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!

 

 

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How to Survive Your Own Overwhelming Laziness

I took a Tuesday off, thinking, I can miss one post per month without having to say anything. Then, of course, I got hit by a nasty stomach bug that wiped me out for a week and missed another post. I couldn’t bear to eat anything with more calories than a shot of NyQuil. I did not find my diet of MLP and liquid flu medicine productive of anything more than fevered tosses and turns, let alone an entertaining essay to publish on the internet.

Apparently my cure to feeling like a lump for losing a week to illness is to lump around some more for an entire weekend. I didn’t go out. I just watched an entire season of a medical drama with compelling characters, solid plot, and surprisingly good cinematography.

I have a living cat blanket; I couldn't possibly move

I have a living cat blanket; I couldn’t possibly move

I’m not the kind of person who can ever feel good about wasting a day. Yet I do waste days. Endlessly. Perhaps if I berate myself, the guilt will compel me to quit reading Dear Prudence articles on my smartphone and sit in front of a Google Doc. Sami, sami — this is terrible. You just spent 1 hour and 45 minutes reading advice columns. All you need to do is crank out 750 words today to feel good about yourself. On a good day, you can do this in 26 minutes. So how can you justify 1 hour and 45 minutes reading DP? You’re not even going to retain any of that information! Not even well enough to retell a single story of a desperate and advice-needing life at one of your parties… Not even well enough to mention something you read as a useful anecdote. Sami. Why do you suck so, so, so much?

Of course, then I feel so very, very terrible about myself that there’s no way I can do anything at all. I must make myself feel better with an episode of Nurse Jackie.

Yes, I can often survive my own laziness with some self care and positive thinking.

  • Remember that one week you were, like, really fucking productive? You can do it anytime. It’s just not this week. This week, you’re watching Nurse Jackie.
  • Nobody is paying that close of attention to you. Just watch another episode of Nurse Jackie, it’s fine
  • Existentialism. Fatalism. Everyone dies. There is no afterlife. When you’re in the ground, you aren’t going to regret that you wasted most of a weekend watching Netflix, because you wont be able to feel anything, just like you won’t be able to feel the worms eating your flesh. So just watch another episode of Nurse Jackie, it’s fine.
  • You just got out of a breakup, man. Losing someone you were with for 5 years is hard. You should go easy on yourself and just watch another episode of Nurse Jackie.
  • Just one more episode, then you’ll go for an inspirational walk. I mean but, these episodes are only 26 minutes long. Who’s counting? Two episodes.
  • Today is a cheat day. Tomorrow will be better. All the episodes now, all the productivity later.
  • Once you finish the whole thing, then it can’t tempt you any more. This is a good plan.

If I ever figure out how to defeat my laziness and be the Sami that can write 66 thousand words in 8 months (she exists…in 2014) then I will let you know. In the meantime, I’m going to reward myself for getting my blog post done before 2pm. Nurse Jackie!

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

 

Don’t tell me why you can’t come to my party :D

Memo: from the desk of Sami

emotion-sensor-sad-pink-hairOk, I am nervous about posting this. Maybe I am a terrible person for not wanting to know you can’t come to my party because you are having a bad day (but you hope I have fun anyway). Or! Maybe! Maybe you are a terrible person for making me evaluate your excuse — AND during the tender emotional time of preparing for a kickback with friends. “That’s ok,” I text back. “Take care of yourself!” I text back. Oh, yeah, why don’t I make you feel better for ditching me? Why don’t I tell you it’s okay and we’re still besties and I still love you even though you are abandoning me in my time of need?

Ms. Manners or your mother or that pre-printed invitation you got in 3rd grade told you to RSVP, yes. But are you really all such polite little angels that you just think it’s the right thing to do, to send me a personalized regret? Or (hmmmm) do you think the party will crumple like my resolve not to eat another Reese’s Mini out of my Halloween score-bag next week, if you don’t show up? Or do you just WISH it would? Hmm hmm are you trying to SABOTAGE my party with your depressing laments??

