Author Topic: I know this is for women only, but I'm going to conspicuously hang around anyway  (Read 10284 times)

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lowspark

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I have to go a little against the grain here - a lot of folks have offered that perhaps they didn't understand that the gathering was truly "women only".  I do agree with that statement and I will say that if I was asked to host a gathering where my husband would be banished to a section of his own home and considered rude for merely existing in our presence, my response would be to politely decline hosting and remove myself from the group.

The thing is, Amy has been a member of this group for 6 months. She has to have known the rules. If she didn't find the rules to be to her liking, she should not have accepted the generous hospitality of 6 other hosts, and found another hobby.

I agree with the comment. There is NOTHING wrong with finding that a social event or series of social events is not to your taste for any reason. If Amy hd played Bunco twice and realised that she wouldn't be able to host so she dropped the group, that's not a problem.  There is something wrong with attending and enjoying an event with set rules/standards and then changing the event when it's your turn.

I think, for me, why I sympathize with her is that the idea that it would actually be a "rule" that my husband could not be present/interact with me while the guests were there simply doesn't compute. 

I've also seen people make this point consistently in other contexts: don't attribute to malice what can be explained by simply stupidity.  While I don't think the term "stupid" applies here - I would challenge the idea that she "had to know" it was a rule.  I would have assumed, naively and honestly, in her situation that the other ladies' husbands simply had no interest in being there and since mine did have an interest, it wouldn't be a problem.

Regarding the bolded, I'll say this again.
He made an announcement that he knew he wasn't suppose to be there.
From what he said, what she said, and how they said it, there is no doubt in my mind that there was no "stupidity" involved. It was a case of, you might think you have your rules but it's my house and I'm going to do whatever I please.

Again, yes, he certainly can do whatever he pleases in his own house. No argument there! My point is that if that's what they are going to do, then her hosting is not up to the group's rules and she should resign from the club.

Hmmmmm

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I have to go a little against the grain here - a lot of folks have offered that perhaps they didn't understand that the gathering was truly "women only".  I do agree with that statement and I will say that if I was asked to host a gathering where my husband would be banished to a section of his own home and considered rude for merely existing in our presence, my response would be to politely decline hosting and remove myself from the group.

I get that some couples like to have their alone time away from one another and we certainly do too, but telling members of a household that they must make themselves scarce, even for just one day, is to me an incredible overstepping of boundaries.

Mentioning to Amy that you'd like it to be women only is okay, but be prepared that she may decline to host in the future if she truly understands that you don't want her husband present -- that is certainly what I would do.

If he'd been on the computer and mostly ignoring them, I'd be on your side. But he was interjecting himself into the conversation as well.

We wasn't considered rude for "merely existing". I consider him rude for intruding upon a social event that he wasn't engaged in. He's interjection into the conversation was unnecessary. It's no difference then if they were having a book club discussion of which he isn't a member but decided to give his two cents. 

And saying banished to a section of his home implies that he couldn't make an occasional appearance. The OP says that other husbands do wander through the areas or greet the other players. Very typical. And it wasn't "one day", it was for a couple of hours one evening a year.

lowspark

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I have to go a little against the grain here - a lot of folks have offered that perhaps they didn't understand that the gathering was truly "women only".  I do agree with that statement and I will say that if I was asked to host a gathering where my husband would be banished to a section of his own home and considered rude for merely existing in our presence, my response would be to politely decline hosting and remove myself from the group.

I get that some couples like to have their alone time away from one another and we certainly do too, but telling members of a household that they must make themselves scarce, even for just one day, is to me an incredible overstepping of boundaries.

Mentioning to Amy that you'd like it to be women only is okay, but be prepared that she may decline to host in the future if she truly understands that you don't want her husband present -- that is certainly what I would do.

Regarding the bolded, that's exactly the point. If Amy doesn't feel comfortable with the way the group has agreed to do things, then she is perfectly within her rights to bow out. No harm no foul. I wouldn't hold it against her any more than I would a former member who dropped out because she was returning to school and no longer had time for the group.

