Parents Not Invited

By Annie Lane

March 27, 2019 4 min read

Dear Annie: I am a woman in my late 30s marrying the woman of my dreams this fall. I will not be inviting my mother or, by extension, my father. Everyone seems to assume this is because they are opposed to gay marriage or are some sort of religious zealots. This is not true at all. They are fine with gay marriage, and in fact, we pretty much agree politically on all points. They just don't like me as a person. That is sad but also fine, as I don't really like them, either. So how do I navigate this? I don't want people maligning them as bigots, because they are not. They are just regular, run-of-the-mill jerks. I don't want them anywhere near me at my wedding. I don't like them, and though I do feel some sort of suppressed glee that everyone thinks they are horrible, I don't want people thinking they are horrible for the wrong reasons. Thoughts? — Confused

Dear Confused: It's not your job to run PR for your parents in addition to planning your wedding. Still, it's mature of you to want to correct the record. I've found that often the most graceful way of dealing with such complicated social situations is to have a concise canned response ready to go — for instance, "My parents and I aren't close, so I've decided not to invite them." If the person expresses outrage or sympathy on the presumption that your parents are refusing to attend because you're marrying a woman, a simple "I appreciate your concern, but that's not the issue" ought to do. Then let it go. Some people will insist on careening toward their own conclusions. So be it. If we were responsible for monitoring every wrong assumption about our private lives, we'd probably all go bonkers. Best wishes to you and your wife-to-be.

Dear Annie: I am tall. Flying is miserable. In addition to having no legroom, I find that the area under the seat in front of me rarely has any room for my feet after I stow my CPAP, so my knees are especially vulnerable to the seat in front of me.

At the earliest opportunity to speak to the person in front of me on a flight (during boarding if possible, but not during safety announcements!), I let the person know that a tall person is seated behind him/her and ask him/her to give me a warning when (s)he plans to recline so I can protect my knees.

I explain that his/her courtesy warning will give me an opportunity to shift in the seat and point my knees away from the center of the seat back as best I can. Only rarely does that person completely ignore the implications of his/her actions on my anatomy. — Florida Lady

Dear Florida Lady: I expected a whole lot of hullabaloo in response to "Cramped in the Cabin's" letter — angry parties on both sides of the issue. On the contrary, everyone who's written in so far has been empathetic, understanding and more frustrated at the airlines for putting people in such cramped quarters than at other passengers. What a pleasant surprise.

"Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie" is out now! Annie Lane's debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to [email protected]

Photo credit: at Pixabay

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