Thank You Card? No Thank You.

There are many of the finer points of wedding planning that baffle me. I’ve had a bit of confusion over the purpose to groomsman/bridesmaid gifts, and have referenced the fact that I don’t particularly understand some of the formalities that weddings seem to breed. Despite all that, I’m largely tolerant enough of most wedding-related items that I get over it after I’ve had my few minutes1Or hours. of griping about not understanding why certain details are needed.

There is one item on the wedding agenda, however, that I don’t get. It’s not just a wedding item either. It’s a wasteful, pointless monstrosity that causes more damage to the environment than global warming, oil spills, and the copious amounts of glitter on prom dresses combined. I am, of course, talking about thank you cards.

Now before the manners police commits what would only be the third most egregious abuse of power by law enforcement in the USA in the last month2I can only assume this is still the case, regardless of when you read this post. YMMV., allow me to make a few points. I’m not against the concept of saying thank you. In fact, I firmly believe that saying please and thank you are so important that a law requiring their usage could become the 28th Amendment, and I would be first in line to sign that document. I’m also not against the greeting card industry as a whole. While I do find greeting cards to be a waste of time in general, there are some people who only keep in touch with their families via greeting cards and other frivolous, antiquated items. Coincidentally, when JoAnn Fabrics comes out with their new slogan “Home of All Your Frivolous, Antiquated Items”, remember you heard it here first.

What I see as unnecessary is not the existence of thank you cards, nor the premise of thanking someone for doing nice things for you. What I find unnecessary about them is one thing and one thing alone.

Why the hell are you wasting paper to tell me the exact same thing you told me twenty times at your actual wedding?3No really…

I get it. You’re grateful that people liked you enough to come to your wedding. Your guests took time out of their relaxing weekends to see you engage in your legally binding* nuptials, some of them potentially travelling great distances in order to do so. Those same people put on their Sunday BestTM clothing, made their way to a church4A building that many won’t enter outside of a wedding., and shared in your joy at your reception. If you’re lucky, women cried at the sight of your love and men showed enough restraint to not sleep with multiple bridesmaids in the same night. It was a beautiful thing that you’ll be talking about for years to come.

And you know what? You should talk about it for some time. It was your fucking wedding. Be happy that you got married. That’s great news. Some people who truly love each other can’t get married because the people who write and judge laws are frivolous, antiquated items5Hopefully this is only the case in the USA until June 2015, however I have very little faith in elderly Supreme Court justices and their ability to be progressive.. Rejoice in your bliss. Thank all of the people you want to during your wedding, in between the wedding and the reception, and at the reception itself. It’s what you should do. But don’t send a thank you card.

You’ve already thanked your guests an average of 17.8 times each by the end of the wedding night. You don’t need to say thank you again. We get it. You appreciate the fact that we didn’t give you chlamydia as your wedding present. There’s no need to thank us for that.

The worst part of it is that nearly every thank you card sounds exactly the same. Sure, the sentences may be in a slightly different order, and yes, there will be a couple of minor adjustments for sake of filling in names/gifts. But every thank you card will sound something like this:

Dearest Han and Leia,

Thank you for coming to our wedding! We were so happy that you were able to share in our happiest day! Derpino and I love the random gift from our registry you purchased for us. We will be sure to put your thoughtful gift to good use. We hope to see you soon and be sure to keep in touch!

Love,

Mr. and Mrs. Jones

Want to write this letter yourself? Here’s the template:

  1. Greet your guests as if they were Edwardian royalty
  2. Thank them for their attendance at the wedding
  3. Remind them you were happy they attended
  4. Express your love for the gift they purchased you. NOTE: You must describe the gift in as terrifyingly ridiculous detail as possible.
  5. Reassure your guest that their gift was the most important one
  6. Express a true (or fake) desire to see your guests again6Bonus points if one member of the newlyweds likes the guest in question, yet the other doesn’t.
  7. Love, The Happy Couple. It’s always love. Even if you haven’t seen your guest for twenty years, it’s love.

Of course, not everyone wants to write a thank you card. If I had my way, thank you cards would be written like this.

Hello Han and Leia,

Thank you for coming to our wedding and giving us a gift.

