Last week, the internet and the newspapers were abuzz with an email that had gone viral. The email was sent to a “bad mannered” bride-to-be, from her future mother-in-law.
As per this story in Guardian of UK, In the email sent to Heidi Withers, a PA from West London, last month, Carolyn Bourne describes her stepson Freddie’s fiancee, as “an ideal candidate for the Ladette to Lady television series“, a reality TV show where drunken, foul-mouthed young women are taught the points of etiquette.
Carolyn Bourne sent her email to Heidi. Apparently, Heidi was so disconcerted by that email, that she forwarded it to some of her friends, and they in turn, to some of their friends, and soon, the whole world knew about it.
We Indians are not new to the tiffs between mothers-in-law and their daughters-in-law. In fact, most of our soaps on TV draw heavily on them. However, coming from England, I was interested in understanding the western flavour.
I am reproducing some of the things from the email.
“Here are a few examples of your lack of manners: When you are a guest in another’s house, you do not declare what you will and will not eat – unless you are positively allergic to something.
“You do not remark that you do not have enough food. You do not start before everyone else.
“You do not take additional helpings without being invited to by your host.
“When a guest in another’s house, you do not lie in bed until late morning in households that rise early. You fall in line with house norms.
“You should never ever insult the family you are about to join at any time and most definitely not in public.
“You regularly draw attention to yourself. Perhaps you should ask yourself why.”
May be I am too old fashioned, but to me, most of this advice do look pretty sound, though a little prudish. Should she have sent such a mail? Probably not. If I were her, I won’t. Particularly since I am his step-mom, and my son loves Heidi, and we never expected to stay with Heidi under the same roof for long. If at all, I would talk, and that too to my son, not my would be daughter-in-law. May be she herself needs some training in manners. But that’s about all. Should she earn the nickname of “Momzilla” for it? I don’t think so. People seem to be heavily upset about her and calling her all kinds of names. There is even a Facebook page to teach the “Monster-in-law” some manners.
Should Heidi have forwarded the mail to her friends? Again, probably not. What was she trying to accomplish? Show to her friends, how unlucky she was, to have such a monster mother-in-law and earn some sympathy from them? And in what way would that sympathy be useful to her in the long run?
Would Heidi and Carolyn have any kind of close relationship in the future? I won’t be surprised if they never talk to each other in their whole life.
And what about poor Freddie Bourne, the man because of who they are related? He will continue to be crushed between the two most important women in his life. He can’t be taking sides, lest he antagonises either of them.
If only both of them had waited before hitting the send button!
There is a lot in this incidence, about what not to do to maintain good relationships. Let’s learn our lessons.