Author Topic: Girl's Only Birthday Party - is it rude for the GOH to bring her boyfriend? p50  (Read 6141 times)

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SingActDance

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I'll admit I only skimmed the thread, but has the OP mentioned whether the hostess said this was a "girls tea", or was this just inferred by the OP because mostly girls are invited? I think that will have a huge bearing on my opinion.

If the hostess said "This is a girl's only thing" and then invited her boyfriend, then I think that's off. But if she just said, "I'm only inviting these people, because they are closest to me" and they just happen to be girls, then I think that's fine.
Most people look at musical theatre and think "Why are those people singing and dancing in the street?" I'm sort of the opposite. I see a street full of people and think, "Why aren't they?"

bah12

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Correct me if I am wrong, but I thought giving yourself better accommodations your guests was a faux pas? You wouldn’t serve yourself champagne and give your guests grape juice, or eat caviar when your guests are having hot dogs. Does that only apply to food? I know it is her party and her tab, but something about inviting only her SO seems off to me. I just can't put my finger on it.
Personally, i would be a little put off. I don't like those one-gender-only events. I just don't. If i participated in one to help my friend celebrate her birthday and found out it was only SO-free only for some it would leave a bad taste in my mouth. Maybe i am petty, i don't know.

That's a really good point! If you remove "boyfriend" from the equation and say "Zoe has stated she's got limited funds so she's paying for X for herself but not her friends because it's her birthday and she's hosting. Is that okay?" I wonder if more people would say "You need to accommodate all guests equally and plan the party accordingly." ?

I see the boyfriend as another equal guest, not a special accommodation or privilege for Zoe.  I guess that's where my disconnect is  :)


This is how I see it.  People are not accommodations...they are guests.  I think the only things she's doing wrong is calling it a "girls tea" and creating a possibly awkward situation with having one guy there (that doesn't seem to know everyone well) with a bunch of girls.

I think you could effectively argue that she changed the dynamics of the original party when she invited her boyfriend which leaves her other guests free to now decline the invite. 

And while I get the whole social unit thing, it kind of makes inviting anyone to do anything overly burdensome if you aren't allowed to organize an event with your best friends (if they aren't all of one gender) without inviting double the people every time.  I've definitely had times where I wanted to spend time with my three best friends...which includes 2 girl friends and my DH.  And my friends have done the same.  Would I throw a big dinner party and leave off just one boyfriend?  No.  And if it were any other kind of event, I might encourage her to pare down the guest list so that she could accommodate all SOs. But this is her birthday...so I do think she's ok to say "I want to spend time with the people that mean the most to me" which would include some girl friends and a boyfriend.  But she can't dictate that any of those people actually show up...and that's where she should maybe reconsider this event.

« Last Edit: October 04, 2012, 12:40:32 PM by bah12 »

Tabby Uprising

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I'll admit I only skimmed the thread, but has the OP mentioned whether the hostess said this was a "girls tea", or was this just inferred by the OP because mostly girls are invited? I think that will have a huge bearing on my opinion.

If the hostess said "This is a girl's only thing" and then invited her boyfriend, then I think that's off. But if she just said, "I'm only inviting these people, because they are closest to me" and they just happen to be girls, then I think that's fine.

This is my frame of mind as well. I can add nothing more but agreement to your post  :)

Sootikin

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EvilBarb thinks you should all start talking about intimate "girl" type problems when he is there... >:D
Why would you want to make another guest uncomfortable?

cheyne

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I agree with WillyNilly's post about romantic rel@tionships vs. platonic rel@tionships.  I would like to add that DH and I dated for 6 months before we married (going on 20 years) so this may be a "new" boyfriend, but that doesn't mean he isn't a serious boyfriend.

My DH would rather slit his wrists than attend an afternoon tea, so I have no dog in this hunt in that regard.  However, I would be a bit taken aback if I was invited to and accepted to a "Girls Tea" and found someones [male] SO there.   I wouldn't say it was rude, but it would definitely change the dynamic.

LifeOnPluto

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Just to clarify a few things:

1) The afternoon tea hasn't expressly been billed as a "GIRL'S ONLY AFTERNOON TEA". However, invitations have been addressed only to the female half of the couples. In conversation with invitees, Zoe has also been saying things like "It'll be great to have all the girls together again!" and "I can't wait to catch up with all the girls!"

