Etiquette Hell = Where the ill-mannered deserve to go


Main Page/Home

The Faux Pas Archives
Wedding Etiquette

Bridesmaids and Beastmen
Bridal Showers
Bridezillas and Groomonsters
Faux Pas of the Year
Gimme, Gimme, Gimme
Guests From Hell
Tacky Invitations
Wedding Rugrats
Just Plain Tacky
Tacky Toasts
Thank You Notes From Hell
Tacky Vendors
Wedding From Hell
Wicked Witches of the Wedding
Perfect Bride
Bridesmaid Dress Incinerator



Everyday Etiquette

Baby Showers
The Dating Game
Ooops! Foot in Mouth Disease
Funeral Etiquette
Gimme Hell
Holiday Hell
Just Plain Tacky
It's all Relatives
Every Day RugRats
Road Rage

Business Etiquette

Bad Business Etiquette
Merchants of Etiquette Hell
Bad Bosses

Faux Pas of the Year




Press Room/Contact



House guests, party guests, Ignorant hosts

2000 Archive

2001-2002 Archive

Jan-Jun 2003 Archive

Jul-Dec 2003 Archive

Jan-Jun 2004 Archive


I love the site and forum. Thank you for collecting all of these stories for us to read and enjoy. I have a little story of some truly tacky and disrespectful people. It pales in comparison to some of the things I've read on the site, but the night it happened was an absolute horror for me. Here it is:

Last summer, I went on a backpacking trip through Europe, where I stayed in a hostel in each city. Each hostel is dormitory-style and has between three and ten people in a room, and most of them are coed. By doing this, I met many wonderful people from around the world. I didn't have any problems with bad roommates until I got to Rome.

After spending hours in the bus and on the train, I was exhausted when I reached my hostel. There was only one other person in the room, and she was already asleep when I got there. I ended up in bed around 9pm. I slept a little bit until three of my hostel roommates returned, loud and drunk.

One of these young women was leaving around 3am for the airport and needed to pack. She did so with the lights off (after I asked her off course), since there was a little bit of light coming in from an outside street lamp. After a little while, a young man came into our room, our last roommate (there were six of us total). The girl packing introduced herself and began to talk to him. I was slightly irritated by their chatter and asked them to please keep it down. They began whispering (loudly), which didn't really help, but whatever. I was sure that I would be able to ignore them and eventually get some sleep.

The girl and the guy talked for about an hour and then decided to go to bed. They were sharing a bunk bed--he was in the top bed and she on the bottom. By this time, they were no longer bothering to whisper. She got into bed and complained that she was hot. As a result, she took off her top sheet, ran it in the sink under cold water and then climbed into bed naked. You can probably guess what happened next.

At some point, she climbed up to the top bunk (his bed). I'll skip all of the disgusting details, but there was some point when I yelled at them to leave the room because there were four other people in there. She apologized but neither of them left. I was at a loss as to what to do (I have a feeling the rest of the people in the room were too, since none of them said anything the entire night).

Hence, I just suffered until she left, trying to ignore them, which is close to impossible. It was tough to pretend that there weren't two people (who were complete strangers) having sex on a bunk bed less than ten feet away from me. The worst part of it was that our room was fairly dark, and neither of them had really seen the other's face before they slept together.

Needless to say, I got very little sleep that night.



 Our younger three sons were home for Christmas, and daughter and Son-IL, who lived near us, came over for Christmas Eve dinner.  For the cocktail hour, I served two large platters of everyone's favorites:  artichoke leaves with a lovely hollandaise for dipping, and a big bowl of cocktail sauce ringed around with several pounds of jumbo shrimp.

The hors d'oeuvre plates and napkins I'd set out in the living room were apparently not adequate for fSIL, who went into the dining room and chose a dinner plate from the table, along with its crisply ironed white Battenburg napkin (a gift from my Mother).    He loaded the plate with shrimp and sauce, munched heartily and with great gusto, so I just set him a fresh plate and napkin, which he apparently did NOT notice.  

When I announced dinner, I stepped back into the kitchen, then turned to see him standing over the garbage can, wiping the bright red tomato sauce and polishing his plate clean with my beautiful white napkin.  What CAN you say at a moment like that?   The stain has long outlasted the marriage.



 Our daughter's former in-laws live several states away, and would always stay a week or 10 days a couple of times a year when they came to visit.   She was always desperate for SOMETHING to amuse them.   The MIL could SHOP 10 hours a day, and both MIL and FIL insisted on cruising car lots several times every visit, just to see what they were going to buy "this year."

So, my husband and I would have them over to dinner at least once each trip, plus having lunch for us three ladies, or meeting them somewhere for lunch, etc.   After about five years of doing all the entertaining, we were invited out to dinner ONCE, just once, but not BEFORE this very telling event: 

Our daughter and former son-in-law have the same birthday, so we have always celebrated doubly on that date.   One year the in-laws were here, and I invited everyone to dinner, as usual.   They said no, they were taking the "children" out for a very special dinner, but would come by for birthday cake.   Daughter was sort of caught in the middle; she was embarrassed that we weren't invited after all our hospitality, but hated to just invite us, plus knowing we would never accept a pity invite.   Son-in-law, having few manners in the first place, was totally oblivious.  

I ordered a lovely cake from a special local bakery, and set out the coffee service, liqueurs, etc., plus chilling champagne for toasting the special event.   They showed up at 5 P.M., BEFORE dinner, saying they had late reservations.   We toasted the birthday couple; the in-laws said they didn't want to spoil their dinner.   MIL said, "Just cut yourselves some cake to keep and we'll take the rest to have after dinner."

We lit the candles and sang; I cut two slices for us and handed over the rest in the cake box.  

(And yes, they DID continue to eat at our table every visit, including FOUR Thanksgivings before the divorce).


I have a very good friend that I met in grad school, here within called "Tom".  He was engaged to a girl I wasn't crazy about, but was more than happy to tolerate for his sake- we'll call her "Rosemary".  Tom graduated and moved away, but one weekend he and Rosemary came back to visit.  They stayed at my place, and I was more than happy to have them.

Tom, myself, and my then-boyfriend-now-husband are all Christian.  However, myself and hubby are both very, very quiet about it, and Tom is only vocal if directly asked.  Rosemary was an atheist.  Tom was completely accepting of this: his philosophy was "God chooses to approach different people in different ways, and sometimes He doesn't approach them at all." 

The weekend went well.  Knowing that Rosemary was an atheist and hubby isn't much into religious discussion, Tom and I didn't go anywhere NEAR the topic all weekend.  We didn't avoid it either, we just politely didn't bring it up.  At all.

So we decide to play Scategories.  We roll a "J", and one of the topics is "Fictional Character."  What does Rosemary put down?  "Jesus' father."

