Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Dear Abby: Bad Advice

So we’re working without Internet this morning at the CBS Broadcasting Complex and Deli. I’ve seriously considered running a long mic cord down to the 12th floor, where they’ve always got free WiFi you can just suck right out of the ether. But then my secret would be out, and tomorrow, I’d have to fight for a place to sit. So scratch that.

I’m reading the paper more deeply than usual before the
show starts, and I've happened upon today’s Dear Abby column, which I think is written now by one of Abigail Van Buren’s daughters
or something. I can’t fact-check that, because…I have no Internet.

There's a big headline over today's column, "Bridesmaid wants to bow out," which catches my eye because we’re working on a couple of weddings-in-progress at The Clanton Hacienda.

There are few areas of life more potently political, and fraught with landmines and opportunities upon which to impale oneself than wedding planning. Don’t let the depictions of wedding planners in movies like “Father of the Bride” or “The Wedding Planner” fool you: This is high-level, cerebral stuff.

You notice there have been no Reality TV shows about weddings? We’ve had shows about the processes of getting to the point where weddings occur—“The Batchelor,” “The Batchelorette,” “The Dating Game,” or “Dawg.” That’s because weddings are a take-no-prisoners proposition. They don’t call these babes “bridezilla” for nothing.

So Dear Abby is taking on an issue where a 20-year old young pup gets roped-into being a bridesmaid for a co-worker she really doesn’t know. Being an impartial observer for the past few months at my house, I can tell you, picking bridesmaids and determining the pecking-order is no less intricate a political dance than divining a path to peace in the Middle East. One wrong move, one mis-placed ingénue in the retinue, and you wind up with something that looks a little like the aftermath of the Iranian national elections.

This 20-year old reluctant bridesmaid is whining about making an impulsive decision to agree to be a part of her co-worker’s wedding—which, it is disclosed, is a year and a half away, and this nimrod is worried it might cost her a little cash. Don’t bridesmaids have to buy their own dresses?

Did you ever see that movie, “27 Dresses?” If you’re not careful, you can wind up with your own mini bridal boutique in your closet if you’re not careful about getting roped into participating. What does Abby tell this girl?
Bow out.
Gracefully, of course, but welch on the wedding, boot the bride, and keep your mouth shut. Only the last piece of advice is good—keeping things quiet.

I think Abby is wrong.
Think about it—why did the co-worker ask a relatively casual acquaintance to participate in her wedding? Obviously, according to Abby, the bride to be has no closer friends than the co-worker…and so the lot fell to her to be asked.

Here is an opportunity to impact a day in a person’s life that will be a memory for a lifetime. Here is an opportunity to serve a friend—albeit a casual one—who had no one else to whom she could turn. Here is an opportunity to ease some of the anxiety that will come from planning a wedding day with limited friends, and maybe limited funds. Abby tells the co-worker to buzz out. Wrong. Yes, bridesmaids buy their own dresses. The wedding is 18-months away. With a little planning, that’s definitely doable. In fact, with some strategic thinking, the cost of the wedding can be diminished by getting together all the gals in the wedding party and buying the dresses en masse, demanding a discount.

I know you might find this hard to believe, but in some cultures—like in Texas—it is considered an honor and a privilege to be called to make the bridesmaids’ dresses. In this economy, what are the odds you might find a seamstress willing to take on that project? Again, we’re talking about being an integral part of the most special day in a woman’s life: Why not make the most of it?

Dear Abby’s wrong on this one, with the exception of telling the co-worker to keep it quiet; wouldn’t want to embarrass the bride-to-be. If she does bail on the bride, she’d better keep it on the down-low, because she’d going to be marked as a snake and a low-life for not being as good a friend as the co-worker thought that she was.

There is a plaque that hangs in our kitchen that says, “help me to be the kind of person my dog thinks I am.” Here is an opportunity about to be missed to strengthen a relationship with another human being… and isn’t that what we’re placed on this planet to do—help one another?

Abby, your dog would be ashamed of you.

1 comment:

Bert Martinez - The Emotional Engineer said...

Hello Brent love your musings. I agree about your thoughts - Abby is wrong. A friend in need is a friend in deed.