DEAR MISS MANNERS: Six of us couples take turns entertaining and dining at all but one of our homes. One couple seldom entertains, as the husband is a clean freak who does not want his home dirtied. Additionally, he has stated that it is the inviting couple’s responsibility to prepare a vegetarian dish for him.
We are obligated to invite this pair because of the relationship they have with one of the other couples. Your thoughts/response for these non-reciprocating guests would be appreciated.
GENTLE READER: Your individual is a porcupine of rudeness, or the vegetable equivalent, who sticks you no matter what your angle of approach.
As host, you do want to know he is vegetarian so you can prepare a meal from which he does not go home hungry. But how you solve that problem is up to you.
His refusal to reciprocate violates a basic tenet of hospitality. And his justification -- that he does not want his house sullied -- implies that you are dirty (without the humor of Groucho Marx’s injunction, “Go, and never darken my towels again”).
If he and his spouse cannot be separated from the other couple, then perhaps the other couple can be confided in and asked for a solution. Could the offending pair not host a different type of event, perhaps post-pandemic, away from their home?