Monday, December 10, 2007

The big sister hat is starting to give me a headache

Yet another update at the bottom...

My little sister is many thing: gorgeous, charming, kindhearted, sarcastic and feisty.

However, most important to the topic at hand is two traits in particular: naive and as stubborn as a mule.

Last night, I received a text message from her saying that she had big news she wanted to talk to me about right away.

The second she picks up the phone, her voice bubbles through the receiver.

"I'm going to the Bahamas tomorrow!"

She is near manic with excitement, talking a mile a minute, with intermittent gasps for air.

I assume she has won some sort of holiday.
Turns out I am wrong.

Navigating through her run-on sentences, I somehow manage to gather the following:
- There is a guy who comes into the restaurant she works in to paint (not as in paint the walls, but rather on canvas)
- They have spoken casually on a few occasions
- At a recent Christmas party, he mentions to her that he "conveniently" has four free tickets with a Canadian airline that expire on December 15th, and he doesn't know what he is going to do with them. She jokes that he should take her to Hawaii. He says it is a possibility.
- Yesterday, he called her to ask her out to dinner. She is already cooking, so she invites him over to her place instead. Somehow, during this dinner conversation, he reiterates his vacation offer, and they spontaneously book a flight to the Bahamas for late tonight, where they will be staying for four nights.

She calls it "the opportunity of a lifetime".
My red flags are up.

I try to glean some more information about this mysterious artist who is abound with plane tickets.
She says he is a nice guy.

I ask if they are dating.
She says not exactly.

I ask what she is planning to do for money while she is there.
She says she will figure it out when she arrives.

I ask if she has informed our parents yet.
She says it is too late to call them.

I hang up. I pace. I go over scenarios in my mind.
I call back, and tell her it would make me feel a lot better if she called my dad tonight, as he is the master of considering the practical and planning.

She is getting annoyed, as though my practicality is a betrayal, as though by not trusting this stranger, I am not trusting her, and refuses, again bringing up the "too late" excuse.

I call my parents late this morning, figuring I owe it to her to have the opportunity to speak to them first. She has yet to call them.

My mom is initially somewhat nonchalant, saying that my sister had mentioned the Hawaii idea a few days ago, and she had implicitly conveyed her approval.

I grit my teeth.
My mother has this complex whereby she feels the need to be supportive of whatever decision my sister makes, no matter how ignorant or irresponsible. She prides herself on having a genuine friendship with my sister and I, and I think she is so petrified of rupturing this friendship and the freedom of communication that she will forget to put on her mom hat at times.

I speak to my father, who thankfully is on the same page as me. He says we can't forbid her to go, because she is an adult, but when she calls them, he will be prepared to try to install as many safeguards as possible, while pretending as though I hadn't pre-warned them.
So now my parents are in action mode, trying to ascertain what information they need about where she is staying, who this guy is, how to stay in contact.

And she still hasn't even called.


This big sister hat seems to be velcroed to my head, as I can't stop dwelling on what reckless decision this could be.

My mom claims it is unfair to judge this guy without knowing him. Yet I can't help but wonder why such a kind and wonderful person would have no one to give a free plane ticket to except a woman he's just met, and how one could "forget" possessing such tickets until such an opportunity arose.

I know she believes in her heart that this a romantic, being swept of her feet kind of experience- yet, she doesn't even seem to be sure that she is interested in him romantically. And I can't see how a man who spontaneously flies a girl to the Caribbean is not expecting something in exchange other than good conversation.

This would all be a lot easier to swallow if I knew that she had a good radar. Yet my sister will give the most absurd men opportunities to woo her.

She is a staunch vegetarian, yet went out on a date to a shooting range with a man she describes as dense.

She says she likes older men for their stability, yet dated an insecure man 16 years older than her who had a worse job than her ex-boyfriends in their early 20s.

She was surprised when she went out for a friendly meal with a 40-year old man that he said something conveying that it was a date.

I know she generally has a good head on her shoulders, and she is an adult that needs to make her own decisions.

But I'm her big sister and I worry.

Update: See comment #18 for more recent details. And thank you all for being fabulous and supportive.

