We’ve been living in our new home for about eight months, and now that our kitchen is finished, we thought we’d invite the neighbors over for whatever neighbors in Connecticut do when they visit each other. Cocktails? Bridge? Khaki swapping?
But that’s not my question.
The people we want to invite are those that live around our cul de sac as well as a few who live along the narrow road that leads to up to it. We’ve met all these people a couple of times individually, but we’ve never seen them all together at one time.
So my question is, how do we find out, prior to inviting these people to our little soiree, if any of them hate each other?
We already know that nobody in the area liked the former owners of our house, who, apparently, once ratted the entire neighborhood out to the authorities for some minor infraction involving the community swimming pool.
But what if there is bad history among the remaining cul de saccians? What if, three years ago, Neighbor A had a torrid affair with Neighbor B and Neighbor A’s wife found out and now cannot stand to be within 50 yards of Neighbor B without impulsively wielding a kitchen knife? What if Neighbor D once took out a restraining order on Neighbor C for some reason, let’s say stalking, which would not be a problem because Neighbor C, being snowbirds, wouldn’t be attending anyway, except that Neighbor A really likes Neighbor C and has never forgiven Neighbor D for making such a big deal out of some innocent peering into a window? I’m definitely not saying that any of this ever happened; I’m just saying that it could have, and we wouldn’t know about it until everyone was gathered in our house looking like participants in a WWE® Battle Royale*.
Anyway, back to my question, Etiquette Lady: How do we find out about any existing area animosity in advance of having our little get-together devolve into a free-for-all such as one might see on The Jerry Springer Show?**
Do we send out invitations that include, as a sort of disclaimer, “Please inform us in advance of any food allergies or longstanding neighborhood feuds”? Do we hire a bouncer to frisk the attendees for any sort of weaponry? Do we send out a survey in advance of the invitations asking for their opinions on the Republican presidential candidates and slip in some questions like, “Regardless of your feelings about Mitt Romney, what do you think of the people living two doors down from you?”?
Please help! We don’t want to commit some horrible social faux pas! Plus, we don’t want anybody bleeding in our new kitchen!
Lost in Connecticut
Dear Lost in Connecticut, Why not just have faith in your neighbors to behave civilly regardless of any ill-feelings they have for each other? Or, alternatively, invite them over one at a time. The Etiquette Lady
See you soon.
*WWE used to be WWF, the World Wrestling Federation, until it got into a fight with the other WWF, the World Wildlife Fund, and lost. That’s right. The then home of Hulk Hogan and the late Randy “Macho Man” Savage couldn’t handle a bunch of environmentalists! Anyway, WWE headquarters happens to be right here in Stamford. It is one of my goals in writing this blog to point out the cultural attractions in our new town.
**The Jerry Springer Show is taped in Stamford. I tell you, we are just dripping in culture here!