RSVP Etiquette in the Age of Facebook

From the Desk of Miss Sammanners.

Some of you may say that I have already written on this topic, to which I say, thank you dear readers for your precious attention. My previous post, however, may have taken an unfriendly tone in the name of levity. I might go so far as to accuse myself of hypocrisy for decrying rudeness while committing the very same. I thought I might redress the issue with more compassion and decorum (and absolutely no humor)!

this is your party host

The Ideal RSVP

Let me posit the idealized behavior before supporting it with historical context and arguments.

When a friend invites you to a party using not traditional letter-post, but the machine called, “Facebook,” and you are unable to go — stop, careful! Pause before the bold box imploring you to submit your regrets. Do click, “no” to inform the host of your lack of attendance (and your friend can know to labor over one less macaroon). Then, wait until after the event has passed* and send a private message to your host letting them know you much regretted missing their delightful soiree, that you are thinking of them and your friendship, and you would not have neglected their invitation for quite anything, save your prior engagement or sudden emergency.

*In cases for a much planned in advance event, for when you haven’t seen the host in a long time, or for a more intimate gathering where your presence will indubitably missed (as you are quite popular), it might be useful to offer your regrets (in private message, still!) before the event so that your friend can either attempt to convince you to change your mind, or gossip with, I mean inform, the other attendees about the reason for your absence.

blab on the entire event page for all to see that you have something more important to do NO

Some “Historical” Context

Now, manners are really only a means of fostering the most amount of comfort for the most possible people. They work especially well when they are commonly understood and can be performed like a choreographed dance, and thus we oft memorize them. Our kindly parental units raised us to have the good manners to RSVP, since traditionally, an RSVP is a boon to the host who needs to know how large of an event to expect.

send private message letting host know you still love them even though you couldn't go YESRSVP served another function: reminding a host that their friendship is valued with the supposed invitee. (Also, that the absent attendee still very much exists — don’t forget me!) Now, as shown in the idealized example above, both the qualities of headcount and social acknowledgment can be met without publicly announcing your regrets on the event page.

Unintended Insults

If this neat solution isn’t enough to persuade you, let me offer the stick rather than the carrot. Manners should not be superseded by common sense. Not to call anyone dense, but failure to heed my advice leads to many a consequence…

Example: “Sorry I can’t make it.”

Beware leaving this seemingly innocent note for the masses to read on the Facebook event page. You of course are modest about your social influence, but your host may become nervous that your absence will dissuade others from attending. Too many similar sentiments in a row, and the event can appear unpopular. Better to not draw attention to the fact that your delightful presence will be missing and only privately inform your host.

“Sorry, I have to take my cat Cynthia to the veterinarian that evening.”

This may be helpful information to include in your private message, as it implies to your friend that you are unfortunately stuck but would otherwise love to go. This amount of detail can backfire, however, when it causes your host to imagine a myriad of other arrangements that would allow for you to both heed your responsibility AND attend their event. It may leave your friend wondering why you didn’t care to expend the effort to imagine the same arrangements.

this is your friend trying to host a party SAD

“Sorry, I’m going to this other party / event!

Forgive me, but I feel this one is quite obviously rude. Someone posting this message implies that they have more important and/or exciting things to do than spend time with the host, and they are doing this where everyone can see it. Does this not seem like a bit of a social snub?

“But this is the same weekend as a much larger event!”

What might someone posting this information hope to achieve? Do they think the host is not well informed enough on social engagements to already know this? Did they not pause to consider that the host already chose the best date possible for the event, and after weighing many factors, decided to accept the drop in attendance that competing with another event may cause? Perhaps the entire event should be rescheduled. Perhaps the host is clueless and daft. Perhaps the host forgot they must magically meet the needs of every attending guest, regardless of the usual scheduling trouble and their own chores.

i knew that I don't live under a rock

A Conspiracy…?

Finally, perhaps a sort of conspiracy might cause this matter to stay in your mind. Facebook, dear friends, cares not about manners (except when profitable). Their only effort is to increase your interaction with their web domicile in any way, such that you spend more time on the site, such that they can ply you with advertisements. Facebook quite insistently presents you with a box to post your regrets, because eliciting such a response causes a cascade of notifications. The host is notified. People following the event page for updates may be notified. The event page is busier and busier and more enticing. The opportunities multiply to comment, like, love, wow, angry, sad, burp, fart, heave a sigh of existential dread…

Let not thine eye follow the conventional crook, and leap Facebook’s fences by refusing to keep to the box. Send a private message instead, and be free to graze greener pastures (of friendship and compassion). Yay manners!