Update #2: More details on comment #35, assuming you are all so very fascinated.

Update #3: Continuing on my cheap rip-off of a soap opera life... I received a random phone call from my sister this evening talking about mom's Christmas present. We spoke about that for 5-10 minutes, then I mentioned that I should give her my address so she could send me a postcard (considering, to my knowledge, she was leaving that night). She then casually mentioned she was no longer going.
All the info I have is that it ended up costing too much money and it was a long story she is planning to tell me when we both had more time to talk.

I'm not really sure what to think, in all honesty.
Glad that she's not putting herself in a bad place, but also unsure if there was anything gained from all this drama. It has given me a little insight onto things, though, at the very least.

Much thanks to all the kind words of support-- glad to know that you are on the same page as me, and I'm not just paranoid!


eric1313 said...

Holy moly, I beat your awesome response generating program!

Yes on all counts, Princess, the behaviors your recognize are the algorithm of a predator.

I don't buy any of it at all. Guys say and do smarmy, false things to get into people's pants. Good looking out for your blood.

Especially the "I'll figure it out when I get there" line about the money. Does she know how many depraved tales begin exactly this way?

I grit my teeth.
My mother has this complex whereby she feels the need to be supportive of whatever decision my sister makes, no matter how ignorant or irresponsible. She prides herself on having a genuine friendship with my sister and I, and I think she is so petrified of rupturing this friendship and the freedom of communication that she will forget to put on her mom hat at times.

What's a mom to do when her daughter has it all figured out ahead of time? Your big sis hat is a functional mom hat. By the time you have kids, you will be most well prepared, I think.

eric1313 said...

Not all guys are smarmy and false, though.

The ones who have mysterious forgotten tickets to Hawaii, tickets that morph into the Bahamas by the next week, those are the ones. Do your big sister thing and make her know that this guy is not what he says he is.

Princess Pointful said...

Thanks Eric.
I'm still ensure whether this hat carries a tad of overreacting along with it or not.
I really don't know what to do. My parents are supposed to touch base when she "officially" calls them to inform them of tonight's (TONIGHT!) plans. I guess I can only go from there.

Miss M. said...

I'm the exact same way with my younger sister and she hates it. she gets so annoyed when i think logically and practically when she is about to make a bad, impulsive decision that i don't feel good about. She always says, "Quit acting like you're my mom!" I've gone into tears because she's made me feel so stupid for just being a worried older sister.

I think it's a trait of the oldest children: practicality, good desicion makers, think things through before doing something stupid.

I don't blame you for feeling the way you do. Hopefully everything end up alright!

eric1313 said...

I know. Tonight! That's what's crazy about it.

Sure, the hat carries a bit of overreaction, but you detailed a strange man's plan to remove a young impressionable lady from her country of origin, with no money and no means of getting home on her own. You aren't overreacting at all.

However, he might just be desperate and lonely and lack certain social graces to attract friends and lovers with, and she'll be OK with him.

Sorry. Still doesn't sound good, does it?

Damsel in Digress said...

pp: i am feeling fear and worry just reading this!! also? i want to give you many hugs.

i have two younger sisters and i immediately thought of how i'd feel if one of them had presented me with this situation. verdict: NOT HAPPY.

she is very lucky to have you to wear the big sister hat (aww) because while we all know i am the queen of spontaneity and not thinking before doing and all that, this situation deeply worries me. because seriously? two words: natalie holloway.

i've dated my fair show of ... interesting guys (um, ironically, i'm working on a post about it right now!) ... and one even wanted to fly me out to vegas with him only one day after meeting and even though he was good-looking, successful, and smart attorney for a really good firm, i said no. because for all the reasons you stated. why is someone who is practically a stranger suggesting something like this? and what IF he is expecting more than "pleasant conversation"?

it sounds like your sister really NEEDS some voices of reason right now. i'm sorry about your headache :( hopefully this will all get figured out very soon! then please, go reward yourself by doing something fun!

Princess Extraordinaire said...

I would worry too - there are enormous brightly colored red flags everywhere! I hope she eventually listens to your good jusgement and doesn't go - if she does al you can do is remember that she has a good head on her shoulders and wil use good judgement..yikes!

