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Wine Soaked Guest

My husband has a very good friend, J, whom he met in college. After graduating with their bachelors, J moved back to his home state (on the east coast, we are on the west coast in same state as the college). J’s cross country move was approximately 5 to 6 years ago. Since then, both J and my husband married and have homes.

Obviously it is rare to have a visit from J, so my husband is so excited anytime they get to see each other. This holiday, J and his wife and little girl came to our state for a visit (they stayed with relatives, coming to see us for dinner, etc as we are an hour from where they were staying).  The first visit at my home was wonderful, I put out a nice display of snacks, drinks, and made lasagna. My husband was so delighted I hosted his good friend so generously.

One evening J and his wife had come over for an informal movie in our living room, once again I laid out snacks, as it was after dinner time. I forgot to take the soda out, so my husband, says, “We have water, this soda, that soda, iced tea, or juice.”  J takes a soda. Wife hems and haws, then walks over to my husband at the fridge and spies my wine (this was a gift from my friend to me) and says, “Oooo, wine! I’ll take that!” Husband looks at me, but I was so shocked at a guest asking for something that I felt like I had to okay it, or I would be seen as a bad hostess. So my husband fetches the wine opener, she takes it from him and opens. Then pours herself a glass. .. that would be considered two glasses at a restaurant. Ok… That was rude. Nothing to be done though, I did allow a glass.

Movie is on, then she says, “Mmmm, this is good,” while walking towards the bathroom (and that is also the direction of the kitchen), “I’m totally having more of this!” Swoops past bathroom, opens fridge again and pours another gigantic glass. At this point I pinched my husband hard, as he looked at J’s wife in shock at her blatant rudeness. Hubby says, “Wow, you should stick to water now or you might not remember the movie. ”

Well, he tried. I was at a loss because J is hubby’s very good friend and I’m afraid of offending him. ..shouldn’t he have noticed his wife mooching?
Movie is 2/3 way through, and J’s wife gets up, which I think is to pet my cat who is sitting in the kitchen. She does pet the cat for a while, but then opens the fridge, pours THE REMAINING WINE into her glass. I say, “Is that all gone? Are you serious?? That’s.. just.. crazy…” I don’t get to finish because she hugs me and exclaims, “I love you! You are so pretty, and nice. And you work so hard.”   Ugh, now this girl is giddy drunk off my wine. I knew I was ready to rip her a new belly button so I said I have a very early client, thank you for coming, I’m going to bed, hubby will be here.

The next day, my husband felt very bad. He said he was in shock at her behavior and didn’t know why J didn’t handle her, like he has in the past (so apparently this is not an isolated incident of taking advantage). He said he didn’t want to ruin their trip, that he never sees J, and that the wife won’t be visiting again this trip. I know it is only a bottle of wine, but how rude is that! I would never impose such a thing onto a host, and then to help oneself to an entire bottle of wine! Once again, it’s just… crazy! Did I make a mistake even allowing her a glass? I never would have dreamed she would help herself after that, or I never would have approved in the first place. My husband’s only idea as to why she thought this was okay was that in college, J and he would help themselves to each other’s fridges. Yeah, in a bachelor pad over 5 years ago. Is that a valid excuse? I personally don’t think so. What could I have said that would have been a polite way to have handled the situation? I.e. What does a polite spined person do here? 0104-14

Js wife was inexcusably rude and presumptuous to first decline the offered choices in beverages, to ask for wine and then to be a pig about drinking all of it.   Had I been in your shoes, I would have told her the truth, “This bottle was a gift from a friend and it is being saved for a special occasion.  Would you like a Pepsi instead?”

It is not the host’s obligation to cater to every whim and desire of guests.  Your hospitality was flawless and generous but unfortunately you came head to head with a greedy, inconsiderate, selfish guest who could not take the hints being given by her hosts that her behavior was a tad over the top.   Now you know to hide the good stuff whenever they come again.

{ 179 comments }

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  • WillyNilly January 6, 2014, 4:59 pm

    Like Lisa (#36), Technobabble (#41), and Library Diva (#43) I’m pretty offended at the diagnosis of this woman as an “alcoholic”. Alcoholism is a serious addiction/illness. Drinking a bit too much wine, once, while on vacation and socializing with friends, does NOT an alcoholic make and its pretty offensive, extraordinarily ignorant and downright nasty for people to just throw the word around so casually. Lots of people – in fact *most* drinkers – imbibe without issue. And once in a while they might imbibe a bit too much – it still does not mean they have an addiction or medical problem.

  • OP January 6, 2014, 5:00 pm

    To whomever assumed my husband and I don’t drink that often: we do, we hosted them several times with wine, beer, champagne jello shots, etc. This was supposed to be the cheap night, we all were drained and wallets empty. I didn’t include that originally. -OP

    ps –
    Their daughter was always with grandparents or slept at our house, she never was put in any car with anyone who consumed alcohol, neither did the adults. Just in case anyone wondered.

