What is Fashionably Late?
Each week, Miss Manners answers questions exclusively from the MSN audience on all of your etiquette dilemmas. (Have an issue you want help with? Send in a question today.) Read on for this week's hot topics:
DEAR MISS MANNERS,
What is fashionably late? Appropriately not present at the designated time, or just reasonably absent?
For me it it has always been "really" what is the big deal. Nobody - no-one wants to be the first to arrive--OMG do you have a life!!
Really who in the heck is watching the clock. Fifteen minutes is great for any event that you are attending.
I gave a party of about 60-70 people, and when the doorbell rang at 6:30 I thought somebody most be confused or that they did not get out too often. Who shows up at the exact time (nobody) of a party?
I have been married 25 years, and my husband is Mr. "on time"
every time, and I'm Mrs. "fashionably l8" and lord help him, he still is a little perplexed when we show up late. He still doesn't understand that I don't want to be on time "ever"--unless he is the MC, speaker/presenter or Chairman of the event.
I would really love to hear what you and others think about being fashionably late, not crazy late and you walking in like you are on time, there is a difference and I do respect that difference.
The question of fashionably late has never been really answered by you or by many so-called experts.
We so-called experts (thank you for that) see nothing charming in a concept designed to keep hosts waiting.
Furthermore, the idea that one should be ashamed of being the first to arrive is about as silly a concept as Miss Manners has ever heard. What if everyone felt that way?
What complicates the matter is that some events have leeway built into the arrival time. For a large stand-up party, you wouldn't want to have the entire crowd assembled on the porch at once. Arriving within half an hour of the stated time is reasonable.
For a dinner party, it is within a few minutes of the hour. Otherwise, the prompt guests kept will be condemned to long periods of drinking and trying to stave off hunger with snacks that will spoil their appetites. That this often happens is the fault of people who think as you do.
DEAR MISS MANNERS,
A friend of mine invited me to her house for dinner and I brought her a substantial dessert. When I arrived, she had homestay students. The hostess then took off with her boyfriend to run a quick errand which took two hours. She didn't cook anything before she left, and in fact served leftover restaurant food and takeout.
I sat around with the students and my friend's son, who did his best to be hospitable. After two hours of sitting with moody students who were playing video games and waiting for an absent hostess, I left.
Did I have a right to take back the expensive unopened dessert I brought?
Ordinarily, Miss Manners cannot condone taking back a present or repossessing a course that was planned for a cooperative meal. However, when the hostess leaves, you may consider that the dinner has been cancelled. Evidently the students thought so, as they made no attempt to socialize.
Yet Miss Manners is concerned about the poor embarrassed son, who was attempting to fill in. Couldn't you have consoled him with a taste of dessert?
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. They have two perfect children, of course.
To the second letter writer; a spoken or written thank-you to your young stand-in host would be a nice touch. Nothing designed to shame the absent hosts (though my knee-jerk reaction would state otherwise), but a heartfelt thanks for his time and thoughtfulness. Heaven knows such niceties in the younger generation should be encouraged at all costs.
On the topic of dinner invites--letter two sounds like her "host" wanted a baby sitting service. Unacceptable behavior. I would have taken back my dessert and rethink my friendship with this person.
more weekly columns
Plus, who pays for the prom when girl asks boy?
Plus, How do I ask someone to stop calling me?
Plus, How can I tell my parents that I want them to stay in a hotel when they come to visit?
Plus, how do I show interest in a crush?
Plus, how do I politely ask my family to stop imposing their religion on me?
Plus, once my friends get married and start having children, should I find new friends?
Plus, I don't want to recognize my husband's children's birthdays, etc. since they don't even thank me. Am I being unreasonable?
Plus, how do we deal with a couple who brings their precocious child to our adults only book club?
Plus, was I wrong to ask a dinner guest to stop cleaning and re-organizing my fridge?
Plus, am I wrong to throw a friend a baby shower for her fifth child?
Plus, how do I back out of a friend's bachelorette party?