A while back I wrote an article titled 13 Annoying People I’ve had Over for Dinner. The response I got to that was varied; most people took it as a joke, which it was, and many were able to relate to it from personal experiences. Some messaged me stating that it was funny and they know of people “just like that”; unbeknownst to them, and quite funnily in return, I had taken inspiration from the very folks who called, but I didn’t burst their bubble. There was a small group that actually thought I was being rude by not respecting “my” guests. Can’t please them all I guess.
What bothered me the most was that you, yes you, the one reading this right now, did absolutely nothing to make it go viral – “Liking” it on Facebook isn’t sufficient enough as you need to “share” and tell everyone you know about it too. As a result, here I am, still an unknown blogger, thinking hard about new ideas to write about.
During one of these solo brainstorming sessions (Read: time spent on the couch with no TV or internet because I got on the wrong side of the Wife) I decided to do justice to this world. I’m a huge advocate of listening to both sides of any story before coming to a conclusion – I’ve also been watching way too many superhero films off late – and it would only be fair to those 13 Guests – yes, as annoying as they were, I believe in equality – that I do a rundown of all the annoying hosts I’ve encountered during the same time. If you do come in any one of these following categories, please inform me so that I know not to accept any invitations from you – should I get one – simply because I know what I would have done to the food served to you had you written about me in this way;
The Dog and Cat Lovers – I’ll probably get cursed for this and a bite or two even but dog lovers are a different breed of hosts altogether – see what I did there. I love dogs okay, I’ve had some earlier in my life – rather, made my parents keep some – but now they are like kids; okay to have around when they don’t belong to me. Dog loving hosts have a huge dilemma whenever they invite people over. They can either lock up the dog, which leads to a lot of barking and howling throughout the entire night or else they just let the dog free, which means the guest – me – have to pet the dog, hope that it doesn’t bite me, keep an eye on the food because were I to stray my eyes off the plate, I fear the food would disappear. I’m competitive and selfish and always hungry that way. I don’t mind either of the two, except maybe the howling or the biting part, but it’s the constant apologies and explanations from the hosts about the behaviour of the dog that’s a little annoying. We get it, you like dogs, and as long as it’s not humping or jumping on me, I’m totally fine with whatever you decide to do. And yes, I am aware not all dogs behave the same way, just like all hosts don’t behave in the ways I’ve noted in this post.
Cats are a little bit manageable. I’m very moody and so are cats. They know not to come close to me and I know not to go near them, and this distance serves us both well. This makes cat loving hosts a lot more tolerable.
It also helps that most people I know don’t keep cats or is it that most cats I know don’t keep humans – I forget how that goes, but I think I read about this somewhere.
The Show Offs – How I love – annoyingly – the show offs, because they make for the most fun gossiping with the Wife before and after dinner. They have their branded fancy decorations and art – fakes – out for what is a “casual dinner for just a few close friends”. Apparently a “few close friends” means inviting half of the city’s who’s who and me being the clueless me, I go through the dinner asking the host “who is this and who is that?”, to which the answer is always that the said person is some sort of a celebrity or their son or their aunt’s brother’s son’s neighbour’s sister.
The food at these dinners is almost always supplied by the most expensive caterer – which doesn’t mean it tastes good. Conversations sway from recent holidays (see Travelers below) to big business deals, to the hottest card parties that are in the works.
These are the dinners where I enjoy experimenting with my “superficial personality” – “did I tell you about the new Mercedes that I just ordered” -which unfortunately is a dead giveaway because half the time I have a sly smile on my face. Darn! Now you know about it too.
The Travelers – Calling people over and showing them your travel photos is so passé. It took some time but people finally realized that no one is interested in photos of you in front of high-street shops carrying designer carry bags – I wonder if these people actually shop at these places or just buy the carry bags – or those numerous photos that feature feet and the view of the beach.
It’s a hard fact to face but not everyone has a foot fetish.
