Easy and Elegant Life

The Search for Everyday Elegance and the Art of Living Well.

TV, Or Not TV

Game On
I will begin this screed by stating for the record that I had a fine evening at the Progressive Dinner.

Cleaning, polishing, shopping, cooking for nine, etc. took about six hours. It was a bit of work. And it was worth it. I felt happy when I saw the silver(plate) candleabra (that my grandmother bought with green stamps) shining in the middle of the table.

The evening was rushed. Progressive dinners bring with them the anti-thesis of elegant dining. There is no leisure. There is a timetable to which you must adhere. Which isn’t a bad thing for some people who may not enjoy dinner parties. But we had a great guest list. All the makings for fun.

And then… one of my guests asked me where we hid the television….

OK, dinner was sort of over. Large portions had been wolfed down, soaking up the wine from the appetizer house and the five bottles we split among us.

It is basketball season. And there was a big game on, apparently. (I’m not a sports fan, by and large.) It was the first quarter. Two of the three male guests left the table to watch.

It is, of course, my fault. The evening wasn’t sufficiently entertaining. The always enjoyable Mrs. E. and I couldn’t hold their attention. As hosts, we weren’t up to snuff.

Or at least that’s the the way it seemed.

So please forgive the following comment. I don’t like to lecture. Advise, yes. Lecture. No.

Gentlemen. Would you like to have your date for the evening chat to her friends on her cell phone over dinner? Pay attention. Ask questions. Tell jokes. Listen. Entertain. Be a good guest. That will get you invited back.

If you have no desire to meet again with your hosts, politely decline the next invitation. Tell them there’s a game on. They’ll get the hint.

I hope I’m not breaking any union rules, but please enjoy the song. The saxophonist/singer was one of our guests. He is delightful. And very talented. It’s a larger file. Sorry for those of you who have slower connections. I think it’s worth the wait.


13 thoughts on “TV, Or Not TV

  1. OMG… how horribly rude (unless it was the MD/NC game, then all is forgiven). Seriously, there are just some people who have no manners/breeding/couth. Someone ought to slap them and tell them what’s right!

    I didn’t have TV for months and months after I moved back. THen a friend took pity and gave me a hand-me-down. It wasn’t that i couldn’t buy one of my own, i just didn’t really need one. It spends most of its time hidden under a skirted table. http://cotedetexas.blogspot.com/2008/01/skirted-tables.html

  2. We had planned a dinner party the night of a very big football game here. The Tuesday before one of our dear friends – the godfather of my middle son – called to say they were cancelling because he got tickets to the game. I was insulted and hurt – and told him so – and he’s completely mystified. I sometimes wonder if men realize sporting events are not “real life.” I carry the memories of good dinner parties with me forever. Football games, not so much.

  3. Mrs. E and I watch a movie a night. When we’re alone or hosting a movie night… and that’s about it. We put the TV and peripherals in a Pottery Barn cabinet (very art deco, so it blends in considering its size.) Wish I could hide the sub-woofer, though….

    Fairfax– thanks for the Cote link. For the party the table (and borrowed from another table leaves) were covered with a very heavy cream linen cloth we bought in Spain. It drapes beautifully and I don’t think I could do without it. Although I harbour fantasies of having a suit made from it one day…

    Ah well, the incident gave me a topic for the etiquette lesson for the day!

  4. Despite all of the evening’s preparations being lost to the television, it sounds like you and Mrs. E continued to be elegant hosts and handled the situation with grace.

  5. Basketball season or not there is no excuse for such rudeness. Had you (the host) asked if anyone would like to watch the game then fine, but for a guest to hint at wanting to watch television is just poor manners!

    We had strong gales 2 weeks ago and it knocked down our antenna…we have yet to have it repaired and I can’t say we have really missed it (that goes for our son too).

  6. Now let’s see if they know how to write a bread and butter letter. If they don’t, never let them darken your door again. One should only expend energy on the deserving ( just a bit of friendly advice;-)

  7. HOBAC, thanks! That reminds me that I’ve got thank you’s to write for the evening!

    AtB, my mistake was putting in the most basic cable as I didn’t want my AV guy to have to scale the heights to put up the antennae… the roof is 40 + feet off the deck. One day I’ll get sports fans… until then, we’re guests at the next progressive dinner. Hosting is reserved for those who love to be here.

    TIG, I hope so. And thank you. I’m a bit worried that using the incident for a post is bad form on my part. I hope that someone found it instructive rather than “preachy.”

  8. I too think it is rude to ask the host where the TV is, especially in the age of TiVo. I am SO grateful to have a husband who is indifferent to sports (keeps up just enough so he can converse with his colleagues about it when needed). I am proud to say that he never would have followed the other men into the TV room, but would have stayed at the dinner table with us!

  9. What a different evening it might have been had you;
    1. Oh, I am terrribly sorry, our TV is in the repair shop…
    2. No – we do not have a TV.
    3. Oh, I can see your Mother never told you, “Don’t you know that it is terribly rude to be invited and then expect the TV to be your intermission!”
    Sounds to me, that the wrong “guys” were invited for dinner or next time you will be well informed as to what are The Sporting events televised.
    That said,your post perhaps may have not been, shall we so, so NOT Elegant,
    unless you were watching an old Alfred Hitchcock with Grace Kelly!

  10. Additionally, I think it’s incredible that people won’t come for a drink, or have dinner because they can’t miss XX TV show. What’s more important, real life or a TV show! That always used to frost me to the nth degree!

  11. I agree with ‘things that inspire’ – in this age of TIVO -there is no reason to miss any social engagement or more importantly be a rude guest! Mrs. Blandings brings up a good point too, people ( especially men ) who take sports or video games too seriously are really….disturbing. I’m not sure I’d even have anyone over again who would rather watch a game on tv than spend time with me at an event I’ve planned and spent time on. I’m sorry your evening didn’t turn out as elegantly as planned – lessons learned for next time!

  12. Hmmm, you know, it never occurred to me to simply say “no.” In my innate desire to please, I am constantly doing things that go against the grain.

    I did return to the dinner table to pour out the last of the wine for my guests. Ah, well, as everyone has noted “live and learn.”

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