Is it Acceptable for a Hostess to do Some Cleaning Throughout the Evening?
Each week, Miss Manners answers questions exclusivelyfrom the MSN audience on all of your etiquette dilemmas.(Have an issue you want help with? Send in a questiontoday.) Read on for this week's hot topics:
DEAR MISS MANNERS,
My husband and I love hosting gatherings at our house. And we are fortunate to have a house with a layout that is great for parties. The kitchen opens into the main entertainment area and has a large island.
My question concerns cleaning during gatherings. During our parties the island and sink frequently get crowded with dirty dishes. I don't feel right leaving them out in our guests' way, but I am also concerned that if I do some light clean up (just enough to keep the area reasonably tidy) that I will be unintentionally sending a signal to my guest to leave.
Is it best just to stack as many of the dishes in the sink as I can and pretend they aren't there until our guests leave? Or is it acceptable for the hostess to do some of the cleaning throughout the evening?
"Given the choice between a clean kitchen and the company of their hostess, Miss Manners hopes that your guests would choose the latter. However visible a kitchen is, it is considered backstage, and guests who gather there should not be shocked to encounter their own used dishes."
DEAR MISS MANNERS,
How would you react to not being invited to a close friend's wedding, due to their not-so-nice spouse???
I have grown up with the groom my whole life...and we are as near as you can get without being blood related. I have asked his fiancée if my husband and I were invited to the wedding, but she has never replied.
The groom, my friend, has no backbone when it comes to his fiancee. I am very hurt by this decision. What do I do?
"How about sending them a wedding present?
Miss Manners is not suggesting this as a way of embarrassing them into inviting you. You tried that, with the inquiry you made to the bride, whose silence may have been understandable surprise that anyone would ask such a forward question.
The reason for sending a present would be to show your goodwill toward you friend, and your good wishes for his happiness. Miss Manners dearly hopes that you will be able to develop both. Otherwise, your friend's backbone would be properly shown in sparing his bride the hostility you expressed here."
Judith Martin's latest book is No Vulgar Hotel: The Desire and Pursuit of Venice. She is also the author ofMiss Manners' Guide toExcruciatingly Correct Behavior(Freshly Updated). She and her husband, a scientist and playwright, live in Washington, D.C. Theyhave two perfect children, of course.
"your friend's backbone would be properly shown in sparing his bride the hostility you expressed here.""
WOW! For someone who's suppose to be a "manners" expert, you sure are a b!tch. I didn't read hostility in what she wrote, only confusion. Now back to our program.....
For the writer, don't you think it would have been better to ask your question of the groom? You know, the one who is suppose to actually be your "close friend"? Putting the bride on the spot is never a good idea. Just sayin'
SUGGESTION - Set up a plastic bin away from the common gathering area. Label it with a "DIRTY DISHES ONLY" sign. Let your guests deposit their dirty dishes there, contained and out of the way, so you can focus on having a good time with them (and not being the in-house maid service).
After the party you can easily transfer the dirty dishes to the dishwasher or sink. To make it even easier, if you have a rolling cart, set the bin on the cart, then all you have to do is roll the cart over to the dishwasher or sink for transfer. Easy peasy.
I have a small galley kitchen, so dirty dishes at a party is always a problem, so this method has always worked well for me. Also, it helps with stopping the well meaning guest from trying to help you by doing the dishes for you.
Neither you, or your guests should be doing the dishes at this time. After all, it is a party!
Oh my gosh he's pussy whipped! and doesn't deserve this friendship. no new person should ever be placed before your friends who have been there for you and if the new person in your life can't accept others in your life before them then it's time to reconsider. so-called loves come and go and are easily replaced but not good friends.
more weekly columns
Miss Manners advises on how to respond when one gets unsolicited advice about weight issues.
Editor's note: We will now be publishing Miss Manners articles twice weekly, but you will only see one question and answer per article. You can expect to see these articles appear on Tuesdays and Thursdays going forward.
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