Author Topic: Classic Faux Pas: When Hostess Mentions Babysitter, GET A CLUE !!!!!!!!!!!!  (Read 28285 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Asharah

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3927
My husband is Regional Manager for a large corporation, and his boss was coming into our city for a few days' visit to the company.   He is always accompanied by his assistant, and I have gotten to know them both over the years.

I suggested that we have them to dinner in our home, and they accepted at once, for the next evening.   I also called and invited hubby's second-in-command, (Bob), apologizing to his wife (Connie) on the phone for the short notice, and saying that I hoped it was not too late for them to get a sitter (their sons were 8, 7 and 5).   She said "Oh, Yes,"  and said they were looking forward to the evening.

My Sis and BIL were houseguests for a few days, so she and I cooked a lovely dinner, made beautiful individual desserts, set the tables with my nicest linens and china, and all was right with the world.    Boss and assistant arrived, right on time.   We introduced our two teenagers, who chatted for a few minutes, then went out for pizza and a movie.  THEN:  Bob and Connie drove in,  with ALL THREE BOYS in the backseat.   They are really nice kids, and we've had them over for barbecues and picnics, and they DID really look cute in slacks and little ties...but I had not planned a kids' menu, I had not set a table for them, and they were NOT INVITED.       

Connie beamed at the boss, introduced her boys, and said to me, "I hope this is not too much trouble; I really wanted them to meet him."   I was already a bit nervous about entertaining the CEO and had tried to make everything run smoothly, taste delicious, and look beautiful, but I felt the whole evening start to unravel.  Sis and I spent part of the cocktail hour in the kitchen, setting  places at the breakfast table, and making some hotdogs.   We poured out a bowl of chips and poured soft drinks, leaving hubby to make drinks and conversation in the living room while we also tended to the last-minute prep of the REAL dinner.

When we started to sit down to dinner, I invited the boys to the breakfast room, and the middle one said, "I want to eat in THERE," pointing toward the dining room.  I said, "I've made your dinner in here,"  he repeated, "But I want to eat in THERE!", and when the other two joined the chorus, Connie said, "I'd better have them in here with me."

I repeated that I'd made arrangements for the boys at their own table, and she repeated, "I'd better have them in here with me."    Aside from shouting that there was no room, and that was NOT the plan, and this was supposed to be an adult evening and I DID NOT want those spilly children eating on my best tablecloth, what was I to do? Asharah's comment: I think if she was so hot to eat with her kids, she should have eaten in the kitchen with him.

So, at my lovely dining table set for eight, there were:   Boss, assistant, Hubby, Bob, Connie, three little boys and me, squeezed into a hastily-set extra place.  (I was NOT skulking off to the kitchen to eat, leaving CONNIE as the only woman at my table, playing hostess while I played maid, cleaning up the faux pas mess she had inflicted on me).    And before we could all sit down, she told the boys to go ahead and start eating, so they dug right in, two of them up on their knees in my nice dining chairs.  I don't mean to make too much of my "fine" furniture and other things, but I had taken pains to make a nice evening, and nowhere that I turned seemed to be in my control or according to any kind of plan.   

DEAR Sis and BIL, bless their hearts, gamely sat down to their dinners in the kitchen, jumping up from time to time to help me serve and pour. And it WAS too much trouble, trying to serve dinners in two places.  I DID go around before we sat down and take away the nice crystal wineglasses from the boy's places and replace them  with everyday tumblers from the kitchen.  They did eat their hotdogs (much preferred them to the lamb and asparagus), but when dessert time came, I made the boys sundaes in pretty dishes, only to hear, "I want one of THOOOOSE!!!" with gestures to the individual trifles.  I said they were for grownups, and Connie looked at me with a little head-tucked, smirky, beseeching smile, hoping I'd give in and hand them over.  Luckily, they contained sherry, and I told her so;  she said they couldn't have the alcohol.

I just thank heaven for Sis and BIL, who helped and coped and made an uncomfortable situation so much better.   Hubby was at a bit of a loss as to what SHOULD be done; he just looked at me sympathetically and followed my lead--we couldn't very well send the boys away, we couldn't MAKE them eat in the kitchen, and short of shouting in her face, there was no way I could sway Connie's smiling, inflexible,  "I'd better have them in here with me."

I can't begin to get my mind around such obtuse ignorance of the smallest iota of social grace.  My brain won't encompass such single-minded, unheeding lack of any sense or observation.   She's raising three great kids; surely she had SOME sense that the evening was important to my husband and me, and of the amount of work I had put forth to make it nice.  And two adult guests eating in the kitchen while kids monopolized the dining table?  The woman couldn't KIDNAP a clue.

Hubby said later that he was very proud of how I handled the situation, and even used the word "aplomb."    Wow--better than jewelry.   And now, at family gatherings, we laugh and mock, "I'd better have them in here with MEEEEEEEEEEE!"