  • gellchom January 6, 2014, 5:07 pm

    Library Diva, thank you for that post.

    While I agree that guests shouldn’t assume that they are entitled to everything that they can see, I also make sure to put away anything I’m not willing to share. Not because it’s up for grabs if I don’t, and certainly not because I have the obligation to offer everything in the house, but because somehow I don’t think it’s very nice to obviously not be offering your guests the goodies you have. Not rude, just not optimal. Just put them away somewhere.

    What “put it away” means depends upon the situation — the event, the relationships, the storage options, etc. I don’t think we really know enough about those things to judge whether a bottle of wine in the refrigerator — especially if it ere, say, at eye level at the front of a shelf, and when people had been going in there for beer or soda — is “put away” in this case.

    And I do think that if a host leaves something out where guests see it, if the guest asks for some, even if that’s not polite of the guest, the gracious thing to do is to give them some. (Imagine if your friend saw an opened box of chocolates on the counter and said, “Hey, yum, can I please take one of these?” You’d say, “Sure, help yourself,” I’m sure, even if you secretly wish you could have them all yourself.)

  • Rap January 6, 2014, 5:12 pm

    “It sounds like J’s wife may have a drinking problem. I’d hide all the alcohol the next time they visit.”

    If this was a standard 750ml bottle of wine, then forgive me but I think people are overreacting. I like wine, and in my experience, with a standard chardonnay glass, and a 750ml bottle of wine, if you fill the chardonnay glass half way, you get about four glasses. If you fill the glass, you get about two glasses. Sounds like the guest went somewhere in between over a at least a two hour period, more like three.

    I have to agree with Lisa, the immediate “must be an alkie! hide the booze!” knee jerk reaction is offensive. Did the woman get a little tipsy? Sure. Did the OP say “no, you can’t drink the wine”? Well, no, the OP didn’t, now did she? In fact she opened the bottle for the guest. Was it rude of the guest to ask? Yes. Did the OP say no? Nope.

    I am genuinely curious if the woman had been drinking soda pop, if the OP would have found it outragous that, once given permission to have some, the woman got herself another glass without expressly asking permision. In my house, once I’ve said help yourself, people don’t need to keep asking me if they can have another beer.

  • OP January 6, 2014, 5:17 pm

    OP – I like wine, but I really DONT know how to properly store it, I really should learn. It was white, I put it in the fridge. I also haven’t had anything above Kendall Jackson. Maybe I wouldn’t even know the difference.

    You can read my other updates on why we didn’t serve alcohol that particular night, but my point was that it was something I was taught not to do even if offered to drink 10 bottles. I see others sides also, which is why I only wrote about it in ehell and that’s all.

  • OP January 6, 2014, 5:23 pm

    Bloo… He is just fine. He probably liked it. Thanks for your concern, can I offer you some wine?

  • saucygirl January 6, 2014, 5:26 pm

    Skaramouche, the reason I am saying “it is only a bottle of wine” is because I am balancing the bottle of wine with the effort that J and his wife made to visit the op and her husband. They drove an hour each way, with a young child. Twice. So four hours in a car, on their vacation, to visit the op and her husband. In my opinion, that kind of time and effort towards maintaining a friendship is worth a bottle of wine, and I would let it go.

    And I speak from experience on this. Two months ago I hosted a party in my house, and had around 100 people show up throughout the course of the party. I had tons of water, soft drinks, wine and beer out. I did not have hot drinks available (even though it ended up being a rainy cold day), as with 100 people there it would have been impossible without renting a catering urn. But at one point I went into my kitchen to find that four of my friends had gone through my cupboards to find my tea cups and the ingredients necessary to make themselves hot toddies. Was I thrilled that I now had more mess to clean up? No. But rather than getting annoyed by it, I focused on the fact that my friends had come out to my house despite the bad weather, and had stayed for a long enjoyable visit. And to me, that is more important than a little mess, or a bottle of wine.

  • Kate January 6, 2014, 5:37 pm

    Wow, that is quite rude! It shouldn’t matter what the OP has in her fridge – if the choices offered are “soda, water, coffee, tea or juice”, the correct response is not “wine!”. Even when I’m at a close friend’s house, before I grab anything to drink, I’ll ask “do you mind if I have some of this Pepsi?” or whatever, to give them the opportunity to decline. OP shouldn’t have to hide her ‘good’ drinks under the assumption that whatever’s in the fridge will be considered fair game.

    As for the amount she was drinking – a bottle of wine is what, 3 glasses? I can see how someone could put that away over the course of a few hours. I just hope she wasn’t driving.

  • cathy January 6, 2014, 5:38 pm

    I’m not saying she’s an alcoholic, I’m saying anyone who can drink that much that fast has a problem that needs to be addressed. Normal people don’t do that, and just because she’s out on the town that’s not an excuse to get schnockered.