Then again it’s not so much that people understood the absurdity of these photos, rather, Facebook got invented and now no longer was it necessary to share photos with dinner guests especially when they can be shared with almost everyone known – and even get likes and comments in return.
What’s happening now though is that food has filled the void that photos left behind. So the couple who is just back from Switzerland will undoubtedly invite you to dinner that will have cheese fondue and some Swiss chocolate – wrapped in original packing. How should I break it to them that Godiva is Belgian and not Swiss? Obviously the food turns out to be the perfect conversation starter wherein the host couple will go on and on about the said holiday and the husband or wife – equality right – will undoubtedly make a joke about how they couldn’t keep each other away from all the branded shopping.
It’s also charming to see how this food talk will consist of the small farmer’s market the couple visited during their holiday and tiny shops selling everyday goods which they found to be cozy and cute. It’s unacceptable that I inform them about their trip being a complete waste because if farmer’s market and Mom & Pop stores are what they wanted, they needn’t had traveled half-way across the world but to their nearby Sabzi-Mandi and Kirana store.
Personally, it’s great that people are ready to experiment with world cuisines, but then not at the expense of food or the guest – me – as is the case in such situations the food is just a facade and there’s no real substance to it because while the host managed to get some cheese, they forgot to actually learn what to do with it.
“If it’s someone like me, I don’t even need to go to Switzerland, instead I buy a whole lot of cheese during transit from Amsterdam airport and then have a fondue party at home” I said with a sly smile on my face.
The Drinkers – I’ll admit, of all the annoying hosts, it’s the “Drinkers” that annoy me the most. I like a drink or two occasionally and it doesn’t bother me if someone likes to drink more than me. What I find exasperating is that the dinner will eventually get pushed back till midnight – or even later – which means I’m having to make small talk with the humans around me, as I send mental messages to my stomach to hold on a little longer – Mental messages Ha! As if I could actually talk to my stomach… Unless, have you been spying on me?
I’ve never understood this infatuation so many people have with alcohol or booze as it is so lovingly called – I hate that word. These parties and dinners are so frustrating that should the host catch me with an empty glass, they will literally drag me – like my mother dragged me out of bed on cold Delhi mornings when I would refuse to get out for school – to the bar and force me to take another drink, alcoholic of course. Why would anyone want to waste their hard earned money that they have partially wasted on buying the alcohol on a person who has no intention of drinking it, is beyond me?
On the other hand, had my mother offered me a similar deal on those cold Delhi mornings, I would have been out of bed in a jiffy.
What’s more maddening is when a teetotaler comes to such a dinner, the host thinks it’s their born duty to convert this person into an alcoholic on this very day and will constantly bug the guest with statements like “have a little”, “just one sip”, “for me”, “don’t you love me”, unless out of embarrassment the said guest will maybe hold the glass or take a sip and the Host will forever in the future remind everyone that it was during their dinner that the teetotaler-ing guest had alcohol for the first time.
Oh! Great… It’s time for shots now; probably because the Host saw in some movie that all fun parties must have shots. Wait what? Beer shots? No, No, No. No…That’s even worse than putting Kurkure on Pizza.
The Hiders – They form an integral part of the Drinkers group. The thing with alcohol is that it has unfortunately become a status symbol, and thus you are no longer just what you eat but also what you drink. The Hiders are basically cunning Drinkers. They are aware that most people can’t tell their alcohols so they either hide the good bottles of wine and whiskey or annoyingly worse will say fill up the Blue Label bottle with an inferior whiskey – and let’s face it, none of us would know any better.
Put your hand down Sir, I served you a vintage wine the other day and you claimed it to be vinegar. You are not a connoisseur and you don’t know your liquor.
I’ve even seen hosts who have a server next to them at the entrance holding a bottle of Blue Label to offer to every guest arriving, and that’s more than just annoying, it’s a little sad… and I’ve just arrived Dude, chill!
