Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Shouldn't 'B.Y.O.B' Also Mean 'D.Y.O.B'?

It's been a long time since I've posted something from Gene Weingarten's Tuesday chat ("Chatological Humor") at washingtonpost.com (mostly because I'd gotten out of the habit of reading it myself), but sometimes, readers bring up a dilemma or observation that seems worth putting to the (decidedly smaller) readership that takes the time to stop by here each day. But here's something from this week's chat that I'd love to see other people weigh in on:

Wuntuma, N.Y.: Etiquette question: A couple (the husband is a co-worker, known for three years) is invited over to watch a football game.  He brings a six-pack of lower-tier canned beer.  Said friend puts his six-pack in the fridge, and then says, "Ooh, you have Guinness, mind if I have one to start?"  His wife then says, "That sounds good, could you grab me one too?"  There are four Guinness in total.  The husband, in response to his wife, says, "Honey, ask (host) if it's alright with him."

Relevant data: 1. Guinness was purchased by host for the host, and was sort of "hidden" in the fridge behind a gallon of milk.  2. The beer that was brought was, in the host's mind, undrinkable.  3. A twelve-pack of decent bottles was purchased by the host and in the fridge as "guest beer."  4. This was maybe the sixth or seventh time convening with these friends outside of work.

What is the acceptable course of action at this point?

Gene Weingarten: It depends.  How much did the Guinness cost, and did you have the receipt?  How much did your guests spend in gas or whatever to arrive at your house, and did they dress up especially for this occasion, incurring dry cleaning costs?

Dude -- get a life.  This was the pettiest question ever received on this chat.

Well, I must also be petty, because that would've ticked me off, too.  And I'm surprised Weingarten - who's usually more than willing to poke fun at any perceived social faux pas - react the way he did.  I mean, yes - you invited people over, they're your guests, help yourselves, etc.  But if you brought over shitty beer, shouldn't you be drinking it?  Does "upgrading" to the better beer in the fridge - especially if the gathering is more of a get-together - strike else anyone as tacky?

Or maybe this is why I live a life of seclusion and grind my teeth.  Is this a "Lighten up, Frances" situation?