Arielle said...

I would totally be scared for her as well. While it could end up just being a fantastic trip with a [debatably] fantastic guy, you can never be too cautious about the alternative. Hopefully it ends up just being a nice time on the beach, but I absolutely understand your concern.

I guess in times like this I'm glad that I only have a brother who happens to be quite rational.

the frog princess said...

Red flags? More like giant red flares!

Let's see what we have on the suspicious-activity meter: Known each other for a few days? Check. Not even been on an actual date? Check. Far off location with no plans other than a plane ticket? Check. Sister has no money? Check.

You have every right to wear that big sister hat and wave it around as much as necessary.

Sure, maybe he's a nice guy and maybe your sister will go with him and have a great time. But since she's clearly not taking stock of the situation from the cautious end of the spectrum, somebody certainly has to!

If your reaction (and your parents', if she ever calls) can even instill the tiniest bit of doubt in her mind as to the trustworthiness of this guy, then perhaps that will help her see the red flags on her own.

Keep us posted!

Miriam said...

As the younger sister I have to say that we are not equipped with any kind of radar, whatsoever. I'm not sure why but it seems it is something we have to learn along the way. Even at 24 mine is not fully honed.

I truly hope this is just a friednly getaway and not an elaborate hoax.

I'll be thinking of her until I hear of her safe return or her forbidance to go.

Jamie Lovely said...

My little sister has no common sense. I'm not even exaggerating. It's so frustrating.

Our little sisters are lucky to have us big sisters to look out for them.

Sheila said...

AAAHHH! *Screaming* My red flags went up too! Then again, at 37 I am nearly old enough to be her mother so that doesn't help. The mom in me can envision all the bad scenerios. I see so many things wrong with the situation - if it were my sister, I would totally be freaking out!

Hopefully she calls and hopefully she is and will remain OK!

Therapeutic Ramblings said...

After reading your first line I was going to jokingly ask, "is she single?" After reading the rest of it....good lord. I know artists can be a bit flakey or whatever, but that just has red flags all over the place.

Airam said...

Your sister is very lucky to have you. Hopefully you and your mom and dad can get through to her somehow.

Michelle said...

wow. you have every right to be worried. and especially because when a guy "sweeps you off your feet" like that it is hard to see the flags. even if they are waving right in front of your face.

i hope everything works out. keep talking to her about it, at least have her take some precautions. all you can do is try to get through to her. and hopefully she'll see where you're coming from.

QueenBee said...

Wow. Seriously. Sometimes people we love can be too trusting. I've learned the hard way that people don't always have the best of intentions. I hope she doesn't have to.

QueenBee said...

Also, You're doing the right thing. You're being one GREAT big sister.

Princess Pointful said...

Thanks for all your concern and kind words- it is much appreciated to know I am not alone or crazy.

Some updates:
She is leaving Tuesday night, rather than tonight (don't know if the flight changes or what)

He's not a total stranger, apparently- a good friend of hers knows him.

I got his name and was able to scope out his website for his art. He is legit, and he's not an old man. Two pluses.

I still think it's a bad idea, but I have no say.

I'm also particularly frustrated with my entire family at the moment. It gets tiresome being one of the only ones with common sense and always needing to be responsible. In this moment I feel like just not responding to any of their calls and let them work out all their own drama without playing mediator. Gah.

nicoleantoinette said...

I'm a complete strange to her and I'M worried.

You're a great big sister- keep wearing that hat.

Anonymous said...

Um, it's good that he's not a total stranger, but she should be VERY CAREFUL with her luggage on the way back. She does not want to end up bring back something she didn't intend to bring back...

You're a good big sis.

Anonymous said...

Um, that last comment was me, not sure why it came up as anonymous.

Yoda said...

I'd be worried too! In fact, I am. Its not just another getaway. Its the Caribbean. What happens if halfway through the trip, she decides that she in fact hates the guy? How should she come back?