  • Sunny January 6, 2014, 5:56 pm

    I think the OP was rude. She left the wine out where the guest could see it. If she wasn’t going to offer the wine, she should have put it away out of sight. Since OP didn’t object to opening the wine, it was reasonable that the guest would feel free to help her self to more, so OP’s crabbing is out of line. The guest may have been presumptuous and greedy, but OP was a poor hostess. If she didn’t have spine enough to decline serving the wine, she should have been gracious and just gone along with it. Write it off as a lesson learned.

  • doodlemor January 6, 2014, 5:57 pm

    I suspect that the OP is not used to drinking wine very often, and that this particular bottle was very special to her. If it had been just a bottle of 2 buck chuck from the grocery perhaps the woman’s behavior wouldn’t have been so irritating.

    The friend’s wife does seem very rude. It is understandable, though, that she may have thought that the wine was a possibility for the evening because the husband was standing in front of the fridge naming the soda drinks inside. We could charitably assume that she thought that he just hadn’t gotten to the end of the list of drinks, and that the wine was included.

    When she asked for the wine, either one of the couple could have told her that it was a special gift for a special occasion. Failing to do that, I think that they should not have let her do the opening and pouring. OP or her DH should have opened the wine, poured her a glass, offered some to her husband, and poured some for themselves.

    Heck, after her second big glassful of wine, I would have been tempted to pour the rest into a tumbler for myself.

  • clairedelune January 6, 2014, 6:24 pm

    @bloo, that was the thing that stuck out for me the most, too. Forget the wine drama, when is it ever OK to give a “very hard” pinch to one’s spouse?

  • greenpea January 6, 2014, 7:45 pm

    I’ve had something similar happen to me. My housemates and I were throwing a Christmas party, so we had each invited friends. I had met many of them over the years, or had at least heard of their names before. Towards the end of the night, one of my housemate’s friends started chatting to me about Scotch. I used to display my collection in the living room and they had been a point of interest with guests. After moving to a new place (with the same housemates), I now keep them in my room.

    As I’m always keen to share a glass with a scotch lover, and I was feeling particularly generous, I brought out my favorite bottle. Before pouring, I described it to him, mentioning along with other details, that it was my current favorite, that it could not be purchased locally, that I had to ask a friend to buy it for me overseas, and also the cost of the bottle (well into the premium range). Not to be obnoxious or boastful, but just to carry across how special this bottle was.

    I poured us each a glass, and we spent several minutes discussing the flavors and aromas. I then stupidly put it on the kitchen table (well inside the kitchen and away from all the other drinks) and said “Help yourself”….. therefore I can’t really accuse him of rudeness for what followed, but I was still surprised when 20 minutes later, I went back into the kitchen and found the bottle with less than 1/3 left. I had brought it out almost full. I was a little gobsmacked, as I could not imagine doing that to someone after knowing how difficult & expensive it was to get. I thought he might go back for one or two more glasses, which is to me a reasonable amount of scotch, especially after a long night of drinking cocktails.

    When I saw the bottle, I was upset, but I quietly put it away in the cupboard and said nothing else. Later I saw the guy go back into the kitchen, look around, look disappointed, then open a bottle of wine. He finished that too… after drinking half a bottle of whiskey and many many cocktails earlier in the night. Later on, my housemate told me that he ‘drinks a lot’ and she would have advised me not to bring out my good whiskey if she had known what I was doing. Still, I felt that being a big drinker is not really an excuse to take advantage of people’s generosity.

  • Marian Perera January 6, 2014, 8:10 pm

    Cat – I hear you about the books. A friend of mine once borrowed a book and I never saw it again. I know if I ask her, she’ll say “oh yeah, I meant to return that to you,” and I’ll still never see it. Thankfully it wasn’t one of my out-of-print books, which are valuable, or my autographed copies, which are pretty much irreplaceable.

    After that I let friends or guests read whatever they like in my home, but no borrowing (unless the book is something I don’t mind losing).

  • hakayama January 6, 2014, 8:52 pm

    Posted after #46

    I stand by my original opinion: Mrs. J. DOES HAVE A PROBLEM. And it is alcohol related.
    I re-read the story, and it still is as I remembered it: the woman pushed to get the bottle opener. Sort of guilted the host to bring in around.
    SHE opened the wine.
    SHE poured herself the big glass without asking if anyone else was going to drink.
    SHE repeatedly made what amounted to covert trips to her “private” bottle until it was empty.
    NOBODY ELSE even came close to the wine.

    Yes, it was just ONE occasion. But sometimes just ONE event is enough to “get the picture” of an individual.
    In this case, any and all excuses made in defense of that poor woman come from folks I really would love to have on the jury if I were on trial for premeditated murder. 😉 Or, preferably big time “cooking of books”. But then, I don’t have access to any big time books but many individuals that richly deserve “erasing”… 😉

    • Enna February 5, 2014, 11:37 am

      I think J’s wife is a bit entittled – in my life I have known two alcoholics (one was a didstant family member and the other was a father of a friend) and it was a collection of instances that showed they were alcoholics not one. For example my distant family member got banned from most of the bars in his home town.