What?  If we'd been badgering her, maybe I could understand it.  But no one had said a WORD about religion all weekend, unless you count "God bless you" when someone sneezes!  And to say that to your FIANCÉ?  Who at the time was merely concerned about what sort of candy and what notorious villains began with J?  (Especially when you know he's a devout Christian?)  It was the rudest thing I'd ever seen.

Well, we got her on a technicality.  (If you're Christian, you don't believe God is fictional, and if you're not, then Jesus' father is Joseph and he did exist.)  But the blatant disregard for his beliefs- in front of his friends and entirely unprovoked- was just disgusting.  Fortunately, they never made it to the altar and he married a wonderful girl who, while not sharing all his beliefs, respects the fact he believes them!


My daughter became friends with a long time Internet buddy of her older brother. They liked each other so well they decided he should come to visit. Much to my shock I found an unknown man standing in my kitchen coloring with my granddaughter with my daughter standing next to them on a Saturday morning. She announced he was going to stay for a vacation. I was aghast my daughter would pull such a thing on me but I allowed him and his 3-year-old son to stay in our home because it was thundering and lightning and he said he planned to pitch a tent.

The entire week and a half he was here I played polite hostess, providing them each with a nice bedroom, food to eat, and I even sat with the kids while my daughter and he slept into the afternoon. You guessed it. They wound up in the bed together. During his stay I had to ask him to buy some groceries and put gas in my van while they were driving it on that day. I had to pay him back. Not one time did this "man" offer me any money to defray the cost of an additional family in our home. If that wasn't bad enough he, my daughter and each of their 3-year-old children went out to eat several times but they never once even thought to bring me a nice sandwich or an entire meal, not even the leftovers. Both he and my daughter sat around most of the time caring only for the children when they had to, offering to help with any of the additional housework only a few times. As far as I'm concerned the entire incident was a faux pas but I'll explain what I would have done in the situation if it were I traveling.

To begin with I would never have surprised or shocked any prospective hostess. According to all my dear departed mother taught me it's a faux pas to expect anyone to put you up that's a friend or relative unless you're an invited guest. Additionally, I was taught to help defray the cost of staying in someone's home and the additional work that's involved in having additional guests. Whether or not it's proper etiquette makes no difference to me I wouldn't have gone out to eat without bringing something for my family or my hostess whether she was disabled or not. You can believe me I will handle my daughter as soon as she arises late this morning before she goes to work. I'm still in a state of shock and anger for this rich brat having taken my hospitality for granted. We may be poor but we're proud has a new meaning to me. Of all the poor people I know THEY have better manners and are more considerate than some of the wealthy that I've encountered. As a matter of fact a couple of weeks ago I invited a couple of poor ladies to eat lunch with me while we were visiting. They knew enough to return the favor and neither of them have much education or money. By the way, his name is Andy. Look out for him to drop in on you.


I didn't think I would have an etiquettehell guest story, and I guess I still don't since this was a friends guest.  My friend and her fiancé had a small one bedroom apartment in the town center of a suburb of Boston.  Her old friend from High School just got out of jail and had no place to stay so she offered to let him stay with them until he got on his feet (I guess his relatives wanted nothing to do with him and THAT should have been a clue).  I stopped by for a visit and he hit me up for $20, said he would pay me back next week.  

Next week I stopped by and he told me he had a friend that owed him some money and if I would give him a lift he would pay me back plus gas money.  I had nothing to do so I said OK.  When we were on our way he asked if we could stop at a local mall.  OK, but I stayed in the car and told him to be quick.  

About ten minutes later he hops in the car with no bags (what did he buy?) and directs me to his "friends" house which turns out to be a housing project with a very bad reputation.  Then he starts pulling his pants off (I'm like...what can I hit this guy with and how quick can I push him out the door!).  He has three pairs of expensive jeans that he had just shoplifted from a department store at the mall under his sweat pants.  He left and said he would be back in 15 minutes.  I wasn't an angel but I had never stolen anything before, now I'm an accessory to theft!  To this day I don't know why I didn't just drive away (and possibly call the cops!).  

He comes back with two people in tow, gives me the $20 he owes me and $20 more for gas and asks if I can give his two friends a lift back to my friend's town.  By now I just want to get rid of jacka$$, tell my friend what happened and have nothing more to do with him.  I told him I was in a hurry and I would only be able to drop them off in the town center.  That's OK so they hop in the back.  

When we are on the highway I look in my rearview mirror and these two broke out a needle and were tying rubber hoses around their arms (my idea of "experimenting" with drugs at the time was smoking a joint).  I told jacka$$ that his friends had two choices, they could stop what they were doing immediately or I would drop them off in the breakdown lane of the highway.  Jacka$$ yells at his two friends telling them they are "disrespecting" his friend who was nice enough to give them a ride and they put the drug paraphernalia away.   I told my friend what happened, advised her to keep an eye on her valuables and that I wouldn't be coming buy until jacka$$ was gone.  He left at the end of the month and my friend seemed happy that everything was still in her house.  A few weeks later she got her phone bill...$800 in 900 phone sex calls!!!  About six months later she told me she had heard that jacka$$ was back in jail, BIG SURPRISE!


Greetings: I just LOVE your website! –So educational, inspirational, and entertaining!  It is great to have a place to vent the injustices committed by the ignorant and inconsiderate -upon the gracious and imposed-upon -from all facets of society:  while it is sad that there are so many of us who have been abused by the etiquette-challenged, I hold hope that future generations WILL aspire to be behave better, stop talking with their mouths full, and remember to say "Thank you" for even SMALL favors!  

Please allow me to share my all-time worst “House Guest From Hell” experience”:  the following is long –but I left out the worst of the details, believe me.   My SO, myself, and my two young children, had been living together for several months, before I’d finally met “dad”, my SO’s father:  “dad” had been divorced 12 years, and living alone the entire time –I’d heard “about” the father through co-workers at a new I’d taken recently (he was a “temp” worker we sent out to work elsewhere), but what I’d heard was not very appealing.  I finally met “dad”, and he seemed to be quite pleasant –but turned out to be FAR from fastidious (or even mildly tidy!), and ultimately quite ignorant, lazy, and inconsiderate.  

The day my SO took us all over to meet his father (at “dad’s” rented bungalow), I could barely endure the stench through the introductions beyond the threshold, and I wouldn’t sit on the sofa for fear of getting stuck to the no longer identifiable substances which liberally camouflaged the upholstery (beneath the protective layer of dog hair and duct tape).  When my 5-year-old son whispered in my ear that he needed to use the rest room, I politely excused us -and drove him to a convenience store instead:  I’d already seen the bathroom -and it wasn’t a matching tank set, rugs and towels that were in the room –it was a thick layer of MOLD and mildew that made everything in the small room appear to “match”, visually, from a safe distance!   Anyway, “dad” came to stay with us a year and a half later, after we’d moved 65 miles away:  for the first MONTH of that visit, he neglected to tell us that he’d lost his rental home, had NO money, NO job -and NO desire to be “independent” any longer (he was only 52 or so then, and far from disabled).  I was pregnant at the time and strictly ordered to continual bed rest due to complications:  I awoke from a nap to discover that “dad” had unloaded all of his smelly, grimy, damaged and otherwise deteriorating worldly possessions from his filthy and dying car –and moved into my den… and there he STAYED –it was as if a virulent strain of mutating fungus  began to gradually grow over everything in the small room… for the next 11 months. 