I am NOT talking about those of you who ghost my invite, then text a day or two later with a sweet, “Sorry I never made it! I actually fell asleep lololol.” You are exemplary human beings. You get that the only humane thing to do is 1. Quietly not show up  2. Fluff me later by tricking me into thinking you rue missing my shindig (so that you could stay in bed and eat bagel bites and binge-watch the L Word). I adore you. You understand me.

And yes! Yes there are exceptions. Maybe if I wanted to bang you and you are kindly letting me know not to expect your lovely presence, I’ll miss you, xoxo, feel free to have fun without me, wink.

Or, a head-count is useful (hmmm Facebook has that covered if you just click the “can’t go” option…) if I’m serving dinner or if I’m meticulously crafting favors for each attendee. BUT THINK ABOUT IT. I have moved on from such laborious methods of revelry. I have streamlined my socializations such that I can name my theme “Messy House Party” and I don’t even have to vacuum for you fools!! HA I trick YOU into making all the crafty favors and the dinners AND YOU LOVE IT.

Ahem. The following is a generalized example that happens every single time, yet you will think it is specifically about the time you *did the thing* — because it IS this predictable:

I send out an invitation, via Facebook for once (normally I text), to 40 or so friends.

Blow #1: You post on the party wall (where everyone can see!) that there are too many parties this weekend. Implying that you won’t come to mine. Implying that you are going to a better party.

I make a joke and you make a joke so it is funny so it’s worth it. For the Sake of All Things Party, I allow this. Then my nice friend tells me I am still popular and I feel OK.

Blow to my fragile ego #2: In the tender hours post-official-start-time, while I am waiting to see if other people will arrive or I will just be drinking Popsicle & Malibus with Kevin this fine evening, I get 2-4 text messages from wont-shows. The reason is they are tired and sad, although they give me other reasons. I know you are just tired and sad. I should probably respond “Noooooooo please come my happiness depends on youuuuuuuuu!!!1!” and maybe you will rouse your butt on over…but I can’t pressure you into making good decisions; I am not your Party Mom. I am your Party Teacher. Read the blog, learn the lesson, or flunk out.

Blow #3 K.O. You text me that you can’t come to my party tonight because your dog died. Your. Dog. Died. This is the most depressing thing. I do not need to hear this right now! I am trying make Party! Now all I can think about is dead puppies and I want to get drunk in a sad way and not a fun way :( :( :(

So now I am on the floor pathetically calling for Kevin to refill my disgustingly sweet yet fabulously novel drink made of melted dessert and that one bottle of liquor that no one wants to drink. The spirit of Party is skewered. This show can’t go on…

Except, honestly, it does. Worse case scenario, I am getting drunk on Friday night with Kevin. It’s really, really, not a rough deal.

kevin-is-the-improbable-pinata

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! 

 

Goo

I missed my post last week. As self-punishment, I will share a very personal essay I performed at a recent variety show. It is called…

Goo

I could define the moment when I started to leave the comfortable, safe nook of being Daddy’s Girl to enter ‘womanhood’ by my preoccupation with my scent. Previously, I was happy to believe my father when he told me antiperspirant is the devil and deodorant is unnecessary. Then I started to really stink. Maybe the first time Daddy was really wrong was when my B.O. betrayed me. Thanks for that.

Armpits, okay, that’s easy for me. I put on my Tom’s of Maine after showers and don’t think about it. I think, though, you might not be aware of this secret world of crotch stink. I, and other women who have been brave enough to tell me, live in fear that the whole world can smell our vaginas. Is there something wrong down there? Am I diseased? Am I a slut? Is my body communicating to me about ovulation? Am I emanating pheromones? Could my pheromones be a little more selective in who they attract? Finally, if I catch myself liking my own scent (and Fat Bastard reminds us everyone likes their own brand, don’t they) is it because I’m a perverted narcissist or am I just happy my juice smells healthy?

Then there is the matter of which Goo do I put on my hair and skin? Most of this Goo is scented (or promises not to be). Some of the Goo smells delicious and wonderful out of the bright green bottle, or when it is another woman’s hair. Then I put this same Garnier Fructigoo in my own hair, and over time it turns into odor of rancid apricot sunscreen. I repeat for many weeks until I swear off Garnier fucking Fructis for life; this Goo will never be the Goo for me.

