Yesterday I was invited to a friend’s bachelorette party. It must be said, I am 44 years old and she is 42; this will be her second marriage. Her first one was pretty bad. The first time around I was the maid of honor and there was no bachelorette party per se. The party will be in New Orleans and I am VERY EXCITED. I lived in NOLA in residency and this will be a chance to see New Orleans since Katrina and see some old friends. I told my mother that I am going to New Orleans for Labor Day for my old friend’s party. “Why New Orleans?” she wanted to know. I don’t know, Mom, why not? “They live by Mobile, why can’t they go there?” I don’t know, Mom, ummm, let me think, because New Orleans is A LOT MORE FUN? “Well, this is a second marriage and she has children; should she really even have a bachelorette party? She’s not a bachelorette.” You’re right, Mom. She made a bad decision and married a crazy abusive man, and she needs to pay for that by NEVER EVER HAVING ANY MORE FUN FOR AS LONG AS SHE LIVES. Needless to say, I left that conversation angry. As one of my friends put it, “Our moms are OLD SCHOOL.” Well, there are some things to be said for old school, I guess. I do think it’s a good idea to be married before the babies arrive. If you have the babies first, though, I really won’t judge you. As long as you do the best you can. I’ve decided that there’s Old School, and then there’s Old School with Consequences. My mom dishes out the latter. Old school is a set of ethical, moral and etiquette rules. Old School with Consequences means, if you break the rules, you should suffer. For the rest of your life. And wear a scarlet letter, if it can at all be arranged.
When I met my husband, my mother threw a fit. He had been married before; he was a “divorcee”. I know that divorcee is incorrect, it should be divorce with an accent aigu, but I can’t find this on this keyboard, so. At any rate she had a Bad Name for what he was and she used it against him. “Why don’t you call the FIRST Mrs. B,” she said. “Find out what REALLY went on.” I explained to Mother through gritted teeth that I already knew what “went on,” his wife did not want children and he did and he was very sad about the divorce but he really wanted a chance to have children. She felt there was something sinister and deeper going on. She Googled him. She found another person by the same name who had been up to some no good and called me triumphantly to tell me she had caught him at something bad. Wrong. In rapid succession she found everything wrong with him she possibly could. He was too short. His feet were too small. He was too bald. He looked like a lawn gnome. A LAWN GNOME???? This was my Emily-Post-and-Miss-Manners-reading-mother, and I could not believe these things were coming out of her mouth. This added considerable stress to my prenuptial days, as you can well imagine. The only thing that helped this was that my husband was actually amused by the things that my mother was saying. He cackled over the “lawn gnome” remark. And he did something even more amazing. He refused to be intimidated by my intimidating mother and had a meeting with her and asked that she stop the sniping because it was upsetting me and that she might not be included in the wedding plans if she didn’t stop. Wow. What a concept. My dad said he should have done that years ago, but he wanted her to be happy and spoiled her. So she is basically allowed to roll along, judging and handing down her idea of punishments for infractions real or imagined. So I think it’s great that my friend is having a bachelorette party and I already have my tickets. And I married my husband and he is a good husband and father so HA, there never was anything sinister going on. So, I am OK with Old School, but forget this thing called Old School with Consequences.