Advice Column Friday

AITA: For uninviting my sister to my wedding for what she told my fiancèe?

My M27 fiancèe F25 has an obvious permanent burnscar from an accident that caused her mother (her only parent) to pass away from injury. My fiancèe had a long recovery it’s been 7 years. The scar is on her collarbone. it goes down her chest but isn’t showing. Unless she’s wearing scoop/square tops. She often wears hoodies/jackets to cover up. She puts this cream I don’t know what ladies call it but it’s supposed to tone skin color or something? I’m not sure but my fiancèe calls it foundation that is one degree brighter than her skin color. I absolutely adore her she’s pretty, smart, ambitious and the list goes on. What happened was unfortunate and I’m glad she’s at peace with herself and more confident.

My family love her. How can they not. She’s a member of the family. My mom makes sure she takes part in every family function and things like shopping and decorating other things. However. My sister made comments about my fiancèe’s scar several times. I’ve called her out on her behavior several times to get her to stop because she was hurting me before my fiancèe with her backhanded and insensitive comments. I told my fiancèe she had everyright to cut my sister out and not deal with her bullshit but she has been forgiving and respectful of my entire family.

Our wedding is in February. My fiancèe went shopping for the wedding dress. This is where the issue started:

My fiancèe showed the wedding dress to my sister. I didn’t see it but I was told it was a spaghetti strap dress. My fiancèe likes this stuff. Anyways my sister saw it and went nuts she started criticising her choice and said that she should’ve gotten a high nick or a jewel wedding dress to cover up the scar. She argued with my fiancèe about it. I went to my family’s house and I confronted her. I yelled at her after she told me my fiancee needed to return the dress and get a “proper” one so that guests won’t focus on her burnscar and use it as the topic of conversation and gossip. I told her that she’s not invited to our wedding. She isn’t welcome to my wedding with this entitled attitude of hers and her insensitivity and disrespect. We argued for half an hour then I left.

In exactly an hour. My mom and dad called and berated me saying my sister was crying after I uninvited her and that I had no right to univinte her. She’s my sister and was just trying to help out and give an advice and avoid any “unnecessary” drama at the wedding. My mom said my fiancèe can keep the dress but suggested to wear a pridel shawl as a neutral solution. I stopped responding to my mom’s calls and texts after that. Family members were upset my sister was uninvited and wanted me to invite her again because this will make family look bad in front of outsiders and guests.

151 thoughts on “Advice Column Friday

  1. Wow. Don’t blame the author for un-inviting sister. This wasn’t a slip of the tongue, but a series of insults. I’d do the same thing.

  2. BTW, if people aren’t familiar with AITA, it’s a forum on Reddit where people post to ask Redditors if “Am I The Asshole” in a certain situation.

  3. Great guy. Horrid family. It’s the only family he & fiancé have. He is certainly not the a-hole. She should wear the dress she chose. Beyond that, idk.

  4. To Houston’s 10:10 comment, perhaps someone who isn’t on their phone could find the post where Rhett proposed these Friday topics and link it here.

    I’ve really enjoyed the conversations, because people discuss life in a different way than most conversations on here. I have one in the cue that’s about weighing work with family time.

  5. The sister seems very into appearances and herself. I agree that not inviting the sister to the wedding is appropriate. And it sounds like the mom is taking the sister’s side, which complicates future family involvement. Curious what the fiancée thinks about cutting the sister out completely. Would an apology from the sister, and then letting the sister come but not be involved in the wedding be a compromise? Regardless, if I was the fiancée, I’d hold a grudge and would never be close with the sister and mom.

  6. I tend to agree with the guy. That said, maybe he could say to his fiancee: Because of what my sister said about your wedding dress I’m going to disinvite her from the wedding. Are you ok with that? If the fiancee says she doesn’t want to have bad feelings all around for the next 50years over this then perhaps he could relent.

  7. This is such a difficult situation. I am thinking of home country families. First off, if you don’t invite close family to a wedding it’s a huge deal. To disinvite them is a bigger deal. The bride should wear the dress that makes her happy. These sorts of disagreements and drama prior to weddings are not uncommon in home country weddings. Ultimately, some sort of middle ground is reached, where everyone can save face, take smiley pictures and move on. It’s of the reasons my DH didn’t want to go to the home country to get married.

  8. NTA. He asked his sister multiple times to stop with the insults/comments about the scar. I’m dumbfounded the sister ever said something one time let alone multiple times. He and his fiancee deserve a wonderful wedding day and his sister has clearly shown she can’t behave appropriately. I can’t even begin to understand the mindset of the sister – who cares about something as superficial as a scar? It’s what the person is like on the inside (e.g. are they kind) – not how they look on the outside.

  9. The term opinionated has come up in the media lately in relation to Ashli Babbitt. It’s not a word I ever use and I don’t generally interact with anyone I’d consider opinionated. But as I thought more about it I realized I do know people like that. One woman I see once a year is only allowed to attend family functions if she promises to be on her best behavior. She can hold it together for 2-3 hours and then has to leave.

    With my ASD I need to think these things through. Ohhhh!

    Barbara: “My husband and I just bought a time share in Del Boca Vista.”
    Me (what I think): “You did? Those things are such a waste of money. You can’t sell them.
    You have to pay the maintenance which rises every year. It’s just a terrible choice.”
    Me (what I say): “That’s great! Bel Boca Vista is such a beautiful area of Florida. What week did you get?”

    Henry: “I just bought a lightly used year old Accord for 28k.”
    Me (what I think): “You could have bought a new one for $29k.”
    Me (what I say): “That’s great! Honda’s are such good cars.”

    But some people, like the sister, just can’t keep their opinions to themselves. It’s like a compulsion. They have to to tell everyone what they think. I find the whole thing fascinating.

  10. I’m dumbfounded the sister ever said something one time let alone multiple times.

    Advice columns often have some version of, “My mother is constantly making comments about my 10 year old daughter’s weight. I’ve told her many times to stop and she says she will but she always starts back up again. What should I do?”

    And even with threats and the grandmother crying and promising to do better, in a week she’s back to, “Madison, do you really think you should be eating that?”

  11. “But some people, like the sister, just can’t keep their opinions to themselves. It’s like a compulsion. They have to to tell everyone what they think. I find the whole thing fascinating.”

    My MIL is like this. Nothing too bad, but it’s very interesting what comes out of her mouth.

  12. “And even with threats and the grandmother crying and promising to do better, in a week she’s back to, “Madison, do you really think you should be eating that?”

    One suggestion I read is to get an airhorn and blast it every time grandma says something offensive about Madison’s weight or eating habits. I’ve heard that this works really well. Don’t say anything–just blast it when you hear the offending comment. If someone asks, explain why you’re doing it.

