Does the sky seem gray? Does food not taste as good as it has before? If you feel you miss some indescribable something it is likely because you have not come to Marie Antoinette for advice. Use your computing machine to send her a letter at whatwouldmarieantoinettedo at gmail dot com and she will do her best in this space each Sunday.
I had a dinner party this weekend that I had planned many weeks in advance. It was a seated party with name cards and invitations sent. One couple in particular never RSVP’d or even answered my followup phone calls. When I bumped into the wife by sheer accident she mentioned they couldn’t possibly make it. The night of the dinner the husband showed. I was too shocked to tell him how I really felt and simply served him his dinner. However, their manners were atrocious and I’d like to know what I should have said to tell him so. What would your majesty have done?
-The Bristling Hostess
Outside of feudalism and garden-variety oppression, etiquette is one of the most effective ways to show how much better some people are compared to others. Refined people are not troubled by obstacles such as hunger or shelter and are free to worry about the delicacies of society, fine conversation and the proper way to address those one would rather not see again. Such were the challenges and struggles for courtiers in my day.
I say this not to belittle the wrong that has befallen you. Only to put it into context. Your friends are rude. Rudeness, sadly, is not a crime. If rudeness were a crime, the Bravo network would find its reality stars incarcerated. If rudeness were a crime, the courts could find a place for people who speak loudly on their cellphones as if they were styrofoam cups with string.
There is no manner police. Ladies do not exchange one rudeness with another. You acted appropriately, by serving your guest, and continuing the party for everyone’s enjoyment. Your recourse is to remember what you learned — that your friends are rude — and next time invite a more gallant couple in their stead.
What do you think? Did the Queen get it right? Post your thoughts in the comments.