Wednesday, 20 April 2011


Someone in my A crowd is having what she calls an affair. What she means is a huge and very fancy party. Engraved invitations, professional decorators, live music, sushi and martini bars, possible guest appearance by Ke$ha, the whole deal.

As guests, we have a few responsibilities. We have to wear what are supremely cute but let's face it probably very uncomfortable shoes. We have to smile and say something witty for the video camera. We have to keep cousin Harry away from Auntie Ethel because of the whitefish salad incident of '94. But weeks before we even arrive at the affair we have an important task: we have to check off the Reply Card and let them know how many of us are coming.

It should be simple.

It's a pre-printed card. It has a list of gala events with a dash next to it for how many people will be attending. Dinner _____. Brunch _______. And on the _______ you are expected to write how many of you will be attending so that the hostess knows how many quail to stuff.

Let's say there are five people in your family. And you are all coming for dinner, but your daughter has a soccer game in the morning and will not make it to the brunch. Your card should read Dinner 5 and Brunch 4. Let's say you just remember that your husband will have to take her to the soccer game and probably won't make it to the brunch. Then your card would read Dinner 5 and Brunch 3. Now let's say your son doesn't want to come to the dinner on Saturday night because there's a playoff game he absolutely can not afford to miss. You tell your son that's why the good lord invented iPhones and worst case Tivo, and your reply card will still read Dinner 5, Brunch 3.

Now, and this is where people are getting very confused so I am doing this in part as a public service announcement, let's say you have a friend in from out of town who has always wanted to see an elephant wearing a tutu and you have a hunch there will be one at this affair. And, just to keep it simple, let's say that your daughter's soccer game has been canceled. There are still five people in your family. Your reply card should read Dinner 5 and Brunch 5.

Wait a minute, isn't 5+1 = 6? What happened to the friend that's in from out of town? Shouldn't there be 5+1 on your RSVP card?

Yes, 5+1 is still 6. No there will not be 6 on the RSVP card. There will be 5 people in a ballroom conga line, and one person at the zoo taking pictures of the elephants, trying to visualize them wearing pink tulle skirts.

So when you are invited to a gargantuan extravaganza with three story chocolate fountains an affair in a hotel, think of the ________ as a /5. Limit your RSVP max to the actual number of people indicated on the envelope. And for godssakes, this time please keep Auntie Ethel away from the whitefish salad.


  1. so, you mean adding my babysitter as a +1 so I can enjoy the open bar is a no-no?

  2. LOL!! Hadn't even thought about the babysitter factor, but that's a good point!!

  3. Loved this. Had no idea people took it upon themselves to arbitrarily add new guests.
    I'd love a post on the whitefish salad incident of '94, or maybe the charoset smackdown of '99 (nuts or no nuts - who knew it was such a big issue)? Having just negotiated the complex family dynamics of a 30 person seder with several generations from two countries, I have to say the tinderbox factor was high. I shudder to imagine what would have happened if we'd thrown whitefish salad into the mix...