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A Slip Of The Tongue Brings Unwanted Guests

I have a story regarding the absence of proper etiquette and I need you, dearest Etiquette Hell readers, to hear it and decide who should be blamed for this gigantic faux-pas.

My girlfriend and I both attend a weekly couples’ outing with several couples who are close friends. Recently a new couple was invited, and had attended for several weeks, when we decided to invite this couple to dinner. We had previously done this with every other couple and it has been a great way to deepen friendships.

Two days before we were to meet for dinner, I approached Bob to ask him if the restaurant was acceptable, as well to ask if he and his partner wanted to come back for a night cap after (as I was always taught to do). Bob replied with, “Do you both drink? Well that’s a relief! We’ll bring some wine!” We don’t drink often, but when we do we like to drink!”

Caught off-guard, I replied that we certainly like to enjoy wine, but to please take care because I’d hate for them to drink and drive, and I’d hate for them to wind up hurt or in trouble because of it. He replied that he would do his best not to. I off-handedly and humorously made the comment, “Good, I’d just hate to be the cause of any trouble. I’d rather you just stayed than get into an accident.” Bob chuckled, and said he and Dale would meet us at our home on Saturday evening so we could drive to the restaurant.

On Saturday, Bob and Dale arrived at our home. As we greeted them, Dale reached into the car and pulled out a dog carrier, occupied by a little Shih-tzu. “We brought Lillan!,” Dale shrieked and was all-too-keen to introduce us to this little wonder. Immediately I was confused…had Bob told me that Lillian would be joining us? Taken aback, I invited them to leave Lillian at our home while we went to dinner. We went to dinner, which was filled with conversation, mostly from Bob, about how people in my line of work were “intolerable” and “grossly incompetent”.  As my girlfriend and I became uncomfortable, Dale began his long and sad life story. In detail, of every year of his life. Since he was four.

After about two hours, and without my girlfriend Belle and I getting a word in, Belle states, “It’s been such a lovely evening, but I’m feeling a bit sick. I’m afraid I won’t be enjoying our night-cap, but thank you for joining us tonight.”

We get back to our home, and as I begin the ritual of saying “thank you” and “we should do this again sometime” Bob goes to his SUV and pulls out an overnight bag. What? Wait, did I miss something?

Bob and Dale then proceed into the house, let their dog out of its travel crate (at which point it relieves itself on the carpet) and start rifling through our kitchen for a corkscrew. At this point, I have no idea what is happening, and feel like whatever is going on, it’s out of my control. I politely decline wine, as does Belle, stating for a second time that she’s feeling sick and needs to go to bed soon.

I see this is become long-winded and I apologize. In short, Bob and Dale finish their bottle of wine by themselves, continuing their one-side conversation (and gossiping about the bad habits of the other couples in our group) when Belle promptly stands and announces she is going to bed. I stated that yes, as much “fun” as we’ve had, it is time for us to turn in. Bob agrees, then asks, “Which room is the guest bedroom?”

Shocked, I stumble over my words and ask if they really intend on staying the night. Bob laughs and asks if the guest bedroom has an en suite. Defeated (and slightly nervous) I lead them to the guest bedroom. It was difficult to sleep that night, and I woke up early in the morning to see Bob and Dale off.

7:30; 8:45; 10:00 all roll on with no sign of Bob and Dale. Finally, around 10:15, both Bob and Dale emerge. When I asked how they slept, the answer from Dale is, “Well, it certainly wasn’t the most comfortable bed, but I guess we go by just fine.” Dale then proceeds to enter the kitchen unaccompanied and ask, “So, what are you cooking for breakfast?”

I politely but firmly state that I haven’t had the time to prepare anything, a resigned Dale returns to the living room with a cup of coffee that he describes as his “lonely little weak coffee”.

Belle, who had awakened at the same time as me, immediately blamed me and made an excuse to leave the house before Bob and Dale woke up. Why would I even make that comment about “I’d rather you stay than drive drunk”? I’m sure she enjoyed grocery shopping more that day than any time previous. I immediately make an excuse on why I must leave due to mid-morning plans, and the couple decides that it is time to leave. Finally, after they’ve departed, Belle returns home and says that it was definitely my fault for the faux pas, because of the statement that I had made, in jest, that was taken seriously.