Regards,

Mr. and Mrs. Jones

How many things are wrong with the thank you note above? If the number you said is higher than zero, you’re wrong. IF there must be a thank you card sent out7Hint: There doesn’t., all the more that’s needed in the card is to thank your guests for coming and (if applicable) for giving you a gift. That’s it. No flowery bullshit about how you want to become closer with your second cousin twice-removed. No meticulous details about how much you loved the real Asian bamboo chopsticks that you won’t actually use after three months of marriage because you know how to use a fork. It’s simple, to the point, and conveys the exact same thing as the previous form letter.

Look, I know you want to express your gratitude for people coming to your wedding. That’s fine. But get to the fucking point in doing so. Either make your thank you cards completely personalized for each person you send one to, or go the complete other direction and send the one sentence card above. Don’t half-ass it and make your thank you card a form letter. Better yet, don’t make one at all.

However, if you must deliver a thank you card barrage on par with the bombing of Guernica upon your unsuspecting wedding guests, do me this one favor. Don’t buy your thank you cards from Hallmark and the like. Don’t buy your thank you cards from the hipster graphic designer who charges way too much for anything that can be remotely construed as whimsy. Don’t buy your thank you cards from anyone in between those levels either. Make them yourselves. And when you do — be sure to make them memorable by using the one font that angers oversensitive graphic designers, IT professionals, and fontifiles everywhere.

Do it for America. Or whatever country you live in. Just do it. It’s the right thing to do. Image credit: obeygiant.com

Author’s note: In this post’s original iteration written in January 2015, the post featured a paragraph that was admittedly fairly sexist how men and women write thank you cards. Sad paragraph was a failed, tasteless attempt at trying to be funny. I apologize.

I’ve chosen to keep the examples of the different ways the cards can be written, as a larger point is being illustrated with the two writing styles. That said, the sexist paragraph and the objectively antiquated gender roles referenced in the paragraph have been edited, once I re-realized when I had written8Edits took place in December 2017, mostly because despite the relatively high traffic it received historically, it’s a topic I talked about once and didn’t care about after that.. Apologies to anyone who might have been offended in reading the original post.

I’m Glad I’m Past That Stage Of Life

Disclaimer: This post is part of this blog’s That Tiny Tirade series. It can (and likely will) contain harsh language, scenes and storylines not suitable for children, and some content that may be unacceptable to other readers. This post may also contain strobe lighting effects.

Dating. The one activity that is disproportionately glamorized by media to the point where what you see in the movies cannot even be called a shell of the reality of the actual activity. Turn on television or movies and you’re bound to see someone meeting the man/woman of their dreams on their first date out of a horrible relationship. If there is a bad date shown, it’s nearly always an independent woman9Who is later shown to be weak when she actually does meet her dream man, but that’s another rant for another day who is on a date with a guy who either likes video games, lives with his mom, or both. Needless to say, the dichotomy provided by the entertainment industry is disappointing at best, ludicrously misleading at worst.

For those of you who are newer to this blog, I’ll be getting married later this year. I’m happy to spend the rest of my life with the woman of my dreams, settle down, maybe start a family someday, yada yada yada, white picket fence that doubles as a proximity mine to form a moat in case of a zombie invasion.

I hated dating. It was (and still is) the single most socially awkward interpersonal interaction activity that we engage in10Narrowly beating out small talk, forced lying to feign caring about something, politics, and willfully attending a Dave Matthews Band concert. While not every date or dating experience I had was bad, there were quite a few of them that went poorly. I have no desire to share all of the experiences, but at the request of you readers, I will share my top three. Names have been changed to protect the people in these stories.

3. The Blind Date With An Unexpected Surprise

A couple of weeks after I graduated college with my bachelor’s degree, my then-girlfriend split up with me. While the relationship wasn’t particularly long (three months at most), said girl was a lot of firsts in my life, so I took it pretty hard. Combine that with the fact that I had moved in with my grandparents for financial reasons11Minimum wage job at a call center + night job + zero financial help from family during college = nearly no money in my bank account for the better part of 18 months, and I was not exactly in the best of spirits.

A friend from college knew this and decided it would be a great idea to set me up on a blind date. All I know was that I was going to the movies with my friend, her fiancée, and a girl I’d never met, Jenna. My friend talked Jenna up quite a bit, so I was excited about the date. Considering how pessimistic I’d been in the 3-4 months leading up to this date, the fact that I was excited was an accomplishment in and of itself.

