I was cruising around The Stranger tonight to see if the new Savage Love column was posted yet (it’s supposed be published on Thursdays, but sometimes shows up on Wednesday and even, occasionally, Tuesday).
It’s not there yet, but while wandering, I happened upon “I, Anonymous.” This is not an advice column at all, but instead a place where people can rant (you guessed it) anonymously about….whatever they want. Of course, since people most often rant about their co-workers, family members, and their own and other people’s weddings, they frequently cross over into advice column territory–especially when the commenters get involved.
For an entertaining survey of How People Feel About Thank You Notes, see the July 20th edition. The rant is below. The comments I’ll leave for you to discover on your own.
I suck at writing thank-you notes. Yes, I am a shitty self-involved human being for being a non-thank-you-note-writing person. You all talk about me behind my back for it, you all complain to my husband about it. Funny, none of you helped me pay for my wedding, and every single one of you had an opinion about where it should be held and what time of day it should occur. I don’t want your gifts if I am going to be cast in a horrible light for not killing trees and wasting time on something that is going to be thrown away when you get it. And why do you not think my husband is the bad person for not writing the notes? Why is it always the woman’s fault?
I’m not even going to pretend that I don’t LOVE the number of commenters who blasted this person. The only point I’ll grant her is that this is a task that should be shared between partners, and too often the responsibility (and blame) falls disproportionately to women.
Other than that, I could rant right back at her for paragraphs and paragraphs. (Really? You’re mad at everyone who gave you a wedding gift for not helping you pay for the wedding?) But I won’t (well, maybe just a little), because the commenters have done it for me–from the point that gifts create way more waste than notes (they do! I had to fight with SK to save all that paper! And it was so worth it. We’ll never have to buy tissue again for the rest of our natural lives) to the point that she’s….just rude.
It’s a big job, and of course it’s possible that someone may get missed, mixed up, or forgotten (I’m terrified now that someone’s going to read this post and call me out on not sending them a wedding thank you!) But to not even care, or try? It’s just mean, in the OED definition 5a sense: “lacking moral dignity, ignoble; small-minded”
The last thing I’ll add is that not everyone throws away the notes. Or even if they do, they keep the memory of the gesture. Thank you notes are probably most important for the people you’re not so close to–folks who don’t make it to the wedding at all, or to whom you barely talked because they’re your great aunt and you were distracted. It takes a very small amount of effort and about 50 cents to let these people know that you know who they are and you’re grateful they put themselves out for your sake. It’s not just a social obligation. It’s a genuine kindness.
On the flip side: I guess I tend to feel sort of how this woman does about things like birthday cards and balloons. They’re like $5 apiece, half the time you don’t even write a personal message, the recipient is getting 50 of them at once, half probably duplicates. I’d rather greet the person, um, in person, and spend the money on a beer or ice cream to toast them. In fact, I’ve been blessed with a number of friends who are masters of creative, thoughtful, joyour birthday celebration, and they’ve been curse with….me. So it’s fair to say that I am negligent in some areas of social correspondence.
But on thank you notes, I will not bend.