  • msdani313 January 6, 2014, 8:57 pm

    OP, it is never rude to say NO to a guest when they are overstepping their boundaries.

    And for those who say to “put the good stuff away”, I shouldn’t have to hide things in my house because I have guests. Regardless of when OP wanted to consume her wine, keeping it in the fridge does not make it “fair game”. Neither does opening it. The guest was rude for saying she would have something that was not offered to her. I have an acquaintance who has taken it upon herself to open wines from my wine cabinet even when there are bottles open on the counter. She comes from the belief that if you invite someone over then you invite them to consume whatever is in your household. I am of the belief that guests should not help themselves to things behind closed doors including the closed door of the fridge. Said acquaintance is no longer invited to my home because she doesn’t understand why she can’t pick a bottle of wine from my collection to take home when she thinks she deserves a gift. If the “wine-drinking” friend was a casual guest then I would speak to her about her behavior but because she is a less than once a year guest I would let it go. However the next time J and Wife came to visit I would be sure to identify which drinks are to be consumed during their visit.

  • Alie January 6, 2014, 9:25 pm

    Man, I wouldn’t say “Oooo, wine, I’ll take that” at my parents or sister’s house. Even for so much as a beer, I’ll go “Can I take this?” My dad, for instance, likes to try different beers and my brother (who is in the know about these things) occasionally picks up a few odd bottles.

    Also, drinking a whole bottle of wine by yourself? I know that would make me sick, although I rarely drink more than two glasses of wine in a sitting. My friends and I often share wine at dinners but none of us have ever “claimed” each other’s stuff.

    However, OP should have had the backbone to say no. For instance, I have a bottle of port on my shelf right now that I’m saving to give to a friend who is about to defend her thesis (it’s one she particularly likes). Anyone asked for that, and I’d definitely say no.

  • DGS January 6, 2014, 9:31 pm

    Rudeness times two. The woman was presumptuous and intoxicated, with poor manners, and OP and husband are examples of passive aggression. Rather than commenting on her drinking, the right thing to do would have been to simply say that the wine was not available as being saved for particular occasion.

  • NostalgicGal January 6, 2014, 10:47 pm

    In my older years alcohol and I have had to part company. Between allergies and medications; I don’t drink. It doesn’t mean I wouldn’t like to have some. I have friends that still do enjoy such, and at certain events and gatherings; I will have on hand some alcoholic beverages, and offer them.

    I do feel that: if you don’t want it drunk don’t have it where it can be seen. If it can be seen it is fair game. If you need to store the bottle of wine in the fridge and it is not on offer it needs to be… well, bagged. Or something. I agree about keeping wine elsewhere until say the day before consumption at the max, then chill.

    The out of line-ness though was, the missus asked for what wasn’t offered, then proceeded to do ‘feints’ to go collect the rest of it (I am not sure if she indeed was that way, it may have seemed that way to the OP).

    I agree with something should have been said politely and firmly at the time of the request that the wine was not on offer; if they had persisted, beandip. Once it was open bets were off and the pinch and the comments after that about water and such were out of line. Don’t let it start.

    The hubby should have gotten another bottle as he opened it… if the friend didn’t replace it which he should have. I would have clued in on ‘gift’ and picked something else!

  • Maggie January 6, 2014, 10:50 pm

    We tend to offer wine to guests from our very small ‘cellar’. The wines are chosen according to the food we are eating and what is ready to be drunk. There are, sometimes, the bores (usually friends of friends) who insist on trying to grab a different bottle, claiming “this is the good stuff”. They, quite simply, are not permitted to get away with this behaviour. Your home, your rules. You can be hospitable to guests without being a total doormat. Respect runs both ways.

  • hakayama January 6, 2014, 11:10 pm

    OOOOOPS! Last phrase should read:
    …”I don’t have access to any big time books, but I have access to many individuals that richly deserve “erasing”… 😉

  • crebj January 6, 2014, 11:22 pm

    Well, I’d just chalk it up to “lesson learned”, and hide whatever I don’t want a guest to assume is on offer. It sounds like the bigger problem is her drinking. An entire bottle?

  • PM January 6, 2014, 11:26 pm

    I’m getting the impression that J knew her behavior was inappropriate, given the feinting for the bathroom then “swooping” past it and going into the kitchen for a second glass, then pretending the pet the cat and then finishing off the bottle. She was depending on the OP’s desire to be a good hostess and not make a scene.

    J’s behavior was rude and bizarre. But once the bottle was open, there wasn’t much OP could do, besides not ever host this couple in their house without locking up all of the valuable objects first.

  • crebj January 6, 2014, 11:29 pm

    I’d feel quite crestfallen as a guest, if I heard that “This wine is being saved for a special occasion.” Even a poor guest deserves somewhat more diplomacy. How else can it be said? Ideas?

  • Jinx January 6, 2014, 11:58 pm

    I have no difficulty in drinking a bottle of wine in one night. I don’t do it but 5-6 times a year, but it will happen.

