Author Topic: Shower Etiquette Question - If you don't agree with a shower what are the rules?  (Read 5466 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

snowflake

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1812
So I've always been interested in situations where there is the prescribed way to act which has to be balanced with other factors.

I was invited to a shower of a woman who I didn't know.  I am friends with her mother.  The mother-to-be (MTB) is in her early 20s and left her job, friends and life while eight months pregnant to get out of an abusive relationship.  She moved in with her parents and they will be supporting her until she has given birth, recovered and finds a job.  (MTB has been a very functional and self-reliant adult to this point so don't take this as if she's a mooch or trying to trawl for presents or anything.) 

A friend of the mother threw a shower for the MTB.  She invited some friends of the mother including some younger friends who will be closer in age to the MTB.  The intent was that we might hit it off with the mother and she could start a new support system.

My feelings on this was that I if I could do something for the MTB to feel special, it wasn't a whole lot of skin off of my nose.  A couple hours of time, some diapers and other necessities, free cake and goodies, no biggie.  Plus, the shower was as much for the MTB's mother since she was going to be taking on the financial support of an infant that she wasn't expecting (at nearly 60.)  BUT, I'd totally understand why some other friends chose not to attend the shower.  None of us were pressured to show up.

What happened is that I got there and there were lots of people who knew each other but not the MTB.  They were all talking to each other past the MTB while she sat in the chair of honor looking lonely. 

So...is this a serious breach of etiquette?

On one hand, yes the whole situation was odd and awkward so they were only doing what felt easiest for them.  I think if you were going to stick to rigorous etiquette than the shower wouldn't exist at all.

On the other hand, they knew that coming into it.  They decided to show up anyways.

I ended up talking to the MTB most of the night.  She's really sweet but I don't know if we're going to be close friends or anything.  I sort of felt bad because she does need friends but we don't have much in common.

blue2000

  • It is never too late to be what you might have been
  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6842
  • Two kitties - No waiting. And no sleeping either.
Re: So, Does Mental Health Trump etiquette?
« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2012, 07:06:09 PM »
Yes, I would consider that a serious breach of etiquette. She is the GOH, she should be included in the conversation! Especially since it sounds like she is pretty down to begin with and being a wallflower at her own shower wouldn't help. It was very nice of you to chat with her!
You are only young once. After that you have to think up some other excuse.

QueenofAllThings

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2921
If you show up, you honor the guest of honor.

Simple.

Hmmmmm

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6558
Whether a shower in her honor or just a guest new to the area, everyone else should have tried to make her feel welcome.  I don't see anything wrong with the shower anyway other than some mo s trying to create "playdates"for a grown women. 

I would be disappointed in my friends treating a newcomer like this.

kareng57

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 12310
Whether a shower in her honor or just a guest new to the area, everyone else should have tried to make her feel welcome.  I don't see anything wrong with the shower anyway other than some mo s trying to create "playdates"for a grown women. 

I would be disappointed in my friends treating a newcomer like this.


Yes - it does sound like a rather awkward situation, if the hostess invited young women that the MTB did not even know, in order for her to make new friends.  The sentiment is fine; I'm just not sure that a shower was the best situation to go about it.

Now of course that does not excuse the other young women from ignoring the GOH.  If they did not feel like even trying to socialise with the GOH, then they had no obligation to attend.

Harriet

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 235
Rude, for sure. I really hate shower games but this sounds like the perfect opportunity for them. That would make the whole group have to get in on the game. I feel for the MTB; she must have felt more forlorn than ever after that.

TootsNYC

  • A Pillar of the Forum
  • *****
  • Posts: 30839

What happened is that I got there and there were lots of people who knew each other but not the MTB.  They were all talking to each other past the MTB while she sat in the chair of honor looking lonely. 

So...is this a serious breach of etiquette?



Yes, it's a VERY serious breach of etiquette. I don't care if they weren't comfortable striking up a conversation with someone they didn't know yet--etiquette demands that we put our own comfort aside sometimes.