The man would not bathe, he would not change his linens (or let ME do it), and he didn’t believe in changing even his clothes from week to week –I found myself stealing his laundry and sneaking it into my washer during his lengthy sabbaticals in our only bathroom.  He would not pitch in on chores, not even the dishes –even though I was forced to stay in bed on an IV by then, his son was gone 11 hours a day for work (80 miles away), and the children were far too young to help out other than to pick up after themselves (unlike “grandpa”).  The man left a trail of trash, spilled food, dirty dishes, cigarette butts (and burns!), false teeth (oh yes –he’d take them out, pick at them –leave them behind and wander off… eeeewww), and he drank incessantly –but hid the bottles under sofa cushions, behind bookcases, etc. –so as to keep things “looking tidy” he said.  

He watched cartoons all day, constantly asked ME what the next meal would be, although –due to MY condition -he said he didn’t change his clothes so often so that *I* wouldn’t have the extra laundry burden to deal with (so thoughtful!).   I would try to “remind” him to bathe:  his response to that was that he didn’t sweat, so he didn’t NEED to bathe –not even once a week in the summer, where our daily average temperature was over 90+ degrees!  The smell was overwhelming, and he never seemed to comprehend my increasingly less polite “hints” as to his lack of personal hygiene or the pigsty he had turned our “spare room” into.   

For 9 months, every effort to rid our home of him failed.  One day, I announced that his niece (a very dear friend to this day) was coming to stay during summer break from college in Wisconsin; we lived in central California –she considered our climate a paradise and had talked of nothing else since we’d laid the plan (er… plot!).  I let “dad” know that she would arrive in two months, and that we’d be needing our “spare room” back to accommodate her; I explained that, being a young student, SHE would not have the funds to stay in a motel or rent a place, that she was excited about our new baby (due just before her arrival) and that SHE had happily offered to help out with the children and household in appreciation of our extended hospitality (hardly an effort on our part –for such a delightful young lady, believe me!).  

We finally persuaded my SO’s younger brother to take on “dad” a week before the girl’s arrival –to allow time to completely fumigate the room, have the carpets steamed and the walls sanitized, and REPLACE the bed and linens before her arrival.  Her visit was like a godsend –most refreshing after the previous houseguest.  

However, “dad” didn’t stay at #2 son’s home for long; within a week, the son’s resident g/f had delivered an ultimatum, and “dad” was apparently not the more appealing option of the two offered.  Dad was back –and sleeping in his decrepit car, parked out in front of our home, until our strict Home Owner’s Association reminded us that this was NOT acceptable.  I’d refused to allow him to “move-in” on our sofa in the living room (it had JUST been cleaned and deodorized from his last “visit”), and the small home had no other space to offer.  Mind you, I liked “dad” as a person –I just couldn’t take the smell of having him as a housemate!  

Worse yet, “dad” was the laziest, most chauvinistic man I’d ever known –he couldn’t empty an ashtray on his own:  after he’d filled it up, he’d fill another and another, and then tea cups, soda bottles, tin cans, etc…when he ran out of “containers” to fill up –he’d litter my small flower beds with his butts!   Fed up, I finally put my foot down:  like his brother before him, my SO chose the more appealing half of the ultimatum, and dad moved on… or so we’d thought.   

Two weeks later, about a week before the niece was to return to college, we got a letter from the Home Owner’s Association once again:  they were writing because our neighbors were complaining about “the vagrant LIVING in the broken-down car”, which was parked in front of THEIR homes -where “dad” had been sleeping every night for weeks!  Apparently, their homes were on the market at the time (in our brand new subdivision), and they felt that such a disgrace and eyesore was affecting their property value and marketability, and thus threatened to fine us if we didn’t remove “our acquaintance” immediately!  I was mortified; we’d thought he’d moved back to the #2 son’s home, or was imposing upon another relative; nope –he’d merely moved around the corner –and everyone in our tiny neighborhood knew he “belonged” to us!  Sure enough, a stroll around the block revealed his new “residence” –and my SO had to ask him to leave the neighborhood.   

We moved down the street into a much bigger home about 2 months later –with a guest room for “dad”, under the conditions that he would bathe, pick up after himself, do his laundry and linens, and lay off the booze.  Rather than agree to that, “dad” moved into the STORAGE CLOSET under our stairs, despite my having a fit over it:  there, he was perfectly at-home, with his filthy futon and puke-coated comforter (used to build his “cozy” nest), and there he stayed, for months, until we left the state.    

We relocated almost annually for the next 7 years, due to my SO’s profession; each time, “dad” found us -he'd stake out a sofa or conquer a spare corner, for months at a time –leaving only when we moved on again.  It was taking a toll on an otherwise great relationship between the rest of us –I'd even caught the children referring to “grandpa” as “the ogre under the stairs” to their friends one day.  By then the children were beginning to imitate bad habits and ill manners that "grandpa" exhibited, and I was at the end of my rope, when we finally moved on yet again.   We left the sate.  

Once we relocated, I still (cautiously) wrote to “dad”, "in care of" whomever he was currently visiting on the family roster –I simply wouldn’t put a “return address” on the envelopes.  When he finally found out where we went, I made it clear that our new neighborhood had an ordinance against people sleeping in cars outside, and that we had no “spare room” (I had trashed the old sofa –replaced it with 2 small love seats instead!).  When he finally found out where we were living, his next visit only lasted a day -and it was while I had to be out of town (lucky for him!).  That was the last time he “stayed over” with us.  We weren’t dad’s only victims either (he passed away a few years back); to this day, dad’s “visits” are still shared at family reunions and around the campfires –as either bad jokes -or horror stories!  


My roommate/best friend invited a friend over, who will be called G (for Glutton). That day my roommate had also spent many hours slaving away making a very expensive and complex one dish layered-casserole type dinner. The recipe made around 10 portions, and since we were poor college students and wouldn't normally spend this much on one meal, we were counting on the leftovers to feed us for a few days.

Well, G showed up right around the time the food was done, so my roommate offered him a piece. Note that we weren't inviting him to dinner. He was supposed to show up a couple hours later, but was early and my roommate didn't want to be rude and eat in front of him. He accepted and ate with us. The food was great, and G asked for seconds. There was still a lot of food, so we said sure. Then after eating that he asked for more. I offered him what was left of mine because I cut my piece in half and didn't touch one part of it. He ate that as well. Dinner was over so my roommate wrapped the casserole tray in foil with about 6 meal-sized portions left, and put it in the fridge while I brought out the beer.

