Tips For How To Be The Worst Hostess

by admin on February 28, 2011

It’s been over a year since I attended this baby shower which was a train wreck from beginning to end. I hope that I can remember all of the details to convey the horror we experienced over the hostess’ behavior.

I went through a training class at my current place of employment. After getting out of the training class, we were all divided up and sent to various pre-established units throughout the building, as that is the way that our office is organized. It is a well known custom in the office that small bridal and baby showers are thrown for employees by the members of their unit, which are generally nice little potluck affairs.  People bring a small gift (a pack of baby onesies from target, etc) and it’s a modest celebration that doesn’t put anyone out too much and allows everyone to use a little extra company time to socialize than their lunch break would normally allow.

A few months after we separated into units, one of our fellow trainees, “Melissa,” had found out she was pregnant. We knew she was struggling with this revelation as she had just recently moved to our city after separating from her husband, who we had already learned had not been the best of fathers or husbands. One of the girls from our training class, “Cassie,” told us all that she knew that Melissa didn’t have friends or family close by, and because of this would like to throw a baby shower for her and invite all of the former trainees and a few of Melissa’s friends. Even though I had always found Cassie to be a bit abrasive, I thought it was a sweet gesture for her to go above and beyond the normal office-standard so that we could possibly get Melissa some of the bigger items that we knew it would be difficult for her to afford one her own (we all were hired at the same modest salary, and I still don’t know how she stretches that for her and the two kids she already has). I and several of the girls from the office told Cassie we would love to attend, just let us know when and where.

Cassie let us know when and where – and how much. She told us that it was to take place at one of the swankier uptown clubs – think country club inside of a sky scraper – where she used to work. We were all to get $25 dollars to her for the cost of our meals. I was taken aback that Cassie was “hosting” a party we were all supposed to pay for. She also told us that she couldn’t afford alcohol, but if anyone else wanted she would “sneak some white wine in.” I didn’t think it was appropriate for the other guests to be drinking when the guest of honor clearly couldn’t, but again kept my opinions to myself.  Cassie proceeded to tell us over the next two months how she was planning so much for the party and how she “didn’t know planning a baby shower took this much effort.”

Well, apparently her version of planning a baby shower and mine are different. Her planning, as became apparent, meant buying a pair of hooker platform heels online along with a short brown patterned dress with a puffy red crinoline which showed off way too much of her assets. As soon as I and the other coworkers got there, we saw her standing with a hand on her hip, other hand poised with a full wine glass which she proclaimed was her “third of the morning.” And when she was getting her hair and nails professionally done (for a baby shower?) she shared with us that they had been generous with the “flirtinis”. She then shared with us some “bad news.” Apparently, she had banned the guest of honor from bringing her children and told her she needed to find a sitter. How a single mother of modest resources and new to the city is supposed to find a sitter for Saturday afternoon is unknown to me, but apparently Melissa had found one; however, the sitter had backed out two weeks before the shower and Melissa had been unable to secure a new one. Cassie shared with us how peeved she was Melissa didn’t have a back up sitter and that it took “some nerve” to bring her kids to this event as she was supposedly about to do.

Once we were all assembled, Cassie took another gulp of wine and, after scanning the room with a critical eye, announced  that we all “better remember this” when she gets pregnant. We then served ourselves awkwardly from a few nice looking platters of sandwiches and fruit (which did not look to be $25 worth). There were no games and the hostess made no efforts to introduce people or get conversation started – she simply sat back with her nose in the air, waiting for people to talk with her and shooting disdainful looks at Melissa’s energetic children. They may have been a little more active then I would normally have liked, but were clearly providing the only entertainment.