 

 

I’ll wait in line for Bernie Sanders (San Diego Rally, March 2016)

bernie-car-2016-crate

We had less than 48 hours to gather for the Bernie Sanders rally at the San Diego Convention Center, the same venue that hosts SD Comic-Con.

I knew the event opened at 5pm, and Bernie spoke at 8. I suspected if I got to the center by 5pm, I might make it inside to see my presidential hopeful. Knowing the time commitment that already represented, I opted to take a leisurely early dinner with another Bernie supporter, munching on fried duck skins and seafood salad (at barleymash — delicious). Another friend of ours dropped a pin so we could meet him in line.

We followed the dotted line on my phone, past people lined up outside the front of the convention center, through the stairway in the middle, and out to the back lawn and wharf. Miles of supporters formed a snake that reached both ends of the embarcadero and doubled (tripled?) in its center. This exceeded my expectations, to put it lightly.

I have never been so happy to wait in a line, and it’s not just because I was buzzed off the two IPAs I had with lunch. Not only was the joy surrounding me contagious, but also people were courteous, never over-eager about their place in the queue, never territorial.  That Nintendo DS I mentioned to entertain myself? Didn’t open it once. Above all, I was just thrilled to be there, to be another body on the ground, showing my support. Being a part the 10,000 or 15,000 or 20,000 headcount (numbers seem to vary depending if news sources count who actually made it in, who stood in line, and who showed up in total).

I texted a picture of (just a portion of) the line to my dad, and he said, “That is a beautiful image.”

bernie sandiers line san diego 2016 convention center

The sun had set by the time we neared the front of the Convention Center building. Out from the dark road came blaring red lights, and cheers roared at the realization that this was Bernie’s motorcade.

By then the line was moving in a brisk march. To my happy surprise, I made it into the overflow room.

bernie-sanders-rally-SD-overflow-room-2016

Before the end of his speech, my hands were sore from clapping, my throat dry from hollering, and my feet tired from standing. My face hurt from smiling. Then, I was hit with this sudden, poignant feeling. I realized, if he doesn’t win, I will be genuinely sad. I have never agreed so much with a candidate, never felt so much hope, and never cared so much about the outcome of a race. This feeling nested in my heart for the rest of the night.

You’ve got to win this, Bernie. You have just got to win.

Bernie Rally Today

No blog post today, as the Bernie Sanders Rally is my priority! Doors open at 5pm, and he goes on at 8pm (guess I’ll bring my Nintendo DS to entertain me while I’m in line).

I’ll write up my impression of the event either tomorrow night or Thursday.

Rally Event Details

See you downtown!

(Edit: if you missed your chance to RSVP, it’s ok, you can still attend. Just try to get in line early so you can make it before it hits capacity. First come, first serve.)

CAT SHOW!!!! (It happened in SD)

Last Saturday I went to the annual San Diego Cat Fanciers show in Del Mar. And. There were cats. Cats. CATS CATS CATS.

san-diego-cat-show-dumpster.jpg

 

Okay, so.

Imagine there is a Comic-Con. But instead of comics and re-sellers of cheap products from China, there are CATS! (And re-sellers of cheap products from China!) Just… rows and rows of cats. They live (temporarily!) in little cat tents with clear vinyl windows or sometimes cages. There are two judge’s tables where old men grope cats and determine what color ribbons to give them. And the cats (being cats) then play with the ribbons through the bars of their cages.

I really can’t describe how stimulating and exciting and overwhelming a room full of cats can be. Imagine you think something is going to be pretty good. There will be more than a dozen of your friends there and then your perfect, amazing, lovely roommate will bring all the supplies to make everyone a picnic lunch of PB&J. So you get there and then WHAM just…cats in your face. And everyone has to split off because there are so many cats. And when you eat your sandwich and your pudding and your chips and your string cheese, you want to cry a little because your friend is passing you an “old-timey glitter cat sticker.” You are 26 and this is how you spend your Saturday.

Question: What is Feline Agility?

Its [sic] like dog agility only done in cat’s unique style

sandiegocat.org

On the official website (which was designed and written by a cat) you don’t really get the full impression of what happens in the agility ring. By “cat’s unique style” they mean a human person tricks the cat into maybe going on top of some little steps or through a hoop by waving a feather toy enticingly. I have compiled a helpful gif:

cat-show-del-mar-san-diego-agility-ring.gif

This is one of the more exciting cat agility moments I witnessed (and sped up, too). Mostly, an agility cat wanders around sniffing the obstacles and the trainer yells their name a lot. This one was “Godzilla.”

Also, I thought I would be really clever and show up in my space cat dress (that I stole from my ex-girlfriend because it is mine, duh). That is, a cat riding a pony, in space, on a dress (with gold sleeves).