G asked if he could smoke, and even though we live in a non smoking building and G knows this, my roommate and I are both social smokers and said sure, he could have a smoke as long as he turned on the kitchen stove exhaust fan and opened up all the windows (my kitchen and living room are pretty much one big room). The tone in our voices was pretty obvious that we meant he could have ONE OR TWO smokes but we really didn't want him smoking that much. If he wanted to smoke more, he'd have to go up on the roof which was a sundeck type place for smokers/barbecues etc. My roommate and I both had a few beers with G, although G was easily outpacing us both on beer. By midnight my roommate and I were tired and wanted to get ready for bed, and G was drunk. He lived about a half hour away on the freeway and we knew we couldn't let him drive home. So we offered to let him sleep on our couch. He did.

About an hour after I went to bed I heard vomiting, as my room is right off the bathroom. I figured it was G from drinking too much. Then I smelled cigarette smoke, and heard the (very loud) stove exhaust fan start up. Then more vomiting, then smoke and fan. This went on for about 2 hours, until I heard my roommate get up and tell G to stop smoking in the apartment, as we live in a non smoking building and the smell and noise was keeping us up. G went in and out of the apartment all night to go up on the roof to smoke (did I mention he's a chain-smoker?). He also vomited until about 7 am. Needless to say I didn't get much sleep that night.

It gets worse... G left early without saying goodbye or thanks for the food or folding up the sleeping bags and blankets he had used. When I got up a few hours after he left I stumbled to the kitchen to grab my daily dose of Gatorade (I have low blood sugar and must drink something w/glucose in it first thing after waking, especially after having a few beers the night before) and found the ENTIRE UNOPENED GALLON-SIZED JUG I had bought the day before was missing. That's right, G had taken the WHOLE GALLON JUG without asking, and on a college student's budget gallons of Gatorade isn't exactly cheap. I woke my roommate up and said since it was his friend, he had to go to the store and buy me more. He said fine, right after we ate. He pulled out the dish he made the night before, and out of the 6 portions, there was ONLY A HALF PIECE REMAINING. Also there was only one beer out of the original 12. Now we were really really peeved. My roommate said he heard the refrigerator open and foil crinkling all night, but he assumed it was me, since no guest in their right mind would get into food that was obviously put away, especially with us talking in front of G about how excited we were to have the leftovers to eat for a few days. We always have bags of chips and other snacks out for overnight guests to munch on so they don't have to get into our fridge without asking. 

Turns out the reason why G was vomiting is because he was GORGING himself on our food, then vomiting, then eating and drinking some more, then vomiting. We guess he must have done this all night. He also vomited ALL over our apartment complexes sundeck without letting us know, as we found out when we went up there later that day. Not to mention when I was putting away his sleeping bag I noticed there were 3 HUGE cigarette burns in the rug from where he had burned holes probably while drunk. He never apologized for any of this, or even was aware he did anything wrong. When he called my roommate a few days later and my roommate said 'you ate all our food' he said 'yeah, it was good' or something like that. I asked if he had an eating disorder or a mental problem, and my roommate said "No, he just has no manners and doesn't stop to think about his actions especially when drunk. He probably ate until he was full, then got sick from eating too much too fast, and repeated that cycle 'till it was almost gone." Needless to say I told my roommate G wasn't allowed over anymore, and within a month of this event, my roommate got sick of G's repeatedly inexcusable behavior and quit hanging out with him at all. Good riddance, I say.


Have to say that I love your site, and am very thankful I haven't had most of the experiences listed therein. Was just getting caught up on the latest updates when I came across the brief comment in Guests, from a vegetarian. I've had similar experiences. I suppose these would go in the Guests from Hell section as well; though they'd be more accurately labeled as Hosts from Hell, one in particular.

As an introduction, I'm a vegetarian myself; and have had quite a few unpleasant experiences with self-described "unrepentant carnivores". Now, I'm not a Vegan, nor an I any sort of ethical vegetarian. I am vegetarian because of certain allergies and digestive-system issues; I simply cannot eat meat. No matter to me, I find I don't really like it all that much anyway; and I'm not about to condemn anyone else for their particular dietary choices. I also have something of an aversion to many ethical vegetarian/Vegan types; because of their preachiness and self-righteous attitudes. I'm also heavily involved with the local Goth subculture; which is quite large and a very strong community, with regular events and so on (this is important to the setting of the second story); as well as several other interest-based groups.

I get invited to a lot of events, either directly by friends and acquaintances; or as part of open invitations to one of the various communities I'm involved with (there is a lot of crossover between the groups). There are a lot of these events, and most of the groups have a significant number of vegetarians of various sorts. People generally make allowances for dietary restrictions among their guests. However, there also seems to be a strong anti-vegetarian contingent that seems to want to go out of their way to make things difficult. When offered meat-based dishes, I generally decline politely, generally mentioning my preferences -- a simple "No thank you, I'm a vegetarian", or "No thank you, I don't eat meat" -- and leave it at that.

This suffices for most people, and there isn't a problem. Others seem to want to make an issue out of it; and spend the next five or ten minutes loudly justifying their diet, or ridiculing mine, or both. Even if they're not involved in the conversation, but only eavesdropping, they seem to be unable to avoid some inane, dismissive quip; generally some trite, overworked joke. This sort of response is almost invariably from men, as if I'd somehow insulted their manhood, or intimated that they are anything less than 100% Red Blooded American Male (which is bizarre, since quite a number of them are homosexual, and almost none of them are in any way homophobic -- the groups I'm involved with being very GLBT-friendly for the most part).

I generally tend to avoid mentioning that I'm physically unable to eat meat since the result is either a "Sucks to be you" dismissive response from the same men; or, and this one seem to be predominantly women, I get treated almost as if I'd just announced that I had incurable cancer. I'm still unable to understand that latter response. I do have a small amount of understanding for the former, since these are people who have had to put up with attacks from the evangelical Vegans/vegetarians for their "cruelty" in eating animals (there are plenty of those in the community as well).

This second story is the real twister. The local Goth community has a number of regular events; including thrift-store shopping expeditions. On one such event; the organizer (who generally plans the itinerary beforehand, since trying to get a group of Goths to agree on anything is like herding cats) decided that lunch would be at a local trendy '50s-themed burger joint. Since there were several vegetarians in the group besides myself (including one other who had allergy issues worse than mine), the organizer was asked if the restaurant had any vegetarian options. Her response? "Well, I think they have salads or something". Well, the salads consisted of the token few shreds of iceberg lettuce, cabbage, and carrot; and there was no "or something". Even the fries were cooked in animal fat (which I could tolerate, though the taste bothers me, but others couldn't). Subsequent trips have opted for the burrito joint a few blocks away, which has a lot of good vegetarian options.

