Bad Advice On Bridezillas And Creeps

Welcome to our latest Bad Advice column! Stay tuned every Tuesday for more terrible guidance based on actual letters.

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“I have a friend, ‘Steve,’ who has been a close friend since childhood. Recently several female friends told me that Steve has been making rude, disrespectful comments to them, in person and through text messages.
I have been present for some of these comments, seen the text messages and agree they are completely inappropriate.
These women no longer want to spend time with Steve.
I am conflicted about if/how this should affect my own friendship with him. As a man, I have never been on the receiving end of these comments.
To me, Steve has always been a supportive, kind, enduring friend. I assumed he treated everyone this way.
I find it hard to believe that he could act with genuine malice, and I suspect his comments might stem from social anxiety or ignorance. I am considering speaking to him about this to make him aware of how he comes off to women.
Is it my place to do so? Or should I leave it alone and continue with this friendship, despite his behavior toward others?”
-From “Unsure” via “Ask Amy,” Washington Post, 13 September 2016

Dear Unsure,

Ugh, these “he-said” versus “a-load-of-women-said-and-verified-in-the-presence-of-others-including-you-yourself” situations are so awkward and uncomfortable! Both sides — a man who has repeatedly and with impunity done and said awful things to and around women in the presence of others, and women who have been victimized by this man — are equally vulnerable. What if you pick the wrong camp? You’re going to look like a real goofy doofer!

So let’s talk this through. You have two basic options: On the one hand, you could believe your women friends when they say that Steve is a creep who does them harm and subsequently take the logical next steps either to help your creepy friend stop creeping on women or abandon him to the kinds of scummy bro-babies who hang out with creeps because they care more about keeping the peace with assholes than they do the safety and security of other living human beings. On the other hand, you could do fuck-all.

This is a real conundrum! If you talk to Steve about his behavior, you run the risk of offending him or making him sad. That could irreparably damage your social life, making Steve feel unwelcome among the women he speaks to rudely and disrespectfully and to whom he sends rude, disrespectful text messages.

Patiently explain to your women friends that, as much as you super super care about their safety, men’s social anxiety and ignorance are two get-out-of-creeping-free cards that absolve men like Steve — and by extension, literally any dude Steve knows — of any responsibility to make women feel respected and welcome in social interactions. That way, you won’t have to do any social or emotional lifting, which is women’s work, anyway. They’ll probably love it!

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“My fiance would like me to make his sister a bridesmaid, and I would love to do so as well.
However, my future sister-in-law loves to dye her hair every color of the rainbow and has many large, visible tattoos. While I accept and love that free-spirited part of her personality, I would rather not have colorful hair and tattoos prominent in photos that will last a lifetime, especially as she would be the only member of the wedding party with such features.
Would it be rude to request natural-colored hair and makeup covering her tattoos for the wedding day? How should I phrase this wish? I do not want to erase her individuality and especially do not want to come off as a bridezilla.”
-Via Miss Manners, Washington Post, 18 September 2016

Oh, goodness gracious! You’re no bridezilla. Bridezillas unfairly judge and ostracize their friends, family, and loved ones based on arbitrary and superficial social and aesthetic norms, make petty and unreasonable demands on others’ time and finances, and expect strict adherence to and support for their every whim in the service of absolute compliance.

All you, a total not-bridezilla, are asking is for a woman whose individuality you don’t want to erase to pretend to be someone else so that if you ever see a photo of her taken within a particular 12-hour time period you can act like she wasn’t who she is. In this case, you can simply pretend to be a bridezilla, and your sister-in-law can pretend to be someone you love and value for who she is and not what she looks like! It’s like dress-up, but with people you have to deal with forever!

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“My boyfriend is applying for an apprentice position. He moved states for me and I was wondering if it would be okay to email a possible employer about how much he deserves the job and tell them about how he moved for me and now I want to take a risk for him?”
-From “Ask A Manager,” 17 October 2016

Your boyfriend’s future boss cares about nothing more on earth than whether your boyfriend moved to be with you. It is literally the most interesting and important thing anyone in the professional world can imagine knowing, and will be the sole difference between him getting the job or not.

You absolutely must email this person. Hiring managers are busy people, and it takes a lot to make an application stand out. A solid resume and cover letter are essential, of course, but what they often want to know is: Does the person this candidate is boning down on think they’re right for the job?

Sure, employers look at professional qualifications, but what does the person who gets a load of this candidate’s hangover breakfast skidmarks think about the quality of their TPS reports? An impressive educational background can be a good start, but if the person who relies on the candidate to come up with half the rent every month thinks they’re really an outstanding fit, that can really push a mediocre applicant into the “yes” pool. Glowing recommendations from past employers is all well and good, but if the person who can’t remember to take the fucking trash out, Richard, it isn’t fucking rocket science really supports their application? Welp, the cafeteria’s on fifth and jeans are allowed on Fridays, let’s do this!

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Lead image: flickr/Rikard Eloffson

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