This story is a couple years old, but I was thinking about it the other day and decided to share. Though, I'm Canadian, it is tradition in my family to celebrate American Thanksgiving with friends, since we celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving with family. Since I moved out on my own, I have kept this tradition up and my friends seem to enjoy it. I provide the location (and all the dishes, etc.), the turkey and at least one other dish, everyone else contributes something
, I just ask that they run it by me in advance so that we don't end up with 10 salads or something.
This particular year, no one was particularly good about notifying me, but we still managed to have a good (if interesting) variety of food and most of my guests were awesome, as always, however there were a few faux paus committed by one guest in particular, my friend Nick's fiance Nora. I've written about them before: http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=99112.msg2429772#msg2429772
. Nothing she did was that bad on his own, but taken together, it was definitely wearing on my nerves.
1) For once Nick and Nora managed to find their own way here, yay! They actually took the bus. They arrived a bit later than everyone else, but this wasn't an issue and we were happy to hold dinner for them. However, Nora hadn't mentioned beforehand what dish she was bringing and she showed up with the ingredients for sweet potato soup (which would take more than an hour in my already crowded kitchen) and expected to be able to make it on site and have us wait dinner until it was ready. I politely declined and we went on without soup (Nick had brought a pie, so the soup wasn't their only offering). I wasn't upset about the lack of soup, but a little miffed that she showed up later than everyone else and expected us to wait to eat while she prepared her dish and that she presumed to use my kitchen without asking first (the other guests, about 10 others, had either brought their dish already prepared or asked in advance).
2) During dinner Nora started making arrangements with a few of the guests for her birthday party the next weekend. She did this loudly, in front of everyone, most of whom wasn't invited to her party. When I inquired about her party, trying to hint for her to stop talking about it, she informed me it was for her "big city" friends, not seeming to have any clue that meant she shouldn't be talking about it. Another friend, who was obviously uncomfortable, finally managed to change the subject, but Nora seemed to have no clue she was doing anything wrong.
3) My son was 2 months old at the time of this dinner and I was breast-feeding him. He woke up just after we finished eating and I settled in a corner of the room to nurse him, but so that I could still converse with people. Nora screeched at me "that's disgusting! People are eating (people had finished, but the food was still on the table), can't you find somewhere else to do that?!" Everyone else was stunned (I had nursed in front of most of them before). I calmly told Nora that it was my son's home and that he should be able to eat as well. I wasn't nursing at the table, but at a loveseat in the corner of the room (the tables were set up in my living room to accomdate a large group) and its not as if I was sitting right next to Nora, I was across the room.
4) When dinner was over, as we started clearing off the table, Nora brought out tupperware she had brought and started packing up left-overs without asking. I had intended to share (and I did), but it was a little off-putting to have her do it before I offered.
And this is the one that upset me the most
5) I complimented Nora on her engagement ring and commented that it reminded me of my mother's wedding ring (a family heirloom) in design. Nora made a face and said "I don't know if I want anything similar to her, she's not a very nice person". I was stunned at this comment. First of all, my mother is a very nice person. Now my mom can be a little over-bearing and at times was definitely over-involved in my life, but she is also a woman who would bend over backwards for just about anyone and has done so much for my husband and I. Secondly, Nora has only met my mother twice, both briefly (once at my wedding) and certainly isn't in a position to judge her personality. I was very upset and called Nora on the comment, as did another friend Cara, and Nora commented "well she was mean to Nick that time", and yes there is a story of my mother being cold to Nick, but the personal back-story of that is that Nick and I had a brief fling under less than ideal circumstances and my mother, being aware of the details, is not a fan of Nick. I made it clear that Nora did not know my mother and had no right making such judgments and she did apologize, but I was still stunned that she would make the comment at all.
As I said, individually, nothing she did is that bad, but together they definitely rubbed me the wrong way. I admit, I haven't hosted Nick and Nora since, partially because we've cut down on entertaining and partially because I just don't want to deal with her.