Needless to say, some of us went hungry for a while. And it's not like this person hadn't known of the vegetarian issues, since she'd know most of us for at least three or four years, some longer. When informed of the problem, her response was "Oh, well, that's too bad". This would be bad enough on it's own; but the organizer is also the self-styled "Gothic Miss Manners", and writes a well-known etiquette advice column for a large, internationally-read Goth-community website under that moniker. Of course, this is also someone who blew off her responsibilities as a convention organizer in order to go thrift-store shopping (after telling everyone else involved that she had a dentist's appointment). There are times that she could really use a few lessons in manners herself.



I've always enjoyed entertaining colleagues, along with friends, when I have parties, but sometimes I question my wisdom. In a large office, you obviously can't invite everyone. But my invitees are sometimes prone to inquire loudly of their non-invited work chums "So are you coming to the party?" A few have even gone so far as to extend invitations to these non-invitees.

But what peaks me more is the disregard for RSVPs, either no-shows or surprise appearances. We can only hope they balance out. I say "The favor of a reply is requested" but they still don't get it. Most egregious case: I gave an invitation to a colleague from whom I got no response. I was a little more than mildly surprised to see him barreling up the walk with his wife AND baby in tow at party time. Okay, fine. They enjoyed themselves and partook of my fabulous gourmet cooking, staying several hours, happily socializing in my home.

But then, the capper! His behavior the next day at the office was utterly astonishing. We met at a corner corridor but he did not so much as make eye contact with me! not a word or a glance! His and his family's generous and accommodating hostess from only the day before. I was truly staggered by the lad's boorishness.


First I must say I adore your site and spend too many hours on it laughing hysterically at all the low class and uncouth behavior people write in on.  I just had to send in my story about a horrible house guest my husband and I had again and again.   

A few years ago, after leaving a horrible marriage and getting divorced, I met through a mutual friend I will call D the man I ended up marrying.  I worked two jobs to support myself, one of which was in a department store.  There, I fell in love with a beautiful dinnerware set.  It was somewhat expensive, but I felt after the horrible marriage I had been through, there was absolutely nothing wrong with treating myself to something nice, just for me.  It took me 2 1/2 years to complete the entire set, and I think its the best purchase I have ever made in my life.  The dishes are important to this story.  

 Back when my husband and I were just dating, and living in our own apartments, his best friend from high school, D would come over on Friday nights, and as they had been doing in high school, generally spend the  night.  I like D well enough, and I feel that couples do need to have occasional personal time by themselves.  Since my then boyfriend spent Friday nights with his friend, we decided that Saturday afternoons and evenings would be our time alone together.  Since I worked two full time jobs, and I had managed to work both schedules to have Sundays off, we would also spend Sunday together as well, since we did not get to see too much of each other during the week. 

Pretty soon, my then boyfriend and I decided that we wanted to get a bit more serious.  I began staying at his apartment over the entire weekend.  On Friday nights, his friend would show up around 11 pm, if not later, as he had been doing for the past few years.  I'd let the guys do their thing while I generally read quietly in the bedroom, trying to unwind from a tough week at work (Imagine working 16 hour days all week!).  I never intruded on the "guy time" and several times I would ask my boyfriend if it was okay I was there.  He constantly said yes, he wanted me there, and was enjoying being able to spend whole weekends together.  D became quite jealous and started making really rude, immature comments to me, which I generally ignored. My then boyfriend and I decided to move in together.  That's when the trouble began.  

One Saturday, I went over to my apartment to pick up some odds and ends, and while I was gone, D interrogated my then boyfriend, wanting to know why I had to move in, why I had to live there.  My boyfriend tried to calmly explain to D that we were in love, we planned on getting engaged with in the next year, and that we wanted to live together.  (Nevermind we were both looking forward to cutting our bills in half and me being able to cut down to just one job.)  It went on and on until my boyfriend finally told D to stop it, and that he was going to marry me one day, and that's all there was to it. I guess D figured if he annoyed me enough, I'd move out.  

Every weekend after I moved in turned into his nitpicking and gross behavior.  When he would wake up on Saturday afternoon, he would spend an hour in the bathroom, using the toilet.  Then, another hour in the shower.  Since we were responsible for paying our own water bill, this got to be a problem as it started to add up.  Add in the fact that D would drink a great deal on Friday night, and would have alcohol sweats in his sleep--on our couch.  After a month of this, the couch began to take on a very identifiable scent.  

After moving in, I found out D had a nasty habit of drinking too much, and quite often, couldn't make it to the bathroom to vomit in the toilet in time.  Or when he would use the bathroom, his aim wasn't that good.  I was shocked the morning I woke up to find urine all over the toilet seat and puddles of it on the floor. Remember the plates I started this story with?  One Saturday morning, I woke up to find the oaf passed out on the couch.  That's not what shocked me.  On the floor, of all places, was one of my plates, crusted with food.  I was surprised that the big jerk didn't get up in the middle of the night and step on it.  He also would use my shampoo and conditioner, as well as my body wash in our shower.  Why on earth he felt like smelling like lilacs is beyond me.  And not just use those items, over use them.  Generally, a bottle of shampoo lasts me close to 3 weeks.  But after he started using mine, I guess to make me angry, I was having to purchase shampoo almost every week. He constantly ate our food, drank our soda, and would drink my wine coolers.  (I don't mind sharing, but don't drink every one in the pack without leaving one for me!)  

Add to that the fact that he would take packs of cigarettes out of my carton, along with everything else he was doing, and I had enough. I spoke to my then boyfriend, asking him to ask his friend to stop being so disrespectful.  I was tired of doing his dirty dishes, tired of having to pay for water I didn't use, and tired of supplying his shampoo, conditioner and body wash.  He was more than happy to, considering he understood my annoyance.  D turned it into me trying to control my boyfriend and what a bitch I was. After that, my then boyfriend tried to winnow down his time with D.  He was also getting tired of the weekend guy time, and how more and more, D would over stay his welcome each and every Saturday, more often than not ruining our plans for the evening.  He was tired of having "sleepovers" and felt that they weren't appropriate for men in their mid 20's.  He explained all this to D, and told him he was more than welcome to come over on Friday evenings, but no more spending the night.  D tried to get around this by getting himself drunk so my then boyfriend would not make him leave.  

After a month of this, after D got really intoxicated and threatened me, my then boyfriend kicked him out, telling him he was more than welcome to sleep in his car and not to come back until he could apologize to me.   We eventually fell out of touch with D, thankfully, but often, I'd hear him ranting and raving about how I had ruined his friendship with my then boyfriend.  Needless to say, when we got engaged, D did not congratulate us.  We're now happily married, expecting our first child, and about to buy our first house.  From what we hear, D still does not have a job, and is still living at his parents house.        



