DEAR AMY: My fiance and I have started planning our wedding. I have four brothers; my fiance has two brothers. Both of his brothers are married. I am not necessarily close with their wives, but I was a bridesmaid in their weddings, although I was placed as the last individual on the line (farthest away from bride and groom in both cases). Should I choose to include these women as my bridesmaids, and ask my fiance to include my four brothers as his groomsmen? We had originally planned to have no wedding party, but I don’t want to hurt any family members’ feelings (my feelings would have been hurt if I had been left out). I had also thought to just have my brothers stand with me, and his brothers stand with him. Or have my mother and cousin stand up with me. My sisters-in-law love me, and I love them. But if I choose to exclude them, am I setting the stage for angst and hurt for years to come? We are paying for this wedding ourselves and trying to keep costs down. I don’t know what to do, and no one around me can offer sound advice without airing their personal feelings.
Too Many Siblings
DEAR TOO MANY: Your own reaction to the honor when you were twice asked to be a bridesmaid — to complain because you were placed “last on the line” — reveals how seriously some people take these wedding honors/duties.
You are overthinking this, and seem torn between serving your own wants (not to have attendants), versus your perceptions of how tenderly people respond to being asked, or excluded, from the wedding party.
Because I don’t think you are capable of handling the complications involved with making actual choices and managing this social burden confidently, I think you and your guy should go it alone, and ask your brothers and their spouses/partners to enjoy being honored guests.
DEAR AMY: I am in an office of about 25 employees, and we each have our own cubicle with dividing partitions above the desk, but not below. I sit near a back corner of the office, with one coworker, “Tom,” sitting between me and the restrooms. Tom has a few quirks that drive me crazy; in particular, he snickers loudly every time we can hear anything that goes on in the bathrooms, even going so far as to comment out loud ( “oh man!)” occasionally. We all know what happens in a bathroom, and it’s hard enough to be in a small office where nothing is really private, does he really need to draw attention to it? He also scoots away from his desk and sneezes into the void below his (and my) desk every time he sneezes. I cringe, thinking about all of the things he’s sneezing on that might make it home with me that night (my purse, my shoes, myself). As I am the only person actually sitting next to him, his comments about the bathroom and his sneezes directly affect me, but others might not even notice. Is there a way to politely ask him to cover his mouth when he sneezes, and to stop commenting on the bathroom sounds? I feel like I have to teach him how to be an adult, when he’s actually in his 40s.
Grossed Out Co-worker
DEAR GROSSED OUT: Why does “Tom” get to behave as he pleases, while you worry excessively about being polite?
Use your words: “Hey ‘Tom,’ it’s tough enough for us to sit here right next to the bathrooms all day. You commenting out loud about every noise makes things worse. Can you stop doing that?”
Frankly, “Tom” has a right to sneeze in the space beneath his own desk. The fact that his space is connected with yours is not something he can control. Your shoes being sneezed upon does not seem to place you at risk. You might want to store your handbag in a file drawer, however.
DEAR AMY: “A Concerned Mom” reported that her 10-year-old saw some other kids “vaping” in the locker room. Your answer missed the point: Depending on what state they live in, vaping for under 18-year-olds is illegal!
DEAR UPSET: I believe you are mistaken. Sales of vaping products are banned in some states, but actual use of these products seems to have slipped through a legal loophole.
But that is immaterial. Children should not be vaping, and this boy’s concerns should be dealt with by the adults in his life.