Dear Annie: My fiancé is amazing, sensitive and wonderful. The only problem is his sister.
When we became engaged, “Jessie” was so jealous, her mother begged us to make her my maid of honor. I did, to keep the peace. I’ve spoken with Jessie a handful of times and don’t particularly like her. She’s 29, gets a monthly allowance from her parents because she lives beyond her means, and threatens to withhold her young son from my fiancé and his parents when they won’t give her what she wants.
We told Jessie she could help with the wedding plans, but then she had a total meltdown and lashed out at my fiancé and his mom. We then informed her that she cannot come to the wedding unless she apologizes. This has resulted in my not being allowed near her son. My future mother-in-law is trying to force us to invite her, saying, “I promise to keep her under control so she won’t wreck the wedding.” The fact that she needs to say that makes me very nervous.
My fiancé isn’t close to his sister and is tired of her behavior. I don’t want her at my wedding because she’s been so rude to both of us, but I’d accept her if she apologized. Do you think we should hold out and hope? It is our wedding. Can’t we do what we want?
— The Bride
Dear Bride: Well, yes and no. Weddings represent the joining of families and, as such, should not become grudge matches. Demanding an apology from Jessie is an exercise in futility. She would rather create ill will than admit wrongdoing, and not being allowed to attend the wedding will fuel her fire for years to come. She could use some professional counseling. Meanwhile, consider the long-term repercussions of excluding her. And if you decide to forgive her, don’t rely on Jessie’s mother to rein her in. Ask a few friends to keep her in check, or hire someone to discreetly escort her out if she creates a scene.
Dear Annie: A number of years ago, I saw an old ad from the 1800s in a book on soap making. The ad said that this particular brand of soap could be used for everything from washing your clothes to cleaning floors and brushing teeth. This apparently was before toothpaste was invented.
Is this where the expression “washing your mouth out with soap” came from?
Dear Grandma: We doubt it. While some folks may have used soap to brush their teeth, it wasn’t necessary. Toothpaste in one form or another has been around since before the Romans. It was supposed to have a pleasant taste, or at least be tolerable. Soap was never meant to be ingested. Some soaps contain ingredients that are harmful to the mouth, throat or stomach lining. Washing one’s mouth out with soap is a specific punishment, usually in response to using profanity or other inappropriate language. We know parents used to do this, although we don’t recommend it. Thanks for providing an offbeat topic.
Dear Annie: I read “Hermitage, Penn’s” diatribe about the elderly white-haired man who rudely butted ahead of her at the grocery store. Maybe he wasn’t feeling well and had to get out of the store quickly. He’s not going to say, “Excuse me, madam, but I am about to have an accident. May I go ahead of you, please?”
I found Hermitage’s reaction to be insensitive and downright mean, a common trend in our young people today.
— Judy from Omaha
Dear Judy: There is no excuse to jump ahead of someone without at least saying, “Excuse me.” That is simple courtesy, regardless of age.
Dear Readers: Happy Halloween. Please dress your trick-or-treaters in flame-retardant costumes that don’t obstruct walking or vision, and be sure to accompany them.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Email your questions to [email protected], or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
— Creators Syndicate Inc.