My dears, it is hot. I just went outside and remembered why I shouldn't do that.
The LW from Monday's question sent a follow-up later in the week:
I'm the original poster from the chat with the Uncle Who Says Horrible Racist and Sexist Things at Wedding question. I've been reading over responses and realize I should have clarified a couple of things, which you may find useful although this is obviously too late for your commenters:
1) Unfortunately, Horrible Uncle has been invited already and his invitation cannot be rescinded. Improbably, he has a wonderful wife and terrific kids who are very close with my fiance (one is a groomsman). Currently the plan my fiance and I have come up with is to ask a few of the kids to keep an eye on their dad: as he's a loving grandpa, I think "here, hold the baby!" is currently the recommended strategy. But I was hoping for some constructive input from people who may have ideas I haven't thought of because I'm right in the middle of wedding planning and it does addle the brain from time to time (so many details; so many expectations to manage; etc. etc.). Also I thought some of your commenters might have similar experiences, which I see some of them do (and I especially appreciate their input!).
2) The stakes are a little higher on Horrible Uncle's ridiculous mouth because my mother is a lesbian and homophobia falls well within his range of Horrible; I know she can take care of herself, but I don't want her to have to, not on "this, the day of my daughter's wedding"!
I can also hear a number of commenters who clearly think I'm being a huge wuss about this, which is fine (this is the Internet, after all; at least nobody's compared me to an evil dictator yet!). My usual solution to something like this IS to face it head on, tell the guy I think he's a creep and refuse to engage afterwards. However, I already know there are confrontations with my in-laws looming in the future, and I'd just rather not precipitate one on a day when we're supposed to be having a good time.
My advice would have been to not invite him, particularly given point #2, so that takes care of that. Going to a wedding or social event, even a family one, is a privilege, not a right. But you can hardly invite his wife and kids without him. That said, I still recommend a hard line, even if there are "other confrontations" looming. You're not going to make those future confrontations go any easier by being a doormat now. Bullies like to know they can push you around, and Uncle Puck is obviously a bully.
Because of this, my sense is also that a pre-event heartfelt talk is exactly the wrong way to go. A heartfelt talk with Uncle Puck, that is. With the guests, maybe. bluemoose wrote:
A good friend of mine has a stepfather that sounds like this uncle -- the man is absolutely awful to be around. But she loves her mother, and a condition of seeing her mother is seeing this jerk. At an event involving a bunch of her friends, she'd told all of us about her stepfather's behavior at parties, making rude and crude jokes, making fun of her, anything to get a rise. EVERYONE at that party shut him down -- walking away from the rude comment, just a flat cold "that's not funny," raising eyebrows silently. He actually shut up. She told us all that that was the most subdued she'd ever seen him. The LW could also just let her friends know about this guy and how to handle him, if he absolutely must be invited.
That is a fantastic story and probably the best way, across the board, of handling the situation. Forewarned is forearmed. If any kind of discussion with Uncle Puck is going to happen before the event, Markus's advice is dead-on:
To the OP: If you stand around passively like a dumb ox during your own wedding, what are you going to do when Uncle Fester teaches your children the N-word? Chortle and offer a smiling "There, there?"
Make your invitation conditional--tell him to shape up or ship out. He swears to behave at your wedding, or he doesn't attend it. If you receive anything less than a full and sincere commitment from him, if there is any smirking or funny quip in his reply, then don't invite him. Put the burden of convincing you on him.
This is how you will set precedent for his behavior during Thanksgiving dinners to come, to prevent your children from learning how to talk like drunken Klansmen.*
I would agree to this, and also to the idea that Uncle Puck and his family will be asked, immediately, to leave if he makes a single rude comment. Yes, it's unfair to punish his lovely wife and children as well, but so be it.
People who wrote that the bride can't control anyone else's behavior and that guests aren't wilting flowers are missing the point. Hosts are responsible for creating a decent environment, and protecting their guests from insult. This isn't a question of someone who likes to make unfunny knock-knock jokes; we're talking about people being insulted. poppy609 set some folks straight:
It would undoubtedly be easy for the bride and groom to not notice the uncle's bad behavior on the wedding day, and for others to shield them from him. That's one way to look at the issue presented.
A far more important aspect of this situation is how the uncle might impact the wedding guests, who won't have a "shield." If I were the bride, this would be much more concerning to me, and more the problem to solve, than how MY day would be impacted.
Good luck, LW! I hope your day is a beautiful one, and that cosmogirl's hilarious prediction doesn't come true:
the one you worry about is probably not going to end up being the one that everyone talks about later....it'll probably be a 20-year-old cousin from YOUR side who decides to sneak shots and pole dance as you're tossing your bouquet! :)
*booklover wrote "Is anyone else thinking that "Drunken Klansmen" would be a good name for a band? OK now that I've typed it out probably not." Hee!
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