I've heard about evil stepmothers and evil mothers-in-law, but Carolyn Bourne of Devon, England takes the cake: She's both. When Bourne's stepson Freddie brought his fiance Heidi Withers to meet his family, Heidi soon discovered that her soon-to-be MIL was a complete biatch. And lucky for us, there's hard evidence.
You see Carolyn, displeased with Heidi's manners during their visit, sent Heidi an email explaining all the ways Heidi messed up during her stay as a guest in Carolyn's home.
Carolyn's words are bone-chilling. She writes:
(Oh, and as if I had to tell you, this should be read aloud, and with a British accent):
It is high time someone explained to you about good manners. Yours are obvious by their absence and I feel sorry for you.
Unfortunately for Freddie, he has fallen in love with you and Freddie being Freddie, I gather it is not easy to reason with him or yet encourage him to consider how he might be able to help you. It may just be possible to get through to you though. I do hope so.
If you want to be accepted by the wider Bourne family I suggest you take some guidance from experts with utmost haste. There are plenty of finishing schools around.
Please, for your own good, for Freddie's sake and for your future involvement with the Bourne family, do something as soon as possible.
Here are a few examples of your lack of manners:
When you are a guest in another's house, you do not declare what you will and will not eat -- unless you are positively allergic to something. You do not remark that you do not have enough food. You do not start before everyone else.
You do not take additional helpings without being invited to by your host.
When a guest in another's house, you do not lie in bed until late morning in households that rise early -- you fall in line with house norms.
You should never ever insult the family you are about to join at any time and most definitely not in public. I gather you passed this off as a joke but the reaction in the pub was one of shock, not laughter.
You should have hand-written a card to me. You have never written to thank me when you have stayed.
You regularly draw attention to yourself. Perhaps you should ask yourself why.
No one gets married in a castle unless they own it. It is brash, celebrity style behaviour.
I understand your parents are unable to contribute very much towards the cost of your wedding. (There is nothing wrong with that except that convention is such that one might presume they would have saved over the years for their daughters' marriages.)
If this is the case, it would be most ladylike and gracious to lower your sights and have a modest wedding as befits both your incomes.
Let's take a breather here for second. That was intense.
OK. So much to say. First of all, I believe in manners. I believe in thank-you notes and I believe in common sense. Sounds like Heidi made some classic rookie mistakes when it comes to etiquette, but did she deserve an email like this?
No way. Carolyn is cutting, rude, and pretentious. She's clearly not trying to help Heidi, but reprimand her in the most demeaning way possible. (Just realized that if Carolyn reads this, I could be getting a nasty email, too. Score.)
Here's the question. If Carolyn was your soon-to-be mother-in-law, and you hadn't yet said your vows, would this change your mind about marrying into this family? I will say that it would certainly push me over the edge if I had any doubt whatsoever that my fiance was the man for me. To know that someone in his family hates or disapproves of me so much as to send an email like this would make me reconsider my future.
Because, as I'm sure some of you know, your in-laws are a big part of that future. I think the only time I could overlook an email like this would be if I were marrying Prince William and the Queen had sent me a rant like this.
Other than the promise of becoming a Princess (sure, I'm that shallow), I from here on out have a strict zero-tolerance policy when it comes to snotty emails dissecting my manners. Hmph!
Would you change your mind if your future MIL sent you this email?
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