    Though it wouldn’t be odd for me to do this curled up with a book on the couch, I would never do it if I had people over to my home who weren’t drinking (which is to say, though it may take me 6 hours to drink a bottle, by hour 6 I’m ready for bed). I would ESPECIALLY never do this at someone else’s home unless there was an insane wine party going on. Having one drink seems normal, but beyond that when no one else is drinking would be off (to me).

    Yes, she shouldn’t have asked to open wine. there is food, drinks, lots of things all over my house that I don’t offer to guests. I’m not going to round up every item I don’t want used, I think that’s too much. Rude to ask, even if it’s in plain sight. Unless it’s on the table beside the snacks for the get-together, it’s a huge leap that to say because it exists in the house, it’s for anyone.

    She was allowed a glass, and that should have been the end of it. It really curls my toes that she would go into someone else’s fridge to get more. That’s too far for me. Guests are not welcome to root around in my fridge. I’d like to assume I’m a good enough hostess that I refill glasses and snacks as the need arises. Covertly refilling your glass without even asking if others need to be filled implies that the person is rude and possibly sneaky. I don’t care why she wanted the wine – taking it all is super rude. Really, if she did want wine that bad, she should have brought a bottle for herself.

    If I spent all day baking a dessert and a guest ate all of it, without thinking that anyone else might like some I’d be very pissed. It’s just not what you do in someone’s home, regardless of the commodity you’re using. You take a serving and wait to be offered more. You wait to see if anyone else wants some.

    I think that this woman was sneaky and rude, but at least an excellent example of why we need to learn that it’s okay to say “no” to a guest.

  • Sarah Peart January 7, 2014, 12:29 am

    I think there is a difference in the relationship to alcohol between the USA and Europe – for instance I have never been to a wedding/celebration where alcohol is not served. Alcoholism is a compulsion to drink alcohol but not necessarily a lot. That is why I have to defend people who are thinking “That seems to be the behaviour of an alcoholic”. You can be an alcoholic and drink one drink every Saturday and a heavy drinker who drinks 3 to 4 drinks every night and more at a party. It is not the amount it is what you will do to get it. Unfortunately I know many heavy drinkers and many alcoholics – dry and not so dry!
    As I see it there are these markers – (1) asking artlessly even forcefully for something that was not offered, (2) serving herself, (3) filling the glass over capacity, (4) feigning one activity in order to help herself to more, (5) being the only one who drank, (6) not bringing the bottle in to offer around. (7) drinking the whole bottle when decorum does not allow you to finish items, (8) ignoring all social signals of uncomfort. Someone did say that maybe she was just jumping to the drink she would like believing that he was “getting around to it later” but I would counterargue that people (in Europe anyway) when offering drinks more normally start with the alcoholic and wind down to the soda and juices. That is was agreed beforehand strengthens my feeling, even had she arrived with her own alcohol when it had been agreed enough had been consumed over the past days I would be worried about her relationship with alcohol. Respectfully I have to disagree with the person who claims that we are looking for worse case diagnoses – they are just put out there to be tried on, examined and truthfully we have nothing to gain in telling people their loved ones are flawed – but the person in the situation may see clearly and gain distance from the behaviour – physical and/or emotional!
    Regarding the behaviour of the OP and her husband, I think it was based on exasperation that someone was demanding this favour, frustration that she had not been able to say no at the beginning and mounting resentment as a guest continued to drink the wine despite a quite brusque expression of their feelings on the subject. I do not excuse it and I hope the next time you are able to remember these feelings and that helps you to say “No, I am sorry I did not intend serving that tonight”.

  • Anonymous January 7, 2014, 12:46 am

    When I suggested only putting out the things you’re willing to share/offer, I didn’t mean literally hiding the things that are off-limits. One way to achieve this is to put out the movie night snacks, on the counter, or in the living room where the movie is to be shown, in an appealing and festive way–Cokes on ice, with drinking glasses in case people want them, and maybe a big bowl of popcorn, or pretzels, or potato chips, and another of candy. Alternatively, you could do what my family does, and bring the guests into the “party area” before bringing in the snacks, and asking people what they want to drink, out of the available options. We’ve always hosted that way, even with extended family members, and nobody has ever complained, or even questioned it. Obviously, our guests know that we have other food in our house, because nobody could possibly survive on a diet of potato chips, or brownies, or phyllo puffs, or even veggie sticks with hummus. However, by not asking for something else, they maintain the “polite fiction” that that’s what we have. The same is true of “specific purpose” gatherings. For example, if you’re invited to Bob’s house for movie night, you don’t ask in the middle of the movie to play Hungry, Hungry Hippos instead. In that case, you maintain the “polite fiction” that Bob doesn’t have Hungry, Hungry Hippos, even if you know he does, and even if you played it with him yesterday. Conversely, if you’re invited to Joe’s house for games night, and you’d rather watch his plasma-screen television, the proper thing to do is to maintain the “polite fiction” that you’re so enthralled with trying to make your plastic hippo gobble up all the marbles, that it wouldn’t even occur to you to ask for the TV to be turned on. If you can’t do that, then you don’t accept the invitation to a specific event in the first place. For close friendships, it can be permissible to suggest specific events at others’ houses, but only if you bring it up in the context of how you can contribute to said event–for example, “Hey, maybe we could celebrate your new TV with an 80’s movie night. I’ll bring my copy of Dirty Dancing, and I’ll make Fluffernutters. What do you think?” Then, the owner of the new TV could accept that idea, or reject it, or suggest modifications–Funyuns and Orange Crush to go with the Fluffernutters, an old-school Nintendo tournament instead of or in addition to the movie, and so on, and so forth. My point is, while it’s polite for hosts to provide adequate hospitality (the biggest example I can think of is not inviting people to an event at a typical “meal” time without providing a meal), it’s also polite for guests to be grateful for the hospitality that they’re given, even if it means hitting up a McDonald’s or a liquor store on the way home.