In a social situation where you are not able or willing to follow the rules, it's perfectly ok to drop out of the group. I just don't see how it's ok to deliberately not follow the rules. I don't blame you or her or her husband for not liking the rules. I do find fault with deliberately flouting them.

I'm hoping that what happened was that Amy sprung it on her husband that day or shortly before and that when he refused to comply it was too late for her to do anything about it. If this is the case, maybe it won't come up again as they will have had several months to get used to the idea. I like gellchom's suggestion that if he was really stuck there because of the computer, he could have worn earphones.

The fact that he deliberately made his presence known throughout the evening is what completely changed the dynamic for me.

To clarify a bit, bunco is played at three separate tables, usually in separate rooms and after each round people switch tables. So in this case, we were in the breakfast room, the dining room and the family room. Passing through the kitchen as we switch tables is a given. That's where the food and drink are plus it's the shortest route between two of the tables.

It isn't about him being stuck there though - it is his home. Someone probably should speak to Amy and give her a chance to bow out.  These "rules", expressed with such rigidity that a man cannot stay in the common areas of his home and dare to speak to guests there, are not something I believe most people would simply understand if not explained.  Since that is the "etiquette" your group has adopted, I believe you owe it to Amy to spell it out so she can decline to participate.

Yup, that's the point of this thread I guess. Amy probably needs clarification. I'm trying to figure out how to do that politely.

As far as "daring" to speak to guests in his home, it's not at all what I said or even implied from the beginning.

gen xer

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I'm a little torn on this one.  On one hand I think it is generally rude / clueless to force yourself onto people or situations and it kind of feels like he's just going out of his way to be pain in the butt.....and he shouldn't be interfering in the game .

On the other hand...maybe not everyone takes the "girls night" exclusiveness thing so seriously.  By that I mean maybe Amy and her husband might technically know it is meant to be a ladies event but honestly don't think people get bent out of shape if it isn't strictly followed.  Some people are firmer on that than others...which is fine ( I am "very" firm about my kids not lurking around with big ears whenever I enjoy a glass of wine or coffee with friends ) but others may truly not think it bothers anyone.

Amy really has to be the one to tune him in though.

lowspark

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  Since you were in 4 rooms , it would matter to me if he only talked while your group was in the kitchen (4 times right? once before , twice to switch tables and once after? )  I think being where the food was but not were the primary activity of the evening would be minor, as long as he wasn't shouting into the other rooms.

It's sort of hard to describe but the way the house is laid out, the kitchen sort of stretches across to the opening to the dining room. So he was maybe 10 feet away from the dining room table. Whenever I was in the dining room, it was clear that he considered him part of that conversation. And in addition, he made comments as people passed through the kitchen.

mspallaton

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<snip>

What they are really asking is for her to tell her husband he is not welcome to speak to or interact with guests in his home.  I don't honestly think that is a reasonable thing to expect. 
<snip>

Well... not exactly. Like I said, husbands do make brief appearances occasionally and that's fine. It's just the hanging around the whole evening that doesn't work for this gathering.

I understand it doesn't feel that rigid to your group - that's part of why I decided to weigh in and share my perspective.  I don't see a difference between "okay, you said hi now get out" (which is essentially what restricting someone to a brief appearance is) and essentially disallowing interaction.

I know I'm in the minority here - not claiming otherwise - but if I'm hosting a gathering at my home, my husband is, in my mind, the cohost and vice versa.  If someone said it was "ladies only" I would laugh, mention it to my husband and assume they were just warning me that most men wouldn't enjoy it.  If that same someone told me "no, seriously, it is only for women" I would say thanks but no thanks and decline to host.

Thus - if you are in the "no seriously" camp, which it sounds like you are, I do think you owe a clear and concise explanation to Amy because I can honestly see how she might've thought you weren't serious.

lowspark

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<snip>

What they are really asking is for her to tell her husband he is not welcome to speak to or interact with guests in his home.  I don't honestly think that is a reasonable thing to expect. 
<snip>

Well... not exactly. Like I said, husbands do make brief appearances occasionally and that's fine. It's just the hanging around the whole evening that doesn't work for this gathering.

