Author Topic: I know this is for women only, but I'm going to conspicuously hang around anyway  (Read 9779 times)

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lowspark

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I play Bunco once a month with a group of 12 women. For those who don't know what Bunco is, it's a mindless dice game, 100% luck/0% skill, that you play once a month, alternating houses. The main point of playing bunco is to eat, drink and gab with 11 other women, with the throwing of the dice just an excuse to get all 12 women to try to show up each month. Since we rotate houses, you host once a year.

My group has been together about three years and as time goes on, people drop out for various reasons and we add new members to keep it at 12. So this story involves a fairly new member whose turn to host came up recently. I'll call her Amy.

Now, the agreement is that it's women only. Husbands & kids (all of whom are high school age or older) are to stay out of site. It's ok if the husband shows up for 5 minutes. Sometimes hubby's been out and arrives home so he passes through on his way to the bedroom. Sometimes hubby's been hanging out in the bedroom and comes out to get some food. That sort of thing.

When we had bunco at Amy's house, the husband was there in the kitchen when we first arrived, just sort of hanging out. Ok... but then he made the announcement that although he knew this was supposed to be women only, he had no intention of disappearing. He then proceeded to get in peoples' way as we were milling about in groups chatting (before the game started).

His excuse for being there was that their computer was in the kitchen. But it wasn't as if he was exclusively on the computer. He was in the kitchen, fixing dinner for himself, getting in our way and inevitably, us getting in his way. And once we started playing, although he was on the computer, he kept interjecting himself in conversations and generally making his presence known.

I was totally unimpressed. I mean, it's one night a year so really, he couldn't figure out someplace else to be for two and a half hours? And with him there, we were sort of forced to curtail some of the normal girl talk cuz you know, there's some stuff you'd say to other women that you wouldn't necessarily want the husband(s) hearing, much less one you'd never even met before.

My preliminary question is, isn't it rude for him to be there like this? And isn't it fairly rude for Amy to not convince him to leave, knowing that we all do get our husbands out of the way when we host? She kind of acted like she thought it was funny. Like "oh well, I know y'all get your husbands to leave but mine's going to hang around."

And my secondary question is, I'd like to say something to him next time we meet at her house. What I want to ask is, doesn't it make you uncomfortable to be here?

I don't want to be rude, but I kinda feel like since none of us said anything we were sort of saying it was ok for him to be there and it definitely was not.

What do you think?

bah12

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Well, on one hand he's an univited guest hanging around making others uncomfortable, so yeah, awkward and rude.  On the other hand, it's his house, so maybe he and Amy don't restrict each other to one room in their house even if it is once a year. 

I don't think I'd have a problem with him hanging out in the kitchen using his computer, but probably wouldn't be so keen on him interjecting in conversations that he wasn't invited into.

My persepective is Amy is new and it seems hosted pretty fast...maybe she didn't have enough time to guage the culture of the group well enough to ask her husband to make other arrangements for this one night.  And since she won't be hosting again for another year, maybe I'd just let it go and only worry about it next year, if her husband seems to be hanging around again.  That's a whole year for Amy to learn what the group likes and intuitively figure out how to host without the need for someone to call her out on it specifically. 

TootsNYC

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I think you say something to *Amy*, not to her DH.

I don't think it's fair to ask people's spouses to leave the house or hide in the bedroom.

The guy was probably reacting a bit defensively and territorially to the idea that he's not welcome in his own home suddenly. So I wouldln't go there--it will just emphasize the very thing he's reacting to.

I think you check to see if other people felt the same way, and then you sort of announce now and then, "Remember, the idea is that spouses and kids aren't supposed to be part of the group, so clue them in before we come to your house." Don't single Amy out--mention it here and there.

Say stuff like, "Thank you DH for us, for letting us gab, just the girls."

And then say to Amy, "Don't forget--it's just us girls. I know it seems antisocial to the guys, but it's one night a year. Would you ask your DH  to fade out for the night."

Or you say to Amy in quiet, in a personal way, "What was with your DH? All the other guys fade out for the night and leave us alone; it's only one night a year. Does he have an issue with that? What's up?" And speak w/ her as her friend.

lowspark

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Oh, she knew. Both of them did. As I said, he announced that he knew it was supposed to be women only. And she also said something about how she knew we all got our husbands to disappear but that her husband wasn't going to.

She'd been a member for at least six months before she hosted so maybe it was a red herring saying she was new. I said that just to note that in 3+ years, we all got our husbands and kids out of the way and this was the first time this sort of thing had happened.

acicularis

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My preliminary question is, isn't it rude for him to be there like this? And isn't it fairly rude for Amy to not convince him to leave, knowing that we all do get our husbands out of the way when we host? She kind of acted like she thought it was funny. Like "oh well, I know y'all get your husbands to leave but mine's going to hang around."