I believe she has also mentioned to some people (including me) that the guest list will consist of all her closest girl friends plus Zac (her boyfriend). However, I don't know if all guests are aware of this.

2) Zoe doesn't have any close male friends, so that's not an issue. Whilst she enjoys the company of her friends' husbands/boyfriends, she doesn't socialise independently with them.

3) Yes, the relationship between Zoe and Zac is new, but serious. Also, they are still in the "honeymoon" stage of their relationship, and strongly prefer to spend all their free time together. Zac definitely wants to attend the afternoon tea (even if it may be "girly").

4) The cafe in question is quite fancy. It has a dress code - you wouldn't be allowed in wearing tatty jeans and flip flops. Most invitees are planning on wearing nice frocks, etc. Zoe has also booked a private area for her afternoon tea. So I guess it's a kind of semi-formal event?


LEMon

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I would feel very awkward having him there. 

Reason:
He radically changes the tone of the event from a girls' time, to a mixed group.
They are in the 'honeymoon' phase and could easily make me feel uncomfortable.
Is he really going to feel as comfortable as he (and Zoe) think?  I suspect that it will be very awkward.  What will the group talk about?

If she is hiding this from the girls, she knows there are problems with it, she just doesn't want to think about it.

JenJay

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The update changes my opinion. If she didn't specifically say "Girls Tea" then it isn't and she's free to invite him.

Granted, maybe an argument can still be made against inviting half of a couple, but I'm not sure that rule has to be strictly enforced in casual settings. Obviously it's okay to invite just your girlfriends to a spa day, and it's not okay to invite the disliked spouse of your college roomie to your wedding. I know the line is somewhere between those two examples but I'm nowhere near etiquette-pro enough to advise on it.

Zilla

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The update was close to what I was envisioning.

She is on a budget and really wants to treat the closest friends/people in her life which would be her girlfriends and her boyfriend.  As the update says, she isn't close to any of the SO's.  And she is keeping it small and affordable for her.  She is also not selectively letting some bring SO's and not letting the single ones bring a date which is a topic of debate on this forum.  I think what she is doing is fine. 

Winterlight

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I would feel very awkward having him there. 

Reason:
He radically changes the tone of the event from a girls' time, to a mixed group.
They are in the 'honeymoon' phase and could easily make me feel uncomfortable.
Is he really going to feel as comfortable as he (and Zoe) think?  I suspect that it will be very awkward.  What will the group talk about?

If she is hiding this from the girls, she knows there are problems with it, she just doesn't want to think about it.

Agreeing with this.
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To whom you speak,
Of whom you speak,
And how, and when, and where.
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Roe

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I would feel very awkward having him there. 

Reason:
He radically changes the tone of the event from a girls' time, to a mixed group.
They are in the 'honeymoon' phase and could easily make me feel uncomfortable.
Is he really going to feel as comfortable as he (and Zoe) think?  I suspect that it will be very awkward.  What will the group talk about?

If she is hiding this from the girls, she knows there are problems with it, she just doesn't want to think about it.

Agreeing with this.

Pod. And considering that it's a semi-formal event...I don't know, something about that and leaving out the SO's just doesn't sit well with me.  I think it's because her BF is invited to a nice, formal celebration while the SO's don't make the cut. 

I'd decline the invite if it were me and I had the full details.  I am assuming that some of her friends might feel hurt, even if they don't say so, when they realize that her BF was invited.


Two Ravens

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With the update, I really don't have a problem with this either.  I'm not sure how many SO's would be excited to go to an afternoon tea (or who would be offended not to be invited). I think my own husband would rather pull his eyelashes out.

As for a guy changing the tone, well, it really would depend on the guy. I know plently of men who would blend in perfectly. If he's the type who can make polite conversation about multiple subjects, fine. If he's the type to dominate the conversation, not so much.

still in va

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Just to clarify a few things:

1) The afternoon tea hasn't expressly been billed as a "GIRL'S ONLY AFTERNOON TEA". However, invitations have been addressed only to the female half of the couples. In conversation with invitees, Zoe has also been saying things like "It'll be great to have all the girls together again!" and "I can't wait to catch up with all the girls!"

