Random House publicist Sloane Crosley wrote about this exact same phenomenon exactly two years ago in the Village Voice (remember when the Voice was actually ahead of the curve? Okay, try harder), and she had a better take on it, to boot:
No one cares that you might be out of town but your flight gets in at 7 p.m., so if you literally run from the airport . . . save a shot for me, Bob! Because Evite is a public forum in a private space, I am still working on reminding myself I don't actually have to read the responses. There's nothing more irritating than a private joke played out among a small segment of the invitees.
Tina: "I'll be there . . . as long as I can touch Bob's pineapple."
Jeff: "Happy birthday man, even though we all know your pineapple has been canned since Atlantic City."
But maybe Stephanie Rosenbloom, who wrote the Styles piece, found inspiration more recently.
Last month, Meghan Daum (she of "I moved to Nebraska and wrote a book about it" and "I love Jewish men" fame) wrote an Evite piece in the LAT that sounds reeeeeally familiar to anyone who read today's piece:
It's not enough that Evite allows you to see who else has been invited to the event and whether they're planning to attend (if you can decipher some of the screen names), it's all but mandatory to accompany your "yes" or "no" with an extremely witty remark. These remarks turn the whole enterprise into a cutthroat game of one-upmanship.
If one recipient (let's call him MikeTheDude77) responds to a 1980s nostalgia party invitation with "I'm there, bro — gonna put on the Spandex unitard and party like it's 1979," MissShakeNBake has no choice but to raise the bar with "will come bearing Ruinite and the Jane Fonda workout video!" It's also customary to respond with inside jokes that only the host and a few select invitees will understand — "I'll bring the fish sticks if Adam supplies the Oxford English Dictionary."
At least we know where Stephanie Rosenbloom gets her ideas now.