  13. One suggestion I read is to get an airhorn and blast it every time grandma says something offensive about Madison’s weight or eating habits. I’ve heard that this works really well. Don’t say anything–just blast it when you hear the offending comment. If someone asks, explain why you’re doing it.

    That’s hilarious. I would totally try it. To save space I might use one of those “personal alarms” that you can carry when you’re out jogging or walking. They’re hella loud and you don’t see them coming.

  14. Older people, IME, tend to lose or at least loosen their filter as they age. Sometimes it is harmless because they are talking about really minor things that annoy them, but often it is the criticism of people they care about. I saw it with my parents and am now beginning to see it with SO. I volunteer with a woman who has a brain injury and she doesn’t always have a filter, but is super sensitive on the receiving end of much milder comments than she dishes out.

    This raises the question about how we continue to reinforce the need to have filters in the first place. I think everyone with a child has had that embarrassing moment where a small child has said something to someone like “You are fat” or “Your dress is ugly”. I know we then have that discussion about not hurting someone’s feelings and if you can’t say something nice….etc. But, how do we do it when they get older or when age/injury comes into play?

    When the woman said something very cruel to me, I looked at her and said those were very hurtful comments and walked away. I told SO the other day that his statement was racist (this is not usually territory he wanders into). When he asked why and I told him, he seemed to get it, but then he repeated it to DD#2. She also told him that was racist and just walked away. He looked perplexed.

  15. The fiance should think long and hard about joining that family. The potential in laws think nothing of commenting on a visible reminder of a traumatic event and calling on her to hide it. That isn’t likely to get better.

  16. Cass, I disagree. Her fiance has her back 100% and has made it very clear who he will choose if he is forced to. His sister will either learn to shut up about it or lose her brother, and his mother will either learn to tell his sister to shut up about it or lose her son.

  17. “But some people, like the sister, just can’t keep their opinions to themselves. It’s like a compulsion. They have to to tell everyone what they think. I find the whole thing fascinating.”

    My MIL is like that too. She’ll qualify her statements by saying she’s just being honest. I told her that she needs to think through what she’s saying (like Rhett described) and does not have to speak aloud every thought that pops into her head. I also told her that if she has nothing good to say, just to be quiet and listen, she didn’t have to comment.

  18. Louise – you are a saint!

    I also don’t understand people who are not old but don’t have a filter. I have some clients like that (no filter) who are also mean to each other, and I think in that case it’s related to their poor executive function.

  19. She’ll qualify her statements by saying she’s just being honest

    “This curry you made is a little bland.” ZAP!

  20. Sister was out of line; but so was the brother. Neither is very emotionally mature to argue and yell. I wonder how old the sister is, as it sounds like she still lives with her parents. It’s interesting that the LW doesn’t share what conversations he’s had with his fiancée about desired outcome/resolution; like LT and Fred note, she may not have wanted such escalation. I would be unhappy if I vented to DH, and then he acted rashly on my behalf with his family.

    The potential “gossip” has shifted from “how did the bride get that scar?” to “why is LW’s sister not here?” Who are they inviting to the wedding that would gossip about the bride’s appearance in the first place? Trying to be generous, maybe his family doesn’t know how to talk about what happened; LW/fiancée may need to provide a script for his family. (“Aunt Mabel, thank you for your concern about our DIL. There was an accident years ago, she’s worked very hard to recover, we’re so lucky to have such a remarkable young woman joining our family! Ah, there’s Uncle Jim—see you on the dance floor later!”)

  21. It was a remnant of ’70s bullshit like EST.

    When I saw that on The Americans I assumed it was made up. But as turns out it was an actual thing.

  22. “I’m just being honest”

    My dad says this. I blame Fox News. He also tells me that now that he is of a certain age he just doesn’t care if he makes enemies with his words. sigh

  23. When I saw that on The Americans I assumed it was made up. But as turns out it was an actual thing.

    Ah, now you’ve forgotten our conversation. I reported on it for my college paper. I pulled my sister out of an offshoot of it. (She actually thanked me again recently). It was VERY Bay Area.

  24. RMS,

    When first watched the show I thought it was just a made up plot device to explore Phillips inner turmoil. You set me straight that it was an actual thing.

    When I went to the recruitment meeting for the paper

    You were a reporter?

  25. More lost bitcoin:

    A British man who accidentally threw a hard drive loaded with bitcoin into the trash has offered the local authority where he lives more than $70 million if it allows him to excavate a landfill site.
    IT worker James Howells got rid of the drive, which held a digital store of 7,500 bitcoins, between June and August in 2013. He had originally mined the virtual currency four years earlier when it was of little value.
    But when the cryptocurrency shot up in value and he went in search of it, he discovered that he had mistakenly thrown the hard drive out with the trash.
    Now, with his lost bitcoin having soared even further, Howells has approached Newport City Council in Wales to ask for permission to dig a specific section of the landfill site where he believes the hard drive ended up.
    In return, he has offered to pay the council a quarter of the current value of the hoard, which he says could be distributed to local residents.
    The price of bitcoin hit an all-time high in recent days and is now trading around $37,000.
    Howells first discovered that the hard drive was missing when his bitcoin was worth around $9 million. Based on the current rates, he estimates it would be worth around $273 million.

    https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/15/uk/bitcoin-trash-landfill-gbr-scli-intl/index.html

  26. DD,

    I’m thinking this might be some kind of publicity stunt or dirty tricks campaign. There is no way to know if they ever had the coins. So it could be made up. Maybe Ethereum is trying to sow doubt about Bitcoin?

  27. “It isn’t your decision. You don’t get a say in the matter. Your feedback is unwelcome.”

    Repeat as often as necessary.

  28. I remember the last time the subject came up, I was startled at how many people here were unfamiliar with it. Now granted I’m older than most here, but it was everywhere in the Bay Area and down in L.A., too.

  29. Erhard Seminars Training (marketed as est, though often encountered as EST or Est) was an organization, founded by Werner Erhard in 1971, that offered a two-weekend (6-day, 60-hour) course known officially as “The est Standard Training”. This seminar aimed to “transform one’s ability to experience living so that the situations one had been trying to change or had been putting up with clear up just in the process of life itself”. (Wiki).

    A big deal in the Bay Area. I worked security at the Oakland Coliseum Arena for a weekend of this in 1976, so at least I got $ for going.

  30. A big deal in the Bay Area. I worked security at the Oakland Coliseum Arena for a weekend of this in 1976, so at least I got $ for going.

    Did you at least get to pee? That was the big thing everyone talked about — they overheated the rooms and wouldn’t let anyone use the bathrooms. It was all part of the mind control process.

  31. And when people finished it up, they would go around telling other people awful things about them. It was “calling people on their shit.” It didn’t last for more than a few years because “calling people on their shit” got the shit kicked out of it itself, by the media and by the non-est people.

