DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have a close girlfriend who was to be married this month, and in whose wedding (now postponed) I am a bridesmaid. She knows that my boyfriend and I are close to becoming engaged, and that I don’t care for a long engagement or the big to-do of a traditional wedding. She has said to me more than once, “Don’t get married before me!”
Well, I could’ve managed that before learning that I carry the BRCA1 gene, but not now. Due to my diagnosis and my age (late 30s), my oncologist’s recommendation is to get pregnant ASAP if I want a child, which I desperately do. My wonderful boyfriend is 100% in with expediting our plans to become engaged, have a small courthouse wedding and start trying for a baby.
What am I going to say to this friend who views this as a race to the altar? I want to respect her, but she doesn’t have the biological constraints that I have. I’m afraid that if I proceed with a quick elopement, it will damage my friendship with her.
GENTLE READER: Sympathetic as she is to your situation, Miss Manners assures you that you do not need a serious medical condition to handle your friend’s unreasonable, and unenforceable, demand.
Make your plans, and if your friend raises an objection, tell her that all these years you thought she was just being funny. If you can say this with a laugh that sounds joyful, and not scornful, do so; if not, merely feign astonishment.
If she does not laugh with you, turn serious, as if you are on the verge of being offended, but are not yet: “This is the date that works for us. I thought, as my close friend, you would be happy for me.”
Omitting your medical history means you will not see her face fall when you confront her with it, but surely that is a mean-spirited pleasure -- hardly worth the loss of decorum.