You’ve Got Mail

Last week’s viral email story about mother-in-law Carolyn Bourne expressing her sheer distaste in her future daughter-in-law, Heidi Withers, left me a gasp. Can you imagine your mother-in-law writing something so awful about you and then the whole world finds out? If I were having a difficult relationship with my mother-in-law, I would want to control who knows about it.

I can however empathise that if you received such an email from your future mother-in-law, most people would share it with a friend of two, if only to discuss what a horror she is. Unfortunately, for Heidi Withers and Carolyn Bourne, the email went out to thousands of readers. It did make me wonder whether something like this would happen in an Asian household????

I think maybe not. I wonder if an Asian mother-in-law would be so silly to put her thoughts on an email. She may take the son to one side and tell him he could really do better, start talking about other girls he should be looking at or get the father to have a word. Writing an email would be uncouth. Wouldn’t it?

I was surprised when I got my first email from my mother-in-law. Not because of its content but because I wasn’t used to a parent communicating with me via email and I had not even given her credit for using it for social purposes.

A friend’s mother-in-law (who is in her 70’s) has asked to be her friend on Facebook. I find this rather strange and am not sure if I would accept such an invitation. Negative voyeurism comes into my mind. She too hasn’t accepted the invitation which is now 3 months old. For me, Facebook has a lot of visual information that you may prefer to keep away from parents, especially mother-in-laws, who have the potential of using it against you.

New media is inclusive of our parents and all of a sudden, it feels like the generation gap seems to be reducing.


6 Comments to “You’ve Got Mail”

  1. Oh Bunty, I found the email hilarious! Obviously because it wasn’t about me.

    I hate bad manner and if you actually read what the m-i-law wrote, a lot of it made perfect sense (although don’t get me wrong.. overall it is bad manners to point out bad manners in someone else).

    I think it is rude to stay in bed when everyone else in the house is up and ready. I think it bad manners to help yourself to seconds before asking or before anyone else when you are a guest. It is also tacky to plan a wedding in a castle when you or your parents are not paying for it.

    An asian mother-in-law would not necessarily be better – she would’ve tried emotionally blackmailing her son into breaking off the engagement and if that didn’t work she would just be difficult for the rest of her daughter-in-law’s life, particularly behind her back.

    Bourne was out of order and a good old fashioned snob .. but at least she was upfront and honest!

  2. Your email is indeed funny – the episode of (future) mother-in-law communicating to you via email is awesome. Not sure if it was intended to turn out like this but its got me interested in what the outcome of this story is.

  3. I read an article in the guardian yesterday proposing that this was a publicity stunt, does anyone know more?

    Mother-in-laws seem like a pretty miserable bunch in general, over-sensitive and hysterical.

  4. Terrible publicity stunt if it is. Vakeel Bibi, I totally agree. It was really bad manners but I just think to put it all in an email was rather poor. If the mother-in-law feels so strongly, sure a face to face conversation would have been much better. It’s hard to take things back when they are in writing. Mind you, I am yet to meet a mother-in-law who would confront her daughter-in-law face to face. Most just bitch behind the daughter-in-law’s back, pass on rude judgement to their son all in the name of love and make life a difficult as possible.

  5. Hi Bunty

    Good point above – my Indian mother in law slags me off behind my back. I find that it has decreased since I started confronting her (politely) in front of my father in law.

    Or maybe she’s just getting better at hiding it! LOL

    • Wow, that is awful. Good on you for challenging her. Hope your husband is standing by you. From experience I know that it is so difficult for husbands as they are caught in the middle and their mother’s make it so difficult.

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