I have a big brother hat, which I'm gonna give up this April, 'coz my lil sister is getting married :-D

libby said...

i get your concern. i'm an older sis too...but trying telling a guy what do to and getting him to take your advice when you're shorter.

i joke. but i seriously worry for that boy sometimes. if anything..try to keep in touch as much as possible when she's away! so you know how she's doing!

Lisa said...

Ooooh yikes! I agree with all the red flags! I really really hope she doesn't get hurt!

distracted spunk said...

Hm. Good that the flags are going off. The update encourages me a bit, but I would still warn her to be very very careful. At the very least, find out where she's staying and ask the concierge to make himself accessible to your sister in the case that she needs assistance/help in the case of an emergency.

eric1313 said...

As another big brother chiming in, you are quite the diligent sister. And that was what I was alluding to up top--the fact that you sound more qualified for motherhood than your mom. No offense to the Queen Mum, you know. She did a fine job, by all accounts.

And look at these responses!

At this rate, you'll give Captain Corky or Enemy of the Republic a run for their money in the response department.

I need to start a real blog like you...

I'll call it The Snoop Bloggy-Blog.

Yeah, baby!

Thanks for keeping us posted. You rock.

Hope said...

Yikes. I'd be worried too. I agree with one commenter who suggested finding out where she is staying.

I'm not an older sister but I always feel like the mediator between my family members and it can get exhausting sometimes.

Stay well :)

True Blue said...

Hi Princess: First visit to your site and must say, how well written and interesting it is.
Ivè only read the "saga" about your younger sister and look forward to reading all your other stuff soon.
Being a Mama and Grandmama, I too would be worried about "Little Sis", but, then, I am am one of nature`s born worriers and, mostly unnecessarily. I bet your "Sis" will be having a whale of a time and is totally oblivious to your worries and concerns.
At least, the guy is known to friends, isn`t too old for her and, most importantly, is, what he says he is.
I have three wonderful daughters and, like you the eldest acts as "second Mama to the others !
Good for you though, being such a kind and caring Sister !

Clueless Cat said...

Omg, if my little sister was planning on doing what your lil sis is, I'd feel exactly the same as you! Just make sure you caution her enough...and at least have her be prepared just in case. Eek. I hope all turns out well! At least now you know he's not a total random guy.

btw, I thought your question on my last post (Some kind of Felicity) was a good one...and my answer (no) makes me feel a little better about the whole thing! :) just wanted to let you know I appreciate it...!

Ant said...

No disagreeing today - I am 100% with you here.

Despite "mitigating" evidence that you've provided in comment #18, my red flags were up immediately and nothing has changed. The guy has ideas and I'm slightly staggered that your sister doesn't appreciate this.

It kind of gets me to wondering if your sister knows that he has ideas but is enjoying the attention. It's a romantic story after all - but she is playing a dangerous game, and by the sounds of it, isn't really mature enough to deal with it (how old is she btw?) All you can hope is that you don't ever get to utter the words "I told you so" because the results might be awful...

I sympathise with the hat-wearing but from the other side. I do some crazy shit and my sister frets and worries about me all the time - however, my rebuttal is that I am generally good at assessing risks and knowing my limits.

Maybe your sister has similar safeguards in place? I can't say, but I would suggest to her to have a variety of *independent* exit strategies in place. Perhaps suggesting this is the best you can do, if reproach isn't working?

Hope this gets navigated ok. I can imagine the stress it's putting you...

Miriam D said...

Wow. I'm a big sis too, except I have a little bro. However, I totally understand where you are coming from. I have a couple of friends who do not seem to have that ability to check themselves... I really hope things go okay with her and the guy. He sounds a little weird. I mean, who DOESN'T have anyone else to take to the Bahamas besides a girl he met two days ago??

brookem said...

Yikes, this is a tricky one. Your sister and family are so lucky to have you dearie. Your worry and concern, in my opinion, is completely valid. I wish I knew what to say to ease your anxiety about the whole thing a bit. At least you found out some more info on this guy. And you were at least able to talk to your sister and voice your opinion. Hang in there lady, and keep us updated.

Wendy said...

She's definitely lucky to have you.

I really think that he somehow "forgot" about those tickets is really shifty and honestly, it wouldn't suprise me if he expected some kind of payment from her.