I understand it doesn't feel that rigid to your group - that's part of why I decided to weigh in and share my perspective.  I don't see a difference between "okay, you said hi now get out" (which is essentially what restricting someone to a brief appearance is) and essentially disallowing interaction.

I know I'm in the minority here - not claiming otherwise - but if I'm hosting a gathering at my home, my husband is, in my mind, the cohost and vice versa.  If someone said it was "ladies only" I would laugh, mention it to my husband and assume they were just warning me that most men wouldn't enjoy it.  If that same someone told me "no, seriously, it is only for women" I would say thanks but no thanks and decline to host.

Thus - if you are in the "no seriously" camp, which it sounds like you are, I do think you owe a clear and concise explanation to Amy because I can honestly see how she might've thought you weren't serious.

Ok, that explanation makes perfect sense and definitely clarifies what you were saying above. So, assuming Amy is like you and just thinks it's no biggie for hubby to hang out, how would you suggest would be the best, most polite, way of approaching her with this?

MrTango

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I think this is really something that needs to be discussed as a relationship issue between Amy and her DH.

For my part, I would never agree to be "exiled" to a specific part of the house just so that LadyTango could host a social function in the public parts of the house.  If she wanted to have a girls' night, I wouldn't stop her from doing so, but it would be with the understanding that I'll set myself up somewhere and not venture too far from that spot, but I wouldn't necessarily go out or pretend not to be home.

I would never expect her to leave the house or pretend not to be home if I were hosting a guys' event either.

mspallaton

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<snip>

What they are really asking is for her to tell her husband he is not welcome to speak to or interact with guests in his home.  I don't honestly think that is a reasonable thing to expect. 
<snip>

Well... not exactly. Like I said, husbands do make brief appearances occasionally and that's fine. It's just the hanging around the whole evening that doesn't work for this gathering.

I understand it doesn't feel that rigid to your group - that's part of why I decided to weigh in and share my perspective.  I don't see a difference between "okay, you said hi now get out" (which is essentially what restricting someone to a brief appearance is) and essentially disallowing interaction.

I know I'm in the minority here - not claiming otherwise - but if I'm hosting a gathering at my home, my husband is, in my mind, the cohost and vice versa.  If someone said it was "ladies only" I would laugh, mention it to my husband and assume they were just warning me that most men wouldn't enjoy it.  If that same someone told me "no, seriously, it is only for women" I would say thanks but no thanks and decline to host.

Thus - if you are in the "no seriously" camp, which it sounds like you are, I do think you owe a clear and concise explanation to Amy because I can honestly see how she might've thought you weren't serious.

Ok, that explanation makes perfect sense and definitely clarifies what you were saying above. So, assuming Amy is like you and just thinks it's no biggie for hubby to hang out, how would you suggest would be the best, most polite, way of approaching her with this?

If I were in her circumstance, I'd want a couple options offered --- doing the hosting duties, but at someone else's house, as others have recommended would be a good example.  And some kid gloves/acknowledgment that the "no seriously, ladies night" thing may not have been understood.

I think she'd also benefit from some explanation of why folks want her husband to be more scarce.  For example, as much as I don't like the idea of my husband not being a cohost for a gathering, I do think if I was told by the host "listen, we really like to chat about lady things and lady time and it would just be rude in mixed company", that would make enough sense that I could bring it back to my husband and he would run screaming the other direction (even if he liked the activity).

And, overall, just a tone that doesn't make it feel like the husband was rude.  I know PPs and I disagree on that point, but I do think if you like Amy and like having her in the group in general, if she feels like she's being chided or scolded for having her husband around, she might choose not to attend anymore in the future.

TurtleDove

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I would never expect her to leave the house or pretend not to be home if I were hosting a guys' event either.

