Query on Etiquette


One of the female-centric magazines I read has a section called ‘You’re the Answer Lady” or some such thing.  Readers pose questions, usually on etiquette, and readers respond.  They print three responses, probably the three most common, and it is interesting how varied the responses can be.  It makes me really question how I perceive behavior.  To me, it may be blatantly obvious that someone is being a twat, excuse my Old English.  Then again, I may just be over reacting.  I try, really try, to look at situations from many angles, to play Devil’s Advocate, especially against myself.  Yet I know that I can’t be utterly unbiased, no matter how hard I try.

Here’s my query for the 20-or-so of you who are reading this.  I’ve invited friends/family over for a fancy meal.  One couple stops to pick up fast food for the wife and toddler because she won’t eat what I’m making.  It isn’t a dietary restriction, like an allergy or anything.  Now, I know she is a picky eater (this is not the first time something like this has happened).  This really hurts my feelings.  Should I try to cater more to her tastes?  Should I ban them from my house forever, even if the toddler is ri-donk-ulously cute (this is not actually an option because they’re family)?   Her behavior seems unbelievably rude to me, but I’ve been told that I’m over-reacting.  At my wit’s end here.

Now, this is not something that happened to me directly, but I get to hear about it a lot because it is happening to someone close to me.  I find the behavior rude, but I’m a feeder.  And that’s where the judgment problem comes in.  I identify as a feeder of people, like my friend.  It’s an off-shoot of my narcissism, as I have come to understand it.  The short hand of this is that I need people to like me to feel self-worth.  I use food to this end.  If people don’t like my food, I must fix it.  If people reject my food they are rejecting me.

Now, I know what you’re thinking (because I’m psychic when I’m writing).  That response isn’t logical.  Yes.  I’m aware of that.  Sometimes people just don’t want a cookie and it has nothing to do with me.  I tell myself that every time to shut up the gut reaction (a tiny voice screaming “WHY DON’T YOU LIKE ME?!?“).  It usually works if said person has an allergy or dietary restriction (vegan, vegetarian, Celiac disease, etc).  But for those people, I will spend an inordinate amount of time finding something I can feed them, to include homemade apple butter.   I also force myself to make allowances for palette variance.  Amazingly enough, not everyone likes chocolate and bacon, not even together.

So having someone choose Taco Bell (vomit) over me (as I perceive it) is unbearable.  It is the basest betrayal of my core identity.  And I have tried, really, truly tried, to see this from the wife’s point of view.  The only thing I can think of is that she might find the cooking environment unsanitary, but that’s a big stretch (she’s not as CDO as me).  And if that was the case, fast food would not be preferable.

Help me out, kids.  And if you are rally involved in the query (i.e. you are the unnamed subject or married to the unnamed wife), you’re not allowed to comment.

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3 Comments

15AM000000122011 · 00:03

3 responses to “Query on Etiquette

  1. Brandi

    I would be hurt by it too. A situation like that would definitely leave me wondering what is wrong with me and/or my kitchen that someone would refuse to eat when I could always come up with something simple and kid/picky eater friendly to serve in addition to the meal.

  2. Petra Hokanson

    About five or so years ago it would’ve hurt my feelings immensely, but then I, too, use food to cover my need for being liked. There are people out there who do prefer fast food over actual meals. I had someone drown my cooked-to-perfection beef rolls in ketchup. I cringed, and then I moved on. Is it rude of her? Yeah. But it won’t be changed, and you have to decide whether the company outweighs the hurt feelings. I’m sure it’s not about you or your food, though. It’s her issue, try not to make it yours 🙂

  3. What is that mother teaching her child? That Taco Bell is good for him/her? That it is ok to bring your own food to a dinner party, even if there are not dietary restrictions? That it is ok to show disrespect to the host?

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