And my secondary question is, I'd like to say something to him next time we meet at her house. What I want to ask is, doesn't it make you uncomfortable to be here?

I don't want to be rude, but I kinda feel like since none of us said anything we were sort of saying it was ok for him to be there and it definitely was not.

What do you think?

He knew it was a women only evening, and announced he was going to stay, and then kept inserting himself into things? Yes, absolutely rude of him. And Amy was rude too, since she knew how the group worked.

I would find that really annoying. I belong to a book group that has a similar agreement, and I would be really irritated if someone's husband plunked themselves down during dinner or our book discussion and took part. If other groups do it that way, fine. But our group has been doing it this way for 20+ years, and I would not appreciate a new member changing things.

How is your Bunco night coordinated? Is there a monthly email reminding people of time, location, etc? If so, future emails should contain the reminder that it is for women only, and that if this presents a problem for anyone, they will be asked not to host in the future. At the very least, Amy needs to be contacted before her next turn hosting and told that her husband is not invited.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2014, 12:17:41 PM by acicularis »

LeveeWoman

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Maybe he flat refused to leave and her way of dealing with it was to joke about it.

lowspark

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I think you say something to *Amy*, not to her DH.

I don't think it's fair to ask people's spouses to leave the house or hide in the bedroom.

The guy was probably reacting a bit defensively and territorially to the idea that he's not welcome in his own home suddenly. So I wouldln't go there--it will just emphasize the very thing he's reacting to.

I think you check to see if other people felt the same way, and then you sort of announce now and then, "Remember, the idea is that spouses and kids aren't supposed to be part of the group, so clue them in before we come to your house." Don't single Amy out--mention it here and there.

Say stuff like, "Thank you DH for us, for letting us gab, just the girls."

And then say to Amy, "Don't forget--it's just us girls. I know it seems antisocial to the guys, but it's one night a year. Would you ask your DH  to fade out for the night."

Or you say to Amy in quiet, in a personal way, "What was with your DH? All the other guys fade out for the night and leave us alone; it's only one night a year. Does he have an issue with that? What's up?" And speak w/ her as her friend.

Yeah I can see that, I mean, about it not being fair. But that's the agreement of the group. If you can't host according to the agreement, then, well, I hate to be harsh, but you shouldn't be in the group. Our agreement is that you'll have three tables and 12 chairs and snacky foods and wine. And that husbands and kids will be scarce.

Now, if for some reason, you can't provide one or more of those things, it's perfectly understandable. But then you can't expect to be hosted by all the other members and then not do your part when it's your turn.

I'm not sure I could say anything like what you suggested without making it painfully obvious that it was my way of complaining about her husband. I mean, this has never been an issue before and if I said something to the host about thanking her DH for letting us gab, people would think I'd gone nuts.

I guess saying something to Amy would be preferrable... I'm not sure how I would put it as other than bunco, I don't know or socialize with Amy so we're not really friends.

Only me

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HI

As I was posting I see others did also.

Yes they were both rude and it also came across as territorial of the husband to do it. Course had everyone got up and left then it would have showed how serious the rules are.  >:D

I would put out a reminder to everyone that its Ladies only and if it presents a problem, the hosting person should come up with alternative arangements. worse comes to worse, maybe Amy should drop out of the group if this is going to happen again.

Then again since you guys talk about everything under the sun, maybe the issue of how to handle uninvited guests, when in their own home, could be discusssed.

Onlyme

MindsEye

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How is your Bunco night coordinated? Is there a monthly email reminding people of time, location, etc? If so, future emails should contain the reminder that it is for women only, and that if this presents a problem for anyone, they will be asked not to host in the future. At the very least, Amy needs to be contacted before her next turn hosting and told that her husband is not invited.

I think that this is a good idea. 

I also don't think that you need to address this directly with Amy yet... she won't be hosting again for another year and there is always the possibility that she will drop out of the group on her own before then.

If she is still there a year from now I think that you can directly address the issue of the girls-only rule of the group.  Or, if you feel that might be too confrontational, just quietly skip over her turn to host and go directly to the next person in line.

lowspark

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My preliminary question is, isn't it rude for him to be there like this? And isn't it fairly rude for Amy to not convince him to leave, knowing that we all do get our husbands out of the way when we host? She kind of acted like she thought it was funny. Like "oh well, I know y'all get your husbands to leave but mine's going to hang around."

And my secondary question is, I'd like to say something to him next time we meet at her house. What I want to ask is, doesn't it make you uncomfortable to be here?

I don't want to be rude, but I kinda feel like since none of us said anything we were sort of saying it was ok for him to be there and it definitely was not.