Plus it was sort of mean.

Twik

  • A Pillar of the Forum
  • *****
  • Posts: 28641
This was a failure by the guests, and a catastrophic failure by the hostess. If her guests couldn't bring themselves to talk to the guest of honour, her duty was to force the issue by starting a conversation that would include her.
My cousin's memoir of love and loneliness while raising a child with multiple disabilities will be out on Amazon soon! Know the Night, by Maria Mutch, has been called "full of hope, light, and companionship for surviving the small hours of the night."

RiverSong

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 103
I'm a little confused by the title. Are you not agreeing that there should be a shower, or are the other guests?

Either way, it is rude to attend a party of any kind and not even say hello to the guest of honor.

I feel for the girl. I was in the same position 4 years ago, though not quite as far along in my pregnancy.

mj

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 574
Growing up, we were taught this is who baby showers are for, women like the MTB and others in less fortunate situations. 

If you decide to go to something, regardless of what you think about the rules, I think you need to participate and honor the reason why you are there.  Otherwise, decline to go. 

Bijou

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 12990
Rude, for sure. I really hate shower games but this sounds like the perfect opportunity for them. That would make the whole group have to get in on the game. I feel for the MTB; she must have felt more forlorn than ever after that.
You read my mind.  This is exactly what I was going to say. 
I've never knitted anything I could recognize when it was finished.  Actually, I've never finished anything, much to my family's relief.

Mikayla

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4070
My take is closest to kareng's.  Obviously, it would be rude to not acknowledge the GOH but I didn't see anything in the OP to indicate people didn't do this.  Beyond that, I think guests are free to talk to whomever they want.  IMO, it's like any event with a GOH.

The other problem is a shower isn't an event to help someone build a support network.  Because of the circumstances, this doesn't sound greedy or gift grabby to me, but I think they were trying to combine 2 very different types of events with this, and that rarely works. 

ETA:  If they were literally talking past her (as in two people conversing with her chair in the middle) this is rude, but if they were forming their own little groups and chatting I don't see rudeness at all.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2012, 01:22:02 PM by Mikayla »

Twik

  • A Pillar of the Forum
  • *****
  • Posts: 28641
Well, first of all, it is rude to leave someone out of a relatively small group as described in the OP. PARTICULARLY when you know that person is new, and has no acquaintances of her own to converse with.

And if you organize a party for someone, it is your duty, just as much (or more) as providing food and drink, to make sure that person is NOT left on the sidelines.  The guests were minor-league rude, the hostess was a major-league, All-Star, etiquette fail.
My cousin's memoir of love and loneliness while raising a child with multiple disabilities will be out on Amazon soon! Know the Night, by Maria Mutch, has been called "full of hope, light, and companionship for surviving the small hours of the night."

TootsNYC

  • A Pillar of the Forum
  • *****
  • Posts: 30839
I agree w Twik.

And yes, I do think that forming their own little groups was really rude.

People have really gotten selfish in their approach to parties and other social gatherings. They have forgotten that it's their responsibility to help create the party when they are a guest.

And hostesses have forgotten as well.

I don't know what happened to create such a huge deficit in our social knowledge and training!

snowflake

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1812
I'm a little confused by the title. Are you not agreeing that there should be a shower, or are the other guests?

Either way, it is rude to attend a party of any kind and not even say hello to the guest of honor.

I feel for the girl. I was in the same position 4 years ago, though not quite as far along in my pregnancy.

Just to clarify this:  I didn't disagree with the shower.  Maybe it wasn't the best way to go about things but I think that it was a nice gesture.

On the other hand, I'm trying to acknowledge that maybe some people did disagree with the whole premise of inviting people who don't know the GOH.  After the shower when I was thinking, "OK, that was odd" I was trying to account for the fact that maybe the other guests felt the invitations were a little awkward.  Sorry if that was confusing.