Wedding Woes

Welcome to the bad behavior rodeo.

Dear Prudence,

I had a small, socially distant party for my birthday. It was supposed to just be my brother, roommate, boyfriend, and me. But my brother brought his new girlfriend, “Emily,” and her small son without asking. Our apartment is on a busy street, and our yard is not fenced in. It wasn’t fun. We had to keep an eye on the kid so he wouldn’t run off the patio. Emily was more interested in our beer than anything else.

My roommate got me an expensive cake. She was handing out slices when Emily pushed her over and tried to take a huge slice for her son. I stopped Emily and told her to take a smaller slice, since the cake was very rich. Then I put the rest of the cake back in the fridge. I told my brother he needed to get a handle on the situation, but he just told me to chill. When they left only my brother said goodbye to us. Then my boyfriend looked in the fridge and noticed that my cake was gone. I was pissed off and ran after my brother. They were still in the parking lot, trying to buckle up the kid. I went up to Emily and demanded she give me back my cake. First she said she didn’t know what I was talking about. Then I saw the cake box on the back seat and told my brother to give it back. Emily swore I had given it to her because “cake is for kids.” I called her a liar. My boyfriend and roommate followed me out, and my roommate went around the car and opened the door to grab the cake. Emily tried to stop her. The cake ended up on the ground. The kid started crying, Emily started swearing, and everyone went home mad. Emily claims it was an “accident,” but I believe my roommate, and she says Emily knocked it out of her hands. I want nothing to do with Emily ever again, and I am angry at my brother for bringing this witch and trying to defend her. Everyone in our family is appalled by what happened. I told him when Emily apologizes and replaces my cake from the same bakery then I will forgive her. He got angry at me because it was a $50 cake from the city. He told me I was being petty and unreasonable and that it was just cake. I don’t care. My birthday was ruined. This was the first time Emily met anyone in our family, and she got drunk and stole from me. This is a red flag if there ever was one. I don’t think I am out of line here.

—Cake Tug-of-War

Re: Welcome to the bad behavior rodeo.

  • LW should buy her own replacement cake because she’s certainly not getting one from the brother or Emily. 

    Emily’s behavior was terrible and the brother should have done something, but you can’t control what they do. LW isn’t out of line but there’s not really anything to do here. 
  • What happens if you get between me and my cake:

  • levioosalevioosa Southern California member
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Tbh there was childish behavior all around, but Emily can gtfo and never come back again. 

  • So I find it interesting that everyone here says the LW didn't do anything wrong because Prudie had a different take.  As someone who is not a confrontational person (so much anxiety) and was raised to unfailingly have manners, especially when someone is a guest, this letter made my asshole clench a little bit.  However the more I think about it, there is a side of me that believes 'being polite', especially as a woman, has not gotten us very far and gets you very little.  So if brother wasn't assisting LW with their plight, confronting Emily directly was an option.  I just feel some sort of way about it escalating into a physical altercation with a crying child as a witness and cake on the ground.  ((more asshole clenching))  But overall Emily was the most wrong and then it goes down from there.  However, it escalating so fast makes me wonder about LW's and their brother's relationship.  I say all that to's been an interesting mental exercise. 

    I’ll happily concede that your brother should have asked before bringing two guests, one of whom was a child in need of constant supervision, to your birthday party, particularly when social distancing is still so important in preventing coronavirus transmission, and that Emily’s behavior was rude. But neither your brother’s thoughtlessness nor Emily’s rudeness justifies your own response, which was nowhere near the line. You had a number of opportunities to let something go or politely put your foot down before you found yourself arguing with a drunk woman in the street over a cake (yes, even a $50 cake from the city) while her child cries in the backseat. You have the right to decide whether someone is a guest in your home, and when your brother showed up with two strangers, you could have said, “I’m sorry, but I can’t safely accommodate surprise guests. Let’s find another time to plan a safe introduction.” But once you’ve let them in, you ought to treat them with basic hospitality, and insisting someone take a smaller piece of cake is not the act of a good host. The fact that Emily got drunk and ignored her son reflects very badly on her indeed, but if your brother was unwilling to handle it, the best response available is not “Take a smaller piece of cake, you witch,” but to tell them, politely and firmly, to leave. And escalating the situation by chasing after them doesn’t seem to have done much to make your birthday party any more fun. It didn’t even get you your cake back.

    I’m sorry your party was unpleasant, and I’m sorry one of your guests took your leftovers. You have sufficient reason to dislike and distrust Emily and not to welcome her into your home again. But what if you (and your roommate and boyfriend) had let it go and focused on having a good time after your brother and Emily left? Plus, it’s a waste of your time and energy to try to persuade her to replace that cake or to grant her the power to “ruin” your birthday. Someone has to de-escalate this, so unless you want to spend the next year going back and forth with your brother over whether he owes you another cake, let that person be you.

