Encounters with friends & strangers

Toss Out The Drama

, , , , | Friendly | April 30, 2021

My cousin’s first wedding, to [Bride #1], is a disaster. Neither of [Bride #1]’s bridesmaids show up, and one of [Cousin]’s two groomsmen doesn’t show up, either. My cousin’s female best friend acts as a bridesmaid, and [Cousin]’s gay male best friend is the groomsman. The other attendees are my aunt, [Bride #1]’s mom, my parents, my sister, my boyfriend, [Female Best Friend’s] boyfriend, and me.

After vows are exchanged, [Bride #1] tosses the bouquet. I have only been dating my boyfriend for a month, and my sister is sixteen and a lesbian (gay marriage isn’t legal yet). [Female Best Friend] jumps VERY energetically and catches the bouquet, as my sister and I have no interest in doing so and have stood well back from her. She lands poorly and sprains her ankle.

Then comes time for the garter toss. [Female Best Friend]’s boyfriend is VERY eager to catch it. I cajole [My Boyfriend] and [Gay Groomsman] to do as my sister and I did: just stand there so it at least looks like someone else is trying to catch the thing. They do so reluctantly.

When [Cousin] throws the garter, [Female Best Friend]’s boyfriend elbows [Gay Groomsman] in the torso and backhands [My Boyfriend] in the face, giving him a black eye. I later learn that [Gay Groomsman] has a couple of cracked ribs! [Female Best Friend]’s boyfriend catches the garter, and [Gay Groomsman] and [My Boyfriend] go off alone commiserate.

[Female Best Friend]’s boyfriend proposes, and she accepts. [Bride #1] is livid and pours the single bottle of champagne over [Female Best Friend]’s head.

Eight years later, [Cousin] has been divorced from [Bride #1] for a while and finally marries [Bride #2]. This wedding is also relatively small, with about thirty people, but it is in a very nice venue, with food arranged by my aunt, her best friend, and my mother.

Everyone shows up, including [Bride #2]’s divorced parents and their significant others. I have also been divorced for a couple of years but am now seeing a guy I really like. He didn’t attend because he has limited mobility and it is a bit of a walk to the venue.

After the festivities are over, [Bride #2] approaches me.

Bride #2: “Here, these are for you.”

She hands me her wedding bouquet.

Me: “Wait, what? Why?”

Bride #2: “My bridesmaids are married, and I hate my brother’s girlfriend. I heard my mom and her boyfriend saying that if Mom catches the bouquet, he’ll ask her to marry him, and I heard my dad tell his girlfriend the same thing. I don’t want drama. I know your boyfriend couldn’t come, but when I met him he seemed super awesome. So, here, come outside and we will do pictures.”

Her three married friends are already waiting outside. With them standing behind me, the photographer has me toss the bouquet aloft while jumping and gets a good picture of me catching it again.

Bride #2: “Thanks. I can tell my parents the bouquet toss was only for people who haven’t been married before.”

Me: “But… I’m divorced… and they’re… already married?”

Bride #2: “Yeah, I know. She doesn’t, though, and I heard about the fiasco with the bouquet and garter toss at [Cousin]’s first wedding. I did not want that! I also refused to wear a garter, so we could get out of the garter toss, but my mom paid for the photographer and specified bouquet toss pics. This was easier than arguing.”

Now, three years after that wedding, I am engaged to the man I was seeing then. [Female Best Friend] from the first wedding is still happily married to the man who proposed to her then. [Bride #2]’s parents are not seeing anyone. So, I guess it all worked out in the end!

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Trash Parenting

, , , , | Friendly | April 29, 2021

We live on the ground floor of a four-story building. Our apartment has a small garden which only our flat can use. Unfortunately, we have a problem with neighbours trashing our garden.

Our upstairs neighbours not only throw a lot of trash but also plates and cups down. We complain often to the management, but up until they introduce a fine, nothing changes.

One day, a mother passes with a child while I am sitting in the garden. The mother passes quickly but the child stands at the corner of the garden and throws trash inside.

Me: *Shouting* “Please, don’t throw any trash. There is a bin just a few meters away!”

The child looks at me and throws something again.

Me: “Didn’t you understand me?!”

Suddenly, the mom comes running and takes the child by the hand.


And off they walked. Yeah, how about not litter at all, not just when people can’t see you?