  • WillyNilly January 7, 2014, 12:56 am

    Cathy: “I’m not saying she’s an alcoholic, I’m saying anyone who can drink that much that fast has a problem that needs to be addressed. Normal people don’t do that…”

    What an interesting, and incorrect, assumption. The guest’s drinking is extraordinarily normal, plenty of folks can, and occasionally do, over the course of a few hours, drink a bottle’s worth of wine without having a larger problem that needs to be addressed.

  • lakey January 7, 2014, 12:58 am

    The problem with over the top incidents like this is that, at the time they happen, you are so taken aback that you don’t have the presence of mind to come up with a diplomatic way to say no.

    Also, my suspicion is that this woman could have a drinking problem. Who drinks an entire bottle of wine while watching a movie?

  • lakey January 7, 2014, 1:05 am

    “I do feel that: if you don’t want it drunk don’t have it where it can be seen. If it can be seen it is fair game. If you need to store the bottle of wine in the fridge and it is not on offer it needs to be… well, bagged. ”

    Are you serious? If someone is in your house, the fact that you have a bottle of whatever in sight on a counter or shelf makes it fair game? When I go into a person’s home, I certainly don’t assume that whatever I see on the shelves or counters is there for my consumption. You eat or drink what is offered to you. Period.

  • AnaLuisa January 7, 2014, 1:48 am

    Sunny, OP was rude?

    I definitely do not think so. Neither do I agree that once you have invited a guest to your home all your belongings are there for grabs and you have to hide everything you do not want them to take otherwise it’s basically your fault.

    I would NEVER EVER assume I am free to open the hosts’ fridge/cupboard and take anything I pick just because I am a guest! Not even in the house of close relatives or very good friends. I would not want to make my hosts check their house before my visit and hide/lock everything of value for fear I might feel free to take it!

    I think I can absolutely understand why OP did not refuse when asked for the wine – she was probably so flabbergasted that the guest should take such a liberty, plus the general hospitality we all have more or less deeply rooted in us and which dictates that as a gracious host, I should cater for all the needs of my guests. Which is wrong, on second thoughts, if the guests are greedy pigs but I can see how this can catch you unprepared.

    I would not blame the OP for obliging. I, too, think that the guest was beyond rude and OP absolutely did not expect this.

  • Anonymous January 7, 2014, 2:00 am

    P.S., for “full meal” gatherings, our kitchen and dining room are actually two separate rooms, so that makes it easier to do the “seat the guests before serving them” manoeuvre.

  • AnaLuisa January 7, 2014, 2:09 am

    And i quite do not understand how the guests can feel entitled to get anything which was not specifically offered to them!

    The only exception for me to ask for would be a glass of water or, perhaps, a cup of tea if I felt chilly.

  • Green123 January 7, 2014, 5:24 am

    The guest was very rude, and OP should have developed a polite spine.

    However, I am hugely amused by the number of people on the comments who assume a woman who drinks one bottle of wine has a drink problem! Talk about overreacting…

  • Molly January 7, 2014, 7:44 am

    Yes, the woman’s behavior was rude but I’m perplexed by the OPs behavior also. This was your husband’s good friend that you rarely see. They were on a vacation and spending a casual evening with you. I can only imagine the intent was to relax and have some fun so why not offer some beer or wine? At the point where the bottle was opened why not just pour yourself a glass and enjoy some with your guests? Putting the importance of a bottle of wine over your husband’s friend seems petty to me. Also, blaming your husband and making him feel bad about is pointless and unnecessary.

