A bad influence?

My friend Anna is getting married this weekend. In true Anna fashion, it is being held in a campsite, with s’mores replacing the more traditional wedding cake. By all accounts, it was stacking up to be a wonderful weekend.

That is, until things got complicated.

I was always aware that Anna came from an extremely religious background. It was something mentioned in conversations about growing up, something she laughed about when the rest of us girls would bust out into rapping Skeelo’s “I Wish” as she didn’t know the words, since she wasn’t permitted to listen to the bulk of the music on the radio growing up. We heard how her cousin offered to pay for the entirety of her wedding to Jacob when she heard the two of them were moving in together after many years, trying desperately to prevent them from living in sin. Anna graciously declined.¬†She was open about her status as the “black sheep” in the family, which was really quite a relative concept, considering that she is successful by almost anyone else’s standards: a career that had her featured in a write-up in a local newspaper, marrying the love of her life, and just having bought her first home– a real house, at that, in a city where most first buys are shoebox studio apartments– and all at the age of 26.

I got a hint of it all at her bridal shower, when her mother made a few tongue-in-cheek comments about the silky nightgowns my friends and I had purchased for Anna (which I always assumed were shower standards), when her 23 year old cousin started getting harassed for her lack of a ring, when I realized that, at 27, myself and one of my girlfriends were the oldest unmarried women there.

But it all came to a head at Anna’s bachelorette party. There were two portions. One, the daily outdoor activity portion, was intended more for the family, and was a lot of fun. Most of her cousins chose to forego the second part, the more traditional nightly bachelorette; however, one of them, a seemingly bubbly 23 year old, the very same one who was harassed for her lack of marital ambitions, decided to take part.

Really, it was fairly tame by stagette standards. Sure, there were jello shots, a blow up doll and a prize bag full of flavoured condoms. But we kept her outfit tasteful, and left all the dirty paraphnelia at home when we later went bowling. Throughout the evening, her cousin seemed to be having a good time, taking part in the games, laughing, and consuming at least a six pack of beer.

Apparently I was wrong, as the very next day, she called Anna’s mother to inform her that we were horrible influences, and Anna had been engaging in all sorts of scandalous conversations and games, let alone her copious consumption of alcohol. Anna’s mother called her, in a rage, to inform her that she was a disgrace, that she had raised her better than this, that we were all awful human beings, and even threatened to make a call that could have a negative impact on Anna’s recently acquired mortgage.

It’s hard to even know how to react to a situation like this. I am outraged at her cousin, who backstabbed the very same woman she had earlier claimed to look up to, who acted like a high school style spy, and who likely was just seeking to assuage her own guilt over engaging in behaviour against her moral code, while her other relatives chose not to put themselves in that situation. I am even more furious at her mother, for being so blind to what a wonderful daughter she has, and to act so insensitively and unsupportively while Anna is preparing for the most important day in her life. And, I’ll admit, I’m personally offended- this woman knows nothing about my friends and I, our background, our lives, anything– and is blatantly ignoring that it has been us who have been helping with the wedding, be it planning events or putting together centrepieces and other crafts, rather than, say, a particular cousin.

But Anna’s the one who matters the most in the days to come, so my friend and I need to put on our fancy dresses and a smile, drink some wine, and try not to picture piercing glares being shot our way.

11 Responses to “A bad influence?”

  1. Kendall says:

    One day, I need to reach down memory lane and share some stories about my grandmother. There is a reason why I denounced religion for about 8 years of my life.

  2. mandy says:

    Oh my! That is terrible. I feel sorry for your friend Anna. I know what its like to be the black sheep of the family (among aunts, cousins, etc). Sounds like the wedding will be interesting.

  3. Renee says:

    Wow. I’m so sorry for Anna. I know how that goes, and I am sad every time “religious” people like that give us a bad name. I’m sorry they acted that way.
    On another note: WAY TO BE THERE FOR ANNA!!! Such great friends!!! And really, y’all are the ones that she will remember being there for her after years and years have gone by. Y’all are stellar friends!!!

  4. Smilf says:

    Oh geez. I feel sorry for your friend! My best friend has a similar family to this so she has always struggled between being who she wants to be and who she thinks she SHOULD be to please her family. Yuck.
    Holy cow. Should be an interesting wedding. I would want to beat the cousin in the face with my wine glass. HA

  5. Angela says:

    I can’t believe the mother would want to ruin her daughter’s credit for her house. THAT’S uncalled for! Why would she want to ruin something her daughter has worked so hard for?

  6. katelin says:

    Ugh this just makes me so mad and grateful at the same time. I can’t believe how conniving and blind some people can be. I hope your friend’s wedding still turns out wonderfully and her family sucks it up and stops being lame. Sheesh.

  7. Beyond Alice says:

    Oh, that is SO sad! Anna’s family sounds SOOO much like mine, except that my family graciously keeps quiet and allows me to be who I am. It is so hard to deal with a family like that. :( My sister actually told me after my wedding that there were “demons all over that vineyard” (where my wedding was held). Talk about ruining the moment!

    My heart goes out to Anna. I hope that you will all still be able to enjoy her wedding, and most of all, I hope her family won’t ruin her wonderful day!!!

  8. Stacey says:

    Whatever happened to just wanting your kids to be happy? Anna’s a big girl and isn’t hurting anyone. It’s too bad her family can’t let her live the life she chooses without judgment.

  9. Therapeutic Ramblings says:

    PP…stop being a heathen!!! :D

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