I just noticed that I got my first angry comment ever on Secret Life of Tova Darling! Yess! I feel like I'm a member of an exclusive club of people who've been insulted by strangers. The strange thing about leaving rude comments on other people's blogs is that it's a bit like you inviting yourself over to my house for dinner and then complaining about the food. If you don't like my blog, there are millions of other blogs out there that would probably irritate you less, so why force yourself to read a blog that ticks you off? I didn't ask you to read mine - you just showed up out of nowhere, insulted me, and then left.
Anyway, the comment was on my "Help Pay For Her Wedding?" post, naturally. And here, in all of its angry glory, is the angry comment:
"The difference between my spending money on my Starbucks habit is that the $4 I pay for my latte is MONEY I EARNED MYSELF. I buy that latte a few times a week and I still didn't need to ask other people (complete strangers) to pay for my wedding. Or my vacation. Or my car. Or my home. If you can't afford it, then you shouldn't be buying it. You especially shouldn't be asking complete strangers to GIVE you money for something that you don't need. I think it's disgusting that anyone would actually contribute to this spoiled baby's wedding fund, much less defend it on her blog."
The angry commenter makes the point that she pays for her Starbucks habit herself (I probably shouldn't tell her that I've purchased my last few mochas with gift cards given to me by others), which is all well and good, but if you read the post again, you'll notice that the point I was actually making about Starbucks was that, just like you're allowed to spend your $4 of money you earned yourself on Starbucks, I'm allowed to give my $4 to this girl. Because, like you, I earned it myself, and am allowed to do with it whatever I want, because this is a free country. (Please excuse me while I break into a rousing chorus of "I'm Proud to be an American.")
You are totally entitled to your opinion that asking for money is in poor taste, angry commenter. Perhaps Emily Post would not have recommended that brides ask for donations. But out of curiosity, what would Emily Post have said about insulting people because they express an opinion with which you disagree? Or calling people "spoiled babies"? If you're going to hold other people to such high standards of etiquette, perhaps calling them names isn't exactly the best way to get your point across. Personally, I think it's a much more obvious display of bad manners to insult complete strangers than it is to ask strangers for money.
Part of the reason it's so easy for people to lambaste the brides asking for money (and me for defending them) is that the internet is so impersonal. You don't know me, you don't have anything invested in a relationship with me, and you're protected by the relative anonymity of your computer, so you feel free to say whatever rude things you want. I'm going to give this angry commenter the benefit of the doubt and assume that she's not the type of person who walks up to strangers on the street and calls them names. From her website, it appears that she's a wedding photographer, and I'm going to assume that if she were exhibiting at a wedding show, and she overheard a bride saying that she was asking strangers to help pay for her wedding, professional etiquette would dictate that she not storm up to said bride and shout, "Hey, you disgusting spoiled baby, you're not allowed to ask for money!" But what the angry commenter fails to realize is that she's essentially doing the same thing here. She's approaching strangers who've never said a word to her, have never met her, and who haven't said anything to personally offend her, and she's calling them names. If we're trying to find examples of bad manners, we need not look much further than that. You're welcome to disagree with people, but hurling insults is even less polite than the supposed breach of etiquette you're upset about.
If I could rewind time and re-make the decision about donating to the wedding fund, I'd do it again. Except this time, the donation line might read, "I give you this gift to celebrate the fact that it's not up to complete strangers to monitor how I spend my paycheck and to recognize that there's more to having manners than just not asking people for money."
"Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter which fork you use." ~Emily Post
"Whoever one is, and wherever one is, one is always in the wrong if one is rude." ~Maurice Baring