After the meal and forced conversation were over, we encouraged Melissa to open her gifts. Cassie just stared at her, and so another of Melissa’s friends (thankfully realizing Cassie would be no help) whipped out some extra paper and a pen and offered to keep track of names/gifts. Melissa graciously thanked everyone for their gifts.  Cassie looked unimpressed and shot a few more angry looks at the children. Melissa opened Cassie’s gift which was supposedly some really nice, obscure baby related item. Melissa thanked Cassie for it as graciously as she had thanked all the other guests for their contributions, but Cassie looked (and later confirmed at work, several times), like she thought her gift deserved far more praise.  At last we moved on to the cake which Cassie made a point of letting everyone know that she had paid $70 for – I don’t think I’ll forget that fact as long as I live. I nibbled on my cake and, after a few pictures were snapped, got out of there as fast as I could.

Next Monday, Cassie made it clear she felt that Melissa’s children had ruined the party and she couldn’t believe that Melissa had never purchased her a hostess gift. For my part, I received a lovely thank you note for my gift within a week. Since this shower Cassie had a mental breakdown at work and moved out of state to be close to her parents. I’ve heard she’s expecting a little boy this summer, and I just wonder who has had the honor of planning her shower. 0224-11

{ 62 comments… read them below or add one }

Bint February 28, 2011 at 5:15 am

The last two sentences lost me all sympathy with the OP. Cassie may have been a horror, but telling a story against a girl you KNOW had a mental breakdown not long afterwards is just nasty. Given the short time frame, this is a big red flag that Cassie was already unwell or under major strain. The final sentence is also unnecessary.

Without the breakdown, Cassie is a piece of work, but with that in the picture…have some compassion. I’m pretty sure most of the shower guests have linked her bad behaviour and her breakdown together, and the chances of their being related are just too high to ignore.

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QueenofAllThings February 28, 2011 at 6:52 am

Certainly it can be considered rude for a hostess to over indulge in alcohol or to give the guest of honor “angry looks”, but since when is it rude to buy a new outfit or get your nails done?

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karma February 28, 2011 at 6:59 am

I think when we see people doing stuff like this that it behooves us to tell them plainly, “Cassie, I’m all for a shower, but I’m not going to pony up $25 to attend. If you want to have a normal shower here, great. If not, count me out.” Either that or just say, “Oh. I’m afraid I won’t be available to attend.”

With folks like Cassie, it’s okay to let them know in a civil way that they are planning something that you cannot be a part of. How you do so depends on whether it’s their personal event or one being planned on behalf of you and others. In your case, I’d have been very forthright because she seemed to believe herself to be planning on behalf of a department.

Unless you are super young (without a lot of life experience), there’s no reason to be held hostage to an event that gives you the shivers.

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josie February 28, 2011 at 7:35 am

I think Cassie missed the memo that stated Melissa was to be the guest of honor and not Cassie. She really could use some help with her hostessing skills, or lack there of.

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Kovitlac February 28, 2011 at 8:00 am

@ Bint: To be fair, you don’t know how close or how far apart the events took place. The OP states that the bad baby shower happened “over a year ago,” and that the breakdown only occured sometime after that. It could have been up to a year later for all we know. Maybe her parents or another relatie died, and it has absolutely nothing to do with the baby shower. I just think it’s unfair to judge the OP unless all the facts are provided.

Frankly, I find Cassie’s behavior truly appalling, breakdown or no breakdown. I feel terrible for the expectant mother, and I hope everything turned out well for her in the end.

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kero February 28, 2011 at 8:46 am

@ QueenofAllThings-
I don’t think it’s rude at all to buy new clothes/get a mani for an event, however I think the OP meant to comment on how inappropriate Cassie’s choice of clothing was for a baby shower.

Urgh, Cassie sounds horrible and self centered…..and she expects “high end” treatment for her baby shower in return?! Haha! Melissa sounds like an utterly gracious sweetheart, I really hope the baby shower did not cause her breakdown!!
On a side note OP, I’ve learned that while dining in any swanky place, the simplest things will cost more than it’s worth (house salad for example). Also depends if she rented a room or not, and for a large party, I’m sure gratuity is already included to an expensive bill.