  • AngiePange January 7, 2014, 7:55 am

    I completely understand Op’s chagrin. Honestly, you could have handled it better by merely saying “sorry, this was a gift” and then offering the alternative. However, just because its “in the fridge” does NOT make it fair game. My brother in law keeps a variety of tasty things in his fridge – including imported chocolates, which are often already opened, bottles of wine and other yummy goodies. There is, however, no way in hell that I, even as a family member, would dream of asking for any of the goodies if they were not offered. Whether it was wine, chocolate or an open jar of pickles. As a guest, particularly a guest who is being catered for, you should follow the social cues of those around you. They didn’t offer wine? Don’t ask for it. When at brother in law’s house, I will always offer to help fetch and carry things (e.g. milk for tea and coffee or butter if we are having bread with our meal), and therefore get a peep into the fridge. This STILL doesn’t, in my opinion, entitle me to request any of the contents that are not offered to me.
    What would be different would be if OP was enjoying a glass of wine and J’s wife has requested some of that. To be honest, I still wouldn’t ask for the wine unless I was offered, but in that case you can understand – host is drinking wine, wine looks good, I’ll have wine.
    Also, if J and his wife had brought a bottle of wine with them, one could understand if they had brought it in the hopes of enjoying it together with their hosts. I have had one or two experiences where hubby and I took (good, expensive) wine over to friends only to have it squirreled away by our hosts and we have been left sipping on ice water all evening.
    I agree with OP, this is a vent – not an insurmountable incident that will plague her forever, and also … J was an utterly rude pig!

  • AngiePange January 7, 2014, 8:00 am

    @cathy “schnockered”, I almost just laughed so hard that I would have had an upsetting coffee incident on my keyboard. I think I have a new favorite word!

  • bloo January 7, 2014, 8:02 am

    Apparently, clairdelune, it’s okay if the spouse will ‘probably like it’ and you’ll be offered wine for your outrage.

  • Abby January 7, 2014, 8:10 am

    I have a question for the commenters here. It seems that most comments, while disagreeing how big of a deal this situation was, agree that strictly speaking manners wise, demanding wine was not polite. However, I am seeing differing opinions on whether J’s wife was rude (after announcing she wants the wine) on continuing to refill her glass and also, getting more than a little tipsy when no one else is drinking.

    If OP had said, please, J’s Wife, help yourself to this wine, take as much as you want, and J’s wife continued to refill her glass until the bottle was empty, and everyone else was stone sober, is that still rude? If no one else at the gathering wants to drink, is someone who does want to drink at an obligation to not drink, or only drink a little as to still remain sober? Are they obligated to only take one glass, even when they’ve been told they can have as much as they want? Are they obligated to leave a certain amount, just so they can say they did not finish the bottle?

  • Ergala January 7, 2014, 8:55 am

    @Sunny I shouldn’t have to hide anything in my home. But I have to because people do NOT know how to keep their mitts off. I have a friend who will literally search my cupboards for my very expensive nice coffee. I buy a regular brand for everyday drinking but an expensive one for very special occasions or as a special treat when my kiddos are occupied and I have some quiet time and I need a little pampering. He used my entire stash. ALL OF IT. I had the regular coffee on the counter but he looked in my cupboard and saw the expensive stuff and used that.

    As for those saying alcohol goes with movies….my husband and I don’t really drink. He has a beer during get togethers but we don’t keep any on hand. Our faith doesn’t allow alcoholic beverages, I adhere to it more strictly than he does. I would be slightly offended if someone brought alcohol to our home as well, I keep sparkling cider on hand, I sure hope that is sufficient as “bubbly”. We usually let people know that we do not drink alcohol.

  • Shoegal January 7, 2014, 9:27 am

    If I was this woman, I would have been somewhat dismayed to find that I wasn’t offered wine or an alcoholic beverage at a movie night at a friend’s home. My first comment to my husband after we left would have been: Really, juice, water, soda??? I really wanted a glass of wine.

    At this gathering – I would not have helped myself to the wine and I wouldn’t be drinking the whole thing especially if nobody else was even having anything. I have pretty good friends and I can’t just open their fridge and go through it. Sorry, I’m not made that way. I think a fridge is somewhat private – I wouldn’t just go in there or spy a bottle of wine and ask for it although I kind of don’t really think less of this woman for thinking she was welcome to it. It was in the fridge – you don’t store wine in the fridge for a special occasion. I would have also assumed that the wine was put in there to be consumed recently. You should have just said no and moved on. “Sorry, I have specific plans for this bottle.” Once you allowed it and opened it – it was fair game in my book. I like to make my guests comfortable. If they wanted the wine, I probably would have given it to them. I do think the “that’s crazy” comments were quite rude.

    All of you thinking that a bottle of wine is copious amounts and this woman is an alcoholic are greatly overestimating how much wine is in a bottle. My husband makes wine – there is a lot of it in my house – wiping out a bottle with friends is easy to do and spread out over an evening – drinking an entire bottle is not such a big deal at our house if you can handle it and are enjoying it. Drinking to get drunk is another story. But – with that said – she was “really” making herself quite comfortable pouring herself glasses that weren’t offered. I thought that was a little too much especially if there were acquaintances to me and I didn’t offer it first.

  • acr January 7, 2014, 9:48 am

    I agree that diagnosing this woman as an alcoholic is excessive, and characterizing her as “sneaking” to get more wine doesn’t seem to be based on anything the OP said. Assuming the 4 of them were watching the movie in another room and the wine was in the kitchen, then I most people would grandly announce they were getting more wine/soda/food everytime they got up.