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Priorities, Priorities

, , , , , , | Friendly | April 28, 2021

My friend and I, both in our early twenties and from the rural countryside, have decided to visit London. We’re walking down a residential road past a community centre around 1:00 pm, thinking about food, when a tall man who is at least twice our age appears and speaks with an accent I don’t recognize.

Man: “We’re having a barbecue! Do you want to have some?”

My friend and I look at each other and exchange some non-verbal communication.

Me: *To the man* “Yeah, all right!”

Man: “Fantastic! Follow me!”

We follow the man down an overgrown side road, round some twisty corners, and through a tunnel.

Friend: *Casually to me* “This would be a really good place to murder someone.”

Me: *Giving her a side-eye* “Why do you say that? Now I’m wondering whether there is food at the end of this.”

We round one last corner and there’s a large group having a barbecue. The man ushers us in and gets us sorted with food. This woman about our age comes over and speaks with a London accent.

Woman: “You two have no self-preservation!”

Friend: “But we do have free food!”

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We Really, REALLY Don’t Want To Know

, , , , , , | Friendly | April 27, 2021

I rent a room in a house with a few other women. It’s a typical setup — a communal area and a small bedroom each. I don’t spend a lot of time in the communal area, but even less when [Roommate]’s boyfriend is there.

We shouldn’t even have visitors, but everyone looks the other way, especially if it is only for a night. But [Roommate] has him around for almost a week at a time. He’s creepy and obnoxious and I’m sure he steals food from the fridge. I only have one more year left at uni and then I will move, so I kind of switch off and just keep a distance.

I grab myself something to eat and cannot find my spatula anywhere. It’s a big, pink, silicone one, so it’s hard to miss. I make do without, but I’m keen to know where it is or if I need to replace it. I’ve asked everyone, aside from [Roommate], so I ask her when I see her next.

Me: “Hey, you don’t know where my spatula is, do you?”

Roommate: “Oh, we used it, sorry. I’ll wash it up.”

Me: “No worries. I just couldn’t find it in the kitchen anywhere. I don’t mind washing it. Where did you put it?”

Roommate: “Oh, yeah. It’s in my room.”

Me: *Oblivious* “Why would it be in your room?! You can’t cook in there with the smoke alarm.”

Roommate: “Well, sometimes we borrow it. Well, not all the time, but when he’s over, we—”

Me: “Oh, God, I cook with that!”

Roommate: “I’ll wash it!”

Me: “You will buy me a new one and never borrow anything from me again!”

Disgusted, I stopped talking to [Roommate]. A couple of weeks went by and she still hadn’t replaced the spatula. I reminded her and reminded her. She eventually refused, as the one I bought was “too expensive” and “no one needs a spatula as expensive as that.” 

I was going to leave it there, but she lied to the rest of the house and made me look like the bad guy. I told them what actually happened and they “banned” her from having guests around.

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Taking Kindness To A New Height

, , , | Friendly | April 26, 2021

I am sitting on a window seat getting ready to fly overseas for the first time in years. The middle seat is empty and I think both my seatmate and I are relieved about it… until a big guy who’s over 6’6” and looks like the Rock’s twin brother comes up and puts his bag in the carry-on luggage compartment, and I realize he is going to be sitting in the middle seat.

He doesn’t look very happy about it but doesn’t say anything and just slides in slowly. This is going to be upwards of an eighteen-hour flight, and while I hate middle seats, I know it will be easier for me to manage than this guy, so I tap his shoulder and offer to swap him seats. At first, he doesn’t want to take it, but I insist and he does. We get swapped in and then take-off starts.

I’m the sort of person who doesn’t like to talk to people while I’m traveling but I notice as we are starting to taxi down the runway that this guy has a death grip on the armrest. I start talking to him about random stuff. I really couldn’t tell you what I was talking about, but I know when I’m in a panic attack it’s easier for me to get out of it when I’m not focused on it, so I just keep nattering on.

After our flight and our long conversation, he stops me before we get up to get off the plane.

Man: “I hate the panic attacks, but this was the first time flying that I didn’t have much of a problem.”

I was just happy that I could help even a small bit.

This story is part of our Feel Good roundup for April 2021!

Read the next Feel Good roundup for April 2021 story!

Read the Feel Good roundup for April 2021!

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