FauxPasoftheYear1121-04

This story touches on one of my pet peeves.  I dearly love children, I have several of my own but there are children appropriate functions and adults only functions and there are parents who cannot seem to be separated from their little darlings for a few hours.  I've hosted dinners only to have the exact same thing happen, i.e. someone brings their children without asking and having never been invited.   Often I am not prepared to seat or feed toddlers and pre-schoolers and adult conversation becomes impossible because the children are dominating their parents' time.  These situations definitely challenge one's ability to be a hospitable and gracious hostess.   

But what can you do?  Toss them out of the house on their rumps?  No, we grit our teeth, quietly thrash a few times in the privacy of the bedroom or bathroom, got our attitudes into priority then resolutely march out to play the gracious hostess by extending kindness to the undeserving. 

Asharah's comment: I hope Connie had a lovely evening since it will probably be a cold day in h3!! before she and her husband get another invitation from the boss and his wife. Perhaps hubby can give Bob a little friendly advice on the subject. Something like "A wife may not be able to get you a promotion but a wife with a complete lack of social grace and common sense can definately stop you from getting a promotion."
Asharah

caranfin

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 15629
  • I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords.
When she said "I better have them in here with me" I would have sweetly said "I'm sorry, there's no room at the table. I'll go ahead and move your plate in here with them."
He was not at all afraid to be killed in nasty ways.

Deetee

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5609
This is one of the stories where I have actual, huge sympathy for the hostess. In so many stories, there are warning signs and times when the poster has a chance to refuse gracefully. In this case, she really seemed to be stuck.

 I can't see how she could have handled it any differently. She couldn't turn them out or put up a fuss, as her husband's boss and wife were there (and I believe that a good host does not make the guest of honour uncomfortable). I think it that situation it would be worth mentioning at least once in hearing of the boss that the kids were not invited "Oh, I'm so sorry we don't have any fancy deserts for the kids, but as you said you would be able to get a babysitter, I didn't make anything for the boys"

megswsu

  • "You fell victim to one of the classic blunders! The most famous is never get involved in a land war in Asia"
  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2613
Quote
I suggested that we have them to dinner in our home, and they accepted at once, for the next evening.   I also called and invited hubby's second-in-command, (Bob), apologizing to his wife (Connie) on the phone for the short notice, and saying that I hoped it was not too late for them to get a sitter (their sons were 8, 7 and 5).   She said "Oh, Yes,"  and said they were looking forward to the evening.

Apparently her "oh, yes"  meant it was too late for a sitter. Seriously, I don't understand some people. My parents went plenty of places w/out me and my bro. And if she wasn't able to find a sitter last minute, she should have stayed home w/apologizes and her husband could have gone alone. And the kids were old enough to sit by themselves in the kitchen w/mom running in every so often to check on things. Ugggg. I can't *stand* people/parents like that!!

Kudos for the hostess for maintaing her cool!  :)





Clio

  • Guest
The part that really gets to me is when the author called those monsters "great kids".   ???

I give you Exhibit A...
Quote
When we started to sit down to dinner, I invited the boys to the breakfast room, and the middle one said, "I want to eat in THERE," pointing toward the dining room.  I said, "I've made your dinner in here,"  he repeated, "But I want to eat in THERE!", and when the other two joined the chorus, Connie said, "I'd better have them in here with me."

Exhibit B...
Quote
but when dessert time came, I made the boys sundaes in pretty dishes, only to hear, "I want one of THOOOOSE!!!" with gestures to the individual trifles.

Whiny little brats is more like it.  Good children do what they're told, and graciously accept what they're given.  But with a clueless, boorish mother like that, it is no wonder she is raising three spoiled little monsters.

caranfin

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 15629
  • I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords.
The part that really gets to me is when the author called those monsters "great kids".   ???


I agree. I think the author was trying to show that she didn't dislike kids in general, or these kids in particular, by saying that they're really good kids. OTOH, maybe they are generally good kids, but they were just poorly behaved that night.
He was not at all afraid to be killed in nasty ways.

ShadesOfGrey

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 12682
When she said "I better have them in here with me" I would have sweetly said "I'm sorry, there's no room at the table. I'll go ahead and move your plate in here with them."

I agree, although, it sounds like she tried to stand her ground a bit (yay for the OP!), but when Connie didnt get it, there really wasnt much else she could do, since they were entertaining the CEO (if they were alone, and it was just a friendly dinner, I would have suggested just standing there until Connie moved into the kitchen, but then again, it may not have been such a big problem if the CEO wasnt there).   
Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with shades of deeper meaning. - Maya Angelou

I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. - Maya Angelou

Twik

  • A Pillar of the Forum
  • *****
  • Posts: 28523
Quote
Connie beamed at the boss, introduced her boys, and said to me, "I hope this is not too much trouble; I really wanted them to meet him."

