If you’ve got a question that needs the female treatment, chances are you’re not the only one who wants to ask it. Beth is our source for the answers. From opinions on men’s style to decoding the sometimes mysterious ways of women, she’ll take on a different question every Thursday. And don’t worry, your identity will be protected too. Click here to get to know Beth, then get in touch with her by sending your question to: firstname.lastname@example.org
This is not necessarily a question that NEEDS the female treatment, but would certainly appreciate it.
A young man working in a traditional industry (banking) has an opportunity to participate in an office “book club” hosted by senior members of the executive team. The executives invite any employee to come into their home for a discussion about the book and to share a meal. The question is really one of etiquette, which, like style, should be timeless: should I bring a gift for the host/hostess? Normal social etiquette would call for a bottle of un-chilled white wine or something of that sort, but I don’t want to look like a suck-up (to other guests or the host). But I know that, like wearing chinos and a casual blazer on “jeans Friday,” there must be an inconspicuous way to make it work. What say you?
I’ll be impressed if you can pull a “Sex in the City” allusion out of this one…
Challenging me to include a SATC reference in my response? Wow. I am ALL over that.
On to your question. I live about 15 minutes away from two of my closest college friends (who married each other–how convenient for me is that?). We’ve gotten each other through terrible breakups. We’ve spent holidays together. I threw up in Scott’s driveway when I was 22 and suffering from toomanyshotsofsoutherncomfort-itis, and the next day he called me to let me know that I shouldn’t worry about the mess, the crows were taking care of it.
Why am I telling you so many inane details of my personal history, you ask? Despite my close, very comfortable relationship with these two people, every time I’ve gone to their house for dinner, I’ve brought a gift. I think anytime you’re invited to someone’s home for drinks or a meal or an organized event, you should bring something. Bringing a host gift signals appreciation for whatever hospitality you are about to receive.
As far as “making it work” and not appearing like a suck up to other people…just don’t make a big deal out of it. You walk in the door, hand your host the bottle, and thank them for having you over.
You’ll only look pretentious if you’ve brought something way over the top (Dom Perignon, a mink coat), or if you go out of your way to make sure everyone knows you are a super-guest (“I brought a bottle of Pinot from my trip to Napa, what did YOU bring?”). Finally, make sure you’re bringing a gift appropriate to the situation. You don’t want to show up at a baby shower with a bottle of Scotch and pastel-colored condoms, like Samantha and Miranda did in Season One, Episode Ten, “The Baby Shower.”
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