Thursday, November 4, 2010
(Photograph copyright 2010, all rights reserved.)
Hello Darlings! As you can See, I have Returned from my Summer Sojourn in the Mountains and am in the Process of Leaping into the Fall Social Season.
The Happenings of Late are Far too Numerous to mention Here. Suffice it to Say that I had Many Adventures, and a few Bad Moments this past Summer. All is Well now. Edgar and Winston (my beloved Standard Poodles) and my Dear Brother Osgood are with me and I Feel my Little Family is Complete! My Annual Halloween Ball was a Smashing Success. The Children were Adorable in their Costumes. I so Look Forward to hosting a much larger Thanksgiving Party than I did Last Year. I've been Restocking the Cellar for a Month Now.
I have been Woefully Remiss in returning Letters this Summer, but I've invited all Four of Prudie's Questioners this week. You can Find the Original Letters at Dear Prudie .
1. Darling! Do come in! What a Dreadful Wind is Blowing. Do you Think we might have a Storm later on? I was just in the Study working on some Guest Lists, Do join me there. There's a Lovely Fire going and I'm having a nice Glass of Bourbon. Will you Join Me? Good.
I Must Say, when I Read your Letter, I was Quite Inspired! You have Transcended your Mother's Neglect and Cruelty and the Young Man I see before me Now is so Very Impressive, that I Feel Compelled to Offer you my Congratulations. Raising your Younger Brother was Heroic. The way you Stepped in to Care for Him was Brave, and Never Forget that not all Siblings would have Done So. You and Your Family are doing Splendidly, my Lad. Never forget that.
You must Stop Worrying about your Mother and her Parents, though, dear. Your Grandparents sound like Simply Dreadful people to reward your Bravery as a Young Child with Cruel Remarks and Bad Treatment. After all, What were you Supposed to do? Permit your Mother and her Paramour to Continue Harming you? Your Father did an Excellent Job raising you, and you should Consider that He and your Stepmother are your Only Parents.
*Another bourbon? Of course, dear. I'll Join You.*
It Completely Escapes me why you Would Consider giving Money to your Mother. Of all people, you Know what she is Capable of, and You Know that Giving her Money is a Dreadful Mistake. Your Grandparents had no Right to Ask this of you, and well they know it.
You have no Obligation to them, or to that Dreadful Creature that Gave Birth to you. If you Doubt This, consider that your Grandparents are, at least in part, Responsible for Creating that Monster of a Human Being. They are the ones that Supported her in her Ghastly Habits. They are the ones who Failed to Step In when you were Being Maltreated. They have Terrible Gall asking you for Money at this Point!
Tell them that you have No Money to Spare. You have a Family of your Own to Take Care of, and They are your First Priority. Their Daughter will simply Have to make her Own Sacrifices to Support Herself and her Vile habit. You Must tell them this Eventually, and better Sooner than Later. Then Leave their Home with Dignity and Remember that you need Never Look Back.
*Now Osgood really! More Guests? We shall have to Rent Extra Tables and Chairs already - the Main Ballroom is to be Almost at Capacity for Dinner! *
2. Oh, hello Dear! Come and Join me for Lunch. We're having a Delicious Mushroom Bisque and I believe there are Tomato Sandwiches. How Delightful! Will you Join me in a Beer? Perhaps a Glass of Pinot Grigio?
Family Holidays can be Dreadful can't they? When I was Young, my Father's Relatives always Descended on us for Christmas and I absolutely Hated It! All they Did was Yell at Each Other and Argue all the Time. I was Forced to be Polite to my Cousin Harry the Loathsome (as I call him), even though he Pinched Me when no one was Looking. I was Always so Relieved when they were Finally Gone!
Your Problem is Similar, although it's Good to see that there's No Pinching involved! Your Husband's Cousin sounds Horribly Boorish. It's in the Worst Possible Taste to Speculate that you got your Job because of your Relationship with your Family. At Least, it's Rude to say so Out Loud. One Simply Doesn't Speak of such things at a Family Event. You may Feel Free to Tell your Husband that you are going to Handle this Problem as You see fit. He has Already Refused to Assist you, so he has No grounds to Complain!
*Still Hungry? I can Call for More Sandwiches if you like. Yes, I do Love this Kitchen. The Red and White colour scheme is so Cheerful.*
My advice is to Agree with the Boors. When next they Start Twitting you about How you Got your Job, agree with them Wholeheartedly and say this:
"It Does Pay to Have Connections, certainly. One Must be Noticed to get such an Excellent Job as I Have, of Course. I have Always Found that a Pleasant Demeanor and Kind Word are Never Misplaced."