  32. One added aspect to this situation that I am personally familiar with. There are some people (in my experience women of a certain background) who cannot understand that someone may not be trying to look as “beautiful” as possible. Their opinion cannot be held back if it is presenting a solution to something that in their mind can be changed and will be helpful to the person. They have a lifetime of experiences of telling friends to pluck their eyebrows, straighten their hair, get highlights, wear such and such fitted thing and the feedback is that the person looks and feels better and expresses gratitude for their help. So when their help is not welcome for reasons they can’t understand- for example, “I’m trying to downplay my looks in this instance, I need to be able to stand for hours in the outfit, That isn’t suitable for my professional stature, etc. “, or some other variable is being optimized instead of the “beauty.” it is almost incomprehensible to them.

  33. Rocky – yes, of course (getting to pee). It was a union job.

    telling other people awful things about them. It was “calling people on their shit.”

    Today story (purposely vague): DW* is pissed at a relative because they are not playing by the rules re collecting unemployment when they should not since they are working and getting paid cash. Maybe not as much as they’d make in the job from which they were laid off but certainly enough to make ends meet. She (a) wants to call them on it but (b) knows that is fraught with repercussions interpersonally and across the wider family. So she stays quiet. But she’d really like to call this person out on the behavior. Go-along-to-get-along is not really her mantra, but she gets how the world works.

    * an “ask permission” and rule-follower vs a “seek forgiveness” person

  34. Denver – those stories are amazing. I tell at least one when I give the CLE about digital assets. There was another one from a while ago where there was a UK guy trying to excavate some other landfill to find his hard drive, IIRC.

  35. DD and L – either of you watch Big Bang Theory? There’s an episode where the guys lose bitcoin on an old computer, only to find out Sheldon moved the files to Leonard’s keychain USB. Leonard lost the thing years ago, only to be found by the comic book store owner who wipes the drive clean and sells the drive…

    wonder how many people wiped the drives with bitcoin on them…

  36. Rhett and Mafalda, interesting points. One problem with the advice column letters is we usually only hear one side of the story.

    Let’s assume the sister has the issue Rhett suggests, no fillter. Is there another/better way to address it than to uninivite her, which lead to uniniviting the rest of his family, and likely estrangement from his family?

    The parents’ reaction suggests that the possibility that the sister has some sort of issue that the parents know about, but the brother doesn’t. If that’s the case, then the parents would seem to be at fault for letting the brother and his fiancee assume the sister is an asshole, as opposed to has some issue that leads to asshole-type behavior.

  37. Thinking about Mafalda’s comment– That sort of thing probably requires a narrow world view, i.e., living in a bubble of sorts. The exposure this group provides me to other bubbles will, I hope, help prevent such behavior, and lack of understanding, on my part.

  38. The parents’ reaction suggests that the possibility that the sister has some sort of issue that the parents know about, but the brother doesn’t.

    I bet everyone acknowledges the sister is, “a lot to take” as they say. I think the parents are just being protective. But to your point:

    In terms of their thinking style, unsolicited advice-givers tend to be cognitively rigid. They typically believe that they are right, and when they approach a problem, they often have difficulty seeing the situation from multiple perspectives. They can be absolutist in their thinking, perceiving things in an all-or-nothing, black-or-white way.

    They tend to have a grandiose sense of self or perception of their own competence.

    https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/insight-is-2020/201712/why-people-give-unsolicited-advice-though-no-one-listens

  39. Seriously, I know perfectly well behaved, well intentioned, otherwise lovely people who believe and (the world doesn’t do much to disabuse them of this notion) that women are judged on their looks and that all things being equal they should play the looks hand dealt them with savvy and fashion and makeup and hair to optimize the hand. They also know many women don’t know how to do that well and genuinely appreciate advice on the topic, so explaining how to wear a flattering neckline that also hides the scar seems like a good deed to them.

  40. “I bet everyone acknowledges the sister is, “a lot to take” as they say.”

    Perhaps, but nothing the LW wrote directly suggests this. Perhaps if this is true, the LW is not aware of it.

    I also wonder whether cognitively rigid unsolicited advice givers are typically also sensitive. LW’s sister apparently was crying and distraught after their blowup.

  41. No, the brother is NTA. But he is immature. I can understand getting that angry in the moment, and the fight escalating to the “well, you’re uninvited” point. But once things calm down, you try to re-engage as a rational adult — that’s where you say, very clearly, that any mention of the scar is hurtful and completely off-limits,* that it’s not up for discussion, that you’d love to have her at the wedding if she can control herself, but given her past behavior, you don’t know if you can trust her to do that, and you absolutely refuse to have your fiancee upset on her wedding day by some unkind comments. If the sister remains disinvited, that’s just going to wind up with the parents blaming the fiancee for her exclusion. So I totally agree with the comment above to ask the fiancee what she wants to do.

    Oh: and the mom’s “compromise” is out of line. Wear a shawl? The argument was about sister’s behavior, NOT whether her advice was right or wrong. And yet mom seems to think she can smooth things over by finding a way for the bride to both wear her dress AND make sister happy by address sister’s “concerns” about the scar — which, of course, is founded on the assumption that sister is right to be concerned about the scar and just needs to improve her delivery. Sheesh. Methinks I know where sister got her attitude from. That family is problematic — a LOT of focus on outward “perfection,” and no sense of reasonable boundaries. Good for the fiance for standing up to them and backing his fiancee.

    *She lost her mother in that accident, for F’s sake. If that isn’t sufficiently self-evident, I don’t know what more you can say to persuade someone.

  42. I hear you, Mafalda. Around here, such women are known as “Pageant Moms” or “Pageant Girls.”

    I expect there is a long, long history of conflict involving the sister, and mom making excuses for her daughter’s behavior and blaming the daughter’s behavior on whomever she is in conflict with at the time, family, friends, teachers, etc..

    We tell our boys that when you marry someone, you marry their family. Longtime family dynamics usually take therapy to change. A reasonable talk with mom and sister isn’t going to change anything. Generally, when you set boundaries with someone, they push back, and it can be a long and painful process to reach an equilibrium. I wish I had more hope for this marriage. That poor young woman has been through a lot. Sorry she landed in love with a guy who came with this family.

  43. “that’s where you say, very clearly, that any mention of the scar is hurtful and completely off-limits,* that it’s not up for discussion, that you’d love to have her at the wedding if she can control herself”

    The LW mentioned that he’d already had that discussion with the sister multiple times previously. I don’t think having it one more time, whether it’s in the context of the wedding or not, would have any different results.

  44. “That family is problematic”

    Perhaps the LW is willing to uninvite his family because he doesn’t see being cut off from them as that big of a loss.

