I'm having a serious problem with women hitting on my husband at wedding events, and I'm blaming it all on reality television. The Real Housewives of New York City, if I'm going to be specific. When those women travel together to exotic, tropical destinations, they behave like trash and they're setting a terrible example for the rest of the ladies out there watching. Want a real "reality" check? These women are not examples to be admired or followed -- they are exactly what your mother didn't want you to grow up to be. And yet, America is watching everything they do, and copying way too much of it.
In March, there was a Mother of the Bride who wouldn't keep her paws off my husband at a wedding I planned here on Vieques Island. She was a bit of the desperate sort -- separated from the bride's father, but not yet divorced -- she was flying solo while her soon-to-be-ex had brought his new squeeze to their only daughter's wedding. So she tried to latch onto my husband at the welcome party and continued to behave like a tick through three days of events. I barely tolerated it out of respect for the bride, but also because I knew my husband Bill would put a stop to things if she got out of hand. It alternated between being annoying and amusing. She was at least 20 years older than me and I was embarrassed for her. The bride apologized repeatedly all weekend long. It was so obvious that nobody could ignore it.
MoB finally crossed the line on the wedding night (you knew she was going to), after the reception and, fortunately, after her daughter had already departed the venue for the after-party. My husband called her on it and also stepped in to put a halt to her shenanigans when she jumped into the vehicle of another male wedding employee after my husband refused to let her into his truck. I was so glad the bride wasn't around to see her mother acting like this -- she would have been mortified. Believe me when I tell you the lady was a piece of work. But it got me thinking about why anybody would think it's okay to come down here and hit on my husband or any other employee in such a way. Who else behaves like this? This one wasn't even drunk.
This isn't the first time I've questioned the inappropriate behavior of Caribbean destination wedding guests who act like college kids on spring break when they visit the islands. I've blogged about this topic before in the HuffPost (What I Never Expected to Happen to Me When I Was Running a Wedding) and it's something that we address with every bride and groom in our client guide, but yet sexual harassment of our employees and service staff continues to occur at an alarming rate. I keep asking myself what drives these wedding guests to act in such a way when they're at a destination wedding. What makes them think this behavior is okay on a tropical island? I think some of it can be blamed on celebrities setting bad examples.
Have you ever watched Sonja Morgan on The Real Housewives of New York City when she's sexually harassing male service staff, especially on vacation? That trip to St. Bart's was pretty damned revealing. Here are these poor island guys who are just trying to do their jobs and provide catering services to these rich women who have taken over a villa, and these old ladies are hitting on them -- aggressively, loudly, and obtrusively -- making it impossible for them to ignore the advances and still do their jobs. Then Ramona Singer gets in on it too, and because she has a hot husband, she seems to think she has a free pass to harass too. What's up with that? Nice role model for your daughters, ladies. How would Mario feel if his daughter were waitressing at a dinner and was treated by an older man the way his wife treats these young men? Just sayin'. And Sonja claims to be a party planner... really? REALLY? Maybe bachelor parties. As the entertainment.
Dear God, please tell me that America's wedding guests haven't started using these "celebrities" as role models for how you are supposed to treat the hardworking people who make and serve your food on vacation. That could explain a lot about the way my wedding guests have been behaving. It's gotta be okay if the Housewives are openly doing it on national television, right? WRONG. I swear to God, this is the wedding equivalent of teenagers mimicking the antics on the show Jackass. There's a reason there is a warning on that show that says "Don't try this at home." Apparently, Bravo needs to consider labeling some of its shows "Don't try this in public or any form of polite company."
I'm appalled by what I see shown on TV these days, and when the scenarios repeat themselves at my weddings, I never fail to recognize the parallel. I can't do any more than I have already to put a stop to it on the front end, but I think blogging about it and putting it out there is a good way to make a point. As a happily married woman who runs a wedding planning business, I may take this sort of inappropriate behavior more seriously that most people. You might be thinking that I don't have a sense of humor... but I do. At the very end of the night, when that same MoB who stalked my husband all weekend thanked me and told me the wedding was beautiful, I told her she should be very proud of herself for her poise and the manner in which she handled herself given the awkward situation. And I said it with a straight face. See... I do have a sense of humor.
Until next time, happy wedding planning from Wedding in Vieques and Weddings in Culebra!