DEAR MISS MANNERS: My kindergartner arrived home with a princess birthday party invite. We’re new in town, and she’s going to a small private school, so I thought this was a perfect chance to meet new parents.
My husband dropped us off at a very expensive home, where there were coolers full of beer, champagne and wine. It was a Sunday and not even noon. I don’t drink, generally, and definitely not with strangers, or around my 5-year-old, or on Sundays OR mornings -- never mind a Sunday morning with my child and a bunch of strangers.
I was confused, for starters, but as I spent the next two hours wandering the party, literally EVERYONE was drinking beer and asking why I wasn’t. They didn’t even have cake or open the presents. I left at the designated party end time, right before the “beer chugging championship” began in the kitchen.
Is this normal for wealthy families? Not only am I scared to bring my daughter to another party, I’m concerned that when it’s her turn for a birthday party, we’ll be the “weird” ones who actually play kids’ games and serve cake. I’ve sacrificed to put her in a nice private school, and now fear I’ve doomed her to be the poor kid.
GENTLE READER: Do you really think that drinking and rowdy behavior are quirks peculiar to the rich?
While these parents may have shown poor judgment, they, much like you, are likely doing it in the name of meeting and socializing with other parents. If you are frightened for your daughter’s safety, you need not attend.
And when it comes to planning her birthday party, Miss Manners suggests inviting only the children. At kindergarten age, there is no real need for extra parental chaperones. If the invitation provokes insinuations of weirdness, you may say, “We wanted to make this party about Chasten and her friends. But as we get to know the other parents, we would love to have them over for an adult party another time.”