“When Mrs. Worldly gives a dinner… She looks through her “dinner list” and orders her secretary to invite the Oldworlds, the Eminents, the Learneds, the Wellborns, the Highbrows, and the Onceweres” –Emily Post in Etiquette
Hmmm. I don’t know about this, Madame Emily. This begs a question of the leisure class: what about the charming Uninsureds, the young Mr and Miss Starving, and that sweet French/Indian/Jewish couple les Petit-Brokes? If they get the invite what are they to do?I ask this question in light of a recent slew of what I’ll call simply: The $100 Dinner. Since the dawn of the new year alone Sweetheart and I have gotten the invite to go to three such marvelous sounding dinners, each one at the kind of shiny dinner places where, as taxidermy is my witness, there is certain to be a $36 steak frite on the menu and a $15 rye cocktail named after Dutch Schultz, as well as some sort of great sounding $12 small plate that Sweetheart and I would be more than happy to share. We are invited to celebrate a birthday, a reunion, a friend in town… and so, because we love, we go. We split our small plate brussels sprout lardon jammer, have two glasses of wine, and the bill comes while you’re in the bathroom and it’s broken down… $100. Per person. What the What? Emily Post, despite passing her prime dinner throwing years during the great depression, must have been rich. Otherwise how could she afford so many correct napkins and forks? How could she have left us so bereft of guidance at a time when it’s totally ok for the Wellborns and the Highbrows to blow $100 each on a single meal, but some of us would really rather buy a bridesmaids dress with that money (HAHA JUST KIDDING! We’d rather pay for our HEALTHCARE with that money… or rather, we’d rather pay for 1/6 of our healthcare for one month with that money! Ha ha. ha. [sound of sobbing]).But- I digress. I’m loathe to write any of this down for the same reason I’m loathe to snatch the check up from the table and break out my abacus the moment it arrives. I feel like I sound like a jerk. A petulant, broke jerk. Even though my fellow Americans are supposedly in such an economic slump that double dipping will never again sound like something awesome to do with chips, that doesn’t stop some people from looking at you aghast when you talk about healthcare, ask for a doggy bag, or try to suggest itemizing the bill. No one wants to think about how broke anyone else is. Especially not the broke-asses in question. Sigh. So. Maybe we don’t need you, Miss Post, maybe we need a new you, a Miss Broke-Ass Emily Post for the modern era to tell us what a girl’s to do?
Any guidance, dear readers?
I’m going tonight to my fourth potential $100 dinner tonight, bidding my dear yogi Sara adieu as she departs for India to polish her sanskrit and eat coconuts, and I’m going to try out a few diversionary recessionary tactics. I’ll let you know how it works out.
Emily Post quote and image from here.