I really wouldn't take into consideration that his art is legit, he can still be a total pervert and a good friend of hers knows him? I would seriously look into that.

Ooooh! can you try to meet him and scope him out??

Beth said...

I am 100% behind you. I would be terrified if one of my sisters was taking off on a trip like that. At any age.
Re: your role as mediator - either get used to it or try backing away now. It only gets harder - trust me.

Princess Pointful said...

Just spoke to my mom as I was walking into work today.

More reassuring news- A good family friend actually happens to know the guy.
Also, my sister is apparently going to have a talk with the guy before they go informing him that it is to be a completely platonic trip.

My mom did chastise her for failing to mention to me that all these people knew him.

However, my sister is apparently annoyed at me, because I was the first person she called, and I wasn't even excited for her.

Sometimes my family role feels really damn thankless.

It is especially aggravating for this to be happening a week before I go to visit them. It saddens me that this whole incident has dampered my enthusiasm about going home.

Oh, and for inquiring minds (Wendy specifically), my sister and I live around a 10-12 hour drive apart, unfortunately, with my parents in a small town around 8 hours away from both of us. So I won't be able to meet this guy unless she spontaneously brings him home for Christmas. said...

Eeek. I'm on the same page as you with both the big sister hat (I have one younger sister) and the worrying. You sound like a great big sister. The recent developments help, but like you said - this is something to be cautious about.

mcgee said...

I totally feel you with the big sister hat. My younger sister went through a phase where I worried about her ability to face the real world every single day. Thankfully she's now 24 and survived and nowadays I feel that she's even more mature than me at times.

I hope everything works out and she gets back safe and sound. I read your updates and am glad the guy is sounding less creepy.

(On a side note, I know we frequent a lot of the same blogs and have been wanting to check yours out for awhile. Love it and will be back. =)

Jocelyn said...

You are too nice.


Maybe the tough lesson to come out of this is to just let your sister experience the consequences of her decisions.

I know that sounds preachy--and that's not how I mean it. But no one seems to appreciate your efforts here, so to avoid martyrdom, you should just say, "Okay, then. Got the message. I'm here if you need me, but you'll have to let me know."

It's such a tricky situation, and I'm really sorry it's thrown a pall over your feelings about going home.

You are a good person, chica.

eric1313 said...

Not so much fascinated as concerned--for you, as well as your sister.

Ant has a great point, about her playing with the whole idea of this trip like it's a romantic game.

I don't know her like you do, but I think she probably is of the "I'll be OK" mindset, which is all good and well until one realizes it's not up to them or their behavior, but the secret motives of others.

At least your mom got on her case about the failure to mention important details.

And isn't it funny that what concerns your sis the most is that you were not squealingly plussed over this? My sis would be the same way.

Rachel said...

I would also initially be very worried, and probably pissed off that she was so stubborn. You never know with people, no matter how many people "know" them.

But I hope it all turns out well, and maybe a fun story?

ana said...

Your sister is lucky to have you. Annoying as it may be, it is something I always wished for. a second better judgement by my side. You have every right to feel the way you do.

brandy said...

Yicks. As opposed to 'yikes' which was my first feeling. Yikes is meant more for when I'm scared, 'yicks' is more when I think the situation sucks. So yicks it is. I'm sorry that you are having to deal with this. But can I say (what I assume everyone else has already said but I've only read your two update comments and not everyone elses so I don't think about NOT leaving a comment because someone else has already said what I wanted to say) your sister is lucky to have you. Lucky, lucky, lucky.

I'm a big sister too, we should go for drinks sometime and discuss what it's like to have younger siblings who would be sometimes lost without us.

Ant said...

Hmmm, well despite more mitigating evidence that the guy is "ok", I still think the whole thing reeks.

You are right to be uneasy and I'm slightly fearful now that you're the only sane one in your family.

You're fighting the good fight.

Psychgrad said...

Definite red flags there...although I gave my older brother a similar headache in my less reasonable days. It's a whole blog story on its own, but I can't write it because my mom and R read my blog.

I agree with the anonymous comment posted earlier. Tell her to be very careful about what she takes back with her (including taking any of her friend's stuff). A young female is a clear target.

