Fuddy Duddy Frank
I often introduce myself using just my first name, FDF, mainly because if the person Iím talking to doesnít know who I am by my first name, chances are when I give out my last name, Iím going to get some lame Iíve-heard-it-a million-times fur joke in response (men), or hear for the umpty-millionth time how cute that is (women). Such is the curse of having an unfashionable noun for a name, but, annoying as it sometimes is, itís also a great tool for weeding out bores. However, while Iím usually OK with just the first name, what makes me crazy is when I introduce myself and the person says nice to meet you without offering up his own name, forcing me to ask for it. Thatís almost as irritating as the donít-you-remember-me-from-that-party-at-whatís-his-nameís-15-years-ago response.
I donít blame you for longing for the informative introduction, but in these casual times, Iíve learned that if I canít think of a compliment to pay, it works to ask how the person knows our host. While this can sometimes get me stuck listening to a long, tedious story, itís a neutral way of getting a conversation started without leading off with the old, and sometimes off-putting, what-do-you-do? gambit.
I have three sisters, whom I love very much. But in the last couple of years, something has come up thatís made me very uncomfortable. When my two older sisters were married, in addition to contributing to the cost of their weddings, my parents gave them each a substantial monetary gift. Then my parents separated, and by the time I was married they were embroiled in a nasty and expensive divorce. Because of this, I felt unable to ask them to help pay for my wedding, and the money I received as a gift was considerably less. It made me feel bad, but I understood that times were tough and it couldnít be helped. But, and this is the really bad part, when my younger sister got married, my dad kicked in for a big part of the wedding and gave her the same big check he gave my older sisters. I feel so insulted, so belittled; I donít know what to do. I canít even look my dad or my sisters in the eye and Iím crying myself to sleep over it. Should I tell my dad how I feel, or should I just bite the bullet and pretend Iím not hurt?
Less Is Less
Ouch, LIL. You probably feel like your dad slapped you pretty hard with a fuck-you stick. Itís like he took advantage of the divorce to give your dowry share to the lawyers and say tough titties to you for your poor timing. Now it may not make you feel any better if I tell you your dadís an insensitive jerk, but if he did this on purpose, thatís what he is. If his fortunes had improved enough for him to drop a big bag of wedding dough on daughter No. 4, he should have had enough sense of fairness, or even just a sense of how not to create friction among his children, to toss some belated wedding bucks in your direction.
Feeling like the least-loved member of the family is intensely painful, but since you already feel this bad, bringing it up to him might not make you feel any worse. But before you confront him with being a lousy and unfair parent, ask him if he remembers that he had to be less generous with you. Maybe itís truly an oversight, but if itís not, maybe that would be all he needed to trigger some remorseful check writing. Unfortunately, thereís no law that says parents must treat their children equally, so if he doesnít choose to rectify the situation, youíre stuck with having asked and been refused. Iím not sure thatís worse, though, because at least it lets him know that if he canít be forthcoming emotionally or financially for you, youíve clued him in to how shitty that really is. Then keep reminding yourself that even though you may not be the most important person in his life, you are the most important in your own, and you have every right to feel good about that.
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Baltimore, MD 21201