  • Unless the LW was worried there wasn't enough to go around, I think "monitoring" the size of the slices was too much.  Emily deserved a side-eye for that, but I don't think the LW should have said anything.

    However, stealing the birthday cake out of the fridge!  Lying about it.  Then fighting over it, so it gets ruined.  That's a, "Bro, your thieving and lying g/f is never to set foot in my house again," moment.  I probably wouldn't even invite Bro over for quite awhile because it sounds like he was at least part of the initial lie that they hadn't taken the cake.

    I also love the irony that the Bro doesn't think his g/f should be responsible to replace the cake because it's 50 DOLLARS.  But then out of the other side of his mouth is talking about how it's "just a cake" and acting like it's NBD.
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  • I think I'm a bit more with Prudie than normal on this one too.

    LW isn't blameless at all.  The brother opened the door to this by bringing in the two uninvited guests but playing cake police is going to also create attitude.   Don't play the line of "Oh now you're here and you can have cake but not THAT much cake."

    I have mixed feelings about confronting about the cake.   What did they think it would accomplish?  If they'd steal the cake then why did they think they could get it back and what do they think holding out for an apology is going to do?  So much of this makes me think that the LW is not terribly mature and neither is her brother.   It's why I think demanding any kind of apology is foolish.   
  • I agree with Prudie 100% on this.  Sure Emily sucks, but LW overreacted bigtime.  
  • I tend to agree with Prudie. Everyone sucks here.

    I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that Emily was not the only one drinking beers at this party. I also think the most egregious part is that Emily then drove away with her kid in the car. 
    Oh yeah I’m guessing everyone was drunk. Also everyone sucks and acted ridiculous. 

    I do think LW is right for being annoyed about how Emily acted, but they could have handled it much better. 
  • "It's really rich cake." 

    For fucks sake, sometimes people like a lot of cake. 
  • banana468 said:
    "It's really rich cake." 

    For fucks sake, sometimes people like a lot of cake. 
    People are me. 
  • climbingsingleclimbingsingle NYC 'burbs member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Who steals a cake from a party!?

    But also, why are you policing the size of the slices? You're supposed to share the damn cake with your guests.

  • The only time you should police the size of a slice of cake is if there won't be enough for everyone if someone takes too big of a piece. I would hope that a cake that costs that much would be big enough where that isn't a problem.

    Emily's behavior was absolutely atrocious, and of course it was wrong of her to take the cake (since when is cake only for kids???). But honestly, once you saw that this couldn't be resolved politely (and nonviolently!), you probably should have backed off and tried to talk, calmly, to your brother about the whole situation later on, including the fact that he brought uninvited guests to the party. Given how things turned out, it sounds like you all had more to drink than you can handle and all need to grow up.
  • I tend to agree with Prudie. Everyone sucks here.

    I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that Emily was not the only one drinking beers at this party. I also think the most egregious part is that Emily then drove away with her kid in the car. 
    Yeesh!  I didn't even catch that part!  That Emily was drunk, but drove off anyway.  Especially with a helpless child in the car.

    Forget the cake!  They should have stopped them from leaving until her or the brother was sober enough to drive.  And if they drove away anyway, call the police and report the drunk driving.  I'm sure her brother would have really been mad about that, but at least they would have been alive to be mad.
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  • I know I'm a week late to comment, I'm sorry, but I want to get in on the cake debate. 

    They only way I could see policing the size of the cake slice as appropriate is if it was indeed very rich and LW was worried that Emily didn't realize this and might accidentally be giving her child way too much sugar.  I have had that happen to me - I didn't realize a  cake was so rich, someone warned me, and I'm glad I took a smaller slice!  No two cakes are equal, so yeah, sometimes a warning is nice.  However, I get the impression LW did not approach it that way, and started the snark.  To which Emily responded with more snark of "want to deny me cake?  I'll show you" and stole the whole cake.  
    So LW was not blameless.  But replying to someone who was rude to you by stealing from them, and then when you get found out, damaging their property (yeah, I know it is a cake, but still, consider it property) instead of just giving up ... that's odd.  Emily seems like a complete jerk.  That being said, responding to that by insisting on them replacing the cake .... now it has swung back to LW being unreasonable.  It's gone - buy yourself another cake.

    Also, due to Covid and not having a lot of celebrations, I may or may not be missing having the occasional birthday cake, so maybe this is hitting harder than it should.  How can you deny someone cake in these dark times, and not just that but purposely make someone drop it?  YOU WASTED GOOD CAKE!!!  

  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    Wow, that got out of control.

    Commandment #1: Thou shalt not waste cake. >:)  If you check the stone tablets, that's what's inscribed there.  ;)

    The LW should not have policed the slice size and her roommate should not have tried to grab the cake back, but Emily had no business helping herself to the cake in the first place -- or driving under the influence of alcohol.

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