    And it doesn’t seem that excessive to me for a person to have 3-4 glasses of wine over 2-3 hours. Every night may be an indicator of a problem. But on vacation and the kids are sleeping somewhere else? Doesn’t seem problematic to me.

    My very limited experience with wine is that it isn’t stored in the fridge unless you are planning on drinking it soon. So I don’t think it’s unreasonable for a person who has come over for an evening of entertainment to assume the bottle chilling in the fridge is for that night’s consumption.

    Not saying that Mrs. J wasn’t a bit pushy and greedy. But I just don’t think she was as appalling as many posters seem to think.

    Regarding the OP’s update on having a low-cost evening – that just seems like red herring to me. Mrs J didn’t complain about the snacks and demand steak and lobster, or ask to order an PPV movie or anything like that. She drank a bottle of wine you had in the fridge.

  • acr January 7, 2014, 9:49 am

    ETA: Would NOT grandly announce they were getting up for more wine. Sorry about that.

  • flagal January 7, 2014, 10:19 am

    For what it’s worth… I would never presume that just because there is a bottle of wine in the fridge, that I’m allowed to have some unless it is specifically offered. I visit my Future In Laws home regularly. For nice dinners, my husband to be and I will bring a bottle of each of my in laws’ favorite wine as a hosting gift (FFIL favors blended reds, FSMIL and I are fond of moscatos). It is their wine at that point- if they want to share, fine, if not, fine. I’m regularly told to “help myself” to whatever I’d like to drink- I’ll get water, I’ll get soda, but unless they say “hey, lets crack open the wine” or “would you like some wine” I do not arbitrarily open the wine up. Hubs to be will go to the fridge in the garage and get a beer, but he always brings back one for his father (and it’s his folks house, not mine- he wouldn’t dream of opening ANY of the booze in my parents house, and they keep several bottles of cognac and bourbon on the counter next to the fridge, including the open ones, without an offer from my folks first!)

  • Jinx January 7, 2014, 10:20 am

    @Abby I would vote that if the guest were offered wine in your scenario, and no one else is drinking, that it wouldn’t be unreasonable to help yourself to the wine….

    but it’s still pretty rude to get “sloppy” at a small gathering of people. Guests should feel comfortable helping themselves up to, but not past the moment of “slop”.

    Even so, I would also say that no matter what the commodity is, a guest shouldn’t finish it. I think leaving half the bottle of wine would have been more polite.

    However, if the host says something like, “you need to finish that bottle before you go” (which, surprisingly, has been said amongst my non-driving friends), then go ahead and finish the bottle if you want to.

    That’s just my take.

  • Abby January 7, 2014, 10:23 am

    @ ACR- you are right, J’s wife didn’t “sneak” the wine- OP just merely thought she was doing something else when she was getting more wine. J’s wife didn’t say, Hey, I’m just going to get up in the middle of the movie so I can pet your cat, OP assumed that was what she was doing.

    Also, the way I read it, J’s wife was not rooting through the fridge. OP’s husband was standing in front of the open fridge saying, we’ve got tea, we’ve got Sprite, we’ve got Diet Coke, and J’s wife came up behind him, saw the contents within the fridge (that was open) and spied the wine. In her very minimal defense, it is possible J’s wife thought he was going to list every beverage in the fridge and just hadn’t gotten to the wine yet. Yeah, she was pushy. But it’s not like she pushed past the OP and took it upon herself to open the fridge, pull out the wine and open it.

  • JS January 7, 2014, 10:26 am

    Ok, I’m in the minority here, but I just don’t see where Jane was rude, beyond the initial request for wine that wasn’t offered (and frankly, given the informal setting, while rude, the request wasn’t that big a deal, and could’ve easily been dealt with by saying “Sorry, we’re saving that.”). Once OP told her she could have some wine, from Jane’s perspective, the wine was fair game. How on earth was she to know that the invitation to drink the wine had been, in OP’s head, retracted?

    And while I understand that many posters are perplexed/put off by the idea of consuming a bottle of wine, I think that the number of comments saying that it isn’t that big a deal shows that this may be a case of subjective, rather than objective, drinking standards.

  • Rap January 7, 2014, 11:01 am

    “Also, my suspicion is that this woman could have a drinking problem. Who drinks an entire bottle of wine while watching a movie?”

    (raises hand) I can. I have. I’m at home, I’m not driving, and I like the warm buzz while watching zombies chomp thru the scenery.

  • clairedelune January 7, 2014, 11:17 am

    @bloo–Yes, I noticed that response too. Who doesn’t like a little light physical abuse?! Or perhaps he really *does* like it, in which case: probably best not to do that in front of guests.

  • Cat January 7, 2014, 11:23 am

    Does anyone else see a difference between drinking a bottle of wine that you purchased in your own home vs. guzzling someone else’s wine-taking double servings not once, not twice, but three times?
    If you want to get warm buzzes (I take it to mean drunk) at home, it’s fine with me. But not in my home and on my wine.