Of Serious Matters Such As Harassment And Bigotry. And Vampires.

Honestly, Snarklings. The Lady of the Manners leaves you alone for a few short weeks in order to go see Coraline and review manuscript pages for the Gothic Charm School book, and then distressing letters arrive in her mailbox!

question: i have guy who is vampire he asked me to marry him i do not know what to do or where to go or how to act around up class vampires he very rich and i do not know where to go with this i was born with brithdeffect and it scares me his frined will not like me

A vampire. Who asked you to marry him.

First things first. This vampire guy who asked you to marry him: have you met him in person before? Where did you meet him, and how well do you know him? Forgive the Lady of the Manners for being a worry-wart, but her fear is that this guy is someone you’ve been talking with online, and you’ve never had a face-to-face meeting with him. Do you know where he lives, do you know any people who have met him? If you did meet him online, are there other people you talk to on the same place who know him? If so, you should send them private messages and ask them questions about who he is, and ask them if he’s done this sort of thing before.

Before you agree to be his bride, please, PLEASE arrange a meeting with him in a public place where there are lots of people around, like a coffee shop, and make sure you have some friends who are nearby. Perhaps the Lady of the Manners is being overly paranoid, but what you’re describing sounds like a classic set up of someone looking, in the best case, for someone to be a victim to ridicule, and in the worst case, he’s looking for a victim for darker, more violent reasons. And for goodness sake, do not let him convince you to meet up with him and his “vampire” friends by yourself! If he seems unhappy or uneasy at the suggestion that you want to have some public meet-ups, or that you want to know more about him before a relationship, that is a huge warning signal.

So please, make sure you have met him a couple of times, and get to know him and get a better idea of what he’s thinking before you agree to be in a relationship with him, much less get married to him. You wrote that you didn’t know where to go with your questions; is there anyone you can talk to? A parent, a friend, a teacher, or a co-worker? This situation is absolutely something you shouldn’t have to handle on your own, and the Lady of the Manners would feel better knowing that you have people you can talk to about this face-to-face, and who can come to your aid if needed.

Dear Lady of Manners,

I enjoy reading your blog and would like your opinion on a situation I face. I’m a high school student in a very conservative suburb of a major liberal city. I also tend to dress a little bit on the gothier side, along with loving the music. I get a lot of flack for this, and as of this year, no students in my high school will work with me on school projects, or talk to me even in polite conversation, or acknowledge in general that I exist(If I hand a pencil to someone, they won’t pick it up and will wait until I put it on the desk near them to touch it, if I say wait a minute if a door is closing, people will pointedly refuse to hold it for a second, etc.). The reasons they state are that I was raised pagan by hippie parents, my other relatives are Jewish, I don’t shave, I have pale skin, I’m a baby killer, and that I wear black a lot and it scares them. Sadly, my high school administration tells me to tan and wear normal clothes and to convert my parents to Christianity (I’m not religious in any particular sense). My parents are old hippies, and thus are ok with my choices. I’m of northern European descent and as a result, I am very fair. They call me a baby killer because my grandfather did abortions before they were legal, and many people in my town have the stance “Sins of the father carry on” and such. My school is also very anti semetic, and I get mocked a lot for having some rather stereotypically Jewish features, and people don’t want to work with a “greedy Jew”. I choose not to remove body hair for personal moral reasons, and try to cover it as much as possible to avoid offending people. The biggest issue by far seems to be my family’s religion I’m not sure how to deal with people who have these bigoted stances and how to deal with teachers who take points off projects because I’m unable to find people to work with. I do have some sympathetic teachers and they’ve had discussions with classes, but that lead to them getting talked to as students were offended by comments that were made (Such as, What’s wrong with a girl being pale?) as it upset them and made them think our teacher was promoting “homosexuality” (I’m a straight female, but my peers are very homophobic and feel that I’m a lesbian due to my grandfather having done abortions.), but the vast majority of teachers and peers tell me I should get a tan and just convert my family and wear stuff from Hollister. I’ve also been told by school administration that I should wear wholesome “Christian” dress such as camis that are pink as opposed to my typical long sleeved long dresses in some black fabric, or black long sleeved shirts and jeans. As a result of my choices, people refuse to work with me for school projects, or even talk to me. I’m fine not having friends in my school, as I have friends in other towns, but it’s extremely difficult to deal with people who are disturbed by my appearance, which I feel isn’t too scary. I do tone it down for school, wearing more normal makeup and keeping my hair simple as opposed to all Siouxsie Sioux esque and not wearing anything too gothy, but I do wear mostly black and usually some sort of dress. I’ve tried quoting the Bible with these people, but they claim I’m not interpreting the Bible correctly and that “heathens” can’t read the Bible as their eyes will burn. (Yes, someone did actually say that…) Should I just wait a few more years, or consider becoming home schooled? Or should I try to fit in?

Oh ”¦ goodness gracious, you poor Snarkling! After reading your litany of woe and dealing with (to be perfectly blunt) stupid and bigoted people, the Lady of the Manners is filled with the urge to start smiting some of your school administrators and classmates with a parasol. Perhaps while delivering a lecture about tolerance at high volume. Which, the Lady of the Manners is aware, is of no help to you, but she does want to let you know that she is filled with fury on your behalf.

Now, as to what you should do? Do not try to fit in. Not only does the Lady of the Manners think that trying to disguise who you are and what you believe in is folly, but she’s also fairly certain that even if you did completely change how you presented yourself, your classmates and teachers wouldn’t treat you any better. They would probably still say vile, hurtful things to you, because they sound like they are the sorts of creatures who are set in their ways and views, no matter what happens.

So. Do not try and blend in. And honestly, the Lady of the Manners doesn’t think you should try and wait a few more years and struggle with that toxic environment. You mention the possibility of being home schooled; is that something your parents (who sound wonderful) would be up for? Because unless there is an alternative school you could apply to, home schooling sounds like the best option for you.

By “alternative school”, the Lady of the Manners isn’t speaking of just another school in your school district that you could transfer to. No, she means the sort of school that is specifically set up with a more flexible environment, and usually caters to students coming from different lifestyles. The Lady of the Manners wants to stress that she is not implying that you are the person at fault, or that you are a “disruptive student” or a delinquent; not at all! But since your teachers and school administrators are very obviously failing you, you need to look at what other options are open to you. Depending on where you live, there may be an online school available, either through your current school or one that you transfer to,

The only other bit of advice the Lady of the Manners has for you is to suggest that you and your parents contact the city administrators for your school district. Talk to them about the discrimination and harassment you are suffering, and make it very clear that the school administration is unwilling to help you. This, sadly, will almost certainly involve documentation and bureaucratic red tape of the most aggravating sort, and still may not provide any tangible help. You may also want to contact the State board of Education and the ACLU for advice about other support that may be available to you.

The Lady of the Manners is very sorry that you’re having to deal with such close-minded tormentors, and hopes that you are able to get past it. Please write back and let the Lady of the Manners know what you decided to do and how it turned out.

On the one hand, the Lady of the Manners is very touched that Snarklings feel they can write to her with very serious concerns. On the other hand, after trying to answer those concerns as best she can, the Lady of the Manners feels a bit fatigued, and is going to rejuvenate her frivolity levels by watching Beetlejuice and searching Etsy for pretty things. But the Lady of the Manners does enjoy receiving mail from all of you, so by all means, write!

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