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PARIS, TU AS PRIE MA VIE

A traveler’s travail:

A very good friend of mine wants to make his 40th birthday party a destination event – he wants everyone to go to Paris to celebrate.  That’s great and all, but that’s expensive!  I want to go, and am going to try to save up for it – but if I can’t afford it, then I’m not going.  Is it rude of me to tell him that up front?

LISTEN:

Not if he’s as good a friend as you think – and actually, even if he was a mad stranger on the street.  Your answer was included in your question, you see – all you say is:

Darling, I want to go, and am going to try to save up for it – but if I can’t afford it, then I’m not going.

See?  Isn’t that easy?

If you want to do something else for his birthday, and he’s going to go to Paris come Hell or High Water – then tell him that, too.

Closer to the time.

Now, if there are any contingent decisions that need to be made – reservations at hotels or restaurants or what have you – make sure you are aware of those dates and let him know whether you can commit to them or not.  The phrase there is:

Darling, you know I want to go – but it’s too early for me to be able to say for sure.  Go ahead and make reservations for yourself, and it is to