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 6.08.31 PM

I am used to standing out in a crowd (because I’m weird, not because I’m hot, but thank you for assuming I am that conceited (I probably am)). It turns out, however, that the kind of people who like cat fanciers shows also like space cats and I saw a lot of leggings with both cats and space (and neon colors wooo good idea!). And also there were a lot of Taylor Swift cat ear headbands for sale and also I saw a bald old man wearing them and so basically…

CAT SHOW IS = AWESOME YES (YOU KNOW IT)

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 6.15.35 PM

MEOW MEOW MEOW MEOW MEOW

A Funeral for FOMO (from my list of Party Ideas)

tecatree and misletoecate

The Tecatree under the Mistletoecate

I keep a list of party ideas in a note in my phone. I have successfully thrown, “It’s a Very Tecate Christmas,” wherein we built a tree out of tecate cans, and look forward to, “Onesie, Twosie, bring me boozie.” Sometimes a party theme is just something to append to my signature text bolo* to intrigue/challenge the 40 or so friends who receive my last minute invite via their smartphones. How do I dress up for that? What does it mean? Is it even a real theme or is it just a joke?

everything-is-tubes-when-you-really-think-about-it

Sometimes, however, a theme warrants elaborate planning. For example…

“A Funeral for FOMO

Guests, dressed in black, enter my living room to see a small coffin, nestled in lilies, on an elegantly draped table. They are invited to write anything which has caused them FOMO in 2015, and place it in the coffin. Then, they should write any positive reasons they can think of for missing events and tape them to the walls of the room, and light a candle.

We sip wine and eat an assortment of tapas. I know I am supposed to be mourning the departed, but I am preoccupied with hosting. Maybe I am a little grateful for the distraction. The room starts to fill with the warmth of firelight and pleasant notes on the walls of, “I got to see my new baby niece,” “I went to Canada!” and, “Eating Milano cookies and binge-watching Fargo.”

At the appointed time, the pallbearers (there only need to be two because the coffin’s full of paper and probably made of cardboard, but we’ll have at least six because I want to be fancy, duh) carry their dutiful load out into the courtyard and place it inside a beautiful metal basin (our fire pit). It is ceremoniously doused with gasoline and ceremoniously ignited with extra-long fireplace matches.

After a poignant silence where we watch the coffin decay in the flames and contemplate the mortality of FOMO (and use the pyre to light cigarettes), Alexander Dial proposes a toast. He [says something really fucking elegant] while I pour out shots of whiskey. After we knock those back, we strip off our black outer garb to reveal “the brightest and/or shiniest shit you can find in your closet” (per the instructions given in the invitations) and go inside to have a dance party.

R.I.P FOMO


* Text Bolo, or text-message APB. In context:

Roommate: I want to have people over but I don’t want to do anything to make it happen please help <3 

Me: Nw I’ll send out a text bolo and invite everyone tonight

 

How to Get Rid of People

1. How to get rid of people I want to hang out with

Depression!

2. How to get rid of people I don’t want to hang out withfrazzled post burning man

A friend I’ve been close to since the fourth grade (and want to hang out with 5ever) moved back to San Diego recently (because you can neverrrr leave this place! told you!) and, as we mused over our life events in the duration of her separation from our finest city, she observed that she’d, surprisingly, not yet been to Burning Man.

“Well, why don’t you go to the San Diego regional?” I said.

Tickets sold out the next day, hers among them. (I’m so excited she’s coming!) She’s now been asking prudent questions in preparation for her first “burn,” including this adorable inquiry:

“How do I get rid of people I don’t want to hang out with?”

Um, well, you…

  1. have to pee
    Or
  2. insist “wait here,” leave them, and never come back!

Well, we discussed the obvious “have to pee” trick first. Then, my friend pointed out that the kind of person who involves you in an unwanted conversation will often be the same kind of person who will follow you to the port-o. Wanting to avoid a potty entourage is precisely why I ghosted out of conversation circles in middle school. Good practice for my later life, I’ll say.

shark-costume-sami-burning-manIn a prolonged “camping vegas” experience that is a burn, often you may enthusiastically promise your new “friend” that you will return, and you absolutely positively must have them wait in place. Whereupon, they will be swiftly distracted by some magical adventure such as discovering a space-time fracture in a dilapidated tent, or meeting a giraffe. And if they, perchance, wonder whereabouts you wander, they will assume you also found camp art or introduced yourself to a furry.

Or…

“I’ll come with you!” they might shout. Oh no, oh no it’s time for serious survival tactics.