It seems to me that Amy's husband was actively participating in Girls Bunco Night.  That, to me, is unreasonable for him to do.  No one asked him to leave the house or pretend he isn't home.  I imagine it would have been fine if he came in to make dinner, made pleasant hellos, and then went back to doing something (really, ANYthing) other than wanting to actively be a part of Girls Bunco Night. But he was almost passive aggressively preventing Girls Bunco Night from happening.  Aside from finding it really strange that he would not want his wife to enjoy a girls night without his involvement (yes, even if his house) this is rude. 

I would have said something at the time, sort of in a firm joking manner.  "Amy's DH, you know this is a Girls Bunco Night, right?  That means no boys allowed!"  And if he pushed the matter I would have escalated it to a friendly but firm, "no, seriously, this is a Girls Night.  We don't want you here!"


lowspark

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It is interesting to me that there are husbands who would be the least bit interested in hanging around what is obviously a girls' night. I mean, what's in it for you? Is it really fun to hang out and listen to a bunch of women talking? Honestly, I would have absolutely no desire to be the only woman in an planned men's night, whether in my home or elsewhere.

My husband uses the opportunity do something he wants to do but that I wouldn't be interested in. Sometimes that's away from the house or sometimes he'll just watch some movie he likes in the bedroom.

I'm pretty sure if I told my husband he could hang out and listen in and participate, he'd be like, No thanks.

DavidH

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I think the difference with what mspallaton is describing and this is she is saying she wouldn't host, which isn't in the least bit rude.  We don't have to agree on whether we would like the gathering, just not unilaterally changing it without letting anyone know

I don't see it as being banished, if I were in that situation, I'd assume that I would say hello to people if I were there when they arrived, I might venture to the kitchen for a snack, might even make brief conversation as I was getting food if someone else happened to be in the kitchen at the same time, and then go elsewhere.  That elsewhere could be another public room if there is one, a bedroom, or maybe even out if I felt like it.  In reality, I'd probably work late or schedule a guys night. 

All in all, it can see why some couples wouldn't like this type of activity, but in that case, the solution is not to host, rather than try to change it.  Another option if you know your spouse will not like that dynamic in their home is to host elsewhere, a restaurant, bar, hotel lounge, something like that.

Margo

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I think Amy and her husband were rude, bearing in mind the comments which he made. I think that it would be best to speak privately to Amy, to make her aware that the situation left people uncomfortable as her husband's active involvement was out of synch with the dynamic of the event.

I agree it would be appropriate to take the opportunity to offer options - for instance, to skip hosting if she and her husband are not comfortable, or to host away from her home. You may need to consider what would be acceptable to the rest of the group - would the others be willing for her to continue to be part of the group if she isn't going to host? What about if she hosted at a different venue such as a restaurant?

I suppose another option which you could raise with the group would be to consider whether you want to have an occasional 'mixed' night when husbands and partners were explicitly invited, and see whether Amy could host one of those nights.

lkdrymom

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While I don't usually entertain without my DH I do have a situation that fits this. When my kids were younger they would invite friends over. Maybe they decided to watch a movie or play video games in the family room .....wouldn't it be kind of odd for me as a parent to suddenly decide that I want to hang out in the family room while my child is entertaining a friend there? There is no issue with me going into the room for something but it would just seem so odd to suddenly decide that I HAD TO BE IN THE FAMILY ROOM.  I don't consider this being banned from a portion of my home because another family memeber is hosting friends. It is just common courtesy as far as I am concerned. I don't see how this is any different than the OP's situation. Her husband sounds a bit inscure.

AnnaJ

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Since Amy's husband acknowledged that he knew the gathering was just for women, it sounds as though Amy had been around the group long enough to understand husbands weren't invited to participate.  That, to me, means that either she mistakenly thought her husband would agree to not join in or she never had any intention of trying to follow the rule (unwritten, I know, but obviously understood).

OP, is the nature of the group such that someone might agree to open up their home to allow someone else to host?  If so, that might be a solution.  If not, then it really does come down to whether or not Amy and her husband choose to go with the culture of the group; if not, then perhaps she needs to find another group and your bunco club needs to find a member with a better fit.