Larissa said...

Um, yes, I would be more than slightly concerned for your sister. Just know that you have the support of at least one other older sister here!

eric1313 said...

Good looking out for the blue update thing on top. It gets those one second visits to stay for thirty or so, at least.


All this for nothing! Damn, that's hilarious.

Somehow, this too, is exactly what my little sister would do, too.

It's like they were soul-twins or something.

Peace and love, Princess
take care.

Therapeutic Ramblings said... least she didn't make a mistake, only a slight lapse in judgment. Speaking of a lapse in judgment, now that she's single......Kidding!

Ultra Toast Mosha God said...

Clearly, I missed the boat on this one. I can see why she frustrates you. Dogbowl's behaviour conjures up the same feelings in me occasionally.

'She is a staunch vegetarian, yet went out on a date to a shooting range with a man she describes as dense.'


each of the two said...


OMG, this is exactly how stories start on the 5 oclock news

abject slavery!
religious cult abduction!

ok, aparently my big sister hat is more of a snowsuit onesey, with suction cups, and super glue.
frick, i hate it when my sisters are so dumb!
and they ENJOY doing it to us, notice how they always leave out pertenent info to make you worry more so as to "test" if we really trust them.

Whew, i am SO glad i didnt read this until AFTER update #3, Im completely freaked out by what COULD have happened.

Ant said...

Crap - blogger ate my comment.

Summed up: this is all good, she's safe, you're wiser. I'm nosey and would like to know what her reasons were once you've had the chat...

(And a good word ver. this time: "smeebbut").

Therapeutic Ramblings said...

blogger at my comment......HAHAHAHA. I am *so* stealing that!

Beth said...

Re: Update #3
Perhaps your sister was actually reaching out to you (and your father) to put a halt to the entire plan - needed your input, couldn't put the brakes on alone, etc.
So glad she's not going.

zura said...

Okay wow. First off, in the way it was presented to you by your breathless little sister, I was red flags all the way. That extra info would have been very helpful, sooner. I don't see how you're supposed to be happy for your little sister when she calls to essentially say "Hi, I'm off to an island with a strange man I met and I am completely dependent upon him for my safety and well-being." I have a younger sister too who is a bit similar, so I can sympathize.

But thank goodness on the followup info. Thank goodness.

Crushed by Ingsoc said...

Yes, you should be concerned.

He's after one thing.
And she will get hurt.

Eve said...

Thank god she's not going! I was having heart palpitations.

Sit her down and watch Brokedown Palace. Seriously. That is some scary stuff, and although that particular story isn't true, it's based on MANY true stories.

Whoa. You should try to talk her into seeing a therapist or something. There is something going on here on a deeper level that seems wilfully naive and might even be somewhat self-destructive. I hope I'm wrong, but whoa.

Mrs4444 said...

For some reason, this reminds me of a time when I was 18 and with a couple of friends on a roadtrip home from Florida. We met this guy on the CB Radio and agreed to stop at a truck stop AND GET IN HIS RIG to ride with him for a while. He was middle aged and turned out to be an okay guy, but when I look back on this, I have to wonder, "WHAT WERE WE THINKING!?!" Thankfully, it wasn't meant to be (your sister's trip). Now you can breathe.

Eve said...

I thought about it some. Maybe not willfully destructive, just naive. Ah well. Disaster averted.

eric1313 said...

Can we get Princess to 60 comments?

We shall see...

Thanks for your words, friend. They mean much and help greatly in the smile department.

Lisa said...

DUDE. How long was I gone? So much has happened since the last time I was here. Wasn't that just the other day? Haha. 59th comment! I'm glad things got sorted out with teh sister. The guy sounds creepy.

Abbey said...

I wonder if we share the same little sister. Except she picks fun places like Haitii and Africa to run off to to save the world. She worries me so and her parents seem to just support her in all of these little adventures. I'm glad to hear the trip fell through.

eric1313 said...

I know I wanna leave ya some love (like the prompt says ;), but I am so jealous! I've never had more than fifty eight comments! And that was with a healthy helping from myself in the answer department.