Friday, September 12, 2014

An Elvish Wedding Leaves Guest Out Of Her Element

Dear Tazi:

This past June I attended the wedding of a dear friend’s daughter; it was the most unorthodox wedding I have ever attended and I am not certain how to handle the fallout from events that occurred that day.

“Phoenix”, as my friend’s daughter now calls herself, insisted on holding the wedding outdoors; down a long, brambly trail near a swamp where a man dressed in the strangest robes I have ever seen performed the ceremony in a language I have never heard. Later when I asked, Phoenix informed me that the language was Elvish; that we were on their lands and that we needed to be respectful of their culture. With this in mind, she requested that I remove my shoes because the heels were poking holes in the soil. Tazi, I was not going to remove my shoes in that swampland and informed Phoenix of this fact. She refused to accept my decision and told (not requested – told) me to leave. I left, but not before retrieving the generous wedding gift I had offered to the couple.

Tazi, you can imagine my shock when my friend called me this week to ask about the wedding gift I had given to her daughter. Phoenix claims that it “went missing” around the time I told her that I had a headache and left early. Tazi, I was speechless! I did not claim to have a headache and leave; I am angry that Phoenix would lie to her own mother to cover for her rude behavior; and am shocked that she still expects to receive a wedding gift after she dismissed me from her reception! Unprepared to answer, I told my friend I would see to replacing the check I had written to Phoenix as a wedding gift and suggested that the wind may have blown it away – or perhaps the elves that lived in the swamp commandeered it as a damage deposit. My friend did not know what I meant by this, so I told her that her daughter would understand perfectly.

Tazi, I like to think I got my message across to Phoenix, but I cannot be sure. Do you think I should write her a note explaining why I took back the card and enclosed check I had offered as a gift? Or should I just let the whole thing go? I am not sure what to say if my friend brings up the subject again.

Madame Tradition

Dear Madame Tradition:

I can understand why you took your gift back when you left, although it was a terrible breech of etiquette when you did. I will allow you to get away with it, considering the way you were treated, if you give the correct answers to the following questions:

1. Was Phoenix aware that you had presented a gift? Or was she just guessing that you put a card with a check in it into the collection basket? (The latter is the correct answer).

2. If Phoenix was aware that you provided a card, did she know that there was money in it? Or, again, was she just guessing that a gift was enclosed? (Again, the latter is the correct answer).

3. Did you write a check for Phoenix and her husband or did you slip cash in the envelope? (Wrote a check is the correct answer).

4. Was the envelope opened when you took it back and left? (Please say that it was unopened).

If Phoenix was aware that there was a gift enclosed in the card and knew of the amount enclosed, you are obligated by the rules of etiquette to return it to her. If this is the case and you provided cash in the envelope, you are obligated to return it to her because once a gift is given it becomes the property of the recipient. If Phoenix is merely guessing that you provided a gift and/or a card, you are under no obligation to give it back, but your friendship with her mother may depend upon it.

I would not write a letter to Phoenix, as this would provide tangible proof of the riff that has occurred between the two of you, and will most likely drag your friend into the middle of it. A short phone call to Phoenix can straighten the entire situation. Tell her that in her distress over the Elves she must have mistaken your reason for leaving, and offer to let her mother know the true reason for your early departure. If the woman has any scruples at all she will drop the demand for a gift.


P.S. I'm a cat and even I know that Elves habituate in the woods, not the swamps! J.R.R. Tolkien must be rolling in his grave right now!

Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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