Skip to main content

R.S.V.P.

RSVP

I know what RSVP means? You probably do too. But it's clear that we are in a minority.

RSVP - origin: French, acronym - repondez s'il vous plait

From an era of manners and etiquette (... also French). Whilst we native English speakers are not  renown for our enthusiasm or ability to grasp and learn another language (and indeed our tenure on our own tongue is often forged on dodgy ground), there are elements of the French language that creep into our everyday lives. RSVP is one such element. Neatly capitalised at the bottom of invitations, it politely asks for attention. Even if ignorant of the litoral meaning, its message is clear to anyone who has ever received an invitation - reply! Please reply.

I know that. You know that. We both know what is expected; how to respond. In other words, those little letters standing to attention, so neatly vowel-less, and requiring of lovely linguistic acrobatics, prick us into action and elicit the desired response - a reply. Or do they?


I have a theory that how, when and if you respond to an invitation gives an indication of how old you are.

Here goes - invitation scenario:

An invitation drops onto your doormat; arrives as a text on your phone; appears in your email inbox; flutters across your instagram account; is shared with you on Facebook; bobs up the beach sealed in its bottle or arrives in another form of inviter to invitee communication. What you do next betrays your age.


If you answer yes to one of these questions, you are under 30

Do you read the invitation and 'file it' with the other invitations you have already received for that date? You'll wait to see what else comes in, before committing to any.

Do you on the morning of the event shuffle through the options - discard those from boring people; people with too little money to hold a good party; those whose music or style you find a bit weird and all the nerds-who-are-trying-too-hard-to-fit-in?

Do you plan an itinerary ordering the desirable invitations into a temporal and geographic story-line for the evening?

Do you then spend the next few hours creating a heap of clothes as you on the one hand try to decide what to wear while simultaneously on the other sending texts and photos to your friends, checking out who's going where and rearranging your evening's itinerary?

Do you sometime the following afternoon call the friends whose parties you didn't attend and make out that some disaster occurred which interrupted your absolute 100% intention of attending their fabulous party and mute your yawns as you 'listen' while uploading pictures of your actual night? Do you care that they might see them? Not really.

Did you RSVP? Or did you forget? Or did you simply ignore the request to reply? Do you regard replying as 'a bit lame tbh?'


If alternatively you answer yes to one of these questions then you are either over 30 or under 30 and impeccably well brought up

Do you receive an invitation and reply immediately? Or at least within a couple of days? Even if it's from great aunt Eliza and her awful third husband who live in a damp bungalow with sticky carpets and a crumb-strewn sofa where you will be obliged to smile and tolerate their cat Binky. You're allergic to cats and will spend the next 3 days applying steroid cream to the flare-up of your hand eczema. The couple of days before replying are to give to time to rehearse your excuse. But you'll still reply.

Do you doggedly stick to the schedule dictated by your affirmative reply to an invitation even when another invitation to a much better, much more preferable, much more populated with people whom you actually know event on the same day and at the same time arrives? Because that's the polite thing to do? You even remember to RSVP your regrets to the second invitation.

Do you not only RSVP but also heed the dress code? Do you know how to write a proper reply to a formal embossed card invitation?

Do social media invitations worry you? Do you trust your friends not to share your party details with the rest of the world?

Is your idea of a nightmare planning the perfect party only to discover that you have no idea how many guests you are catering for - you invited 60, 30 have replied, you know you have 20 coming but what about the other 30? Do you contact them again? Do you cater for them anyway and risk having half the food wasted? And what about the 10 who phone on the day to explain that due to 'unforeseen circumstances' they won't be coming after all? Suddenly you have an intimate dinner feast and are sending your loyal handful of friends home with left-overs. And you spend all evening wondering who might arrive unannounced and when they do why you greeted them so enthusiastically instead of turning them away - no reply, no entry? Actually ... maybe that's an idea - in order to receive party details venue, time etc you must reply first. RSVPFD (RSVP For Details).

So what age are you? Do you agree?



Alternatives - RFFS (think you can guess that one - not really me, too rude); ROIKY (reply or I'll kill you - a bit too Don Corleone-like); or RYI (reply you idiot)!




Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Life in the slow lane - Part One.

Recent hypothetical text message from parent to adult son -

Been in the garden all day. Time for a bath first then I'll leave, with you by 8. Chilly here - have you had snow? See you soon. Lots of  love xx
PS. Bought too many aubergines yesterday - would you like some?

All very mundane; boring even? Hmmm.

In an effort to save time or appear somehow with-it or hip or whatever term is used now to mean 'not ancient', the parent could instead have sent this -

Been in the garden all day. Time for 🛁. Chilly here - do you have ❄️. 
PS. Would you like some 🍆? Lots of X

Yes, I punctuate my texts.

Punctuation, however, isn't the point here. Or rather it's not the only thing unmasking me as someone who is not hip/cool/sic or lit (which list, of course, proves without a doubt that I am none of these things).

No. The point is that with the insertion of a few emojis, I changed an innocent message about gardening, the weather and vegetables, into something x-rated and made myself …

#2019 Connections, characters and a stone ball.

Half-way into January. A small step into a new year. And I am another year older. How did this happen?

I could answer part of that by reminding myself that as I was born in January and have just had a birthday I am a year older. But half-way into January (over half-way now - several days have passed since I started this blog) and a small step into a New Year; how did these happen?

Time doesn’t stand still. I've said that before. In November's blog. I called it out as a cliche then too. It is. But if cliches can be good and I think this is a good one. Time is animated. Time moves. I wittered on about this at length. In November. Two months ago. Two months filled with frantic present hunting; over-eating; over-spending; under-sleeping; and wrapping (always late on Christmas eve - so late that I risk Father Christmas finding me sitting on the floor surrounded by paper and string - the sellotape always runs out at about 11.57pm on Christmas Eve, doesn't it? - hot chocolate insul…

Time and dreams. And a mountain or two.

Time doesn’t stand still. Not for any man or woman. Time is physics. It proceeds and there is nothing that we can do about it. Not yet anyway. Probably not ever.

While perhaps it's not great writing to start with a cliche (or even a few), the standing still of time, as sometimes observed in a moment of awe, is something we can perceive. Sometimes. Okay, time doesn't actually stop. But it feels like it does. Insert here any moment when for you time 'stood still'; that moment, perhaps, when you had raced to summit a mountain and - with your feet standing on the highest point, your body in that state of elated exhaustion - you watched as the rising sun crept long pillars of light above the distant horizon. And you realised - literally standing still - that you were holding your breath. 

The sun of course went on rising and time did not actually stop. At moments like these, we tell ourselves that it did; just for a moment. But that is an illusion. A mere mistaken perception.…