Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Social mores; your multiple choice quiz

Every time we go to a social occasion here, we seem to get it slightly wrong. I really should have learned by now that less is definitely not more now - the golden rule being, when in America, think big - but somehow I always err on the side of not wanting to go over the top, which is probably a very British attitude. See how you would do.....

1. You are invited to a Labor Day BBQ. The hosts say in an email that they are providing food. Do you bring:

a) A few beers to add to the coolbox
b) A large basket of preferably homemade pastries and cakes
c) A massive plate of homemade sushi

2) You are going on a 2 hour evening boat cruise with a group of friends; the cost includes food but you are asked to bring some booze. Do you bring:

a) A bottle of wine to add to what you assume will be the general stash
b) A small coolbox filled with beers and wine
c) An enormous coolbox filled with different drinks, which has to be dragged on board.

3) You are invited to a breakfast for all new kindergarten parents, on the morning that school starts. Do you wear:

a) Shorts and a t-shirt, accessorised by your grumpy smaller child hanging onto your arm and spilling your coffee
b) A pretty sundress and heels
c) Designer togs, accessorised by your husband who has taken the morning off specially.

Answers:
All a)s Get with the program. You are obviously from out of town. You have no idea of what to do on these occasions - in fact, you could be British....
All b)s - You are doing pretty well, but still could do better....
All c)s - Congratulations! You know exactly how to behave on every social occasion and always make a special effort to impress.

Note to self; must try harder.....

20 comments:

Mud in the City said...

Sounds exhausting. I am far too British to make that much of an effort....

London City Mum said...

Bwah ha ha ha ha ha... very good.

How about just speaking with a very outrageous 'shires' accent (your choice which one) and I am sure you will get away with all a)s any time.

Failing that, speak 'merican and imitate.

LCM x

Home Office Mum said...

Wow - I would have put As for all except for the one with taking booze onto the boat as I always err towards greed when it comes to alcohol

Expat mum said...

Have you also found that it goes both ways too? When you invite people over they won't leave you alone until you assigned them something to bring. A salad? Dessert? Sometimes the entire kids' meal ('cause of course the kids always come along).
I've tried insisting (just bring yourselves) but it never works.

Emma said...

Ooh I may be living abroad but it turns out I'm still very British, although clearly a Brit who likes a drink as I only answered "A" to the 1st question!

Iota said...

I've been here 3.5 years, and I'm still hopeless. I'm taking a "side" to a do on Saturday, and I do know what that is, but think I'll still probably get it wrong somehow.

A Modern Mother said...

No, no no!!!! Please -- move to California they are very sensible there. A bottle of wine is fine. An a small salad. And defo shorts and t-shirt!

Paradise Lost In Translation said...

oh my word, sounds like seriously hard work; big bank balance & whole new wardrobe needed. Funny that wd come across as really OTT in Britain, trying too hard to impress, or just plain showing off.

Expat mum said...

Iota- a side is anything but the meat, and not dessert obviously. Therefore the world's your oyster - rice, salad, pasta, veggies.

nappy valley girl said...

Mud - that's my excuse....

LCM - What do you mean? I already have an outrageous shires accent ;-)

HomeOfficeMum - We do usually so not sure what we were thinking on this occasion!

ExpatMum - right. People always want to bring dessert. I would rather they brought booze!

Emma - I love a drink too - will think harder next time....

Iota - I would have assumed a side salad, but would definitely not have been sure. I'm still learning what things mean - only just discovered the meaning of 'sliders' (and I had to look it up on Wikipedia...)

Susanna - I never know, because mostly people are pretty casual, but then occasionally they dress up...

Paradise Lost - totally different attitude here. If you've got it, flaunt it! Gotta admire it though....

ExpatMum - thanks for the explanationl....

Calif Lorna said...

Nicely written - that was fun!

AModernMother may think things are easier here but we have the time keeping issue. Californians are always at least an hour late. So if you want your party to start at 8 - tell everyone to come at 7.

Mwa said...

You're being laid-back! That's very cool, you know.

nappy valley girl said...

Lorna - my husband says Americans are always late (for meetings, etc). Must be a nationwide thing...

Mwa - I did manage to get it right last night at Parents Evening - Jeans and a smart shirt. Lots of other people wearing the same!

This Mid 30s Life said...

Oh god that all sounds like too much work.

Well That's a Good Scottish Name... said...

This is a funny account of the US. As a British co-worker recently said to me on his return from a trip to America - the motto there is "Go Big or Go Home!" I guess you are finding it to be true!

Metropolitan Mum said...

Happy to proclaim that as of toady I am British :)

Diney said...

I answered a to all but the dress code, and I just knew that those parents would be all dressed up for the occasion...it's a bit 1980's though, all that competition, so I'm surprised they still do it in our more laid back world of today. I would have worn a nice dress and heels with my first child (now 28) but now with my 11 year old I would go in combats or jeans and top to look laid back and comfy but trendy enough. I'm definitely, officially a Brit!

Tanya (Bump2Basics) said...

LOL!! When you put it that way it makes me relieved that I'm not living on LI....but I do miss it regardless and am not one of the desinger moms though I do have the cooler :)-

Uly said...

A side is anything not a main dish - and yeah you should bring something. You're not just showing up for the food, are you?

But if you don't want to bring something you can always offer to help clean or set-up instead.

The Coffee Lady said...

Well I do think you don't want to run out of wine on a boat. There won't be any shops out there.