Listen to Dear Prudence dole out advice on NPR's Day to Day.
My boyfriend and I have been talking about getting married. I've been planning to go to Las Vegas and get married by an Elvis impersonator. (It's OK to laugh—that's been my dream wedding since I was 18.) My boyfriend has a brother who just proposed to HIS girlfriend. I was very happy for them … until I found out what their wedding plans are. I'll give you one guess. Now my boyfriend is saying he won't go to Vegas and doesn't even remember my mentioning it before. I've been crying my eyes out. What advice can you give me?
Oh, my … maybe try a Patsy Cline impersonator? In any case, your boyfriend must have a very interesting, fast-paced life—and no blue suede shoes—to have forgotten it was your wish to tie the knot with Elvis officiating. You might try to change his mind by imploring, "Don't Be Cruel," that he has you "All Shook Up," and furthermore that you've been known to act like a "Hard-Headed Woman," AND he will be consigning you to "Heartbreak Hotel." Moreover, what you had in mind for your trip to Vegas was "A Big Hunk o' Love," but if he refuses to go, you may just have to phone him and ask, "Are You Lonesome Tonight?"
When I married five years ago, I had a child from a previous relationship, and although this was my first marriage, I chose to wear an off-white gown because I didn't think white was appropriate. Now I have a close friend who is getting married. She has never been married before and has no children. She could certainly wear snow white if she wanted to, but while shopping for her dress, she ended up falling in love with a beautiful ivory gown. She loves it but doesn't want to give the wrong impression or mar her day with something as major as the wrong dress. She could order the same dress in white, but the ivory was what she really connected with. What would you recommend?
It is nice to know that you and your girlfriend, in the year 2003, still think the color of a wedding dress signifies one's sexual status. The color of the bridal gown has not been a code for "purity" probably since FDR took office. Added to which, to some people white and ivory are interchangeable. Have you two thought of volunteering for some worthy organization? It sounds as though you have a little spare time on your hands.
I take the view that in some circumstances, it is better to decline a wedding invitation than to accept. This view is now being put to the test. My cousin and I were friendly while growing up, but she pointedly stopped speaking to me somewhere around puberty. When I married, my parents invited her to the wedding and I acceded, never imagining she would accept the invitation. She accepted. This surprised me, so I wrote her a note saying I was glad she could attend and hoped we could bury whatever past differences we had. In that spirit, I tried during the rehearsal dinner and reception to speak with her, but on both evenings, my cousin looked me in the eye and turned her back. I was pretty embarrassed to explain to my friends why, hand extended, I was snubbed at my own wedding reception, but what could I do? So now, four years later, my husband and I are invited to my cousin's wedding. I'd really rather send a gift, make my excuses, and decline … but the only family vacation scheduled for that weekend is a guilt trip. It's tempting to attend and return the snub, but I don't have it in me to be a toxic guest. Prudie, when someone invites you to an occasion out of a sense of duty orpolitesse but clearly does not want you to attend, is it better to decline the invitation or paste on a smile and tough it out?
Paste on a smile and tough it out for what purpose? So this rude and unpredictable person can have another chance to act out? Your cousin sounds as though her hostility quotient would fit nicely into the state of Texas, with only a little overlap into Oklahoma. There is nothing you have written that suggests a mitigating circumstance whereby you should grin and bear it. And Prudie thinks you might skip the gift, as well. Unless you are bucking for sainthood or are into masochism, skip the day, skip the phoniness, and save yourself the aggravation.
I am a 29-year-old male who is currently married to a wonderful 23-year-old female. Like most married couples, we have our share of arguments. But what is really bothering me is that she has a real problem with complaining about a lot of things. We have a young puppy that, as most puppies do, tends to go to the bathroom all over the place, and my wife gets very frustrated by this. And there are days I am minding my own business, and she just starts yelling for no reason, either at me or the dog. She even hits objects if they do not work right. She is really starting to scare me, and when I tell her how I feel, she seems to go into automatic defensive mode. Our relationship is very open, and we never hide anything from each other, but I feel there is something that maybe I am doing wrong. I support her in anything she wants to do, and we have no children yet because of how easily she gets upset. I am wondering if having a child is the right thing just now. We look after a 2-year-old from time to time, and that sweet little angel tends to get on her nerves, too. I have thought of looking for professional help, but I really do not want to go that way. Please help if you can. Thanks.
The "wonderful 23-year-old female" is an angry girl with perhaps no idea why. Her free-floating rage, which already scares you, will not get better, only worse if there is no intervention. Prudie hasn't had a dog in ages but thinks that training the puppy would eliminate the random "all over the place" business. But that would be just a Band-Aid. Any woman who complains about many things, yells for no reason, and hits inanimate objects could surely use some therapy. Prudie wonders why you "do not want to go that way." But for heaven's sake, don't bring a baby into this situation. A yelling, upset, nervous woman who attacks appliances does not need an infant. What she needs is emotional help from a professional, and most probably some now, now, there, there medication.