I arrived at said date to find my friend and her fiancée already at the movie theater, just waiting on Jenna to arrive. Sure enough, she arrived just a few minutes later. Much to my surprise, Jenna was short for Jennifer12Still speaking in pseudonyms here, however her real name was short for another name, which is what knew I her by. On top of that, I had known Jenna (as Jennifer) for roughly two years — as she was my cousin’s ex-fiancee.

Once I explained the situation to my friend, everything was incredibly awkward. I left, as did Jenna. To my knowledge, Jenna never mentioned the movie theater incident to my cousin (whom she’s still friends with to this day).

2. There’s A Fine Line With Religion

I first joined an online dating site during my final semester of college, just before my 21st birthday. I found most of my dates from age 21-24 via online dating, ending up in multiple (mostly fruitless) relationships. But for every relationship that I found, there were 4-5 mediocre or terrible dates along the way.

The most…we’ll go with interesting…one of these came about roughly a year after the “date” described above with Jenna. I had met a girl — Amber — via online dating. Our first date consisted of lunch and a walk around a park, and while it wasn’t an overwhelmingly awesome date, it was good enough that we both decided to go on a second date together. We decided to meet up at her house, then walk to a bar nearby, have drinks/food there, and see where the evening took us. Throughout the evening, I learned quite a bit about Amber. She was big into “alternative spirituality”, she would occasionally dress up in Renaissance Fair regalia for fun, and she was very close with her best friend, Bob.

A few hours and a handful of drinks later, we made our way back to her house where clothes started to come off. The long walk back from the bar in the summer heat left us both sweaty, so we decided to shower together. That’s where things started to go downhill.

As I’m in the shower, I hear Amber open the shower curtain behind me. I turn around to see Amber climbing into the shower, with a dildo as big as my forearm in one hand, and a switchblade knife in the other.

“Um. What?” I think this what all the more I said…though to be fair, a “What the fuck?” may have slipped out too.

“Meet my best friend, B.O.B.”13Apparently BOB is short for Battery Operated Boyfriend, a fact that I was oblivious to prior to this encounter, she said as she held up the dildo like Rafiki held Simba in The Lion King. “We’ll involve him later. So we can fool around in here as much as you want, but if you want to have sex, I need you to cut me. The blood appeases the goddesses and allows me to cum.”

This wasn’t the first time I left a date because of something my date said that made me uncomfortable, nor is it the most awkward. Those honors belong to this next story.

1. First Date…PUNNNCH!

I’ve shared arguably the most ridiculous date story I have with some of you previously. What makes this story particularly special is because of how quickly it escalated.

As I mentioned in the previous story, I spent a fairly significant portion of my early twenties trying to find relationships through online dating. My major reason for doing so was because of the fact that my first post-college job consisted of a 9pm-6am shift Thursday-Monday. Having Tuesdays and Wednesdays off while also having a night owl schedule isn’t exactly the most conducive to meeting romantic prospects. Nevertheless, I started messaging a girl — we’ll call her Serena — who worked as a cosmetologist. She lived roughly two hours away from me, but considering my terrible run of bad relationships/dates (including #3 above) preceding talking to Serena, I was willing to make the drive. Since Serena worked days, we decided to meet up for a lunch date at Subway14aka the second least romantic first date option, trailing only McDonald’s near her work.

We ordered our food and sat down at a round table, with Serena to my right. After a couple of minutes of small talk, I was taking a bite of my sub when I felt Serena poke my arm lightly, though intentionally, with her finger. I figured she was trying to flirt with me, so I returned the favor. A few seconds later, Serena poked my arm again, this time more forcefully. I assumed the additional force was accidental, so I poked her arm again, this time even more lightly than the first time.

I had no sooner removed my finger from her arm than I got hit in the face with a swift, closed-fist punch from Serena.

“What the fuck was that for?” I yelled, obviously in a bit of pain.

Serena shrugged her shoulders and replied, “I wanted to see a girl hit a guy for once.”

I stood up, grabbed my coat off of the back of my chair, and left. I got a text from Serena later that night asking if she could take me on a second date to apologize. Needless to say, I never answered.

What I’ve Learned From Blogging

Disclaimer: This post is part of this blog’s That Tiny Tirade series. It can (and likely will) contain harsh language, scenes and storylines not suitable for children, and some content that may be unacceptable to other readers. This post may also contain strobe lighting effects.