A friend of mine was hosting her annual Scavenger Hunt party. Because it took a lot of time setting it up and she needed to buy certain items to host this party, she sent out invitations with requests that each guest bring $8.00 to go towards the cost of her expenses. Also, she mentioned in the invitation that the party would be BYOB. When I RSVP'd that I would be there, I also asked if she would need any help setting up beforehand, and I told her to let me know if she needed me to bring anything. On the day of the party, she called me at 12:00 in the afternoon (the party was to start at 3:00 that afternoon), and asked if I could please bring some chips and dip, since I had offered to bring something if she needed it. I said OK, and she then proceeded to inform me that she was having approximately 60 people at her house for the party that day, and I therefore would have to bring enough chips and dip to accommodate that many people. I was pretty dumbfounded. What was I paying the $8.00 for if I was to bring my own alcohol AND now supply chips and dip for 60 people??

Two weeks later, I was having my annual Halloween party. I realized about two hours before the guests were due to arrive that I had not stocked up on enough ice, and since this friend lives only a few blocks away and passes a few stores on her way to my house, AND because I had just brought chips and dips to feed 60 people for her party at basically the last minute, I thought that perhaps she wouldn't mind making a quick stop on her way over and picking up a few bags of ice for me. As soon as she answered her phone and realized that it was me, she immediately said, "I hope you're not calling to ask me to bring anything. I just got into my costume and I don't want to be seen in public looking like this." It was Halloween, for crying out loud! People would understand why she was dressed up! Some of my other friends have experienced similar incidents with her, and have actually suggested on a few occasions that when her next birthday rolls around, perhaps we should buy her a book on social etiquette!


I was browsing the web for etiquette sites, and lo and'll love this one, I hope.     My fiancé' 'Allen' decided to invite his friends 'Wanda' and 'Nick' over for a weekend. Wanda lives 5 hours away from Nick (college student at the local university, like us), and Allen heard about Nick's car problems.  We have a guest room, so they were more than welcome, as long as they brought some sheets, pillows, snacks, drinks, whatever was their fancy - we're not rich, and washing another couple's 'sheets' is not our style. I hope you agree, if you can see where I'm going with that one.   

Friday, they arrive, all is good, and I cooked some food in case we got hungry.  Of course Wanda and Nick hadn't seen each other in a while, so quite naturally, they wanted to (PC friendly) 'get it on' Friday through Sunday. The weekend goes rather smoothly (playing cards, movies, etc.), too smoothly for me - I'm a very analytical person.   

Monday, I decided to clean my entire apartment; the rooms needed vacuuming, so I did the bedrooms first.  Everything was fine, until I got to the guest room. Vacuuming under the bed, I hear something clog the suction of the machine.  Are you ready for this? There is a used condom stuck in my vacuum, and its little 'friends' had not vacated its premises.  I'm a very clean person, and I refuse to touch such, so I got gloves and had to pry it from the machine.  As I bent over to flip the vacuum, I find an entire box of condoms - used condoms!  In my mind's eye, I could visualize the finish, then the lack of though to just throw the items under the bed.  Can I tell you I was as mad as a lush being told it's Sunday?   I mentioned this to Allen, and he went through the roof (not that I blame him).  We discussed it, and decided we would tell the couple, because it was unsanitary, OUR PLACE, and their responsibility to check after themselves.  If I'm wrong, please someone, correct me!  

Believe it or not, Wanda calls 2 weeks later, saying she was visiting, and wanted to see us. We were absolutely thrilled....   They come over, and before we could be cordial about current events and whatnot, Allen blurts out, 'We need to talk.' Everyone is silent, he says, 'We're all friends, correct?' Nods all around, I'm looking straight ahead. 'And we can talk about anything, just about, right?' Nods. 'You guys left used condoms under the bed, and that is not very sanitary. No one likes to see that kind of stuff.' Wanda looks at Nick, and the best thing she could say was 'Awww, for real? I thought I checked.'  That response was enough for me AND Allen, I felt insulted, disgusted, and used.  In my opinion, that's etiquette at its least - if you're a guest at someone's home, PAY ATTENTION TO DETAIL.  I have no idea where you'll put this one, but in a polite way, we told them where to put theirs.    



Eeeeuuww!  Gross! 

Hi Jeanne,

Let me just start, as so many contributors have, by saying how much I enjoy reading your site. I can't wait for more updates as I've already been through all the existing stories. 

So, here's my guest from hell story. My fiancée and I met "Ted" through our mutual friend "Betty". Betty is an absolutely charming woman that my fiancée and I have known since we were teenagers. Her manners are absolutely unimpeachable so I'm sort of surprised she hasn't gotten sick of Ted's antics.

Initially Ted seemed charming, if a bit overeager. We went out with Ted and Becky on several occasions to clubs and bars. We're not big drinkers or partiers, but it's something they enjoy and it's a nice change for us. After hanging out a few times Ted began constantly pestering us to hang out, I mean, all the time. Nearly every day I was asked when we'd be hanging out next, and told how much he liked us. This is a little bit pushy, but no real faux pas, and though it was a little tiresome after a while I wasn't offended by it.

What offended me was when we did invite him to come over and visit with us and our friend "Ann" another person who Ted is just dying to spend time with. He arrived a little while after Ann did and we spent some time chitchatting about various topics. After a while there was an obvious lull in conversation, so I suggested we play a game. Ann, my fiancée and I all enjoy playing various board and card games and so we all liked the idea. Ted just shrugged vaguely and said okay. Concerned that we wouldn't enjoy playing a game I asked him if he had any ideas, and also suggested putting on a movie. He didn't seem particularly forthcoming, so a game was selected (which he kind of vaguely nodded at) and we started playing. After a few minutes Ted pulled out a comic book and began reading it during the game, and we had to prod him when it was his turn. This is a trivia game that is specifically designed to be social, it's a party game, it's not as if we were all deeply concentrating on a chess board. Even if he wasn't interested in the game he could have participated in the chit chat but he preferred to just sit and read his comic book, basically ignoring the rest of us.

After the game was finished I made another attempt to draw him out, asking him if there's anything in particular he'd like to do. Apparently he thought we should be partying, since he asked if we had any alcohol to drink (other than wine we don't keep much alcohol in the house). I said we didn't and he seemed disappointed. I should note that when I invited him over it was specifically an invitation to hang out together, not to party. I specifically mentioned playing games and possibly watching a movie. After a little bit of forced chit chat my friend Ann mercifully said she was pretty tired and asked Ted if he might drop her off at home (she lives quite near us, but doesn't drive). He agreed and they left and he apparently kept her trapped in the car for at least 45 minutes talking about how much he wanted to spend more time with us.

Could have fooled me!

I've been politely dismissive when he's contacted me about getting together again, and he seems to have gotten the hint since I haven't heard from him in more than a month. Thank god.



