Dear admin and fellow e-hellions,
I was in an awkward situation and would like to know what the admin and all others think.
First of all, a let me start with a little background. My fiancé and I have been together for about 4 years and living together for about 3 years. He is American, and I am from a different South Asian country (I’ll call “C” for country). I have a friend I’ll call “F” who I have known for a while, but only started getting to know each other better in the last 1 year. F knows very well about my fiancé, and met him a couple of time; she also knows that I am engaged.
Now coming to the story, F invited me and a few other friends to her house for dinner on a Saturday evening. From the conversations and given that her own husband who worked in a different town was not in that evening, I assumed that it is going to be a girl’s evening. So I made arrangements to go to her house on a Saturday evening only to realize that it wasn’t a girls evening, and there were some other men in attendance who were friends with us but not involved with anyone, and the husband of the other married woman was invited (the three of us were the only people in serious relationship amongst those invited). I was totally at a loss as to why my fiancé was not invited. The only reason that I can think of is that she wanted to only invite people from country C, and because fiancé was an American, he did not make the cut. But if that was the case, she should have let me know that.
Now before you tell me that I should not dictate who she can invite to her house, let me tell you that I totally understand that and I don’t expect her to invite my fiancé. Neither do I have any problems going somewhere without him. But if she had told me specifically what her plans for the demographics of the party are, I could have taken the decision and not inadvertently snubbed my own fiancé. I understand that some people need to meet up with people from their own region; and I don’t want to deprive them of that. But given that I am dating a person from a different region, things are different with me and I would appreciate if my fiancé (and eventually husband) is not left out just because he is of a different nationality. If a friend wants to invite only people from C, I would not take any offence if they let me know and make an informed decision as to whether to attend or not. But I cannot get over the fact that F thought she could just not invite my fiancé and act as if he did not even exist, and I’d be fine with that.
Am I wrong in feeling hurt about the situation?
When the occasion is one where it is limited to a specific gender, say a guys afternoon watching a football game or a handful of female friends getting together to have lunch, there is nothing wrong in issuing an invitation to one half of a social unit. I host an annual “ladies’ luncheon” in December to which the invitation obviously does not extend to my friends’ husbands. But if the event or occasion is meant to include couples then inviting only one of the pair is a major etiquette faux pas. If your hostess’ explanation is that her party was for her fellow ex-pats, or simply people of a similar cultural make up, the she’s really very rude to not invite the partners and spouses of her guests who happen to not be born in the right country or to the “right” parents. There is also a certain level of presumption your hostess friend has that a non-Asian fiancé would not be interested in the culture of another country and enjoy an evening sharing the food and discussion of his fianceé’s friends.
Do you have a right to be hurt? I wouldn’t give anyone the pleasure of being able to elicit that kind of emotion from me. Chalk it up as a learning experience and decide whether you wish to continue associating with her knowing that she will probably continue to snub your fiancé (and eventually your husband) for the sake of hosting culturally pure dinner parties.