DEAR MISS MANNERS: What is the rule for standing around talking in the gym locker room naked?
GENTLE READER: Please don’t.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: Every four years, my husband and I have hosted a large party for the World Cup. We save for four years (my husband works manual labor and I am a public school teacher) so we can treat our friends, neighbors, teammates (we both play on adult leagues and coach as well) and their families to catered food, drinks, mariachis and a bounce house for their children.
Watching it takes two hours, and it is fun to share the excitement with other soccer fans. However, past World Cup parties have been ruined for me by spouses of soccer fans who do not enjoy the original “football.”
One time, a lady constantly reported “skirmishes” between her 5-year-old child and other kids and wanted me to intervene. Another time, a spouse complained about how much she hated soccer, grabbed one of my fashion magazines, and wanted me to view and comment on photos with her during the game.
I spend hundreds of dollars planning this party and hiring people to cater to guests’ wishes during the game (bartender, caterer, etc.), and I wish I could be left to watch and enjoy it for two 45-minute halves with the rest of the group.
Is this asking too much, Miss Manners? Is there something I could put in the invitation to make it clear that the game is the reason for the party and that hosting duties will be suspended during the match? Or am I mistaken in thinking that I could enjoy 90 minutes every four years if I invite guests to my house?
I bet that answering this question will aid many American football fans who attend and/or host Super Bowl parties as well. Please let all of us sports fans know.
GENTLE READER: You could provide a separate bounce house for people who make nuisances of themselves by sabotaging the terms of an engagement they have accepted. Or ask a game-averse friend to do substitute hosting while you watch.
But you could also include in the invitation the timing of both the overall party and the actual game (adding an hour or so before and after) and suggest that guests who do not enjoy watching come late or arrive early to socialize with you.
After that, Miss Manners is afraid you must take it on a case-by-case basis: “Oh, I’m so sorry, but I’m really enjoying watching the game. Perhaps we can talk about fashion afterward — or at an Oscar party.” If they are perceptive — and award-show enthusiasts — they will understand that they wouldn’t want you to talk sports while they are reviewing the red carpet.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: Is it appropriate to use soap that is shaped like a rose as a decoration and favor, placed on guest tables at a wedding reception?
GENTLE READER: Considering that weddings often feature rose decorations made out of sugar, Miss Manners would consider this a dangerous idea.