So, how much blame do I share in this incident? Thank you for hanging on as long as you could; I do realize this is a long story. Thanks. 0520-13

You inadvertently invited Bob and Dale to come into your house for a nightcap after dinner at a restaurant and to stay the night if they happen to get too tipsy.   So, Bob and Dale arrived *planning* to get too drunk to drive home.    But what they did to exploit that offer is inexcusable.   Bob should have confirmed the offer to stay over as valid, Lillian the Shih-tzu should have been left at home or a kennel, Bob should have taken the hint that you were unprepared to host them as house guests when you asked if he was serious, they were rude guests to criticize the accommodations/friends/etc.   The list goes on and on.

These two do not sound like people worth investing to get to know better.


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • mark May 22, 2013, 5:43 pm

    Situations like this are difficult, some people are incredibly boorish and it’s hard to respond reasonably when presented with such boorishness the first time from someone. In my case they wouldn’t have stayed at my home, but I have teen age daughters and men I don’t know well are NOT staying in my home overnight. It’s simply not going to happen. They would of had an option of going home in a taxi or a police cruiser. (I might of relented and driven them my self. Since I wouldn’t be that drunk.)

  • schnickelfritz May 22, 2013, 6:43 pm

    @ Katie – YES! I was looking at it from the wrong side! My post #39. Your post makes much more sense! Bob and Dale, may have thought the OP couple was inviting them to “swing” – and, they weren’t discouraged if the wife was feeling ill – they assumed the “swing” was still on, for three! This makes so much more sense, with bringing the dog, etc. New friends just don’t do casual sleepovers, unless you are in 5th grade!

  • Angel May 22, 2013, 7:48 pm

    If they are a couple you don’t know well, you probably should have just left the socializing at the restaurant–not even mention a nightcap. The fact that they showed up with their dog is a big red flag at least to me.

    At least now you know they aren’t the kind of people you want to socialize with. I think it is kind of your fault but also your girlfriend’s fault too. Eh, live and learn.

  • hakayama May 22, 2013, 8:03 pm

    @OP: I hope that you stick to “Continental style” table manners as well as quotation marks before a comma or period as/when logic dictates so. It’s a pity that those who grow up with the constant “spazzing about” do not realize how truly unattractive it is. Ditto for having the “non-working” hand under the table…
    I wish you better luck in forging new friendships from now on.
    Signed: American by choice. Passport, YES. Table manners and period before quotes, NO, NO, NO. 😉

  • waitress wonderwoman May 22, 2013, 8:24 pm

    Just wondering…How did you react when the dog went to the bathroom on your floor. I’ve always wondered how to handle that situation (be it as the pet owner or host). I’m very interested to see what fellow E-hell commenters have to say.

  • StephM May 22, 2013, 11:53 pm

    @waitress (56): As the pet owner, I would be horrified and would immediately remove my dog and use whatever cleaning supplies the host has available. I would probably never stop apologizing. As a host, it would depend on the owner’s reaction. If they have the same reaction that I would, I would help them clean it up. Accidents happen, yadda yadda. If they made no effort to help clean and didn’t seem particularly bothered, I would hand them the carpet cleaner and tell them to have at it.

  • Ann May 23, 2013, 7:07 am

    Yes, you ran into 1) a cultural difference, and 2) two of the most outrageous people I’ve ever heard of on this site. It’s probably a better idea, when getting to know another couple, to suggest continuing the evening at a piano bar instead of in your home. In my experience, it takes a more established friendship to move things to one’s home. I would have been taken aback at the appearance of a dog from go!

  • yokozbornak May 23, 2013, 7:28 am

    I, like, Katie think they thought the OP and Belle were swingers which is why they immediately jumped in the idea of a sleepover.

  • The Elf May 23, 2013, 8:03 am

    Heather: “That seems to be the main problem with my spine.”