I really wished someone stepped up to say No to her idea, but live and learn.

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Bint February 28, 2011 at 9:03 am

Kovitlac: so it’s unfair to judge the OP without all the facts, but OK to judge Cassie as ‘truly appalling’ when we don’t have all the facts there either? Mental breakdowns can take years to come to the fore.

Even if they aren’t linked, this girl has had a dreadful time of it since. This reminds me of the story here once about a total witch at work who then died of a brain tumour. Whatever Cassie did, she’s had a horrific experience afterwards that would certainly stop me telling anyone what a cow she was a year earlier. I’d just feel awful doing that after what she’s gone through, and I actually wonder why the OP thought to mention it, especially given her rather snide final sentence. She had a breakdown! Wonder who’s planning HER shower?

What would you think of a colleague telling you what a cow someone was about a shower, when you’re thinking, “Hang on, wasn’t she that poor girl who had a breakdown?”

Coming on an etiquette board, I find this in poor taste.

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Mary February 28, 2011 at 9:21 am

A hostess gift? The guest of honor is supposed to give the hostess a hostess gift according to Cassie? Then I am very guilty of a major faux paus for the 2 bridal showers I received and the one baby shower! I thought thanking them verbally and sending them a nice thank you note for the party and for their gift was sufficient.

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bookworm February 28, 2011 at 9:34 am

This shower had been in the planning for MONTHS, why didn’t anybody SAY anything to Cassie when she started making all these swanky plans?

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Just Laura February 28, 2011 at 9:44 am

I’m going to side with the OP here.
I think that Cassie was probably telling (bragging?) to everyone about how much she paid for this and that (her nails, her new outfit, her gift, the site-fee, etc) so yes, I can see how this would rub the OP the wrong way. Is it wrong to get one’s nails done for a baby shower? No, but it’s wrong to flash them in everyone’s face.
At any point she could have said, “no, I don’t want to attend this shower,” but she believed that Melissa needed one to help with expenses.

I’ve never heard of a hostess gift outside of bringing a bottle of wine to a dinner party. Certainly no one has given me a hostess gift.

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Daisy February 28, 2011 at 9:55 am

For activities such as bridal and baby showers for workplace acquaintances, I always decline those that are going to be held off-site and outside of work hours. There’s just too much opportunity for hard feelings, and you have to work with these people afterwards. I buy a nice gift and give it to the guest of honour beforehand, apologizing that I’m unable to attend her event. That way I don’t slight anyone, and there’s no chance of getting sucked into the fallout that occurs when Janie from Accounting gets two martinis on board and calls Judy from HR something rude because she’s firting with that new guy in Sales.

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A February 28, 2011 at 10:09 am

@Daisy-LOL, love the imaginary scenario!

It sounds like Cassie might have been one of those people who puts too much pressure on herself for things to be “just so”-hence the high standards for the location and price of the baby shower and, possibly, the subsequent break down.

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Caper February 28, 2011 at 10:16 am

The guest of honor was expected to bring a hostess gift .. what ? I think this was a party for Cassie herself, and barely about Melissa. Melissa was used as an excuse to throw a party, I think.

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Michelle P February 28, 2011 at 10:24 am

@Daisy, you’ve got the right idea. Cassie sounded like a prissy nut from the getgo, the breakdown later confirmed it. No, that’s not a joking matter, but the OP didn’t try to make it sound funny. Honestly, people like Cassie are the ones who usually give others breakdowns.

I’ve struggled with depression and high anxiety for years, so I know the seriousness of what Cassie may have gone through, and I still didn’t get offended by this.

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Saucygirl February 28, 2011 at 10:27 am

While cassie shouldn’t have thrown the shower expecting a hostess gift, and she definitely shouldn’t have complained to others about not receiving one, I do think they should be given. I think the the time, effort and expense of throwing someone bridal and baby showers should be acknowledged and appreciation should be shown. It doesn’t have to be expensive.

