I’d like to start by saying that anyone who honours you with an invitation, lovingly prepares a meal and opens their home to you for an evening gets top marks. Full stop.
Random acts of kindness and goodwill gestures make us feel special and add a little warmth into our lives. So I was delighted when an old friend invited me over for dinner. Now, I emphasise that this person is great – smart, funny, etc. However, she’s got a lot of drama in her life right now – work drama, man drama, family drama – so the events that follow are not judgements, but simple observations that I’d like to share. Here’s my story of a very bad dinner party…
What’s for dinner?
I love cooking, but hate deciding what to eat. So one of the great pleasures of a dinner party is not having to decide. This was not the case this time as a few days earlier, I was asked whether I wanted salad or risotto. Now that’s not a big deal, but listen to what my host says on the day of the dinner party…
Host: Why did you want the salad? Risotto is my speciality.
Me: Well I didn’t know that. Make whatever you want. I’m happy to have risotto.
Host: No, it’s too late. I’ve already bought everything for the salad.
Apparently I drew the short straw. Brilliant. So I’m already losing before the supper has even started.
Restrictions & Controls.
I arrive. The table is set, Sinatra is singing and my wine is decanting. Things are looking good until I’m asked how much bread I’d like with my salad. Huh? It’s definitely unpleasant to have your portions measured and monitored. I mean, nobody wants to be the food hoover at a table. No matter. I took one roll and sat down to my salad. When we start eating, the host is heralded for her delicious salad. Nom, nom, nom… With our bellies full, we lean back into our chairs for a bit of chatter. None of us noticed the gross oversight before us. The salad was not finished! The horror!!! Our host actually says: Let’s all finish the salad otherwise it will have to be thrown away. I wouldn’t have made so much if I knew you were going to eat so little. Are we in crazy town? Even still, I removed the used and crumpled napkin from my plate and took some more salad. United, we finished the salad.
Deserting or Dessert?
After the force feeding portion of the evening, dinner conversation came to a grinding halt as the host sped away to wash up. Seriously? I can understand clearing the table, but washing dishes and cleaning the kitchen can wait until the next day or at least until your guests have left. What’s the point of dining with people if you’re not going to talk to them? When we all reconvened at the dining table again, the topic of dessert came up. In response, a Lindt chocolate bar was tossed into the middle of the table. Ghetto. Not fabulous.
Not only was I subjected to an evening of bollocks, but I’m left feeling ungrateful in the wake of this awful evening. I’m tired of being a hostage to kind gestures gone wrong! That’s right. I said it. It’s wonderful when someone offers up a kind gesture, but follow through is required. In the case of a dinner party, you are voluntarily taking on additional responsibility and need to perform at a higher level when there are others in your care. Being nice one moment, doesn’t give you a license to be bad the next…
All I’m saying is that a true act of kindness lives in it’s completion, not just its conception. And its important to remember that doing something nice comes with its responsibilities.