MISS MAN­NERS

Antelope Valley Press (Sunday) - - Numbers Game - By Ju­dith Mar­tin, Ni­cholas Ivor Mar­tin and Jacobina Mar­tin

Dear Miss Man­ners: I just hosted a New Year’s party for my close circle of friends. First, let me say that we had a fab­u­lous time, and it was the per­fect way to ring in the new year. But as I was clean­ing up, it oc­curred to me that most ev­ery­thing I bought for the party was still here.

The in­vi­ta­tion stated that I would pro­vide wine, beer, mix­ers, gar­nishes and desserts, and in­vited guests to bring one ap­pe­tizer and any other bev­er­age they might pre­fer. Most brought their own wine, some brought their own desserts, and some brought sev­eral things.

There­fore, there was way too much food left over, and most of what I had pro­vided in the way of wine, beer and desserts re­mained un­touched. I can’t help but think of the un­nec­es­sary ex­pense — some­thing I dis­like along with ex­cess. So, am I be­ing too un­re­al­is­tic ex­pect­ing peo­ple to fol­low what I thought were clear in­struc­tions?

Dear Gen­tle Reader: If you want to as­sert the host’s priv­i­lege of con­trol­ling the menu, the way to do so is to pro­vide all the re­fresh­ments. It is not by or­der­ing take-out from your guests, as if this were a co­op­er­a­tive party that you had all agreed upon giv­ing to­gether.

Miss Man­ners re­al­izes that such de­mands are of­ten made. It has got­ten to where other hosts com­plain that guests of­ten show up with un­re­quested food and in­sist upon it be­ing served, thus sab­o­tag­ing the host’s ef­forts. (Miss Man­ners ad­vises them to ac­cept these of­fer­ings as pre­sents for their fu­ture use, and whisk them out of sight.)

But you should realize that to so­licit of­fer­ings is to cede con­trol. Peo­ple will then bring what they find eas­i­est or they want to con­sume them­selves. And many of them tell Miss Man­ners that they are not thrilled to ac­cept an in­vi­ta­tion only to find that it is, as you worded it, an in­vi­ta­tion to con­trib­ute to the larder.

Dear Miss Man­ners: I co-hosted a busi­ness func­tion, an “ap­pre­ci­a­tion din­ner” for about 50 of our cus­tomers. The in­vi­tees wore tra­di­tional of­fice at­tire, as did I. The in­vi­ta­tions did not spec­ify dress.

To my dis­may, my male co-host ar­rived in a tuxedo. I know this was ob­vi­ously im­proper, but as my co-host is also my su­pe­rior, I had no idea how to han­dle the sit­u­a­tion. While I re­al­ized he looked like a boob, my con­cern was what to say when asked by sev­eral guests, “Oh, am I un­der­dressed? Is this black tie?”

In most in­stances, this was said with a laugh, so I didn’t know if they were shar­ing the joke, or if they were truly un­com­fort­able in think­ing that they had un­der­dressed.

Is there some­thing I could have said? I know my su­pe­rior thought him­self quite the dandy, so I know it will hap­pen again next year. All I had to of­fer them was a rather lame, “You look just great! Can I get you some­thing to drink?”

Dear Gen­tle Reader: Try as she will, Miss Man­ners can think of no way you can res­cue some­one who is de­ter­mined to dress im­prop­erly: “Oh, it’s just that his New Year’s Eve party went on rather long and he didn’t have time to change”?

Ad­dress your eti­quette ques­tions to Miss Man­ners at her web­site, www.miss­man­ners. com; to her email, dearmiss­man­[email protected] com; or through postal mail to Miss Man­ners, An­drews Mcmeel Syn­di­ca­tion, 1130 Wal­nut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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