Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Breaking Bad

There are certain rules you learn growing up; little dos and don'ts that get written up in your own black book of etiquette. Though they might not fit squarely into the prescribed Miss Manners archive, they do generally help guide our behaviour navigating through treacherous social occasions while avoiding the dreaded faux pas.

Recent events however have made me wonder whether my ideas have become quite a tad stodgy especially since most Millenials tend to treat the values I hold dear as antiquated Victorian oddities. For instance arriving at a social gathering utterly emptyhanded, not even a bouquet or bottle to show. Oh how I would have goggled in the not so recent past but nowadays I've gotten almost inured to the bitter fact that some young'uns don't even believe in birthday presents any longer.

Just like the fact that returning an RSVP seems almost shockingly passe. Organizing events while trying to keep a proper head count really does seem impossible when hardly anyone ever replies with the RSVP. On the final day itself, everyone - and several random uninvited guests - tend to just turn up with little warning beforehand.

Good gracious indeed. Do they think we're hosting a drunken kegger where twenty more wouldn't make much of a different to the distasteful mess on the lawn?

Seriously the millennials do set such a low bar for a party these days. 

And then someone asks if it's alright to skip a party to attend another. Really.

David : I think I'll have to miss the party. 
Paul : You already told the host you would make it. 
David : But something just came up. 
Paul : Other than death or disability, you do not skip a party. Prior commitments trump newer ones.
David : I have an old friend coming over. 
Paul : Then you bloody well bring him but you do not ditch the party. 

Short of death or disability like I said of course. I mean, having mangled zombies as guests would certainly ruin most parties.

How is this something teachable? Something has certainly gone wrong when these seemingly simple social mores are judged to be quite extraordinary. Forsaking a prior commitment to attend something better when it comes along is just not done. Honouring a commitment made isn't just a matter of respecting rigid social conventions but also a sign of respect for the host who has organized the party in question.

At the very least make a polite appearance.

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