  45. “I expect there is a long, long history of conflict involving the sister, and mom making excuses for her daughter’s behavior and blaming the daughter’s behavior on whomever she is in conflict with at the time, family, friends, teachers, etc..”

    I believe this 100%.

    “ Perhaps the LW is willing to uninvite his family because he doesn’t see being cut off from them as that big of a loss.”

    Could be. Maybe he wants confirmation from the AITA crowd to continue with his thoughts of disengaging from his family of origin.

    It can’t be said enough – NTA.

  46. HFN – I understand entirely what you mean. But man, as a girl from a train wreck of a family, this is exactly the judgement I will be running from for my entire life. It was burned into me during my entire childhood in a small town where everyone knew every bit of history about every one else. I cover it and disguise it, but the feeling will never go away.

  47. Minda, excellent points about the family’s inability to talk about the accident, and how the happy couple can help them learn. I assume that they are “frozen” when it comes to talking about it. Their frontal cortices literally shut down, the amygdala takes over, and they go into “fight/flight/freeze” mode. One thing no one has addressed yet is that the sister is trying to do a very good thing. She can’t imagine that anyone would be able to handle the tragedy any better than she can, so she is trying to save the bride from embarrassment. Your suggestion of how to deal with this issue with her is brilliantly compassionate.

    Rhett, I agree with half of what you said about the theoretical BR timeshare. Sure, share in their enthusiasm about what a pretty area it is or whatnot, but saying “that’s great” is unnecessary and wrong. It is possible to comment without endorsing the purchase OR taking the “est” route of being their rude awakening. That is not always easy to do, but is generally the best option. Think of how a parent comments on their kid’s art—you don’t tell them it’s a crappy house because they can’t draw straight lines, and you don’t say “good job!” like a lying idiot parrot. You comment on the colors they used, or the feelings you see they are trying to invoke, or ask them to tell you the story behind it and comment on that. All those tricks can be really helpful in commenting without committing yourself to a position you don’t support. So ask your friend who they plan to go to their timeshare with, or what a ti ities are in the area, or how it is furnished. If you feel compelled to say “that’s great”, say it about one of those things that you think truly is great.

  48. Minca, sorry about the typo in your name.

    HFN, yes, she would be marrying the family. On top of that, her family is gone, so this is the only family they have. I think they realize that and so really don’t want to cut them off (which I inviting them from the wedding essentially does). Otoh, they don’t know how to deal with this behavior, so wrote the letter hoping for support and ideas about how to maturely deal with someone else’s immaturity.

    Mafalda, I get your general examples, but disagree with you that the bride is looking for anything other than to be beautiful on her wedding day. She chose a dress she likes. The sister could very well think the dress itself, on fiancé’s shape, is beautiful. Letting the scar be visible is what she disagrees with. She and the person who has it disagree on whether it disrupts the dress. She is trying to be helpful. Failing badly, but still trying. It’s an important moment, because there could be many other times when she will intervene with good intentions and bad ideas. They need to figure out how to deal with that—or be entirely without family.

  49. In the home country the repercussions of an invite or not to a family wedding can continue for years. My DH’s family lived in another city away from his mother’s family. My MIL was very fond of her sisters. She wasn’t even informed that her niece was getting married, the first wedding in their family. She didn’t get an invite either. She wouldn’t have attended, since they didn’t have the money to travel. DH didn’t talk to that branch of the family for years. He felt that whether you had money or not shouldn’t define whether you get invited or not, when it comes to family.
    We have tried to attend our cousins weddings where possible. There is an upcoming wedding, which under the circumstances we cannot make but will join by livestream.

  50. I would do the following. Either in the wedding program or in the celebrants remarks, insert a paragraph about how on this gloriously happy day the bride is of course missing her late mother/family, who died the accident that left her with a noticeable scar. Rather that hide that scar away under a shawl, , she has chosen to wear it proudly in memory of the mother who could not attend.

  51. Sure, share in their enthusiasm about what a pretty area it is or whatnot, but saying “that’s great” is unnecessary and wrong.

    No one gives a shit what I think. Especially after the purchased has been made. Offering my two cents before? That may have some value. But after? It’s like a wedding – speak now (before the deal is sealed) or forever hold your peace.

  52. No one gives a shit what I think.
    True in many cases. The trick is to learn to detect when those are and keep your mouth shut, rather than to rally the fam to your side.

  53. The thing I find fascinating about these discussions is how we all see them a little (or a lot) differently through our own lenses.

    I see a man who has continued to set a hard boundary with his sister that she needs to shut up about his fiancee’s scar. He is 100% devoted to his fiancee and has created a huge rift with his family because of it, and he isn’t wavering. He has made it clear that his family will not be in their lives unless they behave.

    Why shouldn’t she marry him?

  54. Louise, agreed! But irl, I expect you’re much more likely to take Minca or Meme’s “high road” approach to actually improve relationships.
    Although, yeah, there are certainly times when just zapping the crap out of someone is an amusing idea.

  55. One thing the lw avoided was any description of the “tragic accident” in which the mother died. The sister’s reaction might be based in knowing about it. Maybe the mother died in an accident in which she was a drunk driver, or the meth she and her John were cooking up while daughter slept in another room caught the house on fire, or fill in your own lurid response. It is not mature or right of her to be so afraid of the shame brought by bringing the daughter into the family, and brides should choose their own dresses. It is not the sister’s decision to make. But the engaged couple do need to come up with ways to set boundaries and still interact with them. That probably means finding creative ways to respond to their nonsense in many situations.

  56. “But the engaged couple do need to come up with ways to set boundaries and still interact with them. ”

    No, you are not required to have toxic people in your life. The sister needs to get over herself, keep her mouth shut and apologize if she wants to maintain a relationship with her brother and new SIL. Their mother needs to stay out of it.

  57. Kerri, fair point. If the couple wants any future children to have any kind of relationship with family, they need to figure out how to set boundaries with these people now, while the stakes are relatively low.

  58. The fiance can still bail at this point. If the marriage goes forward the likely results are : 1. the marriage fails or 2) the couple is estranged from the inlaws. Neither is optimal and much heartaches ensures.

    Or the fiance can quit now, before the heartache

  59. Ok, I’m going to try my comment one more time, because I think I’m failing miserably to make my point. The fiancee took the sister with her to try on wedding dresses. One takes a trusted friend on that type of mission to honestly help you choose what looks good. The sister thought this one showed the scar (which in her mind is UGLY) and the fiancee, instead of saying “I deliberately wish to display the scar because of ….” said something like, I love this dress, I always wanted spaghettis straps for my wedding and left implied that she didn’t think the scar was that unsightly. The sister thinks it is unsightly and thinks other dresses will make her look more beautiful. No one has told the sister that the bride wishes to SHOW the unsightly scar. Have you ever told a friend that pant A make her look fatter than pant B and she has said. I goal is to look FATTER, now advise me.

