♦ Don’t: Bring food unless you have specifically worked this out with your host ahead of time. Most hostesses have mapped out their entire meal, from giblets to mints, weeks ahead. There is always too much food, anyway, so keep the liver puffs all to yourself. You also risk offending the hostess if she is touchy.
♦ Do: Bring a small hostess gift, flowers or a bottle of something as a thank you. That is always appreciated.
♦ Don’t: Announce it to the world. It’s a mistake that many of us make, but it only serves to make you the center of attention. And your malady. Your hosts won’t appreciate it. And most likely, after you are gone, if you were to double back and eavesdrop through the kitchen window, the conversation might go something like this: “Heavens, if I had to hear one more word about her spastic bowel, I would have left the table.”
♦ Do: Politely pass the platter with the offending food to your right and pile on more peas or sweet potato. Most dinner guests won’t notice or care what you aren’t eating. (If you want to quietly mention it to the cook so as hurt feelings are spared, do so privately.)
♦ Don’t: Spank them, regardless if their parents say it’s ok to discipline their children. (Unless they are your brats.) Relationships have disintegrated over this, I kid you not. Even if you brother’s monstrous urchin is pulling your Grandmother’s wig off, don’t correct the kid.
♦ Do: Involve the parents. “Say, Ed, your son stole Nana’s hair piece.” Let them handle it. If you find yourself getting flummoxed over the matter, remove yourself from the environment. Have a cocktail. Unless you are in AA. Then have a slice of pie.
♦ Don’t offer.
♦ Do it.