An English dinner party non-adventure

I have mostly recovered from my hurt feelings of yesterday and am starting to see humor in my little story of dinner party heartbreak.  It’s quite simple, really.  I was invited to a dinner party, and was not sure I would be able to go.  I waited until the last minute to respond in the negative, and found approximately 12 hours later that that had been the wrong answer.   I attempted to reverse my ‘decision’ to the affirmative and attend the party.  However, I was informed that it was too late: the seating plan had been finalized and the invitation was therefore rescinded.  

I was really, really upset, perhaps unnaturally so.  I couldn’t understand how a culture could value a symmetric seating arrangement above a person; it did not go with the cliches of “the more the merrier,” “plenty of room at the table,” or (forgive me, I’m Minnesotan) the true potluck spirit of warmth and sharing that I associate with a dinner party.

(Note, in my Google-ing I discovered the strange origin of the word “potluck”… in England, 1592!  I’m dumbfounded.  But did they have Jell-o with mini-marshmallows, mandarin orange segments and cool-whip?  What about hot-dish with tater tots, ground beef and cream of mushroom soup?  I think not!)

In my defense, there were the mitigating circumstances that amplified my level of upset.  My only real friends here in the UK were all going to be at this party, so I actually did end up wandering the streets with tears on my face feeling sorry for myself.  I had worked all weekend doing extremely painful and tedious tasks and my level of sleep deprivation  was becoming crippling.   I could not help but feel that in the US, with more than a day’s notice, someone would find a way to add a place at the table.  Heck, I did not even need food, it was company and conversation I was craving.  I’ll happily take votes as to whether my being upset was reasonable, or if an “RSVP” is binding…

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3 responses to “An English dinner party non-adventure

  1. You can bet that nobody brought any peanut butter bars back in 1592, either. Silly Elizabethans.

    (Chin up, don’t take the seating arrangements personally, it’s an English thing. Sounds like something straight out of ‘Bridget Jones’, actually — minus the granny panties, of course.)

  2. That happened to me once, thirty years ago but never since. Sounds as if the people were jerks actually, chin up!

  3. Looks like you’re having all the same kind of ups and downs as me – except I quit the UK for France. I thought it was just Parisians who were cold, unsociable and unnecesarily formal, but looks like us brits can be just as bad…

    Stick with it, most of us are alright really!

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