Monday, October 4, 2010

The lady is the tiger

This week's Dear Margo has one of those letters that starts out "Okay, sure," and veers suddenly into "WTF?"
Dear Margo: A friend of my husband is getting married. I barely know the man, and I’ve met the intended bride twice. A verbal invitation was extended to both of us. Oh, by the way, the bride requested that I not wear my ears to the wedding.

Several years ago, my husband bought me a headband with little tiger ears on it. Ever since he put it on me, I’ve worn my ears everywhere, including to two weddings and a funeral. I’ve made them a part of my identity — my personal trademark, if you will. Going anywhere without my ears makes me feel self-conscious and only partially dressed.

My initial reaction was to wear the ears anyway, but then I realized I am not exactly obligated to attend the wedding. I’m not close to the bride or groom, but my husband considers the groom to be a good friend; the invitation included me out of common courtesy. Perhaps I should keep my sulky, uncooperative self at home, even though my husband would prefer I suck it up and go. I have some months to think about it. What’s your take? — M.R.S.
While Ashley and I are busy picking our jaws up off the floor, Margo jumps in with an overwhelmingly favorable response.
Dear M.: Maybe you and I are on the same wavelength, or maybe we’re both nuts, but I think your trademark ears are a hoot. And who doesn’t love individuality — besides the bride? Seeing as how you wear them everywhere, I wouldn’t dream of suggesting you leave them at home for the upcoming nuptials. (Do go, by the way.)

Odd of the bride to suggest what you wear and what you leave home, but let’s assume she will be so engrossed in the festivities that she will not notice. And to be realistic: Little tiger ears are much less attention-getting than big, floppy bunny ears. At least with your little tiger ears, no one can say you are celebrating Halloween early or reliving your days as a waitress at a Playboy club. — Margo, individually
Lulu: W..... w.....

Ashley: W... I...

Lulu: I...I don't think the bride is being unreasonable.

Ashley: No I don't believe so either.

Lulu: Why would you make yourself dependent on tiger ears? What if the headband breaks?

Ashley: No idea!

[5 minutes of stunned silence pass]

[Lulu and Ashley become distracted by a shiny object]


Ashley: Do we have any advice for the furry lady? I... I can't imagine.

Lulu: Okay, here is my advice. When you're a grown-up, you need to have a sense of context. In some contexts, it's not appropriate to indulge your ridiculous whims. Ridiculous whims are fine... in their place. I have many. But there is a reason you don't wear a novelty headband to a wedding, and there is a reason you don't talk about your fanfic hobby at a job interview. Context. (Hi! I am a pot calling a kettle black!) Sulking because you can't wear this or that or because you're irrationally attached to some comfort object is endearing in a child of five, but in an adult, it's disturbing.

Ashley: I think it's kind of funny... and I would probably appreciate it at like, work. "Look, someone's being slightly unconventional!" But seriously, you don't see WHY she'd ask you not to wear them to the wedding?

Lulu: Yeah. A favorite accessory is fine, but when you get to the point where you can't take it off when someone asks you to as a personal favor, it's too much. It seems like the ears are controlling her.

Ashley: Maybe they are! I guess we did not account for that possibility.

Lulu: I mean there are some weddings where it would be fine. Especially at the reception. But in some ceremonies, people want that to be solemn. Tiger ears are antithetical to solemnity (unless you are a tiger.)

Ashley: Tigers are very solemn creatures. But yeah, I'm surprised it swung at a funeral.

Lulu: Oh, lord. She mentioned she went to a funeral with them? I missed that.

Ashley: Yes. 2 weddings and funeral.

Lulu: Jeeez. That seems really wrong. I've been to some pretty "celebrate life!" type funerals, but the level of whimsy in the tiger ears seems really inappropriate for coming into contact with grief. Didn't she feel like an ass?

Ashley: Dear Margo, I've been invited to a wedding, but I can't leave my custom donkey head at home.


  1. Does the stance on this letter run contrary to the stance here?

    Answer: no! Because tattoos are great and a fetishistic attachment to your tiger-ear headband is weird and stupid.

    Weird too that Margo is completely on the side of the stupid behavior for this one. This is terrible advice! The opposite of this advice is the good advice - don't wear them to the wedding and also stop wearing them everywhere. The only way that becomes even remotely ok behavior is that your husband played a prank on you when he first put them on your head years ago by applying superglue to the headband and you are too embarrassed to tell anyone.

  2. Okay, touche.

    Here's the thing. If a tattoo were removable, AND if the tattoo depicted something with an inappropriate tone for the occasion, I would say the bride would be justified in asking the girl in that previous letter take it off for the wedding. I think a wedding is exactly important enough to make a day-long choice for (what to wear) and not important enough to make any longer-term sort of choice for (when to permanently modify your appearance). I don't think it's appropriate for a bride to ask party members or guests to lose or gain weight, get or not get contacts, get or not get tattoos, etc.

    I guess the LW here considers the tiger ears a permanent part of her person and would totally get permanent ones if she could. So, I wouldn't tell her to delay her surgery in order to accommodate a wedding. I would tell her to delay her surgery indefinitely, however.

    I am just a hypocrite!