DEAR ABBY: My widowed father recently married a woman I'll call "Millie." The wedding was held at Millie's home. Of the 20 or so guests in attendance, the only single adult was my younger sister, "Kim."
The ceremony was beautiful, the food was delicious, and everyone seemed to be enjoyed themselves when, out of nowhere, three of Millie's friends asked for everyone's attention. They then announced that instead of the bride tossing her bouquet, they had decided to just present it to Kim! Most of the guests laughed, and Kim played along, but I could tell she was upset. These friends went on to say something like, "Don't worry, Kim, you won't be single forever -- your turn will come someday!"
Abby, my sister is a brilliant, beautiful, very successful attorney in a well-known law firm in a large city. But because she doesn't have a man in her life, she was "singled" out and teased in front of a group comprised mostly of strangers. She held it together through the party, but wept openly to me afterward. She felt humiliated, and worse than that, like some kind of failure.
As it turns out, it was Millie's idea to give Kim the bouquet and make it a "funny" display. Kim was incredibly hurt and no longer wants much to do with our new stepmother. I don't want to get in the middle, but I feel if I told Millie why Kim is being distant, she'd most likely apologize.
Should I stick my nose in or leave it alone? Are we overreacting? Any advice would be appreciated. -- NOT AMUSED SISTER IN VERMONT
DEAR SISTER: Your stepmother's "joke" was insensitive and not particularly funny. (When will people learn that humor at other people's expense is hurtful?) I agree that your sister is owed an apology. By all means tell Millie about the pain her thoughtless gesture caused. The alternative would be to let the situation fester until there is either an explosion or total estrangement.