Let’s Talk About Divorce A Bit

Or have a cake, sure.

Or have a cake, sure. [Via]

Divorce is, unfortunately, a thing that a lot of people come into contact with in their lives. I don’t mean it like “oh no the broken homes won’t somebody please think of the children” unfortunate. More like, wouldn’t it be cool if we stopped treating marriage as the be-all-end-all relationship? So people wouldn’t feel this ridiculous pressure or expectation to fit themselves into it if it didn’t feel right? That’d be nice, but unfortunately that’s not where we’re at. And, even if we did treat it that way, divorce would still be sad because it’s sad when you share a large part of your life with someone and it ends. It doesn’t have to be all sad, but sadness is usually one of the emotions that wends its way in there.

Anyway, this is all to say you will most likely meet someone who has gotten a divorce, or will get a divorce, and you probably shouldn’t be an asshole about it. In fact, it’s probably a good thing. Louis CK probably put it best:

Divorce is always good news. I know that sounds weird, but it’s true because no good marriage has ever ended in divorce. That would be sad. If two people were married and … they just had a great thing and then they got divorced, that would be really sad. But that has happened zero times.

The way you handle it will change depending on the relationship you have with the divorcee, but first, do not presume to know anything about it. No matter how close you are to the person getting divorced, no one knows what goes on behind closed doors in a relationship. People do mean things, or disrespect each other, or even just change, and very often it is not the “fault” of one person or another. (However, if you suspect someone is being emotionally or physically abused, say something.) Do not try to accuse someone getting a divorce of not trying hard enough. I’m pretty sure it’s not a decision that’s often come to lightly, but even if it is, isn’t it better that it’s over instead of someone treating marriage lightly?

Debrett’s says that it’s likely you’ll find yourself closer to one person in the relationship than the other, but if you find yourself in a position where you’d invite both to an event, give them each a heads up. Oddly, both Debrett’s and Emily Post suggest certain behaviors that take into account the possibility that the couple will get back together. I don’t really think this is something you have to worry about, but it’s a good rule not to badmouth anyone, just because.

So, what if you’re the one getting a divorce? How do you do it in a way that, ideally, leaves you both feeling as comfortable as possible. Emily Post (who was divorced herself) says that separations are not publicly announced, just explained to close friends and family, and a divorce is usually implied by changed names, addresses, etc. Not everyone follows that rule: When Jack White and Karen Elson divorced, they threw a party (and when Jack White and Meg White divorced…they started a band). However, Debrett’s rightly suggests that you probably want to be the one to spread the news yourself, instead of letting gossip take over.

If you and your spouse have kids who are old enough to speak to, you should absolutely explain to them what’s going on, and never ever ever insult your ex-spouse in front of your kid. If it’s a case of child abuse obviously this changes, but the divorce is between you and your spouse, not your kid. Plenty of awful spouses are great parents, and you shouldn’t deprive them of that relationship just because your relationship didn’t work.

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Does Pot Have A Place In Weddings?

At the risk of sounding like a total fucking square, I want to talk about the pot article in the New York Times this weekend. No, not the one where they make a well researched and reasoned argument for the legalization of marijuana. The one where a bunch people consult professionals over what strain of weed to serve at their weddings. While visiting my parents this weekend, I woke up early and found myself reading this article on the porch, trying to stifle my laughs, make sense of the world, and wondering whether I was finally out of touch.

The gist is that, in states where pot has become legal, people are finding ways to incorporate it into their weddings. The ideas range from reasonable (have a box of joints available near the bar for everyone’s use) to slightly ridiculous (naming your tables after different strains, like Grape Ape and Skunk 1–potheads should never name things).  And given that we’ve written about both pot and weddings before, this seems to be right up our alley. So let’s discuss.

As much as I wanted to dismiss this whole thing, if you use the logic of “pot is no worse than alcohol,” a lot of this makes a lot of sense. If it’s legal, and thus gaining social acceptability, why not have a few joints or e-cigarettes available with cocktails? If people are getting their friends to brew them craft beer for their receptions, why not have a friend who grows make you a special strain? “We’ve got to get to the point where smoking is classier than drinking,” said one “budtender” (UGH) in the article, and it’s true that lighting up isn’t quite as sexy as sipping a martini, but it’s not hard to see how it would get there.

However, where I personally draw the line is turning pot from an available item into a “theme.” I feel this way about alcohol “themed” weddings as well. It’s one thing to have an open bar, but quite another to insist that drinking be part of everyone’s experience, and it’s no different with pot. Having pot brownies instead of a cake, or giving away pot plants as favors, suggests that this is more of a mandatory activity.

As with alcohol and liquor licenses, there are also logistics to consider. Unless you’re in a very well ventilated place, you’re encouraging a lot of secondhand smoke (and secondhand highs), and even if you’re outdoors it’s hard not to smell pot. You risk guests going back to states, and jobs, where marijuana isn’t legal, and possibly getting busted on a drug test.

