Talk About a Complete Outrage!

"I can't believe this is happening! It's a living nightmare! Why me? WHY ME?"
“I can’t believe this is happening! It’s a living nightmare! Why me? WHY ME?”

I’ve gotten lazy about posting – typically, I really need my dander to be gotten up to generate sufficient energy to bash out some screed. Well, today’s NY Times Style section – the section which typically gets me almost as riled as the Op-Ed and Business sections – really outdid itself, with this piece on the terrible scourge of people not receiving wedding gifts. I mean, sure, chemical warfare in Syria is pretty bad – but can you imagine not receiving a wedding gift? Have you no sense of decency?

For that matter, Ms. Kaas Boyle can also recall, in elaborate detail, which guests relished the five-course dinner at the ornate Rex Il Ristorante (now shuttered), and still failed to give a present.

Nineteen years later, it still irks her.

Nineteen years! NINETEEN YEARS! IN ELABORATE DETAIL! She is still holding a grudge because someone couldn’t buy her some tchotchke to gather dust in her house? I’m the first to admit to be being petty and mean-spirited – but this gal makes me feel like I’m the Dalai Lama!

And get this from Jodi R. R. Smith, an “etiquette expert in Marblehead, Mass., and consultant for the wedding industry” [Ed. note: “wedding industry” is a deeply depressing phrase for so many reasons]:

The way Ms. Smith sees it, it’s acceptable to confront those guests who have failed to send even a token. The best way to do so is with a delicate, in-person conversation. “You tell them that you’ve been writing your thank-you notes and realized that you haven’t written one to them: it’s an ‘I’ statement,” she said. “Then you let the other person talk. Either they’ll say: ‘What are you talking about? I gave you the serving platter off your registry.’ Computer glitches happen. You can then say, ‘I’m happy to follow up.’ If they look at you like deer in the headlights, count to the beat of three and move the conversation along to a totally different topic. Then you wait and see if the gift card shows up.”

She is no expert in etiquette if she thinks that “it’s acceptable to confront those guests who have failed to send even a token.” In fact, I’d venture to say that the word “confront” would never appear in any discussion of “etiquette.” And while it may indeed be customary to send a gift to newlyweds, it is never an obligation – NEVER. There is never any circumstance where one is required to provide someone with a gift. And to inquire as to why one hasn’t received a gift is possibly the grossest interpretation of etiquette I’ve ever heard.

Let’s take a lesson from actual etiquette expert, Judith Martin a.k.a. Miss Manners:

Etiquette is a little social contract we make that we well restrain some of our more provocative impulses in return for living more or less harmoniously in a community.

Of course, on top of just the all-around foulness of the whining greed-heads in the article, I can’t help but trot out the fact that most states in this country still outlaw same-sex marriage. My sister and her partner of over a decade just announced that they are headed to the Santa Fe County Clerk’s Office on Tuesday, now that a judge has found that discriminating against same-sex couples who wish to marry is, in fact, unconstitutional in New Mexico. Like most same-sex couples who have been waiting years, even decades, for the opportunity to enjoy the same rights and responsibilities as opposite-sex married couples, I can state pretty much unequivocally that my sis and sis-in-law are not concerned in the slightest with from whom or even whether they receive any wedding gifts.

Now, not sending thank you notes? Well, that’s a different story…

Yes, I’m complaining about the Y again…

OK, I’m actually complaining about the patrons…  To wit:

  • The lady who was sitting in the middle of the highly-populated stretching area whilst reading a novel.  And, no, she was not stretching – just kicking back and gettin’ her read on.  I did my best to get my sweaty fumes wafting in her direction…
  • The guy who repeatedly spent ten minutes hunched over his Blackberry in front of the penny-lockers, constantly checking his what were sure-to-have-been very important text messages – presumably along the lines of “I’m working out – what about you?”  This was annoying in-and-of-itself – but he was also blocking my access to my preferred corner for stretching my scrawny arms….
  • The dude in the locker adjacent to mine, who required three stools and a four-foot radius to spread out his various towels, gym clothes, salves and unguents, while I daintily tried to squeeze past to doff my gear.
  • The pièce de résistance: the dread-locked fellow who emerged shiny and dripping from the steam room and then parked himself in the passage to the showers and vigorously and repeatedly whipped his head forward and back, spraying all and sundry (including yours truly) with the effluvia from his grimy braids.  Seriously, my gag reflex got quite the workout – I should’ve just puked on him.  Oh, he was also directly in front of the towel hooks, so all the poor saps who’d hung their towels whilst showering were treated to an unwitting rub down with his tonsorial essences.

I will never understand people…

Why, Y?

Jeez, it’s only Tuesday and the patrons at the YMCA have already outdone themselves…  Yesterday’s highlights included somebody singing in the locker room; somebody else doing his elaborate stretching routine in the locker room; and some dude using the sink to rinse out the copious bodily excretions accumulated in his sauna suit…

And today, unbeknownst to me, was apparently “If You’re an Unattractive Homo Who Doesn’t Know How to Check Out Guys Discreetly, Then Be Sure to Molest Eric With Your Eyes While He Is Minding His Own Business and Just Trying to Finish His Lame-Ass Workout… And Also Be Sure to Get in His Way A Lot So He’ll Be Even More Irritated” Day. I wish they’d’ve put this on the calendar so I could’ve skipped it…

On the plus side though, I finally introduced myself to the cute guy who works there…  Regrettably, this did not result in being asked out on a date…  Nor did it take place in the showers while we were soaping each other up…  Maybe next time…