DEAR MISS MANNER: I decided I wanted to spend a milestone birthday in the company of some friends. I invited each attendee via individual email, booked a private room in my favorite restaurant and planned a menu that all enjoyed. It was a merry occasion; the wine flowed.
Upon the evening's conclusion, friends asked how much "their end" was, and I politely declined, assuring them it was my pleasure and happily footing the entire bill. There was no expectation of gifts (few attendees brought one).
May I ask if you in any way perceive my actions --throwing what you criticize as a "selfie party" -- to have been in bad taste?
GENTLE READER: On the contrary, Miss Manners congratulates you for having violated the horrid customs that now characterize the selfie party:
You did not expect your guests to pay for the privilege of honoring you. You planned the menu for their pleasure, not just to indulge in your favorites, without regard to what they might enjoy. And evidently you did not broadcast expectations of presents that you hoped to receive.
In fact, you seem to have harbored the wish that your guests actually would enjoy themselves, rather than that they simply pay you obeisance. That such travesties of hospitality are normal now is evidenced in the surprised reaction on the part of your guests.