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AS February 28, 2011 at 10:42 am

I wonder if Cassie used the money she collected from the other guests to pay for her nail and outfit.

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Molly February 28, 2011 at 11:02 am

You can be mentally unstable and not be a selfish, ill-mannered pain in the neck. Connecting the events seems a little short-sighted given that we know NOTHING else about this woman, her life and her mental health history. It was only mentioned as an explanation for why she no longer works there.

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Bint February 28, 2011 at 12:07 pm

I’m not using the breakdown to say I think Cassie wasn’t badly behaved.

I’m using it to point out that whatever she did at the shower has been far outweighed by what she’s suffered since, and that maybe the OP could show a bit of thought. Doesn’t anyone remember Ehell Dame’s video on exactly this only a couple of weeks ago? Maybe Cassie was going through hell at that time and it later bubbled over into her breakdown. Certainly something went very badly wrong for her not that long afterwards. It’s just a maybe, but I’m surprised everyone’s shunned this to slag her stupid for being a pain at a shower.

I wish Cassie a full recovery.

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Bint February 28, 2011 at 12:15 pm

I’m not explaining this well, so a final post – how you would feel slagging Cassie for her behaviour if instead of a breakdown she had later developed cancer?

Yes, they’re unrelated. Still feel ok slating her about that shower? I don’t.

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Abigail February 28, 2011 at 12:48 pm

Wow! Cassie doesn’t sound like she should be planning parties for other people. I don’t really understand what is wrong with some wine at a baby shower though. I have been to baby showers with wine and sometimes the mother to be had a glass also. I don’t see why this is rude.

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Rug Pilot February 28, 2011 at 1:35 pm

This Cassie appears to be an alcoholic. Her behaviour is typical of someone in the full blown stages. I suspect her mental breakdown is an alcoholic episode that involved intervention somewhat like those we see in Lindsay Lohan.

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Elizabeth February 28, 2011 at 1:44 pm

@Bint- I know this will make me sound horrible, but if she had cancer instead of a breakdown I think it would be ok to slate her about the shower. In fact, I think cancer would make her sound like more of a witch (in this instance) than a breakdown does.
Then again, I don’t see why the breakdown is relevant to the story unless it is a way to explain the behavior. Like, “OMG! This lady was so rude! But it turned out she wasn’t completely together so it may explain some of her behavior away.” Unfortunately, I read it more as a dig, “The stupid b— got what was coming to her.” It was more than likely unnecessary to the story and very catty.

As for the meat of the story, I get where OP is coming from. At least, I think I do. Cassie was dressing trampy to a baby shower (not bacherlorette party) she was hosting. Then she tells the other guests they had to help pay instead of asking if they could contribute. And the final straw is telling the guest of honor that her children are not welcome. I would have declined having a shower thrown if I was forced to find a sitter. I know baby showers can be kid friendly and kid free, but if a kid free shower is not feasible then planning should have accommodated it.

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Ashley February 28, 2011 at 1:59 pm

1) It is not uncommon to buy new outfits for such events. However, Cassie should have considered an outfit that was more suited to a baby shower than to a strip club.

2) I don’t think I have ever been to a baby shower that didn’t have a herd of children running around, so I am truly confused as to why Melissa would have to hire a sitter to attend her own baby shower. If it had anything to do with the venue, I don’t get why the party was not held in a more child friendly place?

3) I am used to alcohol being at family gatherings, but never ever in excess. Out of the 50some extended relatives that turn up at family events, only a handful of them drink, and they usually pass around ONE bottle of wine. Baby showers included, but once again, NEVER in excess. So the fact that there was alcohol present does not bother me, it is Cassie’s obvious over consumption of the alcohol that does.

4) If Cassie is hosting, Cassie pays. Period.

5) The rest of it just makes Cassie seem like an egomaniac. The gesture of throwing a coworker a shower in a slightly scary new place where she has no other contacts yet was sweet, and if done right could be a great thing that built lasting friendships. However, staring down her nose and acting like she deserved more attention than the guest of honor was just uncalled for.

