No one here is sweating from the weather. Or sweating it. Wait, maybe I am sweating it. Okay, according to some on-line slang dictionary if used as the ambitransitive verb, then I am totally sweating the weather.

But I swear I am not here to talk about the HORRIBLE WEATHER.

I have been sweating a lot lately because we got invited to a wedding in northern England and I don’t know how to properly RSVP. I have actually polled a randomly selected group of British acquaintances and friends just to make sure I get it right. And you will not be shocked to hear that they have not been that helpful at all. Because, well, I guess they’re all just being too nice (read: not bossy enough). I wanted them to have American-style ESP and understand that what I was really asking them to do was write it out for me. To no avail.

You see, RSVPing for invites here is a bit more complicated than in the US. Accustomed as I am to a decade of invites with self-addressed response cards included requiring me only to check/tick a box, I am in unchartered territory. And proof that my trepidation is partially founded, no consensus could even be reached after my poll and some on-line research. Apparently, I am to use my own stationery with my name on it and write a note in the third person accepting the invitation but with particular language and then I am supposed to “follow the wording” on the invitation itself. Which truly confounds me. Am I supposed to just transcribe the wording of the invite on my imaginary stationery with my name on it, even though I have a different surname than my husband who is also invited, and then collapse in a pool of anxiety before rummaging around for a stamp because PEOPLE HERE DO NOT EVEN INCLUDE A STAMP?

It’s as though this country believes that people can learn etiquette and manners and grace and civility and do crazy things like write letters.

So I have been procrastinating. Wondering if I should go and buy personalized stationery and whose name should adorn it. And then what I would actually write on it. Or Plan B which is to buy a fill-in-the-blank response card you can buy in shops here (because I was told this was also an option- albeit a disgraceful one maybe). Or Plan C which is to just tell the bride/groom that we’re attending (because apparently you can do that as well). This is a manners minefield. I doubt I will come out unscathed.

But speaking of stationery, I have this terrible guilty confession to make: I kind of hate when new babies have their own stationery and “write” me thank you notes on it. I know that just by typing that previous sentence I have assured at least ten of my good friends will henceforth drop me like a bad habit, and I know at least ten more will passively aggressively wish I were dead – even if we stay BFF in appearances. And I know I am being such a pot right now, cheesy and clichéd a human as I am.

It’s just that I don’t know where I was when that trend came along, but I don’t really approve of it. First of all, why do little kids have their own stationery? Do they write letters? Do they keep up correspondences with pen pals? Do they send their own packages to our troops abroad? Do they follow up after intense job interviews and write Christmas letters and drop a line when a friend seems a little down in the dumps? And then the notes always read as though the baby him/herself wrote it in the first person. And that’s just… well… it’s criminal.

“Dear Yael, thank you so much for my new outfit. It is so cute and mommy and daddy say I will grow into it real soon!”.

Dear Baby, you are freaking me the f*ck out. I am pretty sure you can’t talk, articulate your feelings, you definitely can’t write so well and I know for sure you probably care as much about the outfit I gave you as you care about how your room is decorated or how often your diaper is changed. Lose my address.

No offense though, you know. It’s probably just this weather getting to me.

I will cheer up. Tosha is visiting for the weekend! I have loved Snosh since 9th grade Geometry. Five minutes after her arrival, the kids did too.



Filed under friends, i'm totally well-mannered

7 responses to “sweating

  1. GG

    A blank response card with “Dear X, Thank you very much for the kind invitation to the wedding of Y & Z – My husband and I would be delighted to join you in your celebrations and look forward to spending the day with you”. If you have specific dietary requirements, you’d reference that somewhere. Something along those lines seemed to be about par for the course when I got married. I don’t think anyone will mind about stationery, wording etc just so long as you send an RSVP to the folks.

  2. Damn. I just ordered Miracle personalized stationary. WELCOME TO LONDON, TOSHA!!! Have a blast! xxoo

  3. toshalot

    Thanks, Renee. Your grandkids are so amazing. Love them to pieces.

  4. sonjey

    So interesting….. why don’t you send a little plant or some flowers with your response…… in the 3rd person of course! let 1800 flowers do the writing for you!

  5. Robert

    Good advice here.
    Don’t be intimidated by etiquette. Good manners are a way of making people comfortable in your company. By contrast, “etiquette” is a french word for “label”.
    A simple note of thanks is sufficient.
    Do not attempt to label yourself with fancy stationery, it is vulgar.

  6. Jac

    Disagree with Robert! Get some nice writing paper from Smythson, which must be just down the road from you – or the Mount Street printers, which is also close. Then reply to the bride’s mother in the third person (assuming the invitation is from the bride’s parents).

  7. yael

    You guys, this is my point: there is no consensus!

    Still sweating.

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