  • Use your superior local knowledge of Poison Oak to dart quickly through the bordering chaparral until they are so dissuaded by the many leaves of three that they just let it be
  • Sit down on the ground and lock your face in your arms until they quit prodding you and go for help
  • Stop saying anything except for, “Charmander”

Or, and this is merely a hypothesis, you might say, “I’m so sorry, I’m not enjoying myself right now. I need to go. Take care!”

Of course, I can’t confirm the efficacy of this theory because no one on the history of the planet has ever done this; it’s too terrifying.

Wait!

I’ll be back, I promise.

;)

 

The Routine of a Black Rock City Dentist

image

Black Rock City, 2015. Dr. Dentata, a young woman with pink in her hair, a teal scrubs top with fairy wings sewn on the back & cut open in the front to reveal a sparkle bra, and galaxy print leggings, rides her bicycle. A tent pole arched above her bike reads: “Show me your teeth.”

Enter Patient.

Dr.

You there! I bet you have a dirty mouth. Let’s clean your dirty,  dirty mouth.

(Dr. retrieves a small white bench from her bike and unfolds it onto the playa.)

Sit down right here and let me see what I can do for you.

Patient 

(Sits with some trepidation and maybe a little excitement.)

Dr.

(Dr. unzips a case labelled “REAL OFFICIAL DENTIST STUFF”.  Sharp implements and other tools such as a dangerous-looking set of pliers, are visible to Patient. She starts opening a display box filled with adult molar teeth.)

We’ve done a lot of extractions today. These are – Oh whoops…

(She apparently pops one of the teeth into her mouth. Patient does not know it is actually a corn nut.)

Anyway these are the molars I have extracted today. Very successful. Let’s take a look at you. Open your mouth.

(Dentist chews corn nut loudly in Patient’s ear as she leans close to his face to inspect teeth.)

Oh, oh no, you will not need an extraction. Just a cleaning. Your mouth is really filthy, you know. Okay! Can you hold this for me?

(Dr. hands Patient a funnel attached to a tube. The other end of the tube leads to a milk carton labelled “SPIT” which is attached to the bike.)

If you ever need to spit, just spit right in there. You’re a spitter aren’t you? Well I’m a spitter. You just spit out that gross gunk right into the funnel.

I’ve got some protective gear for you. Protect you from your own spit! 

(Dr. hangs a blue bib around Patient’s neck, using a small alligator clip jumper – the kind used in testing electronics.)

And these. Protect you from my headlight shining in your face. Watch that hippie mace! 

(Dr. puts wrap-around sunglasses on Patient. Next she will remove a toothbrush from its cellophane wrapper. This she will set out on the silver spray-painted tray in front of her kit, as well as a single water balloon.)

Patient

What’s the balloon for?

Dr.

Don’t ask me questions. Just let me do my job honey. 

Ok! I have a gross of these toothbrushes. That’s 144 toothbrushes! Alright now; now I need protection for myself! Protect me from your filth.

(Dr. struggles to put on blue nitrile disposable gloves.)

These are powder free. Playa dust is the best powder, anyway.

Now, you have your choice of flavors. I’ve got this blue one.. It tastes like bubblegum. It’s called tootie fruity but it’s really bubblegum. Then there’s pinkie pie. Tastes like a joly rancher. I love that one. Or we have boring adult mint toothpaste. Whad’ya say?

 Patient

I’ll take the mint. 

Dr.

No, no you’ll use the pink one. Everyone uses the pink one. It’s better. It’s fine. Ok.

(Dr. applies toothpaste and starts brushing teeth.) 

This is the part where I talk to you and ask you questions you can’t answer because you’ve got a fucking toothbrush in your mouth! What’s your name?

Patient

(muffled) Gary.

Dr.

Hi Gawy! I’m Dr. Dentata. But I bet you saw that already. On my name tag! Oh boy, this would be more fun for you if I had bigger breasts.

(Dr. looks down her own shirt.) 

Do you need to spit honey? Here this will help. It’s water.

(She pulls out a spray bottle.)

It’s so hot. I should just spray you all over the face. You’d like that, wouldn’t you? Ok spit! 

Gawy

Thank you.

Dr.

Ok hold this for me. Like this.

(Dr. unspools a generous length of floss. She holds it up, then threads it through the eye at the base of the toothbrush. She ties the ends in a knot, then puts the water balloon over the bristles. She hangs this toothbrush necklace on Gawy’s neck. Then removes and discards her gloves.)

There! All clean now. Let’s get your safety gear.

(Dr. puts away everything, including the bench. So, Gawy is now standing.)

What an ordeal! Do you want a hug? Yeah, a nice hug. 

Scene. 


 

Note, I will not be posting next week as I will still be travelling back from Burning Man!