SWelcome to The 12 Days of Thatz Not Okay, a special holiday edition of a regular column in which I school inquiring readers on what is and is not okay. Check back tomorrow for our next seasonal installment. As always, please send your questions (max: 200 words) to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject "Thatz Not Okay."
A college friend invited me, via Facebook, to his holiday party. Also attending will be some old friends I rarely see. I was looking forward to it, but then I received the following Facebook message from an acquaintance who is closer to the host and other guests than I am:
"Hey I'm wondering if you could not go to [xxx]'s party so that I can attend. I kind of dislike you that much.
I've seen him 6 times in 10 years. A buddy of his and I had a small, verbal fight after the buddy pinched my wife's rear as we left a birthday get-together last year. Other than that, I can't guess why he dislikes me enough to write this. I don't care for him, either, but I never think of him.
He, like me, is 34 years old. A mutual friend says that the writer has a lot of "baggage."
I still plan to attend. I'm thinking of responding:
My wife and I are going to the party. If you go, please don't make it weird. I look forward to seeing you, and to it not being weird.
Is that okay?
Thatz okay—with one minor tweak.
Before we get to that tweak, though, let's back-up a second. You are 34 years old and calling your wife's ass a rear? Did you mean 340 years old? Or did you write this letter in 1962 and it only just got delivered because Yahoo was down? Did you at least threaten to knock Roger Sterling "to the moon" when he did that or was "Hey, fella! Could we talk about that?" as far as you got?
Good for you for recognizing that this lunatic is in no position to disinvite you from someone else's party. If you want to control the guest list at a party, throw a party. Otherwise, show up, don't cause a scene, and don't touch anyone's bottom—including your own.
Before you put the "party" in m[p]artyr though, you should touch base with the party host (or another mutual friend) to find out exactly what this man's deal is. Sending an email to someone to tell them not to come to someone else's party isn't normal behavior for anyone (unless the person emailing is a cast member on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and the party in question is Kyle's annual White Party which Kyle acts like is a huge deal but how big could it even be if the only famous people who go are The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills?). It's an even more bizarre thing for someone to do if they don't have a particularly close relationship with the person they're emailing. It takes two to feud.
In short, you need to determine if this is "passive aggressive sniping" hatred or "stab you in the hallway after drinking a bottle of schnapps" hatred. You do not want to go to this party if there's a greater than 50 percent chance you're going to get your rear kicked by a psycho. This man and his friend are, after all, the type of people who would grab a wife's butt at a party—which is insane! You'd have to be either stone drunk or a sociopath to do that.
If, after doing a little research on the guy's mental state, you determine that he does not pose an immediate physical threat to yourself or your wife or the butt of your wife, responding to his Facebook message is a fine idea. I would cut the line "If you go, please don't make it weird," so that it reads simply "My wife and I are going to the party. I look forward to seeing you and to it not being weird." This way, he will have no cause (though it doesn't necessarily sounds like he needs it) to get rankled about the fact you're already accusing him of making it weird. Instead, you're acknowledging that maybe, perhaps, for some unknown reason, the universe might conspire to possibly make it weird (No one's fault! Just one of those things!) and expressing your hope that that won't happen. (And, don't sign it "- Me"!!! Classic rookie letter mistake. )
If you'd like to get away from the meta Millennial "Things make me uncomfortable! People are weird! Ain't life adorkable?" sentiment, you could cut the "weird" part altogether, and replace it with something along the lines of "I look forward to seeing you and having a good time."
If you're feeling feisty, you might reply "Thanks for the note. Gave me a good laugh. See you at the party!" In that case, I would advise your wife to stay at home, as it is unlikely a small verbal fight is all that's in the cards.
(The flip side of this issue is that maybe you are the crazy one and this man should be applauded for finally having the courage to stand up to you, which I'm not entirely sure isn't the case since you otherwise seem far too reasonable and well-adjusted to be a real person. If that's the case, stay away from the party, you demon.)
Submit your "Thatz Not Okay" questions here. Art by Jim Cooke. Previously in 12 Days of Thatz Not Okay: 12 Bucks for Jim Fucking Beam; 11th Hour Bonus; 10 Dollars, Split Three Ways; 9 Christians Fretting; 86ing Grown-Up Christmas Cards; and 7-ty Degrees Farenheit.