This is the scary/funny part - I bet she really thought that Big Boss would go, "Oh, such wonderful cute kids! I'll have to make sure this family is well taken care of by giving MrConnie a nice raise!"

Instead, Big Boss's evening was much less elegant and enjoyable, and I'm sure he's making mental notes "MrConnie can't be promoted to a job where he'd do much entertaining - wife is clueless, kids are demanding brats."
My cousin's memoir of love and loneliness while raising a child with multiple disabilities will be out on Amazon soon! Know the Night, by Maria Mutch, has been called "full of hope, light, and companionship for surviving the small hours of the night."

twinkletoes

  • Guest
Quote
Connie beamed at the boss, introduced her boys, and said to me, "I hope this is not too much trouble; I really wanted them to meet him."

This is the scary/funny part - I bet she really thought that Big Boss would go, "Oh, such wonderful cute kids! I'll have to make sure this family is well taken care of by giving MrConnie a nice raise!"

Instead, Big Boss's evening was much less elegant and enjoyable, and I'm sure he's making mental notes "MrConnie can't be promoted to a job where he'd do much entertaining - wife is clueless, kids are demanding brats."

Yeah, that's what really stuck out for me!  I kept thinking "this might be career suicide..."  And if you were the boss, wouldn't you find it odd that the host's kids only stayed for a quick visit, but Bob's kids comandeered the entire evening?  I understand the disparity in ages, but still.

willow08

  • Back on the caffeine wagon
  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3119
I really felt for the hostess, but at least she can be assured that the only person that suffered as a result of Connie's cluelessness was Connie. I doubt the boss was impressed with her or Hubby.
Icing is the greatest invention known to man.  It's edible glue.  How awesome is that?- Ralphie May

caranfin

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 15629
  • I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords.
I hope the boss actually realized the children hadn't been invited.
He was not at all afraid to be killed in nasty ways.

twinkletoes

  • Guest
"I hope the boss actually realized the children hadn't been invited."

I would think so - the host's kids made themselves scarce after chatting with him, after all.

caranfin

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 15629
  • I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords.
"I hope the boss actually realized the children hadn't been invited."

I would think so - the host's kids made themselves scarce after chatting with him, after all.

Yes, but they were teens who could leave on their own. And Connie's "I hope you don't mind" statement was made only to the hostess, and apparently out of the boss's earshot.

So, if one were in this situation, how would one subtly let the boss know the children weren't invited, without being rude to Connie (not that she doesn't deserve a good thwak upside the head with an etiquette book)? One thing I can think of is at dessert time, when the boys demanded the adult desserts, she could have said "I'm sorry boys, but I didn't know you were coming, so I didn't make you one of those." Too much?
He was not at all afraid to be killed in nasty ways.

Bob Ducca

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5334
The part that really gets to me is when the author called those monsters "great kids".   ???


I agree. I think the author was trying to show that she didn't dislike kids in general, or these kids in particular, by saying that they're really good kids. OTOH, maybe they are generally good kids, but they were just poorly behaved that night.

I would imagine that they could be "well-behaved" in situations appropriate to children; however, they clearly had not been instructed in behavior appropriate to adult functions.  The mother in this situation is obviously one of the "my children are so precious, they can do no wrong" tribe, which sets my teeth on edge.

I honestly think the hostess in this situation handled herself very well and did what she had to.  I think that the CEO, provided he had any intelligence at all, would have seen that the children were uninvited and unwelcome, since the seating was rearranged and everything.  He also would have seen that the hostess handled the situation with dignity and grace.  Good for her!

NEDESAPIO

  • Guest
The part that really gets to me is when the author called those monsters "great kids".   ???

I give you Exhibit A...
Quote
When we started to sit down to dinner, I invited the boys to the breakfast room, and the middle one said, "I want to eat in THERE," pointing toward the dining room.  I said, "I've made your dinner in here,"  he repeated, "But I want to eat in THERE!", and when the other two joined the chorus, Connie said, "I'd better have them in here with me."

Exhibit B...
Quote
but when dessert time came, I made the boys sundaes in pretty dishes, only to hear, "I want one of THOOOOSE!!!" with gestures to the individual trifles.

Whiny little brats is more like it.  Good children do what they're told, and graciously accept what they're given.  But with a clueless, boorish mother like that, it is no wonder she is raising three spoiled little monsters.


Exactly.  "Good kids" don't contradict an adult, especially one whom they scarcely know.  The very fact that the boys ignored everything the OP asked them to do makes me question whether they are really such "good kids."

Oh, for the days when, if an adult told a kid to do something (so long as it wasn't immoral or illegal), the kid did it.