Répondez S’il Vous Plaît

Even though it’s French, I think most people knows what RSVP means:  call the phone number on the invitation and say whether you can attend the event or not.  And the most important part of that is “whether you can attend the event or not.”  I have been sending out birthday invitations for my children’s parties yearly for over 15 years and then there are those for adult parties as well.  I can probably count on one hand the number of people who have actually RSVPed – to all of the parties.  I have gone so far as to call everyone on my invitation list to see whether or not they were coming as I had to know in order to plan for the event.  Why do people blow this off?  Why do they assume if they don’t call, the host knows they are not coming?  Or that they think, we’re close friends, so they know I’m coming? 

My daughter is having several friends over this weekend for a sleepover for her luau birthday party.  We sent invitations out several days ago, and yesterday my daughter came home and told me we had forgotten to put our address on the invitation (oops).  I usually go through the 5 W’s (Who, What, Where, When, and Why) but this time forgot the Where.  After thinking a short time, though, I said that maybe this was a good thing.  If they were coming, they would need to call to get directions and then we’d get the RSVPs.  That still leaves the ones that don’t call because they can’t come.  But we still have 24 hours before the RSVP deadline, so we will see.

The French are big into dinner parties.  We got invited to many while we lived in Paris and even continue to be invited to some as we have met French families that have been transferred by their military to the area we live in now.  It’s funny how, no matter who is hosting the dinner, it feels exactly the same as another.  We are invited to arrive around 7 or 8 pm.  We go inside, greeting our hosts with handshakes or kisses to each cheek.  We are taken to the living room to drink apéritives and eat hors d’oeuvres.  And every few minutes the host walks around the room with one of the plates of food for each person to take some.  After an hour or so, we all go to the dining room, where we eat anywhere from 3 to 5 courses, each thing being served one at the time.  The wine does not stop the entire meal.  If your glass is close to empty, it is refilled.  By the time dessert is served, it is nearly 11 pm, and I am tipsy and tired.  But ususally we sit and talk some more, sometimes at the dining table, but usually back in the living room, with coffee or tea, probably to help with the tipsy and tired so we can make it back home.  But since I drink neither, I sit there stifling yawns hoping my husband will drive home. 

Foreigners love to practice their English, but sometimes they are uncomfotable not knowing certain words, so we end up speaking French for the evening.  My husband loves it.  I like it that I can practice my French too, but after an evening that starts when I am usually winding down for the day and getting ready for bed, I am pushing the full meter and don’t want to see, hear, or speak French for a while afterwards.  We’ve been invited by a French couple to a wine party next week.  My husband says that I don’t have to go (I’m not a big wine person).  But it would be weird; other couples have been invited and he would be there alone.  I know he’d be fine, and he’s just trying to make it less stressful for me, but I would feel badly for the hosts wondering why I wouldn’t come.  So, I will go and practice my French and sip some wine and hang out with my hubby (sans enfants – hey, there’s a motivation).  But first, I need to be sure he already RSVPed.


Filed under ♦♦Other Experiences♦♦

2 responses to “Répondez S’il Vous Plaît

  1. I love your description of French dinner parties. I don’t think I have seen the difference that clearly! I will have to start blogging in English as of now…

  2. I blame this lack of common courtesy on the removal of French from our school curriculum. Maybe Spanish or Chinese will become the lingua franca in the near future. 🙂

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