I’m old school when it comes to a lot of things. Sometimes what people think is old school and outdated are just manners. My friends know – or most of them know- that I like doing things a certain way and usually there is a good reason behind my madness. I am a Capricorn after all.
A few days ago I decided that I would celebrate my birthday this year- something I don’t usually do. I found something cheesy and fun to lighten the mood of the fact that we were celebrating my life inching closer to my impending death. I created a fun little invite to send out to a few choice friends that I was in the mood to reconnect with and – in my current state of finances – afford to invite. I have outgrown the ol’ college way of celebrating where the birthday boy or girl picks out a place/activity, invites all 1038 Facebook friends and expects everyone else to pay for them (because they are the birthday boy/girl being celebrated after all). I believe that if I want to celebrate, I can invite whom I want to spend time with and I will pay for them because they are my guests. As my parents say, “El que invita, paga” (He who invites, pays.). And I consider myself a good hostess – at least I think I am and I have yet to here someone complain (at least not to my face) about my hosting.
So I send out my invites via individual texts and Facebook private messages and I start getting replies like:
“Yay! Looking forward to it!”
“We’re getting a babysitter- we’ll be there!”
“Love the invite! YES I’ll be there!!”
Nice, right? But then I start getting messages like this:
“Great! This can take the place of the holiday dinner we wanted to plan.”
“Sweet. Who else is going?”
I’m not familiar with the writings of Emily Post so I may have missed something in invitation etiquette. But since when is it appropriate to piggyback on someone else’s celebration? My birthday falls on Christmas day, do you think I want to consider this the holiday dinner you wanted but failed to plan and confirm? Yes, we have common friends but don’t assume I invited everyone we commonly know and share my invite with. And why do you need to know who else was invited? Are you planning on bringing personalized gifts to all my guests? I understand one may need a head count if attending a potluck, but otherwise you do not need to know who specifically is invited. If you already have plans, don’t ask me to change mine to accommodate yours.
Growing up my mother set the example of graciously accepting an invitation and never, ever parading it around, showing off that we were invited to X event. It’s just tacky. And the one time my Tío J asked my mother if my other Tío M was also invited to my sister’s first birthday party, and if he was, Tío J would rather stay home than attend the party – my mother told him that she was throwing her daughter a birthday party and she had invited all the family to her home, if he couldn’t act like an adult and join in the celebration of her little girl’s first birthday then he could stay at his house.
There are various reasons why people when planning a get together invite some people and not others, for example:
- Space: I live in a small apartment; I can’t fit my guests comfortably there so I am paying for a private room at a karaoke bar to celebrate.
- $$$$: I’m paying, so I can invite whomever I want. But during this time it’s more like whomever I can afford to invite.
- Personal Reasons: Sometimes people have falling outs that others may not be aware of or just lost touch with people and went from friends to acquaintances.
Anyone who has ever planned a wedding can testify to it getting crazy when invitations get sent and the number of people who come out offended is countless. Why do guests think it is okay to put the hostess in an awkward position?
That was two nights ago. Today I am scarfing down fish tacos and on my second glass of pinot noir during my late lunch and ignoring text and phone calls. I saw a group text where people were figuring out if a holiday get-together was on for next Monday (people I had not invited) and some people confirming that yes all was set (those who I had invited). Maybe I am at fault here and should have invited everyone regardless of how close I am to them and gone into more debt to celebrate my birthday. But it is my birthday party and I am entitled to celebrate it however, whenever, with whomever I want, right? Unfortunately, this whole thing has put a damper on my celebration AND you know who is looking like the biggest bitch in world? Me. Happy Birthday, Lucía.
PS: Thanks for listening to my rant. Xx
PPS: Feel free to rant yourself in the comments below about this subject or whatever bee you have caught in your bonnet this week. Xx