    You and me both! Now that I’ve finally developed a polite spine, it seems to operate on delay. I think I’m so taken aback by the demand or assumption or whatever that it takes me a moment to find my footing. Either way, the “window” is sometimes gone and now I’m left with a much more awkward situation. I still use that spine, however awkward it is. I’m not going to be tromped over (again) just because I’m too shy to assert myself.

  • The Elf May 23, 2013, 8:07 am

    Waitress Wonderwoman, I have been that unfortunate pet owner. I was horrified and immediately began to clean it up. One time it was at the vet’s office. I had forgotten to bring a fecal sample, and my little ferret decided to provide one right on the vet! I figure that’s one of the hazards of the job, but I was still horrified.

  • KJ May 23, 2013, 11:08 am

    OP – for whatever it is worht, I am left handed; my fork is in my left hand as well!

  • SJ May 23, 2013, 12:00 pm

    It’s pretty obnoxious that they took a hypothetical, “if you get too tipsy,” and made a plan on it. But, I suppose “technically,” you did invite them.

    However, everything else they did makes it seem like they are often keen to take advantage.

    I understand your reaction. They’re behavior was so surprising that you weren’t prepared to handle it with a polite spine.

  • Jenna May 23, 2013, 4:52 pm

    Who would think it was ok to bring a dog for an overnight stay without discussing it first?
    Ok, well, these people would….but, wow. I would never assume a pet was welcome. Even if I had misunderstood an invite from a vague mention of staying over, bringing a pet of any sort is not something you do without asking first.

  • Anonymous May 24, 2013, 10:04 am

    >>If they are a couple you don’t know well, you probably should have just left the socializing at the restaurant–not even mention a nightcap.<<

    Yes, exactly. My dad taught me and my brother this concept when we were kids, and didn't want to leave the ski hill, or the skating rink, or the ravine where we used to go sledding (see a pattern here? We're Canadian). Anyway, we'd say that we didn't want to leave because we were still having fun, and he'd say, "Well, you SHOULD leave while you're still having fun, so you remember that you had fun skiing/skating/sledding, and want to come back another day." At the time, I thought it was just a ploy to get us to leave the fun place cheerfully (and because he didn't like to ski in the dark with just the floodlights on), but now I can see that it makes sense, and it can be extrapolated to a lot of different situations, including situations where you're with other people–family, old friends, new friends, whatever. I've seen it promoted on here a fair number of times as well–we tell people to leave the family gathering before Uncle Drunk gets into the Scotch, we tell people to allow their kids to attend the party, but leave before the sleepover, when the birthday kid is undisciplined, or just not someone they know well, and so on. Usually, it works pretty well–either the "problem person" changes their behaviour to get more time with the OP, or they don't, but the OP only has to take as much as he or she feels comfortable with.

    Also, Heather, I'm delighted that you like the idea of Assertiveness Heck. I hope it catches on around here; not so we can "blame the victim" for other people's rudeness, but just so that we can recognize that there's sometimes a flip side to Etiquette Hell, and sometimes, people continue to do [insert rude action here] because nobody tells them not to, and not always maliciously either.

  • Lisa May 24, 2013, 10:11 am

    The guys might have thought you were inviting them for sex. Assuming by their names, they are both male: so it was no problem for them that Belle retreated. They might have even thought you planned it that way.
    Sleepovers with people you don’t know very well are not the norm in the USA, at least not after the level of highschool/familygatherings etc. I’m sorry your kind offer turned into a bad night: you deserve better friends!

  • Molly May 24, 2013, 7:58 pm

    Would people really think the couple was angling for an invite to “swing” if they had been a male/female couple?

    Inexcusably rude, obnoxious behavior, yes, but I don’t hear anything that sounds remotely sexual in any of the OP’s complaints.

    That said, why on earth did they bring the dog?! That takes the story from rude to plain bizarre. Definitely not people I’d want to bother with in the future, and I’m someone who likes dogs. Unless you want to pay me a dog-sitting fee, leave them at home.