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Fox February 28, 2011 at 2:35 pm

@QueenofAllThings
I think the OP’s point was that Cassie was acting as though her manicure, new outfit, etc were all part of her hosting duties, which she was frequently complaining about being so much effort. Since she clearly didn’t plan any party games, the planning seemed to come down to booking the place, arranging food, and ordering a cake. Not really two months worth of work IMO… And I can not stand when people volunteer to do something and then complain about it and act like a martyr. Ugh.

In situations like these, I feel like someone needs to step up and have the guest of honour’s back. As soon as the coworkers found out about Cassie’s choice of venue, red flags should have gone up. When she informed me that I was to chip in, I would have taken the opportunity to suggest having the shower somewhere a little more modest, given our salaries. I can understand not wanting to host it in your home if you are short on time for prep/food/cleanup, but choosing somewhere expensive and informing everyone else that they are to “pay their way” is just rude.

I’m quite shocked at her behaviour towards the GoH’s kids, and even the OP says they were a “little more active” than she would have liked. Um.. they’re children! Who in their right mind thinks kids would enjoy themselves with a bunch of adults at a “swanky upscale club”? I feel so bad for the GoH and her kids. Cassie was very rude to try to force the GoH into not bringing her kids and I doubt she made any accommodations for them, even as much as a kid’s menu. For an event which is about *celebrating the arrival of a child*, the assumption that the mother-to-be’s other kids 1. aren’t welcome or 2. should be seen and not heard at the shower is appalling to me. I have no desire to have kids, but in the GoH’s situation, where the kids had just been separated from their father and all, I would want them to be a part of the shower. This could have been planned so much better, with games to keep the kids engaged, but Cassie obviously was more concerned with what she thought was appropriate than what the GoH might like.

Good on the GoH for being so gracious, especially after Cassie announced the price of the cake. I would likely have died of abject mortification at that point.

I also think the breakdown is completely unrelated – no amount of stress entitles you to be that selfish and clueless. It may have contributed to her volunteering to plan the party, but I doubt it affected how she went about it. But I do think, especially since it’s unrelated, that it’s a personal issue that probably should not have been mentioned. I suppose the OP just wanted to show how high-strung Cassie was, but it’s really none of our business.

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Another Laura February 28, 2011 at 2:51 pm

@ Abigail: I definately have a problem with an expectant mother consuming ANY alcohol. There is no safe amount for the tiny baby inside. That being said, if the hostess has the OK from mom-to-be that alcohol be served, and a suitable alternative is provided for her and others who don’t care to imbibe, then fine. Although, even then, it seems that you wouldn’t really care to have people intoxicated at a baby shower.

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jennifer February 28, 2011 at 3:09 pm

Bint- I think you’re reaching quite a bit. Just let it go seriously.

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SHOEGAL February 28, 2011 at 3:16 pm

If this were truly a party just for Melissa – the sole purpose of the party was only to collect some of the items that she needed for the new baby. Why did it need to be hosted at a swankier uptown club??? Cassie was not hosting this event – she just took the “office standard” to a new level and expected that her coworkers would still foot the bill – and somewhere along the way lost sight that it was shower for Melissa. Cassie convinced herself that it was a fun party she put together. She clearly didn’t really care that Melissa got what she needed or had a good time – Cassie should not have cared that Melissa’s children came – as long as Melissa was happy. Instead she got her nails done and bought a new dress and became angry when the focus was not on her. If you really think about it – it sounds like Cassie was confused to begin with which might explain her subsequent breakdown.

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RP February 28, 2011 at 3:49 pm

I have to agree with karma & bookworm, especially if the point of the shower was to give the recipient a little extra help. How were they supposed to afford bigger gifts with the $25 charge? This made the host trying to ban the recipient’s kids all the more baffling. If the point is to help her out then why make her get a sitter?

