No, I can’t bring a fucking salad. Or, when B.Y.O. goes O.T.T.

A while ago I was invited to a 40th birthday celebration by a kind-of friend. She had rented a hall, and the invitation read ‘bring your own meat ‘n booze’ and then, beneath the picture of a disco ball and a couple dancing, a request in small print that everyone bring along ‘a salad of (our) choice.’ A salad of our choice? That we have to make? Are you kidding me? I thought BYO meat was a bit cheeky, but a side dish? Okay, that’s just rude. How about I bring my own chair to sit in, cutlery and the fridge? Or, how about I just don’t come.

Thing is, past a certain age that starts with an ‘f’, a major incentive to finding a sitter, paying said sitter and standing around in heels all night is the fact that I don’t have to drive to the supermarket and drag two bored children around the meat aisle. I don’t have to slice cucumber, toast seeds or make vinaigrette because you, the host, have presumably done this for me. It’s what is called ‘hosting.’ And that’s what is in it for me.

Yes, I get to drink wine and make conversation, but that I can do in the comfort of my own kitchen and what’s more I can wear slippers. But make me bring everything I’m going to eat and drink, and I’m not going to come to your party. Now, I understand not everybody can afford to feed and water 50 guests so, by all means, let us bring wine, and lots of it. I’ll even throw in a bottle of Jose Cuervo to get the party started. But you have known for, well, forty years that this occasion was imminent, so maybe you should have put some of that Guess jeans money aside so that we, your friends, didn’t have to cater for your party.

I am all for entertaining having become more casual. If we still – god forbid – had to come up with three courses plus canapés we would never, ever see our friends. I say, bring on the braais, the curries, the takeaway pizzas – anything that does away with undue hassle and stress. But if you decide you want to host something, get into the goddamn kitchen.

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5 thoughts on “No, I can’t bring a fucking salad. Or, when B.Y.O. goes O.T.T.

  1. Brilliant! I’m always okay with BYOB and understand BYOM (it simplifies dealing with the non-red meat eaters, non-pork eaters, non-fish eaters, vegetarians, etc.) But bring everything? Just easier stay home. .

  2. Wow, geeeeez and OMG. So on your side sister. I also think bring your own anything to a big birthday bash is a bit much to ask. Okay if you are not flush with cash then sure ask for contributions to alcohol to lessen the burden. But buying even a few snarlers to throw on the BBQ and a few simple salads can’t cost that much! At our age it is so much more about being with good company and having a good time not the place or the Disco ball.

  3. Ha…I am so glad other people feel the same way…friends of mine were invited to a Christmas lunch two years ago and were asked to bring a small turkey, wine and ice-cream…my friend was annoyed and said that had she rustled up some veggies, she may as well have had Christmas lunch at home and not bothered with the party! I am constantly amazed at things people come up with…particularly those who are well-off….
    Its just weird renting a place to throw a party and then asking people to bring all their own food…as you say, act like a hostess…its your party after all.

  4. Its a Cape Town thing, after living in JHb for 20 years and then moving to Ct for the last 20 years im amazed at the different cultures when it comes to hosting. In JHB peoeple cater and put on a party. You arrive there are drinks, ice, food all laid out and prepared. In Cape Town there is a cheap bottle of wine, 3 warm beers and a bag of crisps on the table,its all bring a bottle of this and please make that cheesecake and salad we all love. ….Pathetic

  5. I can so relate to this one! In fact, on the way to the BYO party, the “host” called and asked me to bring charcoal as well! I guess it wasn’t enough that I was already dragging my meat, booze and garden furniture with. In the end, I turned the car around and went home. That was just way to cheeky for me!

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