Oh no! Not in my house
President Obama recently made news. Well, he always makes the news. Let me start over. Recently, a group of individuals were invited to attend the White House. They were specifically invited to attend because of LGBT month celebration. Then one of the guests started heckling him. He was not about to have it when he reminded the heckler that they were in his house. Of course, his house is the people’s house. And of course, as an activist myself I sympathize with wanting to further one’s cause and screaming to the top of one’s lungs to do so. However, when you are a guest in someone’s house you need to show some respect.
I have had several incidents where I have wondered where people’s sense of decorum and manners have gone. I once labored to cook for a group of friends. I never cook. Thus me cooking was really something really, really special. I could have just ordered out as I tend to do very well. Yet, I cooked and cleaned. Then, they came and we laughed and told stories. One of them got up and circled about my place and flippantly noted “oh you have dust balls behind on the corner as well. I hate when my in-laws point it out when they come over.” She went on to pick up dust with her fingers and note where i had missed the dust I obviously had cleaned up elsewhere. I went into a full rage in my mind and could not believe she had the gall to say and do that. I never invited her again but because I am a good hostess whose goal is to make guests feel comfortable I did not call her out. Now that I look back at that, I think I should have pulled an Obama and called her out. I should have noted no, not in my house and “Listen you’re in my house … it’s not respectful.”
But why do we have to remind people to be respectful in other people’s homes? Over a month ago, I had a very important business meeting I was hosting at my agency. It was a do or die type of business meeting for which I had prepared a whole week for. I had everything planned out perfectly. The business colleague arrived on time and we proceeded to host them. Then all of a sudden, two individuals that I had never met came right into the conference room, sat down and took out their notebooks. I looked at one and asked “excuse, who are you and what are you doing here?” He looked at me like I was crazy and said who he was and that his boss had sent him to observe my meeting and he then pointedly asked who I was. I answered ” I am the boss here. This is my house and I did not invite you.” It was one of the most galling situations I had ever seen and experienced. He was thoroughly offended at my statement that I did not invite him and after 20 minutes they left. They thought I was a rude New Yorker. I thought they were rude, period. That was my house and they came in uninvited.
I have had people come by my house and break plates accidentally. That is fine. I understand accidents happen. But those same individuals just shrug it off as accidents happen. Yes, they do but you can show a bit more concern. Maybe even help clean it up.
Is etiquette out the window? Has our constant social media stream made it that coming by someone’s house is no longer seen as a special occurrence? I remember when getting an invite to someone’s home was a special thing. I still view it that way. However, sadly, not everyone does anymore. How can we make it be viewed as a grand gesture again? I am left to ponder that question as I consider hosting several house warming parties for my new place.
Maybe I will put up a tip bar with a sign that says “remember to tip your hostess with kindness“