  60. “I see a man who has continued to set a hard boundary with his sister that she needs to shut up about his fiancee’s scar. He is 100% devoted to his fiancee and has created a huge rift with his family because of it, and he isn’t wavering.”

    I disagree that the LW created the rift. I agree that he set a hard boundary, but it’s his sister who’s created the rift by crossing that boundary multiple times, and his parents exacerbate the problem.

  61. Mafalda, I get your point, but IMO the sister should at most bring up the scar once in the context of the wedding dress– remember, the LW as called out the sister about scar comments before. Make the point, then let the fiance decide what she wants to do, if anything, with that advice. Pushing the point beyond that make the sister TA.

  62. There is so much I have learned SiNCE I had my wedding. I didn’t know how much to do is normally made about an engagement ring or wedding dress shopping. DH and I picked out my engagement ring together because I was going around calling him my fiancé at work and it was pointed out to me that I didn’t have a ring. I went wedding dress shopping by myself. I knew how much I wanted to spend, the type of dress I wanted and I tried two stores. All the dresses I tried on were way too big even for a trial or in the era of strapless dresses didn’t stay up on me. I found a dress I was comfortable in but I realized stores I went to were used to a entourage and didn’t quite know how to deal with bride who came alone was was very decisive about style and money. I had a reasonable budget having done my research ;-).

  63. Louise, do you mind sharing when you got married? I married in 2001. I preferred a long sleeved dress at a time when that was hard to find. Fortunately, I’m very average in size and was able to buy a nice sample dress inexpensively on Ebay.

  64. WCE – in 2000. I went dress shopping in 1999. They had to order the dress in my size. Now, there seems to be much more of a size range right off the rack.

  65. “The sister thinks it is unsightly and thinks other dresses will make her look more beautiful. No one has told the sister that the bride wishes to SHOW the unsightly scar.”

    But you really have to be TA to think the fiancée doesn’t realize that HER scar is showing. Who says anything at that point unless fiancée has made it clear that she wanted assistance in minimizing the scar? The sister’s behavior is shocking to me.

  66. The fiancee took the sister with her to try on wedding dresses.

    Hum…I read it to mean she showed her the dress after she bought it.

    My fiancèe showed the wedding dress to my sister. I didn’t see it but I was told it was a spaghetti strap dress. My fiancèe likes this stuff. Anyways my sister saw it and went nuts she started criticising her choice and said that she should’ve gotten a high nick or a jewel wedding dress to cover up the scar.

    That doesn’t sound like the sister was at the bridal shop.

    And in terms of the fat pants. You say, “I think pant A is more flattering.” You don’t “go nuts.”

  67. The OP says that the sister told her to return the dress. Not on the shopping trip. I dont find it necessary to call anyone out as the A hole. The Sil and Mom probably think they are serving the role of the absent mom in advising her. And they have that sort of aesthetic sensibility or revulsion that Mafalda described. But at least one of them doesn’t get the message. Groom is protective. We know nothing about the bride at all.

  68. The sister’s concern is not aesthetic.
    she told me my fiancee needed to return the dress and get a “proper” one so that guests won’t focus on her burnscar and use it as the topic of conversation and gossip.
    I do agree that she & the mom probably thought they were in the advisory role, filling in for mom who has passed away. Of course, plenty of people argue with their actual mothers about their weddings.

    The overly-clumsy and self-conscious use of terms like “spaghetti straps” and “foundation” makes me wonder how authentic this letter is.

  69. I do agree that people can have varying reactions to scars. I have one on my bicep that’s 3-4” long. Never occurs to me to think about it when choosing what to wear. Students told me once they’d been guessing where it came from. They were disappointed to hear it was from a roller skating accident. They had come up with that someone had slashed me with a broken bottle in a bar fight. My sister had surgery a few months ago. Her neck looks like someone tried to hack her head off & failed. When she showed me, I joked that we should come up with a great adventure story together, including fighting off hordes of Vandals (this was before the Capital was overrun). That was entirely the wrong thing to say—she found (and still finds) the scar very upsetting. So I get it that some people might think the scar is just ugly. But that is not why the sister thinks it needs to be covered up. There is a lot more history and emotion in her reason for wanting to hide it.

  70. Ok, I agree that if she wasn’t in the bridal shop and the dress was already bought, she is out of line.
    When I got married, I couldn’t be bothered to try on dresses. I LOvED my sister’s she looked sooo pretty in it, and I said, I’ll just wear hers. My mom tried to nicely tell me that I wasn’t as well endowed as her and I should have a fitting and time to tailor it, but I was very busy and decided it was fine. When I looked back at the video, I look like a skinny kid wearing their mom’s dress. I should have listened!

  71. @SM: I would absolutely not take the sister’s words at face value. She has repeatedly brought up the scar in family situations, which indicates that she has a problem with it — she thinks it’s ugly, or it makes her uncomfortable, or whatever. Saying she’s concerned about “other” people’s comfort is just a more socially-acceptable way to say that it bothers *her*. Normal people don’t escalate to a screaming 30-minute fight over whether some theoretical guest may be uncomfortable. Things only get that overheated when there are very deep things going on. Like, say, a bride feeling judged and “less than” by her future in-laws over part of her body that she cannot control. And a sister who has such a low sense of boundaries that she keeps harping on it even after being directly told that it is very hurtful. And a mom who is so clueless that she thinks the bride should compromise with the sister.

    I agree that the sister thinks she’s being helpful — or, at least, that that’s what she tells herself to justify her continued comments. But that belief is based in hubris, pure and simple: she assumes that she knows how the bride should manage her scar better than the bride herself — and based on that belief in her own rightness, she’s willing to repeatedly hurt the bride and make her self-conscious on an issue that is extremely painful for the bride herself. Someone like that, I’ll give her a pass the first time or two based on her good intentions. But if I have repeatedly explained that it is NOT helpful, and she keeps doing it, that makes it pretty clear that it’s not actually about helping.

  72. “But you really have to be TA to think the fiancée doesn’t realize that HER scar is showing.”

    IMO, being clueless would also explain it, and IMO again, there’s a difference between clueless and a-hole.

  73. Laura, I agree with you that the bride has those deep feelings, and I think the sister has deep feelings too. I don’t think she is worried about guests’ comfort; I do think she is worried about what they will think. Not because the scar is ugly (although she might think it is) but because of what it represents (which we don’t know). Why else would she be unable to leave it alone? If this was the first time she’d brought it up, like a photographer asking if I wanted to make sure my birthmark was covered, I’d agree that it’s about actual physical looks for her. I’m trying to come up with other examples of when someone thinks something is ugly and that they usually don’t repeat it ad infinitum, but can’t find any good ones. Maybe someone else’s hair—if they asked another person if they liked their perm, maybe they’d say “it’ll grow”. But I can’t picture them coming back to it unless they attached a meaning to it.

