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In Defense Of Carolyn Bourne, Who Sent A Rude Email To Her Future Daughter-in-Law

The Internets are all aflutter this week after a few emails a British woman named Carolyn Bourne sent to her future daughter-in-law Heidi Withers went viral. The crux of the emails? Withers apparently visited Bourne’s home with her fiance Freddie and the visit went terribly awry, so Bourne took it upon herself to write Withers a scathing message, counting all the ways in which her behavior was inappropriate, rude or uncouth. Now the world has pegged Bourne as the worst mother-in-law ever, and there’s no doubt that her own letter to Withers ironically lacked compassion, kindness and empathy. But! I happen to agree with pretty much every thing Bourne has to say about manners.

Check out her letter after the jump.

It is high time someone explained to you about good manners. Yours are obvious by their absence and I feel sorry for you.

Unfortunately for Freddie, he has fallen in love with you and Freddie being Freddie, I gather it is not easy to reason with him or yet encourage him to consider how he might be able to help you. It may just be possible to get through to you though. I do hope so.

If you want to be accepted by the wider Bourne family I suggest you take some guidance from experts with utmost haste. There are plenty of finishing schools around.

Please, for your own good, for Freddie’s sake and for your future involvement with the Bourne family, do something as soon as possible.

Here are a few examples of your lack of manners:

When you are a guest in another’s house, you do not declare what you will and will not eat – unless you are positively allergic to something. You do not remark that you do not have enough food. You do not start before everyone else.

You do not take additional helpings without being invited to by your host.

When a guest in another’s house, you do not lie in bed until late morning in households that rise early — you fall in line with house norms.

You should never ever insult the family you are about to join at any time and most definitely not in public. I gather you passed this off as a joke but the reaction in the pub was one of shock, not laughter.

You should have hand-written a card to me. You have never written to thank me when you have stayed.

You regularly draw attention to yourself. Perhaps you should ask yourself why.

No one gets married in a castle unless they own it. It is brash, celebrity style behavior.

I understand your parents are unable to contribute very much towards the cost of your wedding. (There is nothing wrong with that except that convention is such that one might presume they would have saved over the years for their daughters’ marriages.)

If this is the case, it would be most ladylike and gracious to lower your sights and have a modest wedding as befits both your incomes.

Perhaps Bourne was harsh-tongued in her critique of Withers’ behavior, but I wouldn’t take kindly to someone acting out in any of those ways either. Think about it from this woman’s perspective — a middle-aged British woman contending with her son’s soon-to-be wife failing to conform to any of her prescribed behavioral norms. She’s speaking to Withers in a rude and condescending way because she perceives Withers as simply not on her level. I get it. Of course, I feel some empathy for Withers — if she chooses to go through with the marriage she’s definitely in for a lifetime of pain. But young people (myself included) are way too often guilty of presuming that our social norms are acceptable to everyone.

And, oh, in case you were wondering where Withers’ manners come from, her father has said that Bourne “has her head stuck so far up her own ass she doesn’t know whether to speak or fart.” [Daily Mail UK]

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