly dirty things can happen--married boss has sex with hostess' boyfriend in coat closet, maybe--and the party still goes on. It's a microcosm for life--if you have tools to deal, you can handle a problem, even a big problem, and you work through it and keep going, because you know how to work through a problem. You have the tools. Etiquette is like that.

Uptight squares, on the other hand, don't have that foundation--what they have instead is intolerance. When ugly situations arise, or curveballs are thrown, they stiffen up and ignore it, because they don't know how to deal. (Yes, I'm aware I'm not really making sense--I'm ranting.) They don't accept flaws or snags. Problems can throw them for a loop. Black sheep of the family are disowned. Or swept under the rug. Sometimes problems are completely ignored.

I feel slightly better knowing that there are some chinks in the armor of the uptight squares that I know--that I comforted Girl I Used To Hate through long nights of hysterical crying over her would-be fiance, for example. I know other Uptight Square couples who have secret infidelities. Uptight Squares may act perfect, and willful blind ignorance may work for them. Fine. I prefer my messy, neurosis-driven friends, with whom I acutally TALK, honestly, about problems. I'm sad that Girl I Used To Hate and I can't be like that. But I'm happy with my etiquette and my tools to fix both trivial and deeper problems--and anyone I count among my friends is, too.

And speaking of tools? What do you think? Do I owe Girl and Guy a wedding present? I think yes.


The World Against Me said...

No, you don't OWE them a present. And if my wife was reading this.. she would not get them anything.

But for me, I would be the bigger person and buy them a gift. Fuck them for being petty and stupid. Fuck them and their excuses. Don't give them an excuse.

I am not explaining myself very clearly. I am not of myself lately.. but I hope this helps

lizriz said...

No invitation = no present.

If you decide you like them and you want to give them something, then do, for sure. I've often given gifts to peeps who didn't invite me to their wedding for various reasons, just because I wanted to.

In fact, is there a chance that they didn't send you an invitation because they knew you had a conflict and didn't want you to feel obligated to gift them? Just a thought.

But if you don't want to give them a gift, you're clearly not expected to if you weren't invited to the wedding.

Aarwenn said...

Hey, now that's a great idea. Maybe they didn't invite me because they knew I couldn't make it and they didn't want to obligate me. What a nice thought!

In fact, it's very possible--they really are nice people. And I want to get them a gift anyway--I have a card and everything!

Aarwenn said...

On another note, I'm honored that you graced me with your presence, liz!

kt said...

i say go for the present only if you want to.

and i SO know the type of uptight squares you're talking about. i try to disassociate because i am bored out of my mind with their drivel. stupid urban legend email-forwarding, jean teasdale cliche-worthy, blind have faith ignore science, never question authority BORING people.

unfortunately most of them are extended family...

kiwi said...

hehe. I say you buy them a tool. Not a power tool either, just like a wrench or a screwdriver. Maybe a nice shiny hammer. That'll learn 'em.

ramblin' girl said...

actually, you don't owe ANYONE a present for anything... whether a wedding invitation is extended or not.

presents are sent to those we love and like in celebration or congratulations of something. if you want to congratulate them, then send them a present.

just as invitations are meant to be just that, an invitation to join them to celebrate their wedding (or whatever other event), not as requests for presents.

if they are nice as you believe they are, then liz may be right. they may have been trying not to make you feel obligated (although I still don't think an invitation does that) to buy a gift, since they knew you couldn't come.

I have out-of-town friends that have asked me in advance if I could come to their wedding, when I say I can't they don't send an invitation... for that reason, mostly.

but then again, I'm a benefit of the doubt giver, so do what you feel is right. there is nothing owed, though!

Anonymous said...

I'd say it depends on the people involved. I'm more headed to the, "you're from out of town and had a conflict they knew about. This was about not forcing you to buy a gift" rather than about you being excluded. *wry grin* Although I'd prolly take a generic gift-off-the-registry approach if this was a friend, instead of my normal personalized wedding gift.