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If you live in the UK you can’t have missed it. A future stepmother in law, Mrs Bourne, sent a nasty email to the young woman her stepson wanted to marry. To make sure that she got the message, she even sent the email three times. In return, the bemused fiancée sent the email to some friends and it became viral. The email reads as follows:

It is high time someone explained to you about good manners. Yours are obvious by their absence and I feel sorry for you.

Unfortunately for Freddie, he has fallen in love with you and Freddie being Freddie, I gather it is not easy to reason with him or yet encourage him to consider how he might be able to help you. It may just be possible to get through to you though. I do hope so.
If you want to be accepted by the wider Bourne family I suggest you take some guidance from experts with utmost haste. There are plenty of finishing schools around.

Please, for your own good, for Freddie’s sake and for your future involvement with the Bourne family, do something as soon as possible.
Here are a few examples of your lack of manners: 
  • When you are a guest in another’s house, you do not declare what you will and will not eat – unless you are positively allergic to something.  You do not remark that you do not have enough food. You do not start before everyone else. You do not take additional helpings without being invited to by your host.
  • When a guest in another’s house, you do not lie in bed until late morning in households that rise early – you fall in line with house norms.
  • You should never ever insult the family you are about to join at any time and most definitely not in public. I gather you passed this off as a joke but the reaction in the pub was one of shock, not laughter.
  • You should have hand-written a card to me. You have never written to thank me when you have stayed.
  • You regularly draw attention to yourself. Perhaps you should ask yourself why.
  • No one gets married in a castle unless they own it. It is brash, celebrity style behaviour.
I understand your parents are unable to contribute very much towards the cost of your wedding. (There is nothing wrong with that except that convention is such that one might presume they would have saved over the years for their daughters’ marriages.) 
If this is the case, it would be most ladylike and gracious to lower your sights and have a modest wedding as befits both your incomes.

Read more:

It is fair to say that the whole British society is now divided in two: those who believe that Mrs Bourne is a Mother In Law (MIL) from Hell –as for me, I especially like how she implies that her future daughter-In-Law (DIL) is a gold digger-. On the other hand, I have read many articles supporting the MIL and blasting the generation Yers for their awful habits, as illustrated by the DIL’s behaviour.
As for me, I believe that both camps are missing the point. First of all, good manners are relative. What is considered to be polite over here might be rude in different countries. As an example, if you are invited at a diner at 7.30pm in France, you are not expected before 8pm. Should you arrive on time, you might have to witness the delivery of the so-called home-made meal by the local caterer. Very rude indeed and you won’t get invited again.
Even in Britain, good manners can be different from one family to another. I believe in respecting everybody and, above all, being flexible. This means that I will eat with my right hand when invited by my Indian friends and with my silver cutlery when I have a posh lunch at the Wolseley. Occasionally, I get it completely wrong: I once patted my friend son’s head and, as they are Indonesian you are not supposed to do this, as the head is supposed to be where the soul rests. My friends didn’t insult me in a nasty email, they just explained it to me and they knew that I didn’t mean to be rude. We moved on and got on with our life.
This leads me to my second point: do these people have a life? Do they have real problems (you know, as in health issues, relationship issues, real work projects…)? I can’t understand how they find the time to, on one side, write nasty things, and on the other, to circulate it everywhere. Isn’t the important point the fact that the Stepson is happy and getting married? Why didn’t they laugh the whole thing off, like I did with my Indonesian friends? I find it astounding that they have spent so much time on a “good manner” matter. The whole point of good manners is to respect each other and actually get on with your life. Good manners for the sake of them is, I believe, pointless. Apparently, I am the only one to be thinking this. Well, I pride myself in being unconventional then!

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London