An episode of the old sitcom All in the Family had Edith very nervous about her role as hostess of a Tupperware party. She fretted about the embarrassing role she had played in a Christmas pageant as a third-grader. As a manger cow, her one line was to have been, “Moo moo, I hear people coming.” But while waiting to deliver her line, she looked out into the audience and saw her little brother picking his nose. Her spoken line turned into, “Moo moo, my little brother is picking his nose.”
I’ve linked that specific show below for you. Fast forward to the 20-minute mark if you want to see how Edith does as hostess of the Tupperware party. Let’s just say it’s not pretty.
Fine hosting is an art skill that leaves each guest feeling as if he or she is the most important person in the room. It’s not about having gourmet food or fine wine; the key is helping your guests feel welcomed and wanted.
I’ve known perfectly nice and intelligent people who make lousy hosts.
A few years back my husband and I attended an outdoor informal dinner that began at sunset of a gloriously warm fall day. But as the sun left us, it took its warmth with it. While I wasn’t actually cold, I was uncomfortably chilly, having given my wrap to another guest who had recently recovered from an illness.
After a while, the host excused himself from the table to go into their house. He came out with sweaters. But just for his wife and himself. It took every ounce of my good manners to restrain myself from saying, “Are you kidding?” Even if the couple didn’t want others wearing their sweaters or jackets, he could have offered blankets, throws, or even large towels for the guests to drape around their shoulders.
More recently we attended a party at a local restaurant. The host and his wife were retiring to Florida and had invited 30 or so friends from various aspects of their lives to gather together to say goodbye. When we arrived, our hosts were deep in conversation with one group. So no one welcomed us or provided any structure as to how the evening would progress. Guests were left to wander around asking each other the same question: “So how do you know Stan and Marcy?”
Appetizers arrived after forty minutes but with too few plates and no napkins. Since our hosts weren’t front and center, another guest spoke to the staff to remedy the situation.
As people began to leave, the hosts extracted themselves to give hugs and say goodbye. My less-than-ladylike comment to my husband when we got to the car was this: “That was one weird-ass party.”
At church the following day, I had to just smile when Father Ben preached on the topic of Jesus shaking up the status quo at a dinner party. WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?) indeed!