Thursday, November 2, 2006

Répondez S'il Vous Plaît

I looked up the acronym “RSVP” this morning. It represents the French phrase, “Répondez
S'il Vous Plaît,” which translates simply, “respond please.” Apparently my generation is in need of some
basic French lessons because when we see “RSVP” on an invitation, we tend to
misinterpret it to mean, “do not respond under any circumstances.” 

What is up with this behavior? Are we so entitled that we think that our friends can actually
read our minds? Do we believe that, no
matter what the attendance of a party turns out to be, the host/hostess should
plan on feeding and entertaining every person that he/she invited? Why are we completely incapable of picking
up the phone or sending out a quick email to let the host/hostess know whether
or not we will attend the party? 

It would be completely hypocritical of me to criticize this
behavior and not admit to some personal guilt. I have gotten invitations in the mail before and put them in my
seven-inch-thick stack of “papers to be sorted.” A month rolls by before I come across them again and realize that
I never responded to the invitation for a party that has already taken
place. Remember, I’m the Mom who can’t
remember to bring Indian corn to her son’s school two days after the request
was made. Suffice it to say, I’m not
the most organized or reliable person and it goes without saying that my
interpretation of common French acronyms could use some work.

When the tables are turned, though, and I am the one hosting
the party, I tend to become very self-righteous about the whole process. I am appalled by the lack of responses to my
invitations and think about how inconsiderate my potential party guests
are. How could they leave me
hanging? How much food should I
buy? Should I purchase two or three
bottles of wine? How many chairs do I
need? With all of these home-based
direct marketing companies out there for my demographic, maybe it is time that
someone started a “Basic Manners 101” course and offered it to young
Mothers. With an entire generation of
manners-challenged individuals out there, it could be a very lucrative business.


  1. {wondering to myself if there are any events at J's house that I have forgotten to RSVP to}
    Oh and the "Basic Manners 101" should also include "When to write a thank you note" section don't you think?

  2. This is a total pet peeve of mine. I'm a really good I used to be not so good, but once I started hosting parties of my own I realized how important it is. I just think if someone is kind enough and thinks enough of you to invite you to their event, the least you can do is take 2 minutes to call them and let them know whether or not you plan to attend. I've wasted lots of food and money in the past because of people not responding...because as the host you HAVE to assume that everyone that hasn't said "no" is coming. Maybe in the future I will only purchase food for those that have RSVP'd and them inform guests that just show up that they can stay, but just can't eat anything!! :)

  3. Now you know my deepest secret, I failed 1st period French, there, I've bared my soul....

  4. Jacquelyn-
    You know this one was for you!

  5. Papa Dale-
    I thought you spoke fluent French... I was hoping you would teach the Grandkids

  6. I hate non rsvpers!!! I sent out 23 invitations to zach's class and I only heard back from about 5 of them!!! What is up with that. I have done the same thing you have done and set it aside in my to do pile and forgot about it. I am not that much a worrier about the thank you cards though as long as they say thank you at the party.

  7. Julianne,
    The next time I send out an invitation, instead of putting "RSVP" on there, I am going to use the fancy French words. Maybe that will draw attention and people will feel the need to call me just to find out what the hell I'm talking about!! HAHA!!

  8. Melinda-
    I feel your pain. I think people are more prone NOT to reply to a birthday invitation when they don't necessarily know the parent. This seems like the reverse of what it should be but, sadly, it is true. Last year, I invited my son's preschool class to his birthday party. I had ONE RSVP and ONE person show up (the same one). It's absurd.

  9. Michelle-
    Let me know how that works out for you and maybe I'll give it a try. I think it might be more effective, though, to write, "If you have an ounce of cooth in your body, just pick up the phone and let me know if you are coming." I wonder how many responses that would get.

  10. J- I completely understand! For this reason, I'm almost tempted not to have anymore parties!

  11. If only I were invited, (sniffle, sniffle, tear, tear)... I would've RSVP'd.

  12. that's not what I meant by 'pardon my French', but I'll be glad to teach the kids THAT "French"

  13. I thought RSVP meant a

  14. Spaz-
    You know if you lived closer, you'd be invited :)

  15. Uncle Carni-
    That's a good acronym too. Maybe we should replace the French version with that. Some Americans aren't too keen on the French anyway, what with the Freedom Fries and such.