Author Topic: "Let's celebrate your birthday at a place you can't eat anything." Update p 50  (Read 11930 times)

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spookycatlady

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So my humblemumble birthday is coming up and my MIL called my husband to arrange to take me out to dinner.  A couple of things tweaked me about the VERY nice offer.

1. She set the date for the night of my actual birthday, rather than asking if we had made plans.  My birthday falls mid-week and I rarely like to socialize into the late evening because it makes 4:30 AM alarm clocks even more evil than their default state.

2. She kept insisting on a Brazilian restaurant that specializes in what they call, "A Festival of Meat." MIL knows I'm a vegetarian for medical reasons and she has hosted me for dinner multiple times with this knowledge (I usually have boiled carrots and salad, which I do not object to). She kept explaining to the husband about the salad bar at this place and that they would have mushrooms and such at the table for me to consume.

I heard the Dude's side of the conversation and he was quite repetitive, "Doesn't sound like Spooky would have many options." "Doesn't sound like Spooky can eat much there." "No, she can't have chicken."  "No, she can't have ham." "No, she can't eat that." "Mom, is that made from an animal? Then, no, she can't eat that."

I think she read about this restaurant and really wants to go, but she is of the mindset that restaurants are A Night Out and there must be some occasion attached to it.  And my birthday is the next event on the family calendar.

Is her presumption of the date rude?
Is her choice of restaurants rude?


Her culture and life experience have hard wired her to believe that she is not being a proper hostess unless you have food and wine in front of you the entire time.  So, I have a hard time deciding if her insistence is impolite, cluelessness, or stubbornness?  For what it's worth, I don't think she believes my dietary restrictions are really health threatening... because of the following:

Alcohol can give me seizures when I'm on a particular medication and she won't let it go when I politely refuse a glass of wine.  My husband has lost his temper with her before when she asked me for the tenth or eleventh time if I was really sure I didn't want a glass of wine.  I wanted it alright, but I really didn't want to end up in the hospital.  Also: I would love to experience a festival of meat, but I don't want to experience four days of excruciating pain afterwards...

In the end, I told the Dude that Friday worked better for us and that I'd prefer to go for sushi, as I can still eat the fishies.  He hasn't called her back, yet.  ::)
« Last Edit: February 25, 2013, 08:13:18 AM by spookycatlady »

Winterlight

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Re: "Let's celebrate your birthday at a place you can't eat anything."
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2013, 12:29:06 PM »
I don't think the date issue was rude, but when someone has allergies, insisting on taking them to a place where they can't eat most of the food on their birthday is very, very rude.

I love churrascaria, but that is not a good option for a vegetarian.
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onyonryngs

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Re: "Let's celebrate your birthday at a place you can't eat anything."
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2013, 12:31:23 PM »
I think asking you to go on your bday is the way to go - not telling your DH that is the night you're going.  And yes, the choice of restaurant was thoughtless.

lilihob

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Re: "Let's celebrate your birthday at a place you can't eat anything."
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2013, 12:32:46 PM »
I would vote for thoughtless/mean, she wants to eat out at the Brazilian restaurant, feels guilty without a good reason, and made you the reason.
If it's the kind of place I've been to, the staff walk around with skewers of meat, and you call them over. It is decidedly not veggie friendly.
You are already a saint for accepting the carrot/salad "meal" when you visit her.
Have sushi on the day of your choice, I would think it was slightly selfish to take you to the meatfest for her birthday, for your birthday just unacceptable.

Twik

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Re: "Let's celebrate your birthday at a place you can't eat anything."
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2013, 12:33:33 PM »
I don't think the date issue was rude, but when someone has allergies, insisting on taking them to a place where they can't eat most of the food on their birthday is very, very rude.

I think that the date issue is rude, when presented as a fait accompli, particularly when the guest of honor must rise early and does not want to have a late night.

Celebrating a vegetarian's birthday at a steakhouse for a "Festival of Meat" strikes me as hilariously wrong. No sensible person shoudl fail to see why this is a bad idea.

I agree that she probably just wants to eat at that place, but wants to make it a party. You should not have to martyr yourself, though, for her wishes.
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Virg

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Re: "Let's celebrate your birthday at a place you can't eat anything."
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2013, 12:36:06 PM »
I agree that extending the invitation on your birthday isn't rude, and at the same time it wouldn't be rude to turn her down because you have to get up so early the next day.  Inviting you, a vegetarian, to a Festival of Meat for a party held in your honor, however, is rude because she already knows about your dietary restrictions.  But again, it wouldn't be rude for you to decline to attend, so in either case you're off the hook.

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Deetee

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Re: "Let's celebrate your birthday at a place you can't eat anything."
« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2013, 12:37:10 PM »
I love, love, love the Brazilian BBQ with all their yummy skewers of yumminess. I would NEVER go there to celebrate the birthday of a vegetarian. That's ridiculous. I'm not saying the birthday person gets to hold everyone hostage, but a fish eating vegetarian can go to a lot of delicious places. Trying to go to the Meatfest is ridiculous.

(If this was MIL's birthday, that's a bit different and would depend on how and why you were a vegetarian. The salad bar at the one I went was quite good and one could get a decent meal out of just that. I also think there was some scallops/fish. But it is definitately a second tier meal compared to the omnivores. Also, it's really in your face about the meat.)

Fragglerocker

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Re: "Let's celebrate your birthday at a place you can't eat anything."
« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2013, 12:39:40 PM »
It's rude.

