Some people turn their experience of illness into a cause and dedicate much of their lives to better treatment and a cure. Other people emerge from illness grateful that they can resume their previous lives and eager to shed the identity of patient. No one has to justify their response to facing a serious illness. It is obnoxious and unacceptable that your workplace, in the name of altruism no less, is intruding into your most private experiences. You shouldn't have to do anything more than respectfully decline to attend the events. But if you feel this is affecting your work life, then you should first address this with the coordinator. How lovely that this person feels raising money for cancer allows him or her to hound those who've survived it! Say that you appreciate the efforts, but you are a private person and don't wish to discuss your illness, especially in a public setting. If that doesn't stop the pressure, explain the situation to your boss or human resources. Say that life is too short to have to deal with such unpleasantness.
My wedding is around the corner, and mostly I've been a pretty cool bride. However, my bridesmaids are wearing revealing strapless dresses and one of my bridesmaids has a terminal case of hairy legs and pits. I have a suspicion that I'm not supposed to ask my bridesmaid to shave, but I'd like to. My fiancé is pretty insistent upon it. One of my friends was in a wedding a few years ago where one of the bridesmaids apparently had lots of armpit hair on display, and that is her most indelible memory of someone else's very expensive, very carefully planned day. Do I share with my bridesmaid my friend's experience and my own preference for a hairless ceremony? I do get to plan the aesthetics of the day, but does this include underarms? What should I do?
—I Either Do or I Don't
There are times when someone’s armpits become everyone’s business. But your free-spirited bridesmaid is not stinking up the joint with her B.O.; you just feel she is giving visual offense with her undergrowth. If you know someone well enough to ask her to be in your wedding party, presumably you also were aware that she’s a natural kind of person. I have a hard time imagining you telling this bridesmaid the parable of the expensive wedding that has been reduced to a follicular memory of an unshaven pit. One of the most delightful things about weddings is not the impeccable aesthetics of the bride, but the moments of eccentricity from those gathered together. So I think you should hold your peace. Upon hearing that your fiancé “insists” on a hairless bridesmaid, I hope you say to him, “Please, be my guest and tell Melissa you’d be happy to lend her your Gillette Fusion ProGlide.” At the end of a Jewish wedding ceremony, it’s traditional for the groom to step on a glass and break it. Many reasons for this are given; one is that it’s helpful to keep in mind that nothing is ever perfect. If the worst thing that happens on your special day is a fuzzy armpit, you’re off to a good start.
More Dear Prudence Columns
“Cat Got Your Tongue?: A woman involved in the mysterious disappearance of a feline doesn't know whether to cover up or confess.” Posted July 21, 2011.
“Almost Famous: My rock-star ex wants his sexy photos back. Should I relent or play hardball?” Posted July 14, 2011.
“An Innocent Man: An ex-girlfriend falsely claimed I raped her. How do I reveal this hurtful incident to future love interests?” Posted July 7, 2011.
“A View to a Thrill: Neighbor boys peep at my scantily clad daughters. Should I have them cover up?” Posted June 30, 2011.
More Dear Prudence Chat Transcripts
“Confronting the Queen Bees: Dear Prudence advises a teen who longs to stand up to her cruel classmates but fears retaliation.” Posted July 25, 2011.
“Bozo Boyfriend's Nose-Job Nightmare: Dear Prudence advises a man who convinced his girlfriend to have plastic surgery that left her disfigured.” Posted July 18, 2011.
“Should a Former Hottie Burn the Evidence?: Dear Prudence advises a woman whose ex-husband took nudie pictures of her and still has them.” Posted July 11, 2011.
“Boyfriend Is Thick as a Brick: Dear Prudence advises a woman who is reluctant to wed her dim-bulb suitor.” Posted July 5, 2011.