I discovered recenlty that the meaning of the phrase R.S.V.P. has changed. I was taught as a child that it stood for "respond so very promptly" I have come to understand that it means "reply sort-of, verification pending."
We had a 16th birthday party for Shannon last week with R.S.V.P by a certain date. Almost half or the people either did not respond or said they will "probably" attend.
I wonder if these people realize that "probably" means that you have to count them as attendees, and when they "probably" do not show up, you are stuck with the extra cost of covering them. Shannon invited 22 people to her pool party, and only eight friends actually came.
Granted, there were some legitimate excuses: one friend got stuck out of town, another had to leave early for camp. But to simply not show up or give a wishy-washy response is just one of those things that would make Miss Manners' head explode.
It seems customary--if not acceptable--to give a non-committal response. This to me is an insult. It's like saying "I will come if I have nothing better to do."
What really irks me is the people that commit to coming, then at the last minute decide they have a better offer. Someone Shannon thought was a close friend did this to her the night before the party, and she was devastated.
I have uncovered a couple of codes that will tell you if people think you are as exciting as watching paint dry. They are:
1. "I will have to see what else is going on." Translation: you are boring and if I get a better offer I am on it faster than a dog can pounce on a dropped hot dog.
2. "My grandmother passed away (for the sixth time)." You can get away with this excuse exactly twice. When you lose track of your fibs and your relatives start passing away more than once, you are either a bad liar or have one screwed-up family tree.
3. "I want to come, but I just can't seem to get out the door." Translation: I would rather sit on my couch and watch a "Gilligan's Island" marathon than drag myself to your snooze-fest.
As I feel I am becoming an expert on party etiquette, I will be conducting a seminar--or maybe it's a support group--for the chronically boring party host. We will cover topics such as "Getting party attendees without begging" and "Discover your inner party animal." Details to follow.
Just make sure you R.S.V.P.