If they Say Anything about it after that, then Change the Subject, Dear! Don't let them Control the Conversation. Oh, and Make Sure you have an Audience when you Say this. That way they're More Likely to be Embarrassed enough to Leave the Topic Alone from then on.
3. Well Hello! Do Come In! I see you brought Your Daughter..... *oh dear* .... Darling Girl, would you Like to take my Poodles for a Ramble in the Woods? They So Love to go for a Run at this Time of Day. How Lovely. Your Mother and I will be in the Conservatory. Right around the Corner, yes.
Oh dear. I See What you Mean. When did This Start? That long. Oh dear. Would you Care for a Glass of Wine? I have a Lovely Rhone open. We're Tasting new Candidates for the Cellar so Let me Know what you Think of it. You'll be Doing me an Immense Favor.
That's better. Shortbread?
Now. Your Daughter is Indeed a Lovely Creature, but Great Beauties throughout History have Always Known that they must Take Care of themselves! In this Case, a Little Soap and a Good Scrub are in Order, for Certain! I Distinctly Remember my Dear Brother Osgood being Mercilessly Scrubbed in a Horse Trough once when he Steadfastly Refused to Wash his Hands and Face for Dinner. Cook was Furious with Him! Mind You, he was only Six Years Old at the Time, so some Residual Grubbiness was to be Expected.
You can't Resort to That, though. I've found Over the Years that it Pays to be Straightforward when Confronted with Something like this. No, I Know you think it might Sound Rude, but you are Her Mother, and if Anyone has the Right to Speak, it's You. I See no Problem with Confronting This straight on and Telling your Daughter that she Smells Most Unpleasant and that her Hygiene Choices might be "Green", but they are Not Very Pleasant. You Might also Mention that she Smelled Better when she was Wearing Diapers than she does Now.
*More wine? I think I Must Order a few Cases of This One.*
There are Health Issues to Consider as well. Unwashed Bodies are Havens for Nasty Bacteria - in Fact, Bacteria are Responsible for the Unpleasant Odor that Surrounds your Daughter at Times. A Hundred and Fifty Years of Public Health considerations have gone a Long Way to Lengthening Lives and Lessening Infections. Would you want Someone who Eschews the Use of Soap to Handle Food in your Kitchen? I thought not!
Others may Indeed have Said Something to her, but it's just as Likely that They Have Not. For some Reason, Frankness and Straight Speech have Gone out of Vogue. One needn't be Crude about it, but Telling Someone that their Odour is Offensive is a Necessity rather than an Option. I'm Afraid the Job is Yours, as her Mother.
If you like, I can Leave the Two of You alone here and You can Tell her Now. Would you Like That? Good.
4. Here you Are at Last. Please Forgive me for Making our Appointment so Late in the Day. I Swear, I'm getting Too Old for some of these Complex Organizational Dilemmas! Look, Osgood has Seated Mrs. Dempsey next to Reverend Smithwick. This will Never Do. She's Hated him Ever Since he Told her Husband that he Does Not, in fact, Have to Attend her Dreary Book Club every week if he doesn't want to.
Oh my Goodness, now Look at This! Seating the Davises (Lovely young couple, very Lively.) next to Old Man Herriman? He's Deaf as a Post, and has been a Dour and Surly Individual as Long as I can Remember. Best to Move him nearer his Cronies. They can Complain about Politics all Night and no one will Disturb them. Much Better.
However, You are the one with the Dilemma Now, so please Sit Down here in the Parlour. I was Just about to Pour Myself a Glass of Sherry. Will you Join me? Delightful.
I Must Say, your University Sounds like a Rather Dreadful place to Work. Whatever Happened to Letting Students celebrate as they Will, while Faculty such as Yourself can Make your Excuses and Leave them to it? Surely New Students have Enough to be Getting On with without Wasting Time with Yelling and Chanting?
Oh dear. Well I'm afraid there's Not a Lot I can do to Help you. If these "rallies" are Command Performances, you Must Attend for the sake of your Job. Your only Recourse is to stand at the Back of the Room, Smile pleasantly, and Applaud where it Seems Appropriate. Leave as Early as you Can Escape and Say Nothing about the actual Event. You seem to have Made it Clear that you find these Events Silly in the Extreme, so there's Nothing else to do!
Now See how Easy that was? Much Simpler than trying to Plan a Seating Arrangement for over a Hundred People!