Never Slam Someone’s Family Members or Romantic Partners

The brutal truth can ruin a friendship

Christine Schoenwald
6 min readSep 2, 2022


Mabel Amber, who will one day from Pixabay

If Marcel’s partner, Ritchie, was only a sloppy drunk, I could have tolerated him.

But drinking to excess turned out to be Ritchie’s most endearing quality.

Ritchie was always dialed up to twenty, loud and obnoxious. He treated Marcel like crap with snide insults and obvious hookups with other men.

Marcel loved Ritchie, and if I wanted to spend time with Marcel, Ritchie was part of the equation.

Don’t you hate it when your friends are involved with awful people, and there’s nothing you can do about it?

I couldn’t stand Marcel when I first met him.

We’d both started working at the bank around the same time, and I thought he was full of himself and pompous.

He was a tall, robust, professional opera singer who wore brightly patterned sweaters and could read you like the best drag queens out there.

We realized the two of us had bigger aspirations than rising to the ranks of the bank, and we bonded over being struggling artists in a financial workplace.

He wasn’t pompous; he was whip-smart and knew everything about classical music. Not only could he sing like an angel, but he also baked like one.

Every year for my birthday, Marcel baked me two cakes.

Let me repeat, he didn’t make me a platter of boxed brownies or buy me a grocery store sheet cake, and I’m not knocking those; he made me a special cake from scratch — two of them.

Marcel’s cakes were professional-level confections. Mary Berry of The Great British Bake-Off would have called them “Scrummy.”

It would take a stronger woman than me to hate on someone who made me two cakes.



Christine Schoenwald

Writer for The Los Angeles Times, Salon, Next Avenue, Business Insider, and Your Tango