H came over for dinner last night (I'm never sure whether to say dinner or supper - one of them is terribly down-market, but I don't know which), and there's no prizes for guessing which surprise dish I cooked. Followed by vodka-drenched watermelon. I'm an edge-liver, cooking-wise, I know. H brought a fab bottle of Sauvignon Blanc and we put the world to rights, or as much as one can in one evening. I do feel reasured meeting people who have the same values - often about small things - and we discussed the nuances of social niceties.
Like we talked about accepting invitations. I have a big party once a year, and sometimes, if I can be bothered, I make invitations and post them to people in the old fashioned way. Me? Retro? Hardly; I live in a post-postal era, according to the latest news from Consignia, sorry, The Royal Mail. Anyway, enough carping, I'm not a fish. So people never RSVP, I've got used to that now. One time, I ran into a putative party guest a couple of weeks before my party, and asked if they'd got the invitation; the replied as if to say I was the rude one. How dare I ask them to make plans with such long notice; they wanted to evaluate all their party possibilities on the day (night) and make an ad hoc decision. I've got used to the fact that the people who say they're coming don't, and lots of people who never said anything turn up, and bring friends too. It's a party. It's cool. I've met some interesting people that way.
Even with weddings, friends have told me that loads of people don't reply, and they have to chase them. And I guess I've sometimes got that wrong too; I always feel terribly embarassed, but I, y'know, just get so much post.
Ten years ago, me, my brother and sister made a surprise silver wedding party for my parents. It was catered, and we got invitations printed. The day they arrived, nearly everyone called up to thank me for the invitation, and were charming, delighted to be invited and looking forward to it. Some people even wrote: "thank you for including us". Out of about eighty people, there were two who hadn't replied when we were organising catering numbers, and I got the short straw and had to call them. They were so apologetic. It was their fault. They were so sorry. They'd love to come. There was no guilt, or arrangement arbitrage, or implication that it was rude of me to ask.
I like the old fashioned way. Not for dancing, of course. Well, sometimes. But I do miss... manners. Saying thank you. I try and treat people the way I want to be treated, and I think those little things make the biggest differences. Shit, I'm starting to sound like a Hallmark card; think I'll stop now.