Hissy Fit

...because everyone needs one once in awhile

                      "I'm fired up just thinking about it."

It's that most wonderful time of the year when invitations for parties, drop-ins, dinners, and business socials begin to fill your mailbox (or inbox). I love invitations; often, they are creative, beautiful, festive, and useful, as they give the invitee an idea of the mood, caliber, dress, and atmosphere of the upcoming gathering. However, receiving an invitation comes with great responsibility, and how you respond to this responsibility separates you from the serfs.

Responsibility starts at the bottom because usually, at the bottom of the invitation, there are four letters-R, S, V, and P. When strung together, RSVP is a request for a response from the invited person or people. In other words, the host wants to know if you plan on attending her event. It is an acronym derived from the French phrase rÈpondez s'il vous plaÓt, meaning "please respond." And, respond you must!

Even though it may seem that American standards are going to hell in a handbasket, rudeness is still inexcusable. According to Emilypost.com, "It is inconsiderate, but unfortunately common, for guests to fail to RSVP. Some forget; others procrastinate and then feel guilty, so they delay even longer. To many a host on the non-receiving end of an RSVP, it seems as if an invitee is simply waiting for something 'better' to possibly come along. One of the sad parts about the demise of the RSVP is that relationships often suffer due to the hosts' resultant hurt feelings and frustration. Anyone who receives an invitation has an important obligation to reply as soon as possible."

Here's the deal: The person preparing, planning and paying for the party needs fundamental information in order to effectively prepare, plan and pay-the most basic being how many people are coming. Who wants to buy extra filet minion for no-shows? Who wants to buy enough wine for 100 people, only to have 43 actually show? Who want's to set the table for ten, when a mere six will attend? What actually do you do with the four awkward, empty place settings staring everyone down at the table as dinner is served?

I'm going to veer from the Emily Post way of putting things and just flat out say it ticks me off when people don't respond. Even worse, is they tell you they're coming and then don't. Here's another thing that bugs me-picture this: 18 people will be arriving at your home for a fabulous evening in approximately 57 minutes. You haven't showered yet, and you're scurrying around the kitchen to get the last dish in the oven. You've already swiffered and the dog-the one that sheds worse than a horse on the first day of spring-comes running through. Kid right behind her, promising she's trying to get her in the kennel. As you look over to see the sink filled with dirty dishes that need to quickly disappear, the telephone rings. You answer. It's Suzy Q. She's calling to let you know that she and Bobby Q can't come to the party.

Really Suzy Q? You've had the invitation for three weeks. Count it.that's 21 days, and no one has heard from you. Now, with 57 minutes to spare, you're going to call me, when you know good and well that I'm in a frantic pre-party wad, and let me know you're not coming? What is your problem? Have you, Miss Q, never hosted a party? Have you, Miss Q, never had to answer that stupid, asinine phone call only minutes before your event? Where is your head, Miss Q? Moreover, where are your manners you rude, thoughtless.b. b. b. person?

I'm fired up just thinking about it. However, I realize that every time I point the finger, there are three fingers pointing right back to me. Yes, it is true, that I too, am guilty of occasionally ignoring the RSVP. But, in writing this article, and remembering how I felt when on the burned side of this lack of communication fence, I recommitted to holding the RSVP in the highest esteem. I hope you do, too. Happy partydays, and be sure to show r-e-s-p-e-c-t and r-e-s-p-o-n-d.

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