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Nothing Ruins a Dinner Party Faster than Honesty

Yes, it’s true. I went to a dinner party that was ruined by honesty. It just happened last night. And the more I think back on it, the more ruineder (?) it becomes. Insert shudder here.

If I could start off with a little honesty, I’ll say it wasn’t a formal “dinner party.” No one was wearing a cocktail dress, high heels and an organza pinafore. The men folk didn’t sit around in sports jackets with suede patches on the elbows yucking it up about college sports. In fact, it was hardly a four course meal. We were just “at” someone’s house eating dinner. Maybe we should have stayed home.

Anytime there is “honesty” that could risk ruining a dinner party, it usually involves children or germs. But most definitely, if there are children AND germs within a few houses of the dinner party location, than you can be darned sure at some point honesty will rear its ugliness and steal your appetite.

Yesterday started off fine. We walked into the house and conversation began. Slowly, as I had some coffee and munched on a few tidbits, the truth came out. There was a virus running through the households of people this family knew unlike any I had ever heard of before.

The hostess started off telling me that one of her friends “had to run for the bathroom” so often during the previous week that she needed to keep changes of clothes within grabbing range at all times. And it only got worse from there. Much worse. Apparently this virus had taken down everyone she’d run into within the previous month. Of course, they think it was something “little Suzy” might have picked up at summer camp. And we were there as sitting ducks, waiting for the main course to begin.

The only reason I didn’t run for the hills, was that this family themselves didn’t have this sickness. I weighed that against wondering what an incubation time for this illness was. I weighed that against the idea that there are germs everywhere which cannot be avoided. Germs we don’t even know about. Perhaps this is a way to build the immune system. Ugh. As I set my coffee cup down, scanning it for germs along the way, I realized that if there were germs to be had we’d probably already gotten them at this point.

The rest of the time there, I was washing cups in boiling water, not letting the hostess touch any of our food, and rechecking any symptoms I might be cropping up with. I was also recalling the telephone numbers to our pharmacy and family doctor, and wondering what their office hours would be like the next day. I was also preoccupied with taking a mental inventory of what liquids and jello we had on hand in the house in case I was too ill to get out of bed the next day.

Background noise to me was the hostess herself talking on and on about other topics and happenings in their lives. My mind never left the topic of germs. Eventually we left this house and everyone went home and took a shower and washed their hair.

I continue to monitor my family for signs of illness and plan to wait a good few months before visiting this hostess again. Maybe we’ll see them again sometime in the winter when the cold weather has killed this particular strain of sickness. But, I do realize that germs and the horrible sicknesses that follow are everywhere. And where there are children AND germs…even in the winter… a dinner party is going to get ruined. Shudder.


About Fortyteen Candles

oh, let's see...distinguished Gen-X'er, frustrated writer, suffocating in the confines of a small town that thinks it's a big deal. A few years ago we were home to the second largest Walmart in our state, don-cha-know. Oh, and I was voted "Most New Wave" in my senior high school year book. Actually, that last sentence alone is really everything you need to know about me.

5 responses »

  1. onlineghostwriterforhire

    This is brilliant and I no longer shake hands with people because…

    (A) it is a ridiculous custom, and
    (B) the men who wear cologne, slap it on their faces and then it stays on their unwashed hands, and sometimes when I used to shake hands, I would get their often disgusting scent on my hands, and it doesn’t wash off, and…

    (C) I live alone and am self-employed, and cannot afford to get sick, ever, for any reason, and (D) I do not have health insurance, but never really cared, and…

    (E) I have been in a men’s room, way too many times, when I heard a toilet flush, and a “man” came out of the stall, and briskly exited the men’s room without a visit to the sink, and
    (F) I walk many miles a day, for exercise, but almost always get run over by a motorist with a “God Bless America,” OR “Jesus Loves You” bumper sticker, or vanity license plate…so the hypocrisy of our fellow people makes me wonder why I should bother shaking anyone’s hand!

    You did not seem to offend them, and they didn’t seem to notice, but maybe you should not go there for any more dinner parties! By the way, you left out the most important detail…what was the meal?

  2. Teresa Cleveland Wendel

    Coincidentally, my daughter just vented to me about a friend who left her kids for a sleepover when they were sick. When Alicia called her on it, the mother of the sicklings thought it was no big deal. She was angry, in fact, when Alicia asked her to drive over and take her sick kids home.

    • Oh, that’s horrible! I would have had to Lysol the entire house. Good for your daughter! I completely agree with what she did. Funny how sick kids are “no big deal” to the parents of them!


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