Whatever happened to Emily Post? Back in the day- (and I realize “the day” was a while back, and things have changed) society lived by a set of rules, known as etiquette. The rules for how we conducted ourselves was large. About 2 or 3 inches thick as I recall. There were details in it that didn’t really make a rats ass of difference in most people’s lives. How to properly seat people at a dinner party. Leaving a calling card when visiting. When and how to use obscure pieces of flatware. Those things probably won’t change our lives, at least life in todays’ society one bit.
But, there are still some rules of etiquette that SHOULD and could be implemented.
I probably entertain more than any 10 women put together. And I am amazed each and every time that an invitation goes out, just how rude people can be. (Sorry, just have to call it like it is!) I do realize that many people don’t entertain in their homes, and may not realize the amount of work that goes into it. Perhaps THAT is the excuse. WHATEVER the excuse, I’d like to share a few easy rules for being a guest in someone’s home, which just may get you invited back.
Just take the time to RSVP for the love of God! It’s not that difficult! I absolutely can’t believe the people who never respond in any way. No yes, no no, no maybe! Come on people! If you don’t want to go, can’t stand the host, would rather pull lint out of your belly-button, or lice off of your significant other- JUST LET THE PERSON WHO ASKED YOU KNOW YOU WON’T BE THERE. No. A simple no. Nowadays, other than a wedding invitation, most of your invitations can be responded to via email, response to evite, or via text. JUST TAKE A FRICKIN’ MINUTE TO LET THE HOST OR HOSTESS KNOW YOUR INTENTIONS!
The “Maybe” response……. I understand the Maybe response- if your daughter is due to give birth sometime the 3rd week of January, so your response is “As long as we aren’t on our way to Nebraska, due to Janie’s impending birth.” That’s a good reason for a maybe. Absolutely. It’s the “maybe’s” that make the hostess feel like you are just waiting to see if something better comes up which really piss me off. Look, if you can’t give a definite YES, I’d like to be there, because you really DON’T want to be there, give a resounding NO, and move on. If you have to see what your work schedule is, and they don’t let you know until the Tuesday of the event…… OK on that. But just maybe, a maybe that, once again looks like you are waiting to see if possibly Angelina Jolie is going to invite you over for drinks, but… if she doesn’t, you might show up are rude….. just plain rude…..
I think that California is particularly prone to this. Everyone wants to wait until the last moment to commit, fearing they might miss something better. As Bon Qui Qui would say. RUDE!
I recently had a big party for my 60th birthday. I rented a room, had a band, and had it catered. I BEGGED people, via Evite to just let me know whether or not they were coming. In the end, there were 60 people who never responded one way or the other. That could be up to 120 people who may- or may not be there. Kind of a BIG difference when you are paying to cater something.
I entertain enough to know what the average response rate is, and I had my numbers within 5 people of who actually DID attend. But SERIOUSLY? If I didn’t entertain on almost a weekly basis, I wouldn’t have had any idea how many people to tell the caterer to plan on.
2. HOSTESS GIFTS
I think it is really thoughtful when people bring a hostess gift for the hostess. You definitely deserve Kudos for the thoughtfulness. Can I give you a hint on what NOT to bring for said hostess gift. 2 items I suggest you forget about bringing to a hostess. (Keep in mind- I’m the girl who has held about 10 events in the past 3 months). PLEASE, rethink the bottle of wine, and cut flowers. At one of my housewarming parties a few years ago I received over 30 bottles of wine. As a single woman who rarely drinks wine, and then, only white wine ( and, I’ll admit it- shit white wine at that), there was not a chance I was going to ever drink that much wine, not to mention, be able to store it. Can I just say…… IT IS UNIMAGINATIVE! It’s boring. It’s the easy way out, and most likely, it’s wine some other unimaginative, boring person gave YOU! Come up with something that the hostess might really be able to use. It’s simple. It’s more fun. And it says you really care.
The other item to stop bringing…… cut flowers that need to be put in a vase. The last thing in the world a hostess has time to do when a slew of people are walking in her door is figure out where a damned vase that will fit your flowers is! AND, if her cupboard where vases are stored is where my vase cupboard has been in all my previous homes, it is 6 feet up, above the oven, and they are stacked in there in such a way that opening it may be life threatening. DON’T DO THIS TO THE WOMAN WHO JUST MADE YOU A MEAL! Either bring a plant that is in a ready-to-go container, a flowering plant or flowers in a vase. Don’t add stress to the woman who just put this event together. It’s stressful to figure out what to do with a bouquet of flowers when so much is going on!
You might wonder, what in the world you are supposed to being a hostess if not wine and flowers? Bring something seasonal. An ornament or decoration if it’s the holiday season. A pretty fall accessory. An orchid or other flowering plant which can be set down and dealt with later. If you know the hostess has a passion for something, bring something that speaks to that. A friend recently brought the cutest little mug set to a party I gave. One said “The Queen of Damn Near Everything.” The other “The King of Whatever’s Left.” Something for both Don and I, that said she’d thought about it! Another friend brought a lovely orchid. For about 8 weeks, I had blooms that made me think of her. Neither cost more that most bottles of wine, I’m sure! But they spoke volumes to me when I received them.
3. DON’T BRING A GUEST WITHOUT TELLING THE HOST
I am probably the most “more the merrier” person in the world. Unless I’m putting on an event that can only have a specific number of people for a good reason, I always say “bring whoever you want.” HOWEVER, if you do that, can you PLEASE clue the hostess in that someone she may not know will be arriving?
On more than one occasion I have been in my home at a party and see someone I don’t know, enjoying food and drink. It is very awkward to walk up to a person in your home, and inquire who they are, and how they got there! It’s really not that tough to clue the hostess in that you have brought a friend, and introduce you, or to tell her your friend may be stopping by. COME ON PEOPLE- should we have to tell you this shit?
4. DON’T WHINE IF YOU AREN’T INVITED TO SOMETHING.
As a host or hostess, we can’t invite ALL of the people ALL of the time. I have had numerous occasions where, at a smaller gathering I haven’t invited someone that might come to other gatherings I have. When you are having a sit-down luncheon for example, only a certain number of people can fit at the table.
DON’T BE THE PERSON WHO GETS ALL BUTT HURT BECAUSE YOU WEREN’T INVITED!
I can’t begin to tell you the many times I’ve seen people getting all up in arms because someone had an event and they weren’t invited to go! GET OVER IT! We aren’t in 3rd grade. We can’t always invite every damned person we know, AND….. I’ll bet those of you who get all butt hurt NEVER INVITE THOSE SAME PEOPLE TO YOUR HOUSE! It’s always the ones who want to be invited to every damned thing who never invite others to their house! They typically don’t entertain, yet they WANT to be entertained!
Take a look at your social skills people! Are you being a good guest? Taking time to RSVP? Inviting your favorite hostess to your house now and then? Remember your mother’s old saying, “To have a good friend you need to BE a good friend!”
We are all adults here. Let’s look back at some of Emily Posts rules, and take a bit of time to follow some of them. You will be glad you did! (And so will the hostess who invited you!)