She had a breakdown! Wonder who’s planning HER shower?

@Bint – I read that as, “Look at what she expects for a baby shower. I wonder who had to plan all that for her?” I don’t know why the OP mentioned the mental breakdown, maybe they’ll follow up.

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Angeldrac February 28, 2011 at 3:53 pm

This story does make me wonder if Cassie had ever been to a non-office baby shower before. She seems to have it confused with some sort of Bachelorette-type party. I’m wondering if she really didn’t have a clue what was appropriate for a baby shower.

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Stepmomster February 28, 2011 at 4:06 pm

I have to agree with previous posters, this woman sounds like a piece of work, but I have been and have know people who were narcissistic or rude due to extreme amounts of stress; breakdowns take years to develop.

We have a woman in our office right now that is very hard to get along with, but she is quietly forgiven because her husband is so mean to her none of us can understand how she hasn’t buried him alive. She is an older lady, and her husband is very ill (mean for the last 30 years, ill the last 5) , so she won’t leave him. People here chat with her pleasantly when approached but do not go to lunch with her, and the fiction is maintained.

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jen a. February 28, 2011 at 4:32 pm

Is it wrong that I laughed while reading this story? I think it was a nervous reaction, because I felt so sorry for the expectant mother. Can you imagine her thoughts during this whole ordeal? Here she is, relatively new to town, and this happens… She has no idea whether or not other people realize that she really has no say in all of this. She’s probably confused as to why the hostess is wearing a cocktail dress, and why the hostess is glaring at her. Erg, what a nightmare. And she has even less power than the guests to get out of this. She can’t decline an invitation to her own shower, and she probably had to stay until the end.

Breakdown or no breakdown, I feel sorry for Cassie. If she ever realizes her faux-pas she’ll be mortified.

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karma February 28, 2011 at 5:17 pm

@Bint: I’ve known one or two horrid people who lived their lives in such a way that eventually they had a breakdown due to their own choices and actions. Do I feel sorry for them? Nope. Karma is a bitch.

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Guard Captain Nefud February 28, 2011 at 5:25 pm

Well, “Bint”, Every person on earth is going to experience something bad sooner or later. Does this mean that no person’s bad behavior should be criticized?

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Kat February 28, 2011 at 5:53 pm

Bint – I think what might be bothering you (and me too, a little) is the tone of self-satisfaction I’m picking up from the OP’s mention of Cassie’s breakdown. As a footnote to a story of her bad behavior, it does kind of leave a “she got what she deserved” taste in my mouth. I agree with you that it should have been left out of the narrative.

But I think we’d be setting a dangerous precedent to say that we shouldn’t be criticizing on here anyone who’s got trouble in their life. That would shut this site down really quick.

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Cordelia February 28, 2011 at 6:09 pm

The real victim here is Melissa. It was nice of Cassie to throw a shower that was a little bigger than usual so she would have some extra help, but everything after that was appallingly rude. The other guests may be out some money, but Melissa and her children were humiliated in public in a place where they were new. They deserved better than that.

I hope Melissa’s baby has brought joy to her and her family.

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Beth February 28, 2011 at 6:20 pm

This probably just highlights the fact that the GoH should have helped plan the shower. Then it might have been held in a more kid-friendly location. Cassie shouldn’t have been complaining about costs, because she should have hosted something within her means.

That said, I prefer showers without the cheesy games. And if I don’t know people at an event, I’ll introduce myself. There was no reason for the OP to sit in awkward silence if she didn’t know anyone.

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gramma dishes February 28, 2011 at 7:51 pm

If anyone ever told me that as a guest at a baby shower I’d be expected to chip in $25 to pay for my own food (not to be contributed toward a ‘big’ gift), I think I’d just say “Sorry, won’t be able to make it.”

Then I’d buy the baby a gift I could afford and be done with it.

And/or I might be the one to volunteer babysitting the Guest of Honor’s other kids while the “upscale” party was going on.

