A reader writes:
"My fiancée told me she didn't care about strippers but didn't want them touching me. I took it to mean she'd just be annoyed because that's how I'd feel if she had male strippers rubbing up on her. I'd be annoyed. So I thought I was doing good when I was honest and told her i'd gotten a lap dance from the stripper my best man hired. Now she's not annoyed. She's devastated. She feels betrayed, thinks I'm somehow "unclean" and is just so hurt that I'd do such a thing.
I'm blown away. I thought it was par for the course. Accepted tradition. An annoyance for the bride at best. I've learned the hard way that this assumption was a huge mistake. AND now my good friends and best man (who is really a great guy) have lost all of her respect. She doesn't want them at the wedding! WTF!
I've gone from anger for her not communicating this possible outcome with me to a slobbery crying apologetic fool. It's really hard for me to relate to her. The stripper thing is so meaningless to me. But my fiancée can't relate to that. So how do I convince her that she can trust me? We're getting married in a week. I'm freaking out..."
Clearly there's only one solution: you need to hire a male stripper, get her good and drunk, and have her girlfriends cajole her into getting a lap dance. Even Steven, done and done.
Sadly, however, we're not in a lousy Ashton Kutcher comedy. So we'll deal with reality. Nothing can really be gained by finger-pointing, so let's start by pointing some fingers.
Where you're in the wrong: Sorry dude. When she says, "I don't want them touching you," there's almost no credible way you can interpret that as, "I don't love the idea of them touching you, and if it happens, I'll be annoyed, but no biggie!!!" She carved out the rules of engagement, and those rules were clearly NO TOUCHING. If you didn't like those rules (and who would?) the time to negotiate was before the bachelor party, not after. She laid down the law. You broke it.
Where she's in the wrong: Let's get some perspective. You didn't have sex with this stripper. You didn't kiss this stripper. Hell, you didn't even want a lap dance from this stripper, you merely went with the flow when your best man forked over some twenties. And, frankly, that's what happens in strip clubs at bachelor parties. Your sin is one of misunderstanding, not malice. From the tone of your email, it sounds like you really, really, really thought that basic run-o'-the-mill lap dances were on the table. To use some Supreme Court Justice nomination jargon, your presumption is not "out of the mainstream." Is she in the right? From a technical sense, maybe a little. But she relinquished her moral high ground by overreacting.
So if you want to get all 4rd grade and bicker about who's right, who's wrong, that's where you start the arguments. But in the words of Mark McGuire, "We're not here to talk about the past, we're here to talk about the future."
You're getting married in a week. So focus on one thing: Damage Control.
Here's your 5-Step plan:
Get the rest of the advice in the Ask the Expert column here.