A mom is attracting attention in the most recent Dear Prudence column on Slate for writing what may be the most insensitive missive to the advice columnist ever about her daughter's wedding party. No one can even believe it's real.
Take a deep breath and read:
Q. Daughter’s friend being in wedding: My 27-year-old daughter and her best friend, Katie, have been best friends since they were 4. Katie practically grew up in our house and is like a daughter to me. My daughter recently got engaged to her fiancé and announced that Katie would be the maid of honor (Katie’s boyfriend is also a good friend of my future son-in-law). The problem is that Katie walks with a pretty severe limp due to a birth defect (not an underlying medical issue).
She has no problem wearing high heels and has already been fitted for the dress, but I still think it will look unsightly if she’s in the wedding procession limping ahead of my daughter. I mentioned this to my daughter and suggested that maybe Katie could take video or hand out programs (while sitting) so she doesn’t ruin the aesthetic aspect of the wedding. My daughter is no longer speaking to me (we were never that close), but this is her big wedding and I want it to be perfect. All of the other bridesmaids will look gorgeous walking down the aisle with my daughter. Is it wrong to have her friend sit out?
Holy moly. You consider your daughter's friend like another daughter, but because she has a limp you want her hidden away? And also, you don't even really get along with your real daughter? Lady, read the room.
Mallory Ortberg, who writes Dear Prudie, probably sees her share of dysfunctional situations come across her desk, but even she responded with disbelief:
A: I am having a hard time wrapping my mind around this letter. I encourage you to reread it and to ask yourself that time-honored question, “Do I sound like a villain in a Reese Witherspoon movie?” You are, presumably, sympathetic to your own situation and are invested in making sure that you come across as reasonable and as caring as possible, and yet you have written a letter indicting yourself at every turn. This girl is “like a daughter” to you, and yet you want to shove her to the side of your other daughter’s wedding just because she walks with a limp.
Your daughter’s wedding will be perfect with Katie as a full and honored member of the bridal party. A limp is not a fly in the ointment; it’s a part of Katie’s life. It is not only wrong to have asked your daughter to consider excluding her best friend over this—it is ableist, and cruel, and it speaks to a massive failure of empathy, compassion, and grace on your part. You must and should apologize to your daughter immediately, and I encourage you to profoundly reconsider the orientation of your heart.
The Internet's mind is blown, particularly by the oceans of meaning contained in the phrase "we were never that close."
my first thought is that the asides "she's like a daughter to me" and "we were never that close" together constitute an entire article— militant lorax 🌲 (@theshrillest) September 6, 2017
My favorite part is that she said Katie was "like a daughter to me," b/c apparently, to her, that means "not that close and I'm mean to her"— David Harris (@Hero_Complex) September 6, 2017
"she is like a daughter to me in that she probably doesn't like me just like my real daughter doesn't like me because I'm a fucking monster"— Melissa B. (@Buote) September 6, 2017
"(we were never that close)" there is a novel jammed between those parentheses i can feel it— Caesar Honeybee (@maryellenmurr) September 6, 2017
The gall of trying to micromanage your basically-estranged daughter's wedding on top of this...— j/k lolling (@xoDrVenture) September 6, 2017
more worried about the wedding being "perfect" than that her daughter is no longer speaking to her— Jeff Abbott (@JeffAbbott) September 7, 2017
So much bad in such a short missive. Can you imagine having to talk to her at the reception?