Ask the Queen: Dealing with rude dinner party guests

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.

Do not waste a dessert table with butterflies on people who cannot bother to RSVP. (For this and other charming dinner party pics, go to http://dancingbranflakes.blogspot.com/2010/12/dinner-parties.html)

My Queen,
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

Dear Bristling,

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.

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7 thoughts on “Ask the Queen: Dealing with rude dinner party guests

  1. Marie Arden Pink Living says:

    I totally agree and those that can’t bother to respond especially for a seated dinner party should not be asked again. If people did this the rude people would eventually be sitting at home alone and maybe just maybe it would dawn on them why no one is asking them to social functions any longer.

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  2. Myrmicat Forever says:

    I am amazed that the chap turned up by himself. That suggests to me that there has been a miscommunication somewhere. I can’t believe that a chap would voluntarily miss the opportunity to watch a cricket match or one of the many varieties of football game to go to a dinner party on his own. That is simply not the way of a fellow. I suspect the wife agreed to RSVP the request, forgot to tell the husband and lo and behold – there he is. I rule out an argument between husband and wife, resulting in the former leaving the house because surely he would end up at the bar. It is all very curious and makes me want to watch an Ashes Test match just to ground myself.

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    • mistressoftheblog says:

      All good points, Myrmicat. Men don’t usually find their way places on their own (when a sports arena is not involved, that is). You make a good point. At the very least, the couple in question should invest in a notepad for returning calls or a calendar to remember social engagements.:)

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  3. Charlie says:

    I had 2 couples for dinner tonight, one couple precious the other , well he took so much of the potato salad there was hardly any left by the time it got to me ( i cooked a special shrimp plate for him Because he is Vegetarian) then after dinner we all resided to the living room and during conversation he whistled off and on and then had his feet ( shoes on ) on my pine coffee table what do you think of this behaviour?

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    • mistressoftheblog says:

      Your friend seems like quite the character. he’s likely not the type who performs well at dinner parties. Keep him in mind instead for your next trip to the circus or the lab where he can be tested thoroughly and spend your dinners with those who can behave properly.

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