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Jillybean February 28, 2011 at 9:21 pm

I agree with Bint about the tone at the ending of the email – I feel like alerting us to the breakdown was an unnecessary dig. I have no way of knowing if Cassie’s behavior for the shower was an indicator that she was somehow coming undone, but her behavior was certainly nuts. But I have to agree with the few people who have mentioned that the OP might have spoken up – particularly at the price tag. For each participant to spend $25 when the whole point was to help out the expectant mom (more so than the normal baby shower) was just insane. It actually reminds me of a bridal shower that I helped throw. One of the girls in the bridal party offered her house to save money so we could devote more of the budget to stuff for the bride and the guests. I was thrilled. Until I learned that she had nothing to accommodate the party and we ended up having to rent everything – tables, chairs, a tent, because she offered her house but didn’t want people IN the house. Um…what? So, we spent nearly $1000 on the logistics (because she had wedding industry contacts and got us “discounts” – but on prices we wouldn’t have paid if we had just gone with regular vendors). It was a nightmare, but the damage was already done. I could tell ridiculous tales of ehell about that shower, but it’s best left for another time. As for this story – well, I feel horrible for Melissa – what should have been a very nice day for her sounds like it turned into, at the very least, a very uncomfortable experience.

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Rebecca February 28, 2011 at 9:30 pm

Sounds like the party from hell to me. Poor Melissa. She was probably really embarrassed. I think for Cassie, it was less about doing something nice for Melissa than it was about Cassie’s need to be the centre of attention and have everyone thinking, “Wow, isn’t Cassie amazing to throw this kind of party.”

I don’t want to speculate on her later mental breakdown, which is not really important to this story, except perhaps to suggest that Cassie is a perfectionist and perhaps likely to fall apart when things don’t go exactly how she envisions it (or it could have been a totally separate issue).

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Cat February 28, 2011 at 10:38 pm

Reminds me of the time a woman I had seen once in my life two years earlier invited me via an email to a baby shower for people of whom I had never heard. The parents-to-be had no idea of who I was either. She was very offended when I told her I don’t attend baby showers for people I do not know and who do not know me.

She told a mutual friend that she had “reached out to me” and I had rudely refused to attend the party. There are a lot of very odd people out there.

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Shayna February 28, 2011 at 10:43 pm

@Another Laura: It is not uncommon in many parts of the world for a pregnant woman to consume a glass of wine on occasion, and no, there are no higher incidences of FASD in those countries than there are here in North America. There have been no studies done which show conclusively how much alcohol is safe, so our culture tends to deem any alcohol unsafe. However, what I do know from experience is that children born with FASD tend to be born to mothers who have spent their entire pregnancies drinking hard liquor on a near daily basis. I have yet to meet any child with FASD who was born to a mother who consumed a glass of wine now and then while she was pregnant.

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anotherloginname March 1, 2011 at 12:11 am

While I don’t think the remark about the breakdown was strictly necessary, I certainly don’t see it as a need to forgive all actions that came before it. Yes Bint, even if she had subsequently got taken out by a bus. Mygrandmother was a horrible, nasty person, her actions had consequences that still effect people. I actually do love her, but I don’t think that means deliberately forgetting all the bad things- they were bad when she was alive, they are still bad now. Unless Cassies mental state was the cause of her faux pas (and we have insufficient information to make this conclusion), subsequent unfortunate events shouldn’t make us pretend she never acted badly. If that were the case this website would regularly have articles removed everytime an offender died.

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jenna March 1, 2011 at 2:51 am

I’m with karma – in this situation I would’ve declined to attend (however worded). I still would’ve bought Melissa a nice baby gift out of pure desire to help out when she was quite probably having a hard time dealing with limited finances, difficult family times and all this with a new baby on the way.

I do think that criticizing Cassie’s decision to get hair and nails done and buy a new outfit is really uncalled-for. Since when are there rules as to when one can buy oneself clothes or grooming services?