The Non-Drinkers – I feel bad for the non-drinkers and they are on this list not because they annoy me in particular but rather they annoy the Drinkers – from above. The non-drinkers either have no alcohol being served or else they have a tiny collection of drinks that finishes within the first hour leavening nothing else to do but eat food and leave.
You know KPK – Khao Peeyo aur Khisko – but without the P, which makes it Khao aur Kisko – short and sweet.
I love these dinners because they end quickly, are more conversation friendly, and I’m tucked in bed by midnight knowing that the next day will be hangover free. It’s also cute to see the enthusiasm displayed by a non-drinker who is serving drinks.
But, the Drinkers, who in this case are Guests, overtime have become smart – who would have thought – and in such instances they come prepared with “Car-O-Bar”, a little collection of spirits in the boot of their cars. What this means is that most of them will spend half the party outside, smoking and drinking next to the cars, leaving the Host confused and desperately trying to get them back inside for food, which inevitably will get delayed till midnight- or even later.
The Food Appreciators – This is a little bit more personal and not just limited to hosts, but ever since I started to write about food, people for some reason find it compulsory to share their views about everything they are eating around me. I will have random folk come up and tell me about where to find the best Samosa and if I’ve eaten at some obscure restaurant – it’s always the one where they had the best food of their life – which as it turns out is owned by their friend. A while back I even had a person ask me if I was going to review the food I was eating at a restaurant… during a birthday celebration. I’m bad, but not that desperate for ideas.
What’s annoying is that the hosts will quiz me about ingredients of the dinner being served – a little test if I can live up to their mantle I presume – and will undoubtedly keep on asking if this is the best food I’ve had, until I am embarrassed and have to nod my head in agreement with a smile – a sly smile mind you. I love food and I write about it, but I am totally capable to having dinner without really talking about it in detail.
Now, don’t ask me not to take photographs of what I eat, because that is a different story all together.
The Busy Businessperson – Dinner for me is a time to relax, to spend some quality time with friends and family and basically get away from the nitty-gritty of daily life. Then there are hosts who will make their business a part of the evening one way or another. There are some who will occasionally have long loud conversations over the phone which consist of money talk and remarks like “come to the office and take the cheque for 30 lacs tomorrow morning” – I don’t know that many super-duper rich unfortunately who would cut cheques in Crores.
Or better yet, there are the hosts who will have someone from the office come at 10 PM because important papers have to be signed, and this happens every time I’m over for dinner. I hate business talk with friends, and I’m not lying in saying that I still am unaware of the exact occupation of half the people I know – so I just give them jobs of my own for fun.
“This one must be an art collector; look at all the famous art pieces, and talk about agents, and wait, never-mind, they are all framed prints”.
The Late Hosts – No, No, they aren’t dead, there’s just not there. If you are one of those – like me – that crib about guests who come late, then beware of the Host that finds it fashionable to arrive late to their own party. I once went to a wedding reception where for the first hour and the half there was no one, from either the bride or the groom’s side. In the end, people left much before the hosts arrived, acting as if nothing had happened.
Being someone who is almost always on time – disregarding traffic delays- it is a little fun arriving “early” to see all the last minute preparations. I get a preview of the night to come and in some cases also know what food to avoid – was that cook digging in his nose before making the Naan?
“No thank you, I am on a diet and avoiding Indian breads this evening”
Whatever the result, the annoying fact is that not being present to greet your guests is nothing short of rude and disrespectful and certainly not a fashion statement.
The Clueless Host – The last of the lot and more irritating than annoying the Clueless Host is just that, clueless about everything and anything that is happening at their home and/or party. What’s worse, some hosts will announce with élan that hosting is below them and they can’t be bothered with the nitty-gritty of it, and why should they when an “organizer” has been hired for the evening.
“This is a dinner, at home, for 5-6 couples, not a freaking marriage celebration” I feel like shouting.
In their defense, the Clueless Host is always available, unlike the busy one, to talk and interact with guests, unless they are also one of the Drinkers in which case the situation goes from annoying to irritable to downright obnoxious and that dear reader is my cue to exit.