The date? Not rude per se, but if I were inviting someone for their birthday, I would ask what date works best for them.  Heck, I'd do that whenever I'm making plans with anyone.  Even with a group, I try to work with people's preferences & schedules to accommodate them.  If it's a large group, it may not work with everyone, but if there is a "guest of honor," that person's schedule would be the dictating one.

The restaurant?  Rude.  It sounds like your DH has already told his mother as such, that you can't eat there, and you've suggested an alternative, so that sounds like a good course of action.  It's for you and you can't enjoy it, so it's rude if she's insisting.  Hopefully, your DH will get through to her.  Otherwise, you're well within proper etiquette to decline the invite.  I wouldn't want to go to an all-meat restaurant if I were unable or unwilling to eat meat, either.

I do have a similar experience from my years as a voluntary vegetarian (unlike OP it was by choice not medical necessity).  My father took my family out for dinner for my birthday at a very nice restaurant.  It was a steakhouse but he assumed there would be *something* there for me.  Not really.  There was maybe one choice and it was okay, but for my birthday, knowing I was a vegetarian, I would have preferred to go to a restaurant where I had more than one or two items to choose from.  In that case, I am guessing my father just didn't have sufficient familiarity with the menu (this was back before most places put their menus online) and incorrectly assumed I'd have more to choose from.  But it was still a nice celebration, even if my own dinner wasn't what I would have really wanted.

*inviteseller

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Re: "Let's celebrate your birthday at a place you can't eat anything."
« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2013, 12:41:28 PM »
She has hijacked your birthday for the excuse to eat at a restaurant she wants to eat at.  I would just decline, politely, because you don't go out on weeknights and that is not food you can eat.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  I have someone in my life who calls to take me out for special days and picks his favorite place which happens to be a house o' meat.  I do not eat it, haven't for 26 years so this place (which puts meat in EVERYTHING!!!) is not an enjoyable experience for a meal that is being given in my supposed honor.  You MIL  just doesn't get it because she doesn't want to.  They think "Well, I eat such and such and I don't get sick so how can it happen to them?"   She is not going to have a epiphany over night so just keep saying 'no' and walking away.

lowspark

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Re: "Let's celebrate your birthday at a place you can't eat anything."
« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2013, 12:42:10 PM »
Setting the date is rude if she is actually setting it as opposed to asking.

good: "We'd like to take you and spooky out for her birthday. Is March 15 ok?"
bad: "We're going to take you and spooky out for her birthday on March 15."

We always do family dinner out for birthdays but now that my kids are grown (and one of them married) I always just ask when and where they want to go for their birthday.

And that's where the "where" comes in. The very idea of taking a vegetarian to one of those Brazilian steakhouses! I've been to a couple. It is definitely a meat fest. My son is a vegetarian and there's no way I'd dream of taking  him to one of those, birthday or not!

Yeah. It's rude. The nice thing to do, as I alluded to above, is to ask when and where you, the birthday girl, want to go. And the nice thing for you to do is pick a reasonable place where you feel everyone could get something they like.

eta: three replies came in while I typed this! Going to post then read.

JenJay

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Re: "Let's celebrate your birthday at a place you can't eat anything."
« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2013, 12:48:50 PM »
Regarding the date I think it was potentially thoughtless if she knows you get up at 4:30am and assumed you'd all be out late. If she didn't know you get up so early and/or planned to eat early and have you home at a reasonable (as defined by you) time then I think she was okay. That is assuming she would have been fine hearing "We already have plans. How about this weekend?" If she's going to insist on your actual birthday night then I think that's rude.

The restaurant choice was thoughtless to begin with and slid further and further into rude the more she insisted upon it.

Your DH rocks and I hope you get your Friday sushi!

Winterlight

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Re: "Let's celebrate your birthday at a place you can't eat anything."
« Reply #11 on: February 22, 2013, 12:49:48 PM »
I don't think the date issue was rude, but when someone has allergies, insisting on taking them to a place where they can't eat most of the food on their birthday is very, very rude.

I think that the date issue is rude, when presented as a fait accompli, particularly when the guest of honor must rise early and does not want to have a late night.

Ah, I misread it. Suggesting it be on the day is fine. Insisting it be on the day, disregarding the OP's schedule and wishes, is not.
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lowspark

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Re: "Let's celebrate your birthday at a place you can't eat anything."
« Reply #12 on: February 22, 2013, 12:51:07 PM »
I forgot to add...
Regardless of the reason someone doesn't want to consume any particular food or beverage, it is rude to push that item on them. Asking once is fine. Twice? Ok. But that's it. After that, the answer is no. Period.

You are already a saint for accepting the carrot/salad "meal" when you visit her.
POD to that.

whiterose

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Re: "Let's celebrate your birthday at a place you can't eat anything."
« Reply #13 on: February 22, 2013, 01:12:49 PM »
More than rude, the mother in law sounds controlling to me.
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Lorelei_Evil

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Re: "Let's celebrate your birthday at a place you can't eat anything."
« Reply #14 on: February 22, 2013, 01:18:24 PM »
I would vote for thoughtless/mean, she wants to eat out at the Brazilian restaurant, feels guilty without a good reason, and made you the reason.
If it's the kind of place I've been to, the staff walk around with skewers of meat, and you call them over. It is decidedly not veggie friendly.
You are already a saint for accepting the carrot/salad "meal" when you visit her.
Have sushi on the day of your choice, I would think it was slightly selfish to take you to the meatfest for her birthday, for your birthday just unacceptable.

Parking my POD here.  I had no idea your MIL was a relative of mine!  /joking.