Several years ago, my husband worked in a large government office with a man who actually lived in DC, but came here for a month or so several times a year to audit, etc.   Since he was away from his family for so long, we invited him to dinner or lunch several times each time he was in town.   He had originally lived here, and still owned the family home, which was rented by a couple.   Their contract stated that he had rights to stay in the house during his terms of work here in town, occupying a spare bedroom.    From what he said, they were nice people and they all got along well.

After about a year and a half of having dinner in our home several times per visit, he invited us to come to his house for a meal.  His invitation included our college-age daughter, who was home for several weeks during summer break.   So we went to the house and were greeted on the lawn by our friend and the renter, a loud hairy man (I know because he was wearing a vest--no shirt, with enough dangling gold bling to delight Mr. T).   We stood on the lawn while he showed off his Cadillac and his new watch the size of a teacup, and sought to impress us with the fact that he had flung lots of money at the cable people for the next Tyson fight.

We stood and stood, then the wife came outside, followed by EIGHT children.   She started putting hamburger patties on the grill,  probably twenty or so.  I asked if I could help, so she invited me in, handed me a knife and some tomatoes and onions, and I did the slicing while she told me that all of the children were her day-care group.  Most of their moms were strippers, so the kids were there evenings, slept for a while, and were picked up at any time from midnight to 6 a.m. 

My heart just wept for this woman, married to that loud, obnoxious braggart who "owned" the daycare business.  Her life seemed to be caring for children till all hours, with her sleep interrupted as they were picked up.   The men stayed out on the patio, as did our daughter, who was having a wonderful time with the children.   I went back out; she called the children in, then much later one came back out and said, "She says you can come eat if you want to."   Uncomfortable is not the word for what we all felt, being thrust into that situation with that poor, overworked woman who was doing the best she could.   I wanted so badly to go home, but that would have been even worse, letting her see our discomfort and pity. 

So we went into the house, where all the places at the tables were occupied by the children and the two men.   The woman took her plate to the stove, and my hubby, my daughter and I scooted all the way back into the mudroom and found a place to set ours down.    First time we ever dined off a washing machine. 

I don't know quite what to call this letter; it's not a complaint about the unwilling hostess, nor even our own sometimes guest who should never have put either her or us into that spot, nor even her obnoxious husband.   It was all what they call down south a "goat-roping" but a very sad one.    And I can't put words to all the etiquette which was mistreated by all of us on several levels.  

It was just so uncomfortable to be so grudgingly entertained, yet so very heart-rending to think of that woman's life, day after day, just working and tending and earning to buy that #$*&()* his gold chains and pay-per-view.   

And we never again invited the guy back to dinner.    But I wish I could have invited our hostess---she NEEDS to get out of the house.



My parents and another couple had just arrived at our house to visit after they had completed a long motorcycle trip. The six of us (myself and my husband, my parents, and this other couple) were standing around talking and this woman just pulls out a pair of nail clippers and starts clipping her fingernails while she's standing in the middle of my living room! This was a full-on nail trim and the nails were sprinkling the living room floor. No one else seemed to notice, or at least they didn't say anything, but I had to make a conscious effort to close my mouth. I thought it was a weird thing to do!


Some people think the world is their trashcan.  


My DH and I are friends with 2 other couples comprised of his 2 best friends from high school and their wives. Couple one, Ryan and Cory are lovely people and we enjoy their company immensely. Couple two, Dick and Jane are less lovely but as the boys have been friends for over ten years, we have grown accustomed to their bad behavior. 

Every year around Christmas, we have an annual get together. In years past one couple hosts the event and the menu is a pot luck. Generally the hosts serve the main dish and the rest of us bring a side dish to complement the meal. Last year it was my turn to host. Before an invitation had been sent, I get an email from Jane that basically tells me she has spoken with Cory and that the party would be on such and such date at such and such time. Additionally it tells me what I am to serve and what she and Cory are bringing. A bit assuming and rude, but not one to cause a rift in my husband's friendships, I agree. 

Several days later I get an email from Cory regarding the party. Her email is quite different and basically asks do I know what day the party will be held on as she would like to save the date and do I have suggestions on something for her to bring. I tell her that I thought she had discussed this with Jane and outlined the email Jane had sent me. Apparently, Jane had most certainly not spoken with Cory and this was all news to her. Not long after this discovery a flurry of emails go around from Jane mainly about the menu, the activities of the evening etc. A

t this point I have had enough and I send out the invitations for the date and time Jane requested but announced that as I was the host this year, I had decided to serve a complete meal and that they should just plan on bringing themselves. This was met with protest by Jane but she eventually agrees. I thought that would solve all the issues and we would put the incident behind us. I was wrong. I had planned a very nice dinner. I had appetizers prepared to nibble prior to dinner. I had soft drinks and a good selection of wine and beer chilled. Dinner was to be a 4 course meal and I had made a wonderful homemade cheesecake for dessert. I was quite proud of the dinner and was very anxious to serve my guests the fruits of my labor. 

Ryan and Cory show up on time and we begin to munch on the appetizers. An hour has passed and no sign of Dick and Jane. Dinner is now ready and they are not there. An hour and a half later they show up. Not sorry that they were late but bragging about how they had been helping Dick's father buy a new car and the deal they had got him. Now Dick's father does not speak English well, although certainly well enough that we converse with him with no issues. He does not feel comfortable with legal issues or speaking with doctors etc as he feels he will misunderstand something important and frequently asks Dick to assist him with things of this nature. I have little doubt that they were late because they were helping him. I do however take issue that they didn't bother to call and tell us they were running late. They knew what time dinner was to be served and that they were holding us up. Also, if they had told Dick's father they were to be at our house that evening I know he would never have interfered with their plans. He is a dear and very well mannered man. 

When I asked if they had been at the car dealers all day (and trust me sometimes it can take that long) they informed me that the had arrived at the car dealers 30 minutes before they were supposed to arrive at my home!! How rude! So an hour and a half late and dinner is now cold. As I am frantically trying to reheat dishes, I tell them to help themselves to the snacks I had served. I have made bacon wrapped scallops, brushetta and stuffed mushrooms. (All from scratch and they turned out wonderfully.) Jane lets me know she does not eat tomatoes, fish or mushrooms. She will just wait for dinner. 

So after reheating dinner it is finally served. (2 hours after it was scheduled.) I have made salad, fresh bread, creamed corn (I hate creamed veggies but this particular recipe I got from a 5 star hotel and it is to die for), fresh green beans with bacon, scalloped potatoes and honey baked ham. I have slaved over this meal for 6 hours and made everything from scratch. Jane announces she only eats veggies from a can, does not like the salad dressing and hates scalloped potatoes. She eats bread and ham for dinner. Additionally, she comments that she hates wine but manages to sip from her glass. I offer her something else to drink as I have plenty of other selections, but she declines and pouts her way through dinner. Then when I serve dessert and coffee, announces she hates cheesecake and didn't care for the coffee as it wasn't her special blend of instant Folgers coffee. I ground the coffee beans fresh and had purchased an expensive brand of coffee from a very popular chain. Shortly after the gift giving they leave. 