  74. “I agree that the sister thinks she’s being helpful — or, at least, that that’s what she tells herself to justify her continued comments.”

    While I agree on the plausibility of this scenario, there are numerous possible explanations that fit the scenario as presented,

  75. Also, on helpfulness—no way are the sister’s comments helpful! But I think she still thinks they are. And yes, that is rooted in hubris/inflated self-worth/infantilizing the fiancé.

  76. I’m trying to come up with other examples of when someone thinks something is ugly and that they usually don’t repeat it ad infinitum, but can’t find any good ones.

    I can certainly imagine the bookish granddaughter of the ladies Mafalda mentioned hearing a constant barrage of, “Have you though of doing something different with your hair? Just a little foundation would really make a big difference. Have you thought about lasik?”

  77. “Why else would she be unable to leave it alone?”

    Uhh, because she was raised in a family that values appearance above all and literally cannot fathom why someone with a disfiguring scar *wouldn’t* want to hide it? Remember, the mom clearly thought the sister had a point, because she thought it was reasonable to solve the problem by suggesting the bride wear a shawl over her dress.

    I think it is far more likely that the answer is that simple, vs. some deeply embarrassing hidden secret from the accident like the mom killed someone. Remember: there are people who don’t even invite their fat friends to be bridesmaids because it will “ruin” the pictures. So something like an obvious scar? Gasp!

  78. Rhett, you realize you sound just like my mother and older sister, right? “You don’t want to have the birthmark removed?” “You don’t want your ears pierced?” “You are beautiful; make-up would enhance your looks” “You’re wearing that?” For years, Mom sent me outfits she had picked out, often with my sister, because I supposedly didn’t know how to dress myself.

    there are people who don’t even invite their fat friends to be bridesmaids because it will “ruin” the pictures.

    That’s a thing? Ugh. Maybe I am indeed still naive about how much people value appearance, even though I get it more now than I used to.

  79. While the context of this is political, I think it’s appropriate here…

    “Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and his entire Cabinet resigned Friday to take political responsibility for a scandal involving investigations into child welfare payments that wrongly labeled thousands of parents as fraudsters…..

    “Not long after delivering his statement, Rutte got on his bicycle and rode to the king’s palace in a forest in the Hague to formally inform the king. Dutch television showed him parking his bike at the bottom of steps leading into the palace and walking inside.”

    I love the role of the bicycle in this story. It suggests the PM was at least serious about climate change.

  80. Finn,

    And there was this classic line from Rutte’s statement, “Mistakes have been made…”

  81. People have been biking in the Netherlands long before it was considered a good way to combat climate change. It’s flat there, roads are small, the cities are dense. People of all classes bike because it is easier and cheaper. The bike detail is charming. However, if there are climate change deniers in Holland, I suspect they bike everywhere too.

  82. On scars, an ER mum’s group has been having a conversation today about how crazy the non-ER physician mums are about scars. In the facebooks, there is a daily post between 70k of my closest doctor friends with a picture of a 3 year old with a 1 cm laceration on the cheek. The answer is always, “Go to Pediatric ER. DEMAND PLASTICS”. This is problematic for many reasons. Er docs are quite adept and repairing these; many plastic surgeons have difficulty with moving patients. Community ers rarely have a plastic surgeon who will come in. Tertiary centers often send the resident or medical student working with the plastic surgeon. There is often a subsequent post about how they can’t believe they were charged $2k on top of the ER charges for two stitches!!!

    Anyway, the ER mummies said that we all need to be a little more tolerant of scars on kids faces. They heal very well, they add character and all the bubble wrap and fussing in the world won’t prevent them. And, we acknowledge and extend this advice to our own kids. (My kids have had a few wounds that I would have stitched in the ED, but did not at home. Their scars are mostly gone after a year.

    (Not to downplay real concerns about real wounds, I’m limiting myself to the <1.5 cm gash, common on foreheads, chins and cheeks).

  83. Ada – I’ll confess to being one of those moms that got a plastic surgeon to come to the ER – at our pediatrician’s urging. My son has other scars on his face that did not require stitches, but this injury was in a prominent spot and not small. The scar is now barely noticeable so I think we made the right call. (With COVID I think this is the first year that kid hasn’t gone to an ER for someone or another.)

  84. I agree with Mafalda’s assessment. I’m a little surprised that more posters don’t seem to know those people.
    SM – I’ve found that those ‘helpful’ comments from your mom and sister are easier to let slide if you tell yourself they come from a place of love. I think even the most well-meaning people can’t help but make those kind of helpful suggestions to their loved ones.

  85. Kerri – I think I might have been unclear – there is a role for plastic surgeons in some facial repairs. All EDs have a process in place. I’m going to go with the assumption that both you and your pediatrician were not being inappropriate. I’ve definitely had parents come in and “insist” on plastic surgery and I’m like, “um, okay, I was going to refer you to the tertiary care center for plastics anyway, but if you insist”. It’s more a complaint about not trusting the ERs judgment and a fear of tiny scars.

  86. Becky, thanks for caring. Their comments on my appearance don’t bother me any more. In fact, they no longer make them. Rhett’s comment tripped off memories of when that was a gut-wrenching reality, but even those memories were just thoughts, as opposed to feeling washing over me.

    Those feelings of disapproval are not something I want to visit on my nieces but I am legit worried about them. They have gained a lot of weight in the couple years since they were high school athletes. It’s not just the “freshman 10” or even “Covid 19”. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re up 50 lbs, like I was. They are young, so they are still cute, but that weight felt miserable; I don’t want them to feel that way. They do cardio. I think they’d have much more success if they’d go back to the weights/strength-training they used to do. If, whenever we see each other, they or their mom (also XL) comment on my weight loss, I figure I get to say that I do strength training because muscle is more metabolically active than other body parts, that I track what I eat, and that’s it. They’ve started college since I saw them, so maybe when they’re telling me about school, I might ask if they’ve found a place to work out like they did in HS, but really, even that is pushing it. If they say they want to lose weight, I plan to say “I did it; you can too”.

    Finn, cute of the author to include the bike in the write-up, but the bike certainly is his own, not ceremonial. He rides it just like anyone else rides their own. There are also numerous videos of him being an ordinary guy, doing things like wiping up the coffee he spilled instead of leaving it for someone else to do, available online.

    The “ER” physician for my arm was an ophthalmologist ;) A year or so later, it was decided that the local plastic surgeon should fix the scar. The result is that the scar is much wider and more jagged than my dad’s work, lol.

