Recently, a friend asked us how we might handle a sticky dinner party situation. Since we have learned that often people do not realize their behavior is impolite our suggestion is to be very clear in ones invitation regarding the tone of the evening. Please find our invitation prototype below.
Please come to a dinner at our house on Saturday the 17th. The dress is spiffy, the occasion is celebratory and the theme is no personal electronic devices whatsoever. Sadly this means you will not be able to "check-in" to our house on facebook as if it were the SoHo Grand. The first part of the evening will consist of cocktails. People will stand around chatting, sipping champagne and eating small savory delicacies. Introductions will be made and those guests already acquainted will catch up. A guest will be describing his vacation in Majorca not scrolling through photos on an 3.5" screen. You will not be able to snap a photo of the champagne, post it to facebook and tag all your friends who are also at the party - thereby making those friends not invited feel rotten. Dinner will follow where we will be serving a soup, fish, meat, salad, cheese and sweet course. There will be wine to match. Regrettably you will not be able to tweet about any of it in real time. You will spend the first course talking to the person on your left and the second, the person on your right. Left right, left right. You will not need to check your pants, purse, or jacket. There will be no urgent 10 p.m. Saturday night texts to be answered. You can just live in the moment and focus on what is going on around you. Should a question arise to which no one at the table knows the answer people will not be able to reach for the phone/personal entertainment device sitting (oh my!) in front of their bread plate. Instead the group will have to discuss, speculate, conjecture, hypothesize and think about the issue at hand. If you believe you can exist in such a disconnected (although to some it might seem incredibly connected) state for four or five hours, we would love to have you over.
Oh that one would ever dare...