In a few weeks (November to be more specific), I’ll be turning 27 years old. Along with that change of age, I’ll be celebrating my tenth anniversary as a blogger in the month of November as well. Shortly after I had my 17th birthday, I started my first blog on Xanga. The blog is long dead and deleted now, though I do recognize its importance as a stepping stone to where I am today, both as a blogger as well as with my writing in general.

As I’ve become more involved in blogging and gained more experience from it, I’ve felt an increasing need to share the knowledge I’ve gained with others. This has manifested itself in trying to give advice to other bloggers on their blogs directly, as well as giving my input on blogging forums when the opportunity arises. Earlier this year, I was made a Community Manager at 20 Something Bloggers, an accomplishment I see as a natural progression in my growth as a blogger and writer.

I don’t know why you — the person staring at this blog post — specifically arrived here. You might be a long-time reader of mine from other sites, who is coming to ask me when I would please just shut the hell up. You could be an infrequent visitor who stumbles over here from time to time wondering what I’m rambling on about now. You may be a veteran blogger clicking around the blogosphere, or you may have come here from a random search engine result for “how to power a car with marshmallows”.

Currently, nothing interesting comes up when you search for that. Here’s some marshmallows to help change that. Image credit: amazon.com

There’s a chance, however small it may be, that you came here because you’re a new blogger and you’re looking for advice. The advice you’re looking for isn’t on how to blog, how to promote yourself, or how to write. While those things are all well and good, what you’re looking to know is what you can learn from blogging itself. Hopefully the following items will shine some light on what I’ve learned, and in turn, help you with your growth as a person through blogging.

1. There are some people in the world who are jerks no matter what you say or do

I suppose this may go without saying, as there are people who are good and those who are evil in the world, however this fact is even more obvious once you’ve been blogging long enough. There are people out there who are just pricks. Some will show up as a snobby know-it-all who thinks their tastes in music/popular culture/movies are more sophisticated than yours. Others will take the road of religious zealot, flaming any post you write that you write that doesn’t adhere to their strict (read: fanatical and cult-like) religious beliefs. This may even be the person who takes your comment section and turns it into an attempt to humiliate and degrade your name.

People like this suck. They won’t go away because they’re not intelligent enough to know how to go away from anything. And you know what? That’s okay. These people drive up your traffic stats like few things outside of creating a viral video/post are capable of doing. Embrace idiots like these, as they’re a gold mine of free page counts.

Image credit: memegenerator.net

2. Your best post will not be your most visited/most discussed post

3. Your most visited/most discussed post will be one that you think is awful

I’ve combined the two points above because of the fact that these related thoughts have been true since day one of my blogging life, and will likely remain that way until the day I finally hang up by blogging hat for good. You could spend five hours crafting the perfect post, share it with all of your friends, family, readers, and the Associated Press, only for that post to get nine views across the next thirty days, and one measly comment from a spam bot in Algeria looking to sell you boner pills. Meanwhile, a post you wrote in three minutes that’s nothing more than a picture of a sunset with the world “magical” underneath gets reblogged in 46 languages. Because reasons.

I’d love to tell you this happens by accident, but it doesn’t. It’s actually Philington’s Second Law applied to prose rather than code:

Real programmers don’t comment their code. If it was hard to write, it should be hard to understand.

There are lots of people in the world who don’t understand things. Furthermore, people are prone to gravitate towards things they do understand than things that they don’t. It’s important not to take things personally when more people like your shitty work than your quality work.

4. If you’re writing well, people will hate you

Please don’t confuse the order of the words in this sentence. It does not read “Because people hate you, that means you’re writing well”. Some people are hated because they’ve done something awful worth hating them for. They could be a good writer, but just because they’re hated doesn’t necessarily mean they a good writer.

If you are writing well, however, you’ll say things that provoke some sort of reaction. Even if what you say is indisputably a fact (water in a liquid state is wet, climate change is real and caused by humans, guns can be dangerous if used improperly [or properly by a person with intent to harm]), someone is going to say that you’re terrible human being for stating those facts. If you’re using opinions instead of facts, look out. There’s a chance that the “someone who is wrong on the internet” is you for the day.

Image credit: xkcd.com

Continue on writing and writing well. Most people get over being angry quickly and get on with their lives. That is, unless they’re the people I mentioned in point number one, in which case, hey…free traffic.

To other veteran bloggers: What have you learned during your time blogging that you’d like to share with everyone?
To new bloggers looking for advice: What would you like to know more about?
Sound off in the comments.