Metro-East Living

Etiquette: Irish eyes are frowning on faking flu to skip party

Tribune News Service

Q: My husband’s boss has an annual St. Patrick’s Day party, and every year I absolutely hate going. We’re supposed to “dress Irish,” and bring some kind of Irish food. His wife always makes the corned beef and cabbage and that’s great if you like it. I totally don’t. There is always a lot of drinking green beer and green schnapps and eating this stale green bread. The only good things about the evening are the vanilla ice cream with schnapps on top and Key lime pie.

I told my husband I am not going this year. He thinks his boss will be very unhappy if I don’t come. He calls it a team building evening because of all the silly games we play. I have a feeling I am not going to be feeling well because I think I am about to catch a flu bug. Surely, the boss wouldn’t want me to come if I am sick, right?

A: If you are truly ill and cannot attend, it is very doubtful your husband’s boss would be upset. Faking an illness, however, in order to stay at home while your husband attends the party by himself, is being dishonest and unladylike, as well as inappropriate.

Q: Our neighbors are wonderful people. Last year, we were invited to their house for a St. Patrick’s Day party. My husband and I are older and we gave up drinking (alcohol) a long time ago, so we don’t really enjoy going to these type social events. We also don’t stay up late. Our neighbors have invited us for another party this year. My husband doesn’t want to go. I think we need to go but can excuse ourselves relatively early and come home. What’s your opinion on the neighborly thing to do?

A: I agree with you. Maintaining a good relationship with your neighbors is a good idea, and how nice of them to include you in their party plans.

Q: We like Irish whiskey. So wouldn’t a bottle of that make a good hostess gift when going to a friend’s house for a St. Patrick’s Day party?

A: Yes, it sounds like a very nice hostess gift. You should not expect the bottle to be opened, however, because the host and hostess may choose to keep it for themselves and open it at a later time.

Dianne Isbell is a local contributing writer. Send your etiquette questions to Lifestyle Editor Patrick Kuhl, Belleville News-Democrat, P.O. Box 427, 120 S. Illinois St., Belleville, IL 62222-0427, or email them to