  87. I just head about a new film about the Villages. I immediately thought of this crew and PTM.
    https://www.somekindofheaven.com. I just read about the film this morning so I haven’t watched it yet, but it looks interesting.

    Last night, we watched The Way I See It” is a documentary about Pete Souza, Chief White House Photographer for presidents Reagan and Obama. It was really interesting and there were so many special photos.

  88. Biking in the Netherlands is just so easy and pleasant. So many dedicated bike lanes, so many places to park your bike, and a culture that embraces biking (e.g. drivers don’t yell at bikers to “get the hell off the road!”).

  89. Ada – our #2 has a scar down his upper lip from when he split it at age 3. It is pretty raised and noticeable – in retrospect I wish we had had a plastics person fix it. DH said he would have done a better job and given his manual dexterity, not that far-fetched!

  90. In the home country comments on young women’s weight were constant. Many girls could not win, either they were too fat or too thin. The classic line – who will marry you, was the ultimate snarky insult. Terrible for girls self confidence and belief in themselves. Between the weight and colorism, some girls teen years were a living hell. Now, there is more pushback and more emphasis on exercise combined with diet to achieve the weight loss. And pushback on colorism as well. About time !

  91. Lauren, Souza was hilarious during the first couple years of the Trump admin, putting out photos of Obama that showed him being dignified and normal and doing whatever is expected of a responsible, sane President that directly contrasted with whatever idiocy T had just committed.

  92. The unsolicited detailed weight loss and exercise advice are just as intrusive as the adjust your appearance advice. As a chubby kid, and frequently obese adult, i can attest to the fact the chief offenders were satisfied at no BMI above 22, last experienced at age 24 in a conformist church where overweight women were required to achieve and maintain weight loss as a “Spiritual” discipline. My ex will make comments at my funeral if he outlives me. My late mom , a size 4 when that meant something, is head of the committee in my head. A doctor once told me it is nice you met DH but you wont keep him if you dont lose weight. We were a couple of hummel figures in our wedding clothes but both in much better shape now. . All the good intentions and legitimate health concerns in the world don’t change the hurtful nature of the comments and the sense of shame and failure and self reinforcing despair. And you tube then out quickly.

    Mafalda and Becky opened up to me the understanding that the appearance comments can come from a place of “these are simple things so you probably just dont know them and/or realize that you will feel better about yourself and improve your lot”. My mom loved me, was glamorous with platinum blond hair done weekly and full matching accessories to her suits, but she had zero idea that there was an instructional aspect to parenthood from her own emotionally deprived experience and I had no cousins or aunts nearby. Her appearance advice, other than despair at my figure, was solely a jar of noxema, which is all I used until age almost 40 when I had to start dyeing my hair and buy clothes and makeup for the conventional workplace.

  93. Meme, yeah, that’s why I don’t plan to bring up the topic of weight and if they say anything about what I’ve lost or what they want to lose, my comments will be informative about changes I’ve made. They can act on it if they want to. Honestly though, I’m reminded of PTM’s comment, in his trademark phrasing, about his sisters who lived in the same area as that sister of mine, and were “as broad as the barns that dot their landscape”. I think being overweight like that is just exceedingly common there, and it’s likely that they will stay that way. A college friend who was also always skinny, like my sister and one niece, lives in that area and also huffs and puffs when we talk on the phone. Used to be, I could bring her Nutella as a silly little treat when I came back from Europe, but the last time I mentioned it, she made clear that it would be unwelcome. It’s widely available in the US now anyway.

  94. Meme, the stories you tell about sexism of various kinds, not all that long before I came along, astound me again & again.

  95. SM. Piece of advice. Wait until they ask expressly for a suggestion. When someone says, I lost n pounds on ABC diet and did XYZ for exercise, they don’t really want to be told there is another or a better way, especially since they may have already experienced multiple conversations where they have been told they are doing it wrong. Just say, thats great! Not even, Thats a good start!

  96. ITA with Meme regarding comments on appearance or weight or exercise programs. Unless someone explicitly begs for advice, don’t give it.

  97. Meme, we must have been posting at the same time, seeing as you’re telling me to do what I just said I plan to do.

  98. Copied over from the wrong page.

    If they want to tell me about their aerobics, fine, but I’m not going to pretend I think it’s great. I’ll probably just laugh and say that doesn’t work for me, probably because I hate it & don’t stick with it the way I stick with weight-lifting. They can draw their own conclusions. I do expect questions about the protein, because the protein powder will seem strange and mysterious.

  99. Protein powder will seem strange and mysterious.

    Can you elaborate? Protein powder is pretty common if I, a not particularly serious exercise person, have it in my house. I have friends my age who have used it since high school (because the poor dears just could not keep weight on!). Is there a new generation of protein powder that’s different from the kind of generic stuff available in grocery stores and CVS?

  100. Becky, I don’t have any special knowledge about protein. If you do strength training and eat enough protein, you put on muscle. I want muscle because it isn’t squishy and it burns more calories when you’re sitting still than fat does. That’s it. I eat whey protein powder, used to pick it up at Target. It’s probably the same as you’ve seen at CVS. My comment was meant as an indicator of how sheltered these young women are. As you said, protein powder is a pretty common thing, b it I saw how my family reacted to it a few years ago. I’d be terrified to have a kid going out into the world like that, but it is what our parents taught us, and my sisters follow.

  101. If they want to tell me about their aerobics, fine, but I’m not going to pretend I think it’s great. I’ll probably just laugh

    Because laughing when someone tells you their exercise routine is a great way to show support. And you apparently think so little of their knowledge that you think they will find protein powder to be “strange and mysterious.”

    You previously posted “those feelings of disapproval are not something I want to visit on my nieces” but you’re making it pretty clear that you don’t think very highly of them, and it’s very likely that they have already picked up on that.

  102. I strongly believe that the “best” exercise is the one that you will do – and that matters far more than whether it’s aerobic, weight-lifting, etc.

    And sadly for me, it appears that restricting calories is more important for weight loss than exercise (I find it easier to exercise than I do to stop snacking). I’m motivated to exercise more for the boost in my mood and managing stress – and a strong desire not to end up like my mom whose last years were really limited by her lack of fitness. So I exercise because I want to keep hiking and traveling.

  103. Denver, now you’re making me laugh! Amazing what you can do by taking words out of context. You actually made it sound like I’d be laughing at them instead of at myself for not being into aerobics. Quite a slick trick! I still don’t understand why you’re so into attacking me lately.

