Dear Mrs. Crabby,

My boyfriend, Chris, and I are to be married in his hometown of Buffalo, NY, on November 1st. Great news, I know, and I am over the moon about it, but. . .

I was born, grew up, went to school, and still live here in Athens, GA. This place, except for the University, is not what you’d call progressive. Least progressive of all is my grandmother who has yet to meet Chris.

There is a tradition in my family that any girl marrying into it must wear the wedding dress made for my great, great, great-grandmother by the slaves who lived on her plantation. As far as I know, all the brides in the long line of Ashcroft men before me have followed this custom. But then, as far as I know, all the men of our family have married women. . . until me.

When I told Grandma about Chris, er, Christopher, Grandma just assumed that Chris is a woman. She refers to him as “Christina” (I have no idea why) and, after speaking with Chris the one time on the phone, told the family that “Christina sounds just like Marlene Dietrick with a Yankee accent.”

I admit to being spineless, as are my Mom and Dad, and both of my siblings. No one will tell her. Grandma is insisting on going to the wedding. Would it be ok to give her a large dose of laxative a day or two before she’s supposed to fly to Buffalo? She’s especially sensitive to Milk of Magnesia, so that’s what I have in mind.

Please help!

Geoffrey Ashcroft, Esq., Attorney–at–Law



Dear Geoffrey,

Before I offer my advice, please note the following:

Any advice given herein is not guaranteed to be effective for the stated problem herein. If any advice given my Irmagarde Beatrice Crabby herein, is taken or used by the requestor, herein Geoffrey Ashcroft, Esq., will be presumed under the law in any state or territory of the United States, or in the world and universe in perpetuity, to be taken voluntarily. The requestor, herein Geoffrey Ashcroft, Esq. assumes full responsibility and liability for any event, action or staph infection resulting from the implementation of any or all advice given herein by Irmagarde Beatrice Crabby. The reading of this message signifies an agreement to these terms.

*ahem* There.


First, Geoffrey, many congratulations to YOU, hon! How wonderful you and Christopher are making that big plunge into matrimonial whirlwinds!

To the wedding and your Grandma. You know you can’t give her any kind of substance to cause her to miss your wedding! This letter here would speak against you as intentional premeditation.

The good news is that your Grandma has set up the perfect solution for you and your passive/aggressive family!!

For the wedding dress – take that old garment to a first-rate seamstress and have it made into a lovely shirt for Christopher to wear on your special day. Have it made feminine enough that future brides or groom/brides will be able to wear it as well.

For Grandma – invite her to the wedding rehearsal. Hire a lovely young woman to be your “bride beard.” At the dinner, get into an argument over how Christina would be more fulfilled and much happier if she were a man! Big argument. Get the whole family involved. Insist to “her” that you will love “her” not matter what and intend to marry “her” no matter what. Turn to Grandma and say “Am I right? Am I, Am I?” And take nothing but agreement.

Then, the morning of the wedding, have everyone to a big breakfast. Have a large paper picture of an altar on one of the doors. Have Christopher tear through the paper with a flourish and grand “TA DA!!” Tears in both your eyes, Christopher confesses to becoming a man after all. Promise to love him forever and proceed with the wedding. Grand flourishes, such as burning the doctor’s bill as a symbol of no turning back, will avert any potential questions or suspicions at the swiftness of the medical procedure.

What will sell this whole thing is that your drama must be far larger and grander than your family’s. And you must set up that they are all ungracious toads if they do not welcome Christopher into the family. Use your southern-ness to work for you, hon. By doing so, you will create a lifelong space in your family for Christopher.

The only possible downside to this is if you and Christopher ever split up. The family will then side with him against you. So be careful, hon.

Best wishes and Happy Wedding to you, hon!

IB Crabby

“I’m thinking….I’m thinking……Ow…..”

Tell Mrs. Crabby all!

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