  • Anonymous May 24, 2013, 9:42 pm

    @Lisa–Dale can be a girl’s name too. There’s a female Dale who works at the YMCA where I volunteer.

  • LadyPhoenix May 24, 2013, 10:32 pm

    First off, define “nightcap”: 1 drink and some socializing. Then ONLY invite people for nightcaps if you know them very well, to prevent any possible tragedies (theft, assault, murder).

    Second, call out Bob and Dale for their rude behavior. I would have put my foot down the moment the DOG appeared: “I’m sorry, but why did you bring this dog when we’re going out to dinner?” Who does this, except possibly moochers, that is. And it peed on your floor. I HOPE those two paid for steam cleaning, and if they didn’t — I kick them out on the curve. And they have the gall to complain about their coffee after that stint? Forget it.

    If they don’t apologize, drop them hard. These kinda of people are the kind of people that will take ANY chance at getting what they want, at your expense.

    And Lisa, what kinda of comment was that? Just because the 2 people have guy names doesn’t imply ANYTHING. And knowing that OP HAS a girlfriend, means that he is off-limits.

  • schnickelfritz May 25, 2013, 8:04 am

    @Molly and LadyPhoenix, The couple was a male couple. And, yes, I would absolutely think a hetro couple pulling the same stunt, had the “swing” idea – it was the fact that they brought the dog, and opened the wine at the house, that they had the sleep-over, drink too much, already planned! I know a hetro “swing” couple that would pull this stunt. It has nothing to do with being a gay couple. It was the way they jumped on the chance to plan the sleepover in advance, with newby friends!

    “As my girlfriend and I became uncomfoftable, Dale began his long and sad life story. In detail, of every year of his life. Since he was four.”

  • Lisa May 25, 2013, 6:24 pm

    Molly: Yes, I would have said the same thing. Not everyone is a raging homophobe.

    Ladyphoenix: I wasn’t implying anything because they were guys/have guy names. I was saying it because of their behaviour. Sensitive much? I think that the fact that you assume I did otherwise says more about you/your own hangups then it does about me.
    As far as the girlfriend-taken thing goes: bisexuality does exist, swinging does exist, and people cheating/having threesomes do exist. So do open relationships, which are not unheard of in the gay community. All these behaviours are not SO unusual that they can’t be mentioned. It is quite presumptious that you insinuate non political corectness the moment that they are.

    Either way, I would have felt uncomfortable in a set up like this. Male OR females.

  • Anonymous May 26, 2013, 12:09 pm

    @LadyPhoenix–Steam cleaning isn’t always necessary when dogs have accidents on carpets. I’ve had dogs for most of my life, and I really like a product called ProSolve. You spray it on the affected area, scrub it with a scrub brush, rinse with water, and pat dry with a towel. After the carpet dries properly, it’s like the accident never happened.

  • kingsrings May 26, 2013, 10:30 pm

    I certainly wouldn’t be happy if any guests at a get-together of mine got drunk. Then that puts a responsibility on me that I didn’t ask for. Plus, most people aren’t exactly the best party guests to be around when they’re drunk.

  • Peas May 27, 2013, 7:02 pm

    So, the GF was at fault for (wrongly) thinking that her bf had the fortitude to take care of his friends and correct the mistake he made? Really?

    The BF made the mistake, it was his job to fix it or deal with it, not hers.

  • Cher630 June 21, 2013, 9:38 pm

    You should have started sneezing when you saw the dog and complained about your terrible allergies.

  • Same Love August 26, 2013, 5:28 pm

    Not that is has anything to do with the story (or anything to do with ANYTHING) but why are we all assuming the OP is a male? We have (bizarrely and inconsequentially) established that The Boors are both male, so why is it beyond the realms of comprehension that OP and Belle are both female.

    TBH that can actually put a mildly different spin on OP’s response to the situation – as sexist/old-fashioned etc as it is it most certainly can be more difficult for a female to stand up to two males and boot them out of the house. We are all picturing a Big Strong Man letting himself be walked all over in his own home but that may in fact not be the case.