I have no idea how to be a good houseguest. In fact, I suck at houseguesting. I don’t do it often so I don’t know all those unwritten rules that frequent houseguesters somehow know.
My most recent stint as a HG proves I need a giant, bright yellow book called Houseguesting For Dummies (it can go next to my unread copy of Moving Without Going Psycho for Dummies). Here are the areas where I need tips/guidelines/boundaries.
- Invitation. Are you allowed to invite yourself to someone’s house? Can you bring your two kids along? Recently, I emailed an out-of-state friend to see if I could come crash for a night with my super tidy and hardly-talk-at-all-except-with-indoor-voices children. I used the private messaging over at Facebook, and I totally acknowledged her newborn son, so I get some points for that even if I lost a bunch for inviting myself and my kids to stay with a friend who has a newborn.
- Giving The Hostess An Out. I think this was an area where I scored high, because I wrote, “You can say no if you want to. Please don’t feel obligated. It’s not like we’ll sleep on the streets, though Jeff and I might end up in D-court if I don’t get all three of us out of the way while he deals with our movers. But totally. For reals. Say no if that doesn’t work.” Who doesn’t respond well to that type of passive aggressive victim-y correspondence?
- Fending For Myself. This one is nearly impossible for me. I am rabidly afraid of opening someone else’s fridge or cabinets. I trace this back to being a fat young kid who internalized the idea that I had no business looking for food. Or eating. Today, this phobia makes it hard to get myself breakfast unless there is a fully cooked bowl of oatmeal just sitting on the counter with a spoon in it with the following engraving: Christie Tate, please eat this! You gotta put some meat on those bones.
- Asking For A Blanket. This is like #3 but it doesn’t involve food. Let me illustrate: Once I was a HG and the room I was staying in was so cold that I scooched off my air mattress and into the closet, because I thought it would be warmer to be near clothes. I was a grown ass woman but too afraid to look for a linen clost or GASP! ask for a blanket. I operate as if a HG is not allowed to take up space or need anything. Because everyone loves invisible HGs.
- Bringing A Gift. This one’s tricky, right? Do you stop and get a generic Yankee candle from TJ Maxx before showing up on someone’s doorstep? You could. I’ve certainly done it. In a perfect world, I’d have some baked goods that are in concert with my hostess’ dietary aspirations or offer something wonderful I’d crafted just for her front door. Most recently, however, I faux pas’ed. Yes, I bought a soft cotton onsie for the little baby, but I also brought my hostess and her partner: two (unused) vibrators that I scored (for free) from BlogHer ‘
1312. Nothing says I appreciate your hospitality like “hey, want some sexual healing in a dusty box from a blogging conference I went to last year”?
You can see why I need that manual right? Feel free to invite me to be your houseguest in the comments, but please know, I am all about of female pleasure devices, so you’ll likely get a wreath from the clearance aisles at The Homegoods Store.