Yes, Cassie was a terrible hostess and made plenty of e-Hell worthy mistakes, but I have little sympathy for the OP, either. I do sympathize with musta-been-mortified Melissa.

What’s more, I agree that Cassie’s later breakdown might provide a clue as to why she acted as she did, and while her actions were rude, I get the feeling that there’s more to this story than we’re seeing. I see it as the difference between an “excuse” and an “explanation”: Cassie’s mental state at the time may not be an excuse for her behavior, just as a criminal who had rough childhood isn’t absolved of his/her crimes just by virtue of having had a rough childhood. It is, however, a possible explanation and like other posters, I feel that the OP’s snarky tone regarding Cassie’s subsequent problems was also uncalled-for. That is a situation that calls for thought and reflection and “maybe that’s why…”, not “Ha haaaa, who’s gonna host HER shower!?” frenemy-style gossip.

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jenna March 1, 2011 at 2:54 am

And, oh, hey, count me in with not liking shower games. I think they’re kind of silly, to be honest – though if other people like them that’s great. I happen not to.

I much prefer a party where conditions are right – enough space and seating, a cozy enough atmosphere, adequate food and drink, enough people who know each other (but not everyone, so you can also meet new people) and good music – to encourage mingling. You can’t force a convivial party atmosphere but you can certainly create the right atmosphere for it to manifest, and I strongly feel that “pin the gift ribbon to the paper hat” and “pin the diaper on the baby” games are NOT a part of that.

So you’ll near no qualms from me regarding anyone who throws a party that doesn’t have those games.

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Tundra March 1, 2011 at 7:21 am

Yes, because a mental breakdown is something to feel schadenfreude about like it’s some sort of revenge for how she acted. :(

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Saucygirl March 1, 2011 at 9:05 am

I know this isn’t the main part of the story, but I am really curious now about hostess gifts. admin, what is your thought on it? Thanks!

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phoenix March 1, 2011 at 10:15 am

I like to think that this somewhat worked out well for Melissa- from the OP’s perspective, she came out looking like the new sweetheart of the office! So maybe there’s that.

I do feel bad about the cost though- if every guest had just given Melissa $25 and skipped the stupid party, that would add up to a lot of diapers.

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Jillybean March 1, 2011 at 10:24 am

Ah – yes, count me in on the no shower games, too. I hosted a bridal shower for my best friend and one of the bridesmaids told me there HAD to be shower games because all the little old aunts, etc. would expect them. I told her that there would be none because the bride-to-be would HATE it. So we had no games, but a lovely brunch, wonderful music, and a fabulous time. And all the little old aunts came up to me after the shower and thanked me for not making them play those stupid games. LOL. No dig meant at those who like shower games, but a lot of people are happy to just mix and mingle, have good food and good conversation.

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Allie March 1, 2011 at 11:45 am

I don’t see what the illness has to do with the behaviour. Just because she had a subsequent breakdown does not mean she was incapable of knowing that her behaviour was obnoxious. I knew a couple of people that are completely horrible people, an assessment I base on their toxic words and actions. Both have serious, life-threatening illnesses, and I did try to make allowances for that in my dealings with them (can’t avoid one of the altogether, as I see her at family functions), but their conduct is such that it overrides any sympathetic considerations.
As for wine at the shower, every shower I have ever attended has had beer and wine served for the benefit of the guests. Regardless of the the occasion, it makes no difference whether the guest of honour does not or cannot drink. Refreshments are provided for the guests’ enjoyment. Let’s face it, these affairs are tedious at best, and a couple of drinks are the only way I know to get through them.

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Enna March 1, 2011 at 4:12 pm

Mental illness can take awhile to break through. Her actions could be linked and I think it was cruel that the OP was nasty about it. When Karma comes round I don’t think it is nasty – it’s like saying “you have a disablity/disabled child cos you made God angry.” This lady has committed ettiqute breaches but she doesn’t deserve a mental break down.

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