Short answer: Yes. When a mom wrote into an advice columnist to ask if she was being unreasonable by asking that her daughter's best friend not take part in her daughter's wedding, the internet — ourselves included — collectively gasped. Her reason for wanting the daughter's friend booted from the wedding party? She's handicapped. (Yes, you read that right.)
Weddings are stressful, but while they can certainly bring out everyone's bad sides, this mom-of-the-bride truly takes the cake — no, not the wedding cake — on bad behavior. If you think your mother-in-law is unbearable, just wait until you read this mom's insensitive letter for help.
Writing into Slate's well-known agony aunt advice column, "Dear Prudence," a mother shamelessly asked if her request that her daughter's handicapped friend not be included in the wedding procession was unreasonable — seriously!
"My 27-year-old daughter and her best friend, Katie, have been best friends since they were 4. Katie practically grew up in our house and is like a daughter to me," the letter starts out. All sounds rosy enough — but read on.
According to the writer, Katie was born with a birth defect (not an underlying medical issue) that causes her to walk with a "pretty severe limp," as she put it. Katie, apparently, has no issues walking in high heels and already had her dress fitted, but mommy dearest mentioned to her daughter that perhaps Katie could hand out wedding programs or record footage of the big day. She explained that she simply didn't want Katie's "unsightly" limp to "ruin the aesthetic aspect of the wedding."
Imagine the nerve? While you may feel appalled at reading such a harsh, insensitive suggestion for the dear friend, you're not alone: The letter writer's daughter was no longer speaking to her at the time she wrote in to Mallory Ortberg, the writer behind Dear Prudence, to ask what to do about the situation. She does admit that she and her daughter were never that close to begin with, though that's sort of beside the point, isn't it?
"This is her big wedding and I want it to be perfect... Is it wrong to have her friend sit out?" she finished up. Gee, how can we make it clear to this woman that YES, it's quite wrong (and that that's putting it mildly)?
Fortunately, the response from Dear Prudence was exactly what we're all thinking right now.
"I am having a hard time wrapping my mind around this letter,"it starts. "I encourage you to reread it and to ask yourself that time-honored question, 'Do I sound like a villain in a Reese Witherspoon movie?'"
Ortberg, aka Prudence, aptly points out that Katie, a girl the writer has claimed is "like a daughter" to her is being tossed aside simply because of a limp. Does't sound very motherly to us! She finishes the letter with another dig at the writer, saying: It is not only wrong to have asked your daughter to consider excluding her best friend over this — it is ableist, and cruel, and it speaks to a massive failure of empathy, compassion, and grace on your part."
Three cheers for Prudence for putting this shallow mother in her place. Weddings are beautiful precisely because they include love, family, and friendship — no matter who those loved ones are or how they look in the procession. Ruining "the aesthetic aspect" of a wedding should be the last thing on anyone's mind when it comes to deciding who gets an honored role in the big day. Wouldn't you agree?
h/t: Now to Love.
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