Thursday, December 4, 2014

Woman Needs To Swap Bad Manners For Good Ones

Dear Tazi:

I belong to a clothing swap group that takes place among friends.  Twice a year - Spring and Fall - we all clean out our closets and take the clothes (good, unstained condition only) to our hostess' house and have a fun afternoon of trying stuff on, offering opinions of what looks good on someone and what would look better on another, and swapping clothes that either don't fit; don't work with our changing style; or make us wonder what we were thinking when we bought it in the first place!  It is supposed to be an afternoon of good-natured fun, and we all look forward to attending.  But...(you knew there was one coming, right?).

One of the newer members of our group, "Jane", does not play by the rules which include being nice.  As soon as someone picks up a piece that Jane either brought or wants for herself the insults start.  For example, when I picked up an A-Line skirt that Jane had brought, she commented, "Are you sure you want to try that on?  It will accentuate your large hips."  That was one of the nicer comments Jane has made.  She insults color choices, style choices, fabric choices - you name it!  Last time, one of our group members left on the verge of tears when Jane commented that yellow made her look "jaundiced".  I know this sounds like an over-reaction, but the victim of Jane's barb was a survivor of liver cancer!  When this fact was mentioned to Jane, she just shrugged off her behavior and defended her comment.

This year's clothing swap is planned for the first weekend in December.  Instead of shopping at the malls, we will be shopping from each other's closets.  All of us are already dreading Jane's presence, and the friend who introduced her to the group feels just awful.  We would like to exclude Jane this year, but the problem is that she brings the most amazing clothes!  All of her stuff is designer label and hardly worn; some of it still has tags on it!  I know that we are acting greedy - a vice in and of itself - but nice clothes make the day more fun, too.  Can you offer any suggestions how to have our cake and eat it too?

Rock and a Hard Place

Dear Rock and a Hard Place:

Is Jane by any chance a real-life Desperate Housewife?  You know, the kind of woman who is so bored with her existence that the only joy she gets out of life comes from the thrill she gets when putting down others?  Some people have such low self-esteem that they build it up by nitpicking at others.  Jane sounds like this type of person.

Rather than exclude Jane from your gathering - because I can see this is not the course of action you want to take - implement some new rules: constructive criticism is the only criticism allowed (such as "Jane, this blouse would look much better with your coloring!); criticism must wait until the item has been tried on and presented to the group; and rude comments will result in the loss of a clothing pick turn!

I suggest that the hostess make a poster-board sign detailing all of the rules of the clothing swap, so nobody says they did not know the rules.  This event is supposed to be fun, and rules can ensure that all play fair and nobody goes home in tears.  Which reminds me, Jane owes an apology to the woman she called jaundiced!

As for how you can have your cake and eat it too, it is very simple: Put cake on plate.  Now you have it.  Eat cake.  Now you have had your cake (for a time) and eaten it, too.  The trick is eating your cake and still having it, too.  That is a little more difficult.


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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