Monday, November 10, 2008

Host/Hostess Anxiety

I find entertaining difficult, not while people are at my house, but in advance of the event. Has to do with cleaning up the house.

We live in a log house in the woods and have one large dog and one very-large dog with us in the house; both of them, bless their hearts, are shedders and one enjoys rubbing against furniture and appliances. And then my husband Bob --bless his heart too--uses the seats of chairs for storage areas.

I didn't suffer from hostess anxiety while I was single. And this is curious because I was and am what an English ex-boyfriend referred to as "a heap." If it was my junk, it was okay for people to see.

I opened a book this morning that has been useful for me: Daring to Be Yourself by Alexandra Stoddard. Saw a couple of things I'd underlined way back: "There is no need to be a nervous hostess. I feel comfortable when I entertain but only if I don't put on airs." and "Your guests want to experience your natural style."

But my natural style does not involve dog hair. But I've also come to realize: my heapish artist style did not produce the rustic house next to the pond, all of which I like very much. Bob (and his ex) were the creator of that. And I get more credit than is due. So maybe it all balances out. Or maybe none of that matters. (That's an idea I try on for size; actually I don't buy it.)

In any event, it seems to be my natural style to marry a guy who creates a wonderful woodland house where the leaves are now madly and brilliantly falling as well as the dog hair and piles of books. So that's the style that it's okay to show.

If you like this post, please bookmark it on, share it on StumbleUpon, vote for it on Digg. Thanks so much.


mamie said...

If I were you I'd buy a chiminea, lock the doors to the house, and entertain outside!!

Have fun. I love to entertain.

Peggy Payne said...

I looked up chiminea--I'd never even heard the word before--and you have an excellent idea there. Looks like they put out a huge amount of heat, too.

billie said...

I always fret about the animal hair too. We have the Corgis plus 5 cats and even if I vacuum daily there is still hair. Add to that the various horse items that end up inside - right now my laundry room has saddle pads stacked up on one shelf, free choice dry cat food up on the laundry table so the dogs can't get it, muddy muck boots of all sizes, a big aluminum can of beet pulp pellets plus the containers I soak it in for the 3 equine meals/day. I just glanced in there while typing this and note the container of baby butt wipes (useful for Corgi bunny butts), Keil Bay's Adequan injection sitting out to remind me to give it today, a bowl full of baggies containing various and sundry herbal supplements for the horses, bin of horse cookies, our clean laundry. There is about twice as much as that more that I'm not listing!

Mind you that is the smallest room in the house.

We had some teens over here Friday night and so I went through a milder version of hostess angst trying to keep things clear.

My feeling (easy to say to you, less easy to tell myself) is that your house and your style (and Bob's) are charming and very much bespeak the creativity and competence you both exude.

I say open it up for the masses (those coming to your party, I mean, not at large) to enjoy.

K.B. said...

Yeah, with me it was cat hair. The morning before an evening of having people over would always find me sighing over the upholstery with a damp sponge or, in really bad cases, with some duct or packing tape. (I suppose that one really doesn't like the thought of spreading one's pet's fur all over one's guests clothing...)

Now, being homeless and all, even though I'm currently housesitting for my partner's sister and been given a free hand with whatever I want to do in her flat (long story), I'd kill to have a place of my own again to decorate and furnish however I like. (And I miss my cats!)

The contractor was here just this morning to measure for some shelves I'm putting in for her as a surprise, that I know she's been wanting to put in for almost a decade but never gotten around to doing.

I do love Alexandra Stoddard's books, although sometimes she frankly makes me laugh about the ideas that make it clear her life is a bit different from mine! But I firmly believe that everyone should be able to live a life that they find beautiful, in one way or another. :)

MitMoi said...

I agree - sometimes I get all freaked out about things that no-one would notice.

But there are some things I NOTICE when I go to someone else's (I know ... NOT A WORD) house. They drive me crazy. I think it's more of a reflection of me - than them.

I always try to remember the real reason people come to my house - is because they want to spend time with me; like my cooking; my humor; my other friends etc.

And Mamie's suggestion is brilliant. We did that all the time out west.

ps: I must confess - floating cat hair - or pet upholstered furniture drives me crazy. I think it's because our pets were always "outdoor" pets.

GutsyWriter said...

I usually worry about the meal, not the dog hair. We have a rat terrier and she always tries to bite the toes of our guests. I like to make everything from scratch and nothing from Costco. So that's what takes my time. But like everything else, the more you do it, the easier entertaining becomes.

kenju said...

With us, it is cat hair and fleas. I fight both, but it is a losing battle.

Peggy Payne said...

Mitmoi, I had someone arrive at my house one time and disappear within about two minutes. He said later he had terrible dust allergies. No chance of making the place safe for him.

The whole answer, I suspect, is gutsywriter's idea: just do it and desensitize to the worries.

On the fleas: I once had a distinguished editor to brunch and realized later that the only book title he could see in the stack in front of him was "Flea and Tick Management."

K.B. said...


Kelley said...

I gave up on animal hair on the furniture long ago, which makes no sense because I am completely OCD about picking it off myself of gods forbid, someone else. It's a compulsion. I would be in yoga or Pilates and break a pose to pick cat hair off myself. \o/ I am concerned about it getting in the salon where I see clients, for allergy reasons. I don't let the animals in that room and I still find it in there. I fret about it getting into food. It gets into food. If it's not on the animal, it's finding it's way into food. There is no way around it. I just try not to flip out about it. Most pet owners understand. They pick hairs off their tongues and compliment the fare.

That is one very large dog. You once said he was a small horse. This was not metaphor.


Peggy Payne said...

Now, I know how to behave when going out: Pick the pet hair off my tongue and compliment the fare. Well-said!

I have resolved at home to carefully inspect the black cloth napkins in advance, being as we have a sand-colored pony-dog.