What do you think?

He knew it was a women only evening, and announced he was going to stay, and then kept inserting himself into things? Yes, absolutely rude of him. And Amy was rude too, since she knew how the group worked.

I would find that really annoying. I belong to a book group that has a similar agreement, and I would be really irritated if someone's husband plunked themselves down during dinner or our book discussion and took part. If other groups do it that way, fine. But our group has been doing it this way for 20+ years, and I would not appreciate a new member changing things.

How is your Bunco night coordinated? Is there a monthly email reminding people of time, location, etc? If so, future emails should contain the reminder that it is for women only, and that if this presents a problem for anyone, they will be asked not to host in the future. At the very least, Amy needs to be contacted before her next turn hosting and told that her husband is not invited.

This is a pretty good idea. Yes, whoever is hosting sends out an email about a week before. And we sign up for months once a year, then I send out an email with the schedule. So I think when I send out the annual schedule (in May) I'll put in a reminder that it's women only and to please make appropriate arrangements.

I probably should ask others what they think about her husband being there but I only see most of these women once a month at bunco and she's there so I couldn't do it privately.

bah12

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Maybe he flat refused to leave and her way of dealing with it was to joke about it.

I was thinking this was a possibility too.

Whenever my DH and I have get togethers at our house that don't include both of us, we don't restrict each other to a single room or section of the house.  I don't think that's fair.  But, we also don't get in each other's way or inject ourselves into the activities/conversations.  It wouldn't be abnormal, during a ladie's night, for DH to come in and out of the kitchen several times, go look for something in the den, offer to bring us more drinks if he's headed to the kitchen etc.  But it's all in passing and him using the house as he normally would...minus hanging out with me.

It could be that Amy's DH doesn't respect that it's her evening and he's not included...or it could be that he's generally clueless and Amy didn't want to cause a scene in front of the other women by insisting that he leave.  Joking is sometimes a defensive mechanism that way.

So, being that she isn't actually 'new' to the group and understands the dynamics/culture, then maybe something could be said to her (I would not say something to the husband during the night of the event).  If everyone else was uncomfortable, just say something like "Amy, can I talk to you for a second?  We had a great time at Bunko at your house, but I felt a little awkward having your husband there with us all night.  This is a women's only event and his presence changed the evening for me significantly. I'm sure he meant no harm, which makes it hard for me to ask this, but is it at all possible to talk to him before the next time you host and ask him to keep more to himself while we're there?"

How she responds tells you everything.  If she doesnt' want to or can't ask him not to insert himself into your evening, then respect that dynamic and tell her that hosting at her house will not be possible in the future as it doesn't mesh with group's preferences.

shhh its me

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  He was rude. 

Amy is rude if she knew what he was going to do before it happened but I'm not sure how she could have gotten out of it if for example 3 day before her husband announced "well I'm not going to sit in the bedroom all night."    I don't know if you played in the kitchen but I might say if you all were in the living room and he was in the kitchen depending on the set up it wasn't rude until he starting interjecting.

DavidH

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Clearly rude, since there is no way he didn't know the group was supposed to be women only.

If he was clueless, I'd say that you could say things like all this girl talk must be boring you or are we in your way as a hint for him to leave, but it doesn't sound like it would make a difference.  There is no way for you to politely tell him to please leave, since it is his home too. 

I think you/the group needs to tell Amy that having her husband there really changed the dynamic and while it was a pleasure meeting her husband (even if it wasn't), it was not appropriate for him to be there for Bunco night.  Then I'd drop the issue in her lap and ask how she plans to deal with this when she next hosts. 

Make it more about him being there, while making it clear you have no issue with socializing with him at any other time.

Hmmmmm

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I think he was rude. He wasn't being restricted to one room in the house. He was asked to stay out of one area of the house.

Depending on how well I knew Amy I'd be asking "What was up with your DH last month? Was he mad about you hosting? If he doesn't like it, you can host at my house for your turn next year."

And I agree that she probably tried to joke about it to cover up her embarrassment. It would truly be embarrassing for me to be married to someone who disrespected my request so blatantly.

Deetee

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Yup rude.

My husband and I don't have girl's nights or boy's nights but we do have dinners that could be "my friends", "his friends" or "our friends". We have an agreement that when it is "my friends" or "his friends" the other is in charge of the kids. So often appetizers or dinner falls on top of the kids bedtime. So one of use excuses ourselves and reads the stories, brushes the teeth, take the baby for a walk etc...   If we have mutual friends, we will alternate those duties.

If the husband had just sat in the corner, it would be more touchy, but actively being part of the conversation is just innapropriate.

I don't know what to suggest. I think I'd get whoever introduced Amy to the group to talk to her.