  104. When I heard this story on NPR (about this Washington Post story about the “pandemic of broken toes” because people are spending more time at home shoeless, I thought of the earlier conversation on the blog about whether people wear shoes inside or not. We take our shoes off – but I have a pair of birkenstocks that I use as my indoor slippers (I don’t wear them outside – they’re indoor shoes only). I used to be able to go barefoot but not anymore. Sigh.
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/wellness/feet-toes-broken-pain-covid/2021/01/11/470d2efa-4a05-11eb-a9f4-0e668b9772ba_story.html

  105. I have a bunch of indoor shoes that I wear for about 6o r7 months when it is cold.Ugg slippers and similar shoes. I don’t wear anything when it is warm, and I did drop my laptop on my toe. It happened a few years ago and it was not fun. In addition, to the injury to my toe…there was an ugly blood clot that took over a year to move up and out of the toenail. It was always covered by nail polish, but my manicurist took one look and said “wear slippers!”

    On a some what related note, I bought the shearling Birkenstocks in the sandal style last year. I was never tempted before the pandemic because I didn’t think I had a use for a sandal in the fall, but I ended up wearing them all of the time. I can’t wait for it to get a little warmer so I can start using them again.

  106. If you do strength training and eat enough protein, you put on muscle.

    That’s completely false. Some people put on muscle. It’s a bell curve like distribution. For the same amount of protein and weight training some people put on no muscle. Some people put on a ton. The bulk of people are, as always, in the middle.

  107. S&M,

    I’ll probably just laugh and say that doesn’t work for me,

    And you think they would take that as you laughing at yourself?

  108. Rhett, “hard gainers” aren’t news. My son and I are fortunate in that our bodies respond well to exercise, as are my nieces and one nephew. I don’t think the other nephew does, and can see that tendency in his uncle and grandpa (though not in his dad). But like you said based on the article, most people do achieve a training effect—there are only a few at each end who don’t really or who, as the article says, gain just by walking past the weights. To get that “training effect”, people have to train. If protein is what you’re questioning, there is plenty of research on the role it plays.

  109. SM. You have no idea how awful that laugh would sound. Please don’t invalidate the feelings that listeners report from multiple similar exchanges throughout their lives. I certainly accept that your intentions would not be unkind and to communicate something to their benefit, but in this case you simply don’t understand how it comes across.

  110. Denver, now you’re making me laugh! Amazing what you can do by taking words out of context. You actually made it sound like I’d be laughing at them instead of at myself for not being into aerobics. Quite a slick trick! I still don’t understand why you’re so into attacking me lately.

    Maybe that’s because you actually made it sound like you’ll be laughing at them. And as Meme said, even if you are laughing at yourself, how do you think they will interpret it?

    I’m sorry you think I’m attacking you, I’m just giving you advice. You’ve said in the past that you post things because you want advice. And my advice is don’t treat your nieces like they are morons. Based on the genes in your family, they are probably fairly intelligent and don’t think protein powder is strange and mysterious.

    Of course I’m not sure I have the required credentials for you to believe me when I say that people don’t like being laughed at.

  111. For fans of Bridgerton, this is pretty funny:

    On the surface, the biggest mystery of Season 1 of Bridgerton was the identity of the anonymous gossip who spilled the ton’s tea in a widely circulated leaflet, Lady Whistledown. But personally, I didn’t care all that much about who she was. What I wanted to know was: What’s her business model? Are we talking Substack, metered paywall, membership program, sponcon, data mining, what?

    In early episodes of the show, the pamphlet was distributed, seemingly for free, by a newsboy. But as someone who works for, if I may, what could be considered a modern version of this sort of operation, I’m here to tell you: You can’t just give away that shit for free. Well, you kind of can, or could once upon a time, if you run ads. But there was not an ad to be seen in Lady Whistledown’s Society Papers, and we all know the lady would be far too scrupulous to sneak in any undisclosed sponsored content.

    https://slate.com/culture/2021/01/bridgerton-mystery-lady-whistledown-explained-money.html

  112. “Why Some People Won’t Be Fit Despite Exercise”

    Stupid headline.

    But 100% correct. If ex-ante you weigh 500 lbs and drop to 475 lbs via exercise, you will not be fit, but you will be MORE fit. Your doctor(s) will care.

    If you exercise you will be MORE FIT than if you do not exercise, ceterus paribus. IMO, that’s universal. But I could be wrong.

  113. Mostly offtopic, but regarding exercise. DD1 played soccer and rugby for years until she tore her ACL. She was a tough aggressive player, loved the game, playing or practicing did wonders for her mood. She went back to practice too soon and damaged her ACL, so rugby isn’t an option anymore, even before the pandemic.

    Does anyone know of a high energy game or activity that you can do with a damaged knee?

  114. If you exercise you will be MORE FIT than if you do not exercise, ceterus paribus. IMO, that’s universal. But I could be wrong.

    I believe you are wrong. Did you read the article? Some really surprising percentage of the population — 20%, maybe? doesn’t show improvement along any fitness measure even when they’re being watched and monitored as they exercise.

  115. Didn’t read it.
    Science is science.
    But I don’t believe the answer is zero.
    I believe that someone who is a non exerciser who starts walking for exercise at say ¼ mile slowly on a treadmill at zero incline and progresses to 1 mile over the course of a month a little bit faster would demonstrate an improved ability to walk up a flight of stairs.
    But it wouldn’t be the last time I’ll be wrong.

  116. Cass, how about swimming or deep water aerobics? Or running in water? I once met an injured vet who ran for an hour each day in the warm water therapy pool. He told me that he “busted” his knee during his service.

  117. Cass: raising my hand & waving over here in response to your question.

    It may be one of my favorite activities, but I understand that access to water to swim regularly is not universal. Good luck to your DD in finding something to fill that void.

  118. “Cass, how about swimming or deep water aerobics? Or running in water?”

    My thoughts are along the same lines, but given her enjoyment of rugby, my suggestion is water polo.

    No horses required. Those of you old enough to remember the Bubba Smith/Dick Butkus commercials might get that.

  119. Finn nailed it. She didn’t like volleyball because she liked the physical game with the other team. She is good swimmer, swim team and lifeguard for years. I’ll suggest it to her.

    Thanks everyone

  120. First, thanks everyone for your sympathetic comments the other day when I mentioned we’ll be returning home early. With the time difference and my work schedule it’s hard to jump into the conversations at regular intervals.

    Also, thank you Mafalda for helping me see how the sister could possibly think her comments were anything other than rude and hurtful. As always, the Totebag helps me see a different point of view that I may not agree with, but helps with better understanding.

    Lastly, it snowed here this weekend! It was so magical and beautiful. It took some of the sting of our curfew being moved up to 6:00 pm.

  121. We don’t have a curfew here, but we are still quarantining. Weekends are pretty boring when you can’t do anything socially.

  122. Houston, same. Although I’ve grown very accustomed to the downtime on weekends, even after the chores are done. Thankfully we still have football to watch here!!

  123. Houston – Same. This weekend I kept saying, “I’m glad it snowed because we had nothing else to do!”

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