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Newport Manners & Etiquette: Houseguest Dog + Gifts, Full Bar + Neglectful Dad

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

 

Midsummer madness with Red Bulls and neglectful dads, as well as questions about the guest's dog and house present etiquette, were all questions to Didi Lorillard this week at NewportManners.

Negligent parent

Q.  What would you have said to a negligent parent who without asking left his six-year-old with you while you were having a beach day with your children. I was reading in my beach chair next to my three kids who were happily playing by the water's edge dribbling sand castles when a father and daughter appeared out of nowhere and joined in the play. After about ten minutes the father said he would be right back and left the child with us. Without him ever having said that he was going to the restroom or to find some drinking water, I looked up from my book and trustingly said, "Ok." 

To my consternation the father disappeared! I began to worry that this man whom, I might add, I had never seen before, had been run over in the parking lot or drowned in the ocean. I didn't even know his name and we never got to speak about anyone we knew in common. After two hours I ran into him at the bar where I was getting cold water for all the kids. He didn't apologize.  Name Withheld

A.  Should you find yourself in that situation again, quickly pipe up and say, "The tide's coming in and we're about to move on shortly, so don't be long." Don't be apologetic, but you can ask his name by introducing yourself first and asking him where you can find him if he's not back in twenty minutes. Create a boundary by setting a time limit to his absence.

Vodka-Red-Bull effect

Q.  I keep a full bar when I entertain. I think it's part of being a good host, but I'm wondering if I haven't kept up with the times. Should I stock Red Bull and similar beverages?  ES, Chicago

A. According to a recent Atlantic Monthly article:

"Mixing an energy drink with alcohol might seem fairly innocuous, but has been linked with ugly tendencies.  A 2013 study found that people were twice as likely to be involved in an alcohol-linked car wreck or a sexual assault if they consumed an energy-drink-and-alcohol cocktail, compared to those who drank just alcohol."

  • The FDA actually put a ban on the sale of pre-packakaged caffeine-and-alcohol drinks because the caffeine can mask alcohol's effects with the result of a person drinking too much too fast.

 

In my opinion, to jazz up your bar offerings provide a seasonal signature drink such as a Dark and Stormy or bubbly rosé in warm weather and in the fall serve a chilled Riesling wine or handcrafted beer from a small local brewery. You get the picture, as long as the drink isn't sweet. Chilled Presecco or Champagne are also festive to have on hand. Maybe stock a split of champagne for that lone person who wants a nip of the bubbly.

When I asked a popular thirty-something Newport host your question, he said, "There are a few alternatives to Red Bull at a home bar. I would recommend looking at tequila (e.g., Casa Amigos, Avión), light beers (e.g., Heineken Light, Yuengling Lager Light, Amstel Light) and assorted mixers (e.g., Skinny Girl cocktails, Powel and Mahoney Margarita Mix, Le Croix) as most people are now more calorie conscious than ever. Other options might be to have a frozen drink maker machine or White Girl Rosé for women. 

The short answer is that Red Bull and their prototypes are too edgy. Be creative, but remember that your guests are at greater risk when imbibing caffeine-and-alcohol cocktails.

 

Houseguest dog etiquette

Q.  Is there a polite way to tell someone that you would rather they not bring along their dog when they come to stay over Labor Day Weekend?  It's not that I don't like dogs, but the idea of leaving the dog in my newly carpeted home when we go out either during the day or at night, is disconcerting.   AB,  Newport

A.  Text your dog owner friends for doggie hotel recommendations. Find their website addresses and forward them, with their lists of amenities and prices, to your soon-to-be-guest.  If you're renting, you can use that as an excuse.  If you've had unpleasant incidents in the past, that's an even grander excuse. Give the guest fair warning by furnishing them with doggie hotel information and hope that s/he values and respects your friendship enough to take you up on your suggestion.

 

Houseguest gift

Q.  What would be the perfect houseguest present for my boyfriend and I to bring?  JG, Boston

A.  Arriving with a present always sets the visit off with a graceful and grateful tone. If arriving from the city to a rural area, bring an item that would be harder to find outside of a metropolis. Great cheeses (if the host is not lactose intolerant), fine wine (if they're not AA), handcrafted chocolates (if not diabetic) or an attractive coffee table book about their favorite subject. 

Depending upon how long you're staying, ask if you can take them out for either breakfast, lunch or dinner at a restaurant of their choosing.

 

Didi Lorillard researches manners and etiquette at NewportManners.com for her upcoming book NEWPORTMANNERS.

 

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