Sunday, April 09, 2006

Dear Molly - Klezmer Edition

Frome last week's Jewish Week:
Dear Molly,

My wife is a musician with a well-known klezmer band. She loves music and would never want a different career, but this career does not exactly make us wealthy, even though the band is a fine one and plays quite often.

Our good friend became engaged recently to a woman we have spent time with over the last few years. Their wedding is planned for the fall.

He is a lawyer and is marrying a teacher. After they became engaged, he called and asked to speak to my wife. When she got off the phone with him, my wife was furious. She explained that Robert had called to ask for a recommendation for a "cheap" klezmer band to play at the wedding.

Our friend knows what my wife does for a living. He knows we rely on her income as well as my own to make ends meet. He knows her band is among the best around. Yet he never even asked about their rates; all he wanted was cheap.

My wife was incredibly insulted and I would like to call our friend to give him a piece of my mind. I think what he did was tacky and insulting. He thinks he can get away with this because we're friends, but I think he should be told how we feel about his phone call. What do you say?

Angry Husband
Here's Molly's response:
Dear Angry Husband,

Your friend's phone call indeed was tacky and ill advised. I'm sure he felt that to ask your wife for her rates, however, and then not to hire her would have been more insulting.

My guess is that in calling your wife, he likely was trying to avoid a problem rather than create one. He probably was trying to signal you that money was an issue in planning the wedding and rather than ask your wife for her rates and then not hire her, it would be better to let her know up front that he was not going to be using her band.

I think he handled this clumsily, but I would not end a friendship over it. You will surely want to be able to go to the wedding with a heart filled with joy for them. Don't let this be the issue that ends the friendship.