Perfumes come in artfully shaped bottles and ethereal colors, like witch potions. The boxes are thrown out, stickers removed, and thus there are no ingredients listed, like hard liquor. That is how I see them on bathroom shelves and counters, crowded together like bar booze or wizard elixirs. There is no test I can take to see which lab-concocted smell won’t turn into rancid apricot sunscreen on my body. I go online and read reviews where women tell me their “chemistry” goes really well with one thing or another, and I wonder if she smells like me. So far I’ve figured out that my chemistry is decidedly opposed to being smothered in “fruity” Goo.
It gets worse. You find a Goo that isn’t awful and is maybe making your skin/hair moisturized. Over time, however, the Goo leaves “deposits” on you. That is the term accepted by Girl Experts: deposits. For optimum Goo satisfaction, you are supposed to switch products, so that your brand new Goo can wash away the deposits from your last Goo.

There’s more. You can’t put most Goo in your Vagoo. It will disrupt your “feminine balance.” Everything you have learned from lotions, soaps, etc. for your skin does not apply down there. Some of the things advertised as safe are a lie. So when I can smell my own crotch when I’m trying to have lunch with my dad, I am secretly panicking about the limited number of solutions at my disposal. Meanwhile, after a day playing frisbee, he smells like a salty animal and doesn’t really seem to mind.

How to Throw a Passive Aggressive Notes Party

10153710_10203537055131676_771742438_nIt’s nearing the second anniversary of the Passive Aggressive Notes Party (actually, it’s almost exactly two months late for that but it turns out no one cares) and boy am I excited. Last year, my ma and pop were out of town and I wanted to use their sweet digs to throw a rager. They didn’t exactly say I couldn’t, but they didn’t say I could, either. I recalled the helpful notes around the warm and welcoming home of the Pu’uhonua family during one of their Splash Up events, and I wanted to the theme I chose to incorporate instructive notes on how to not trash my parents’ house. With an evil chortle, I went over to www.passiveaggressivenotes.com for inspiration.

1173803_10203537246096450_1083177518_nThis theme is not only a delightful excuse to encourage your friends to be mean to each other, but it is also convenient to organize. For supplies, you will only need sticky notes and/or construction paper with tape (painter’s, as to not take off the house paint — your guests are going to leave cheerful little messages in the strangest places, which you will not discover for many days), and markers/pens. I also got a lot of joy out of a stack of self-stick name-tags. My friends gave out charming monickers such as “Jizz Wizard,” and “Unwitting Hipster.”

I enjoyed posting notes on the proper use of the stereo, such as reminders that household pets might not appreciate loud music the way we do (It’s ok, the birds don’t mind if you increase the volume to INHUMANE levels <3) or not to play music that I hate (You know what this party NEEDS? Some top 40s bullshit!!). My guests delighted me with a note on the mirror that read, “That used to look so good on you!” and a thank you note written on a card stolen from my mom’s stationary set: “Thank you for sending your parents out of town, but instilling so many rules it feels like they never left anyway…”

thank-you-passive-aggressive-note

Many of my friends, however, struggled with the concept. Adorably, these kind kids could not grasp how to mimic passive aggression. We discussed formulas to generate notes. One consistent combo is to tell someone to do something you obviously don’t want to them do, and add “please,” hearts, or both. “Please throw your trash all over the floor, thank you.”  Another pattern is to explain a simple concept as you would to a three-year-old. “GUESS WHAT? It turns out if you tap on the glass it stresses out this pet snake and she doesn’t want you to do that. Let’s be nice to the snake, ok? :)” You may also just rely on the passive aggression inherent in leaving a note rather than confronting someone about a problem. Extra points for anonymizing yourself or your target. For example, we kept a ledger on the fridge of money owed by friends to others.

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If you didn’t get an invite, don’t worry. You don’t have to miss out on the fun. Simply leave me a passive aggressive message in the comments!

(P.S. Ok, jokes aside, if you didn’t get an invite, it’s because I hit the population limit. Out of respect to the people I live with, I’m going to have to wait for some more “no” RSVPs to come through before inviting additional people. For some reason, people think it’s hilarious to say “maybe” instead of “yes” so it is making it a bit difficult to do my party math this time around…)