Modest in Kansas: Not your breasts, not your business.
Before you act on urges to correct a woman’s appearance — or any adult’s, really — based on your own notions or propriety, please give a long think to where you learned the “rules,” and how they were enforced with you — shame, to some degree, yes? — and how deeply you’ve internalized them, to the point of assuming the shamer’s role.
Haven’t governments and societies had enough to say about the minutiae (and substance) of how women live and how they use and cover their bodies? Aren’t “mother(s) of three” judged by enough people, on enough meaningless scales, by enough arbitrary standards created long before the mothers themselves were born?
Had you been asked three decades ago which you’d want for your daughter someday, please tell me you’d have chosen supportive people over supportive undergarments.
If you’d honestly have chosen “undergarments,” then we’re probably never going to agree on this. But if you’re willing at least to think about it, then please use the impossibility of “nicely” scolding your grown daughter over a choice that harms no one as an opportunity to question your own reflex to scold.
Dear Carolyn: My sister is, to put it mildly, self-centered. My fiance and I are getting married next May and have had the venue booked since April. My sister just told me she's expecting her first child — wait for it — eight days before the wedding. I am absolutely thrilled for her and her husband and amazed they're already pregnant, having just started trying in June.
She is demanding — literally stomping her feet, screaming at our parents, yet not talking to me at all — that I push my wedding back at least a few months so she and her newborn can attend as guests of honor.
We have a very limited window to get married: active-duty military, graduating from grad school the weekend between the wedding and moving across the country. Not to mention we started planning well in advance, we have most vendors booked, we would lose a lot of money by changing and have told all family and friends the date.
Of all the selfish things she has done in her life, this reaches new heights. I'm trying to laugh about it, but I find myself dwelling on it and becoming sad. I'm resigned to the fact that my sister is not going to change.
So how do I change my perspective so I do not (a) resent my sister, and (b) become bummed about the wedding planning process, which has been wonderful until now?
— Always the Bridesmaid, Even When I'm the Bride
Always the Bridesmaid, Even When I’m the Bride: Not to give a foot-stomping, tantrum-throwing adult anything that resembles a pass, but your sister is not the person causing you the most grief right now.
If she is “not talking to me at all,” and yet you are aware enough of her behavior to describe it “literally,” then somebody is reporting this irrational demand of hers directly to you, in detail. Right?
And that somebody is presumably one of your parents?
As in, one of the people who raised someone self-centered enough to scream her claim to guesthood of honor at someone else’s event?
Not that parents deserve all blame for unpleasant or immature offspring, but there is a connection that looks suspiciously like enabling between your parent(s) and sister, which would make this incident a useful microcosm.
Had your parent(s) not enabled your sister in this case, then you wouldn’t have heard anything about her demand that you change your wedding date — certainly not secondhand. The only healthy play by a witness to her howling entitlement was this, to her face: “Are you quite finished?”
That’s it. Followed by not breathing a word of it to you — because if one adult sib ever has something to say to the other, then the two can speak directly.
Extending it further: Had your parent(s) stayed out of it, and had your sister then gone to you directly, you would have been able to say to her, “Oh, no, we have only one weekend before graduation and relocation,” and not given it another thought besides genuine dismay at the timing. Because that’s how it would play out in a family that works from a healthy emotional playbook.
So to minimize resentment, proceed as if healthy and proceed as planned, letting Sis act out, offstage.
About the emotional playbook, and pardon my possible overreach: Your “wait for it” and “just started trying” bear a whiff of “how dare she” about a due date. If so — or, regardless — please consider talking through your family dynamics with a skilled, reputable pro.