I believe she has also mentioned to some people (including me) that the guest list will consist of all her closest girl friends plus Zac (her boyfriend). However, I don't know if all guests are aware of this.

2) Zoe doesn't have any close male friends, so that's not an issue. Whilst she enjoys the company of her friends' husbands/boyfriends, she doesn't socialise independently with them.

3) Yes, the relationship between Zoe and Zac is new, but serious. Also, they are still in the "honeymoon" stage of their relationship, and strongly prefer to spend all their free time together. Zac definitely wants to attend the afternoon tea (even if it may be "girly").

4) The cafe in question is quite fancy. It has a dress code - you wouldn't be allowed in wearing tatty jeans and flip flops. Most invitees are planning on wearing nice frocks, etc. Zoe has also booked a private area for her afternoon tea. So I guess it's a kind of semi-formal event?

i don't have a problem with Zoe inviting whoever she wants to invite to her afternoon tea.  but to the bolded?  i think Zoe may have somewhat of a different experience than she is anticipating.  if "the girls" haven't met the new boyfriend, they might not feel comfortable catching up or going into "remember whens".  the conversation might become somewhat stilted.  if she's fine with that, then onward.  it's just something she should be prepared for.

Cami

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The update changes my opinion. If she didn't specifically say "Girls Tea" then it isn't and she's free to invite him.
The hostess may not be labeling it a "Girls' Tea" but she's acting as if it is a "Girls Tea":
Quote
Zoe has also been saying things like "It'll be great to have all the girls together again!" and "I can't wait to catch up with all the girls!"
It's honestly a little confusing to me or naive of her to think that she can have a women-only event and stick her man in the mix and have nothing change.  Just as it would be naive (but less problematic) of her to think she could add an unknown woman to a mix of girlfriends and not have the dynamic change.  Whenever you add an unknown person to a group of people in a social situation, the dynamic changes. It simply does. And if the dynamic you were expecting was one of intimacy, then that dynamic is gone.

So I agree with this:
Quote
i think Zoe may have somewhat of a different experience than she is anticipating.  if "the girls" haven't met the new boyfriend, they might not feel comfortable catching up or going into "remember whens".  the conversation might become somewhat stilted.  if she's fine with that, then onward.  it's just something she should be prepared for.
I think Zoe may not be thinking about how having a boyfriend, especially one unknown to many, will substantially change the tone and content of this party. I'm not sure I'd be comfortable having the type of conversation "girls" have together with a guy there or the type of conversation I'd have with good friends with an unknown person there and I'm fairly certain I wouldn't be in the minority on that. Which would mean that the conversation might be both perfectly polite and perfectly stilted as "the girls" attempt to navigate through the situation, excising whole areas of expected conversation from the table. 

Then again, perhaps I am making assumptions about this group's dynamics. Perhaps Zoe is wanting a polite "tea" where everyone catches up by skimming highlights and it's all very proper and formal and polite and everyone would be happy with that.


 

lowspark

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Reading through this thread I've gone back & forth on how I feel about this. I'm big on girls only get togethers. I have several different groups of girls who get together for different purposes. And a male inserted into one of these events without the previous agreement of all the girls, and the option to bring their male SOs, would not go over well.

However, in this case, it's the hostess's birthday party. And as such, she has the right to invite whomever she pleases. So inviting the girls and her boyfriend as the only male, well I kind of give her a pass. It's her bday party after all. Saying stuff about catching up with the girls is probably not that great of an idea but she's probably just not thinking in those terms of "girls only". She's thinking in terms of "people I want to celebrate my bday with", most of whom happen to be girls, but also includes her new bf, especially since they're still in the "honeymoon" stage.

Now, as a guest, if I got the idea that it was actually girls only, which is easily assumed based on her comments, I'd be pretty surprised to see her boyfriend there. It would definitely be averse to my expectations of a girls' night out. So I'd have to adjust my expectations and possibly my conversation to better suit the atmosphere. I don't think I'd be miffed that my DH wasn't invited because, again, it's her birthday and she should invite those with whom she wants to celebrate.

Now, if you kick out the birthday aspect of this, that would completely change my answer.