In our recent theme of sobriety, also remember that, like any other drug, pot isn’t for everyone. The article quoted a lot of people saying how relaxed pot makes everyone, how loving and emotional and kind. And that’s true for many people! But it can make others paranoid and quiet and antisocial. Weddings are parties, and your goal at any party is making sure your guests feel comfortable and provided for (without driving yourself crazy or having it turn into something you don’t want). If, for your group of people, that means pot at every table then go for it. Just make sure you’re not going to alienate anyone by making it the focal point of your day.

Also don’t ever catch yourself saying sentences like “The Space Cheese itself lent a giggly buzz to everyone while we rehashed the day’s events.” Potheads! Get better at naming things!

How Do I Get People To Stop Calling Me By My Husband’s Name?

eminem_my-name-is

Tell me you get it

Jaya: Victoria, I have a problem!

Victoria: Tell meeee.

Jaya: I got married. You were there, I assume you remember. He and I both made the decision to keep our own names (not that there’s anything wrong with changing your names, ladies! Post-modern feminism, you do you, etc.). Our parents knew this and could alert any inquiring parties, but we definitely got a lot of cards referring to us as “Mr. and Mrs. HisName.” I totally expected this at the wedding, it’s a common assumption, but now we’re a month past and we’re still getting mail that says this, despite no indication on my end that I’ve changed my  name. A few people have told me I just have to suck it up and deal with it, but I don’t think that should mean I don’t politely correct people when they get it wrong. How does one go about correcting people on their name?

Victoria: I’m so sorry you have to deal with this! Unfortunately, it seems to be a reality of marriage for many women. Firstly, if you’re going to a wedding, asking should be the standard thing. Like, “oh the wedding was so beautiful, where are you going on your honeymoon, are you keeping your name?” (“What are you guys doing about names?” would be BETTER, but I’m going to set a very low bar here).

Jaya: Yes! Especially because it’s not just keeping or changing your name nowadays. Many people hyphenate, or use their original last names as middle names, or use marriage as an opportunity to add or drop other names, or even come up with new names. And same-sex marriage just doubles that, since there’s no “woman takes man’s name” default. As frustrating as fielding a thousand questions would be, I’d much rather answer them than have people just assume. Also, whatever someone’s answer is, don’t judge! I’ve heard of women getting crap from friends saying they must change their name, and crap saying they mustn’t. Neither is cool.

Victoria: A lot of women who keep their name professionally still like to use the married name socially, so that may be where some people are coming from. Or some may think “Mr. and Mrs. Hisname” is more “formal,” but it’s not unless it’s the correct names. MAYBE people are just lazy and it’s easier to write Mr. and Mrs. Hisname than it is to write both your names. Like, that’s a lot of WORDS (jking here, obvs).

Jaya: Curse us for having such letter-ful names! It is interesting though, how quickly “traditional” conventions fall apart as soon as women do anything other than go by “Mrs. Hisfullname.” All of a sudden you have people like “omg she’s a DOCTOR? With a DIFFERENT LAST NAME? Aww jeez how the hell do we put that on an invitation?” I was also wondering how social media plays into this, because it does! I had always assumed that people usually have their real names on Facebook, unless they’re celebrities or something. But I ran into an issue at our wedding where I addressed invitations to women using their original last names because that’s what they had on Facebook, but got cards from them that used their husband’s name.

Victoria:  That should be an easy clue. I actually hate it though, when people solidly change their name and I don’t know who they are now. Facebook lets you do Firstname (Originalname) Marriedname, I know because I set it up for my mom. It makes it easy to show your new last name but also make it easy for people to figure out if you are the Firstname Maidenname that they knew.

Jaya: That’s a good point. I just feel bad because I was also making assumptions without asking.

Victoria: Welllll, you’re making assumptions going off what they’re publicly presenting. If they want to go by a new name, update things to a new name! I have very little sympathy for people who do a thing but don’t tell anyone they did that thing and then get mad when no one knows.

Jaya: So, correcting people. I do not want to Hulk Smash anyone about this, because it’s an honest mistake. I had been thinking that sending an At Home card (when people would send out cards with their new names and addresses after getting married) would be a good solution, but it sort of didn’t make sense for us because we already live together, so it’d just be alerting people that we have the same names and live at the same place. That seems like a waste of paper. Then I was thinking Facebook, but that seemed too aggressive (though I guess I will post this to Facebook. Solution: Have an etiquette blog and use it to figure out your own problems.)

Victoria:  I was kind of against a Facebook announcement at first because people shouldn’t need an announcement, but now I’ve kind of come around to it in that it is the modern equivalent of an At Home card. Although, it might frustrate you even more if people continue to do it after ignoring your lovely message.

Jaya: Yeah, I’m sure some people will just never get it.

Victoria: I definitely don’t think you have to suck it up and not say anything (except maybe with extremely elderly relatives). As for steps you can take, I would ABSOLUTELY correct people when they do it in front of you, or if you have to send back a written response. Like on RSVP cards for written invitations, respond with both of your full names. Maybe get some full name return address stickers (though, I guess people will just think they are outdated).

Jaya: Also, we were gifted some beautiful, beautiful personalized stationery, but it just has our first names on it. For anyone in this conundrum, I’d suggest ordering some stationery with both of your full names on it, and using that to write thank-you notes. Or sign your full name on thank-you notes. Every little bit helps.