Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Future Groom Ashamed Of His Family's Embarrassing Behavior

Dear Tazi:

My father is an ethnic stereotype: he is an Irish-Catholic man, complete with red hair and freckles, who drinks too much; beats up on my mother; and has fathered more children than he has the money to support. I escaped the house by moving away to college (to that famous Irish-Catholic university, of course). I found a job in the greater-metropolitan area a month before I graduated and have never bothered to return home, except for the occasional visit to see my mother.

I will be getting married this winter, and my fiancée has never met my parents. She keeps talking about how excited she is to meet my parents and asking why I never talk about them. Tazi, I am not embarrassed or ashamed of where I come from; I am just tired of dealing with their behavior. I know that they will never change – Dad will continue to live in a constantly drunken state and Mom will continue to wear long sleeves in 90-degree weather. I would really prefer to keep our relationship a politely detached one, with a respectful amount of distance between us. To be blunt, I would prefer to not invite my parents to the wedding but I doubt my fiancée would agree to that without a full explanation as to why I do not want them there.

My biggest fear about having my parents at my wedding is that Dad will show up drunk, remain drunk, and continue drinking until he passes out on the dance floor because “It’s a celebration!” I am not exaggerating, Tazi; this is exactly what happened at my sister’s wedding a few years ago, while all the while Mom kept making excuses for his behavior.

Should I delve into the whole mess of my parents issues with my fiancée? Ask one of my sisters to do it for me (two of them will be bridesmaids)? Or suck it up and hope that my father will have learned from his past behavior?


Dear Husband-To-Be:

Are you certain that you are not ashamed of your parents? You describe your father as “an ethnic stereotype” and refuse to talk about him with your fiancée. I realize that you do not wish to rehash all the details of your childhood, but a simple explanation along the lines of “my father is an abusive alcoholic and my mother is his enabler” would suffice to let your future wife know why you wish to exclude your parents from your nuptial festivities.

If you are truly emotionally stunted to the point that you cannot find the fortitude to discuss this matter with your fiancée, and your two sisters who are serving with bridesmaids are close enough to your fiancée and comfortable enough with the mission, then I would say it is alright for them to broach the subject with her. However, you should not be at all surprised if your fiancée is hurt that you did not approach her yourself. A part of marriage is being able to share all of yourself with your spouse, not just the comfortable stuff.

A practical but unpopular solution to your problem would be to have a dry wedding, serving only coffee; tea; and soft drinks. Instead of a champagne toast, a sparkling white grape juice toast could substitute. It’s just a thought.


P.S. There are several famous Irish-Catholic colleges, from the University of Notre Dame to Boston College. Your coyness annoys me!

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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