I was very hurt and offended by her behavior and the fact that she didn't even try the dishes I had prepared. Even though the other guests complimented my cooking, she said not a word. I have eaten at her home many times and while Jane is not the greatest cook in the world, I sample everything that she makes and compliment her cooking even if I dislike it. I too may not be the greatest cook in the world but I put so much time and effort into making a delicious meal for my guests that I was very hurt that she had nothing nice to say. It is their turn to host the get together this year and I cannot tell you how tempted I am to tell her when to have it, what to cook and then show up 3 hours late with take out. I assure you however, I was raised better than that and will be a gracious guest.


We moved into our new house and our sister in law came over and brought stuff for a fondue party. It was to be the first family meal in our new home. We were all making the fondue in my new kitchen and to my surprise, she asked everyone for payment for their share of the food she brought over, including us!


My story stems from the year both my husband and I were diagnosed with potentially debilitating medical problems. Since I had two small children, and lived 2,500 miles from the nearest relative, I called up my mother asking if my 19 year old sister could come stay with me in our guest room for a couple months to help me, just until we could arrange a more permanent solution. She told me basically no, that the 19 year old was getting ready for her wedding (this was the first I had ever heard of the upcoming event). 

Shocked at the news, of course, I said please don't even think about it again, and offered my congratulations. My mother, feeling guilty I suppose, arranged for one of her acquaintances whom I barely knew, to come stay with me without my knowledge. She just called me up and said that "Trish" would be coming and that I needed to be at the airport to pick her up at such and such a time. Both my husband and I were both a bit perturbed by this, we are grown up after all, but we arranged to have her brought to our home by taxi, a two hour drive from the airport, of course paying for our guest, as we were both scheduled to be at doctors appointments we could not change.  

We soon found out that even though Trish had been clean for many years, she had multiple mental problems stemming from past years of substance abuse.  She couldn't drive, and since we live in a small town, we felt bad she was so cooped up,  and ended up taking her anywhere she wanted to go. (She became active in a singles group, a local church and an AA chapter.)  She tried really hard to help clean and cook for me, enough said there, and I didn't trust her to be alone with the kids because of her blackouts, panic attacks, and depression.  She really became even more of a  burden than we already had to bear. Just one instance for example. 

My husband and I both had to leave town for 3 days . We offered to take her with us, putting her up in her own hotel room, but she declined, saying she would rather stay behind and didn't like traveling in a car for long distances. O.K., we left her two sets of extra keys and a garage door opener, and our phone #.  While we were gone, she befriended a neighborhood dog and offered to take it for walks while the owners left town for the weekend.  They agreed, because they knew us. While she was walking it, she lost one set of our keys, our garage door opener, and our neighbors garage door opener.  She scaled the neighbors fence, opened the gate and put the dog in the back yard for the night.  So far so good.  We will ignore the fact she forgot to give it food and water. Then she went to another neighbor of ours, borrowed a crowbar and a screwdriver and proceeded to destroy both the frame and the door to our outside garage door.  Then,  because the laundry room door was also locked, she took the tools to that one as well.  It did over $1,200 worth of damage.  To top all this off, she had left the back door completely unlocked the entire time we were gone. 

We replaced our neighbors garage door opener as the keys nor the openers were never found. We never even mentioned to her the cost of the repairs or replacements. After about a month of this, we told her we were fine and she could go home now. Thank you very much for your help.  She asked how much we were going to pay her for her services. About three months later she called up and announced she would be coming out again on such and such a date and to arrange her pick up from the airport, but this time no taxis please. We told her, no thank you we didn't need her help and we would be unable to pick her up from the airport. Offended, she cancelled her trip. By the way, the 19 year old never got married, she just had her boyfriend move into my mother's house.


I would not call my sister's children rug rats.  They are very sweet and funny, and, in general a pleasure to have around.  I should begin by saying I have no children, so I suppose to anyone who does, I know nothing about raising children.  Well, you are right, I don't.  I DO know, that if my sister continues on her current path, her otherwise lovely children will turn into some of the dreary adults I have read about in the "Guests from Hell" section.  After all, where do all these ill-mannered adults come from?    I am speaking in particular about meals.  

Sometimes in idle phone conversation my sister tells me over the phone (we live in separate states) about what each of her children eats.  They are ages 10, 9, and 6.  Two of them are vegetarians.  While I don't like the idea of forcing anyone, including children, to eat specific foods, would it be so terrible make some minimal demand regarding what they eat? Why, you ask?    

I invited them to stay at my place last summer on their way to Cape Cod, as my home is at the half way point on their trip and it's a way we can all visit, my mom (who is local to me) can see her grandchildren, and they can rest during their trip.  On the first part of their trip my husband made steaks on the grill.  We had baked potatoes, salad and a vegetable.  The middle child ate everything but the steak.  At the time, he was the only vegetarian.  At least he ate some of what was on the table.  I might also mention that when the children had had enough to eat, they left the table.  The oldest went off to read, while the two boys went berserk, running around the table and the rest of the house.  In general I don't even mind the running around; but during dinner?  My sister and her husband were completely oblivious.  One of them went outside and fell into our pool !  It had not been opened in years; and he fell into a hole in the very old tarp, into the filthy water; but, fortunately, got himself out.       

Since this is not Guests from Hell, I won't elaborate on how my sister complains that she can't or her husband can't sleep in a particular bed.  I had no idea I was running a hotel, where you can lodge complaints if the amenities don't measure up.   So they went to the Cape.  THEY were on their vacation.  My husband and I were not; we were still working all week.  Then came the evening for them to stay night on their way home.  My husband I were tired from working all day and decided to order pizzas instead of cooking.  When my sister called on her cell phone to tell us they'd be at our place in about an hour, I asked what they wanted on their pizza.  "Well, I really don't want pizza", she told me.  When I told her pizza was it, she told me what toppings she wanted.    When her daughter wasn't happy with the pizza, she went to the refrigerator to see what else there was.  Then my sister joined her in checking the inventory!    When her son said at breakfast the next morning, "Mommy I don't like onions in the home fries", she sweetly told him to just eat around them.     Do you see my point here?  When I read in Guests from Hell about adults who won't eat what is graciously served to them, bringing their own fast food and saying "Eeeew!" (God, I hate that!) at what has been prepared, I begin to worry that my niece and nephews will become just that.    My mother, grandmother to these children, witnessed all of these poor behaviors and was as stunned as I was.  Why?  Because she raised us both with impeccable manners.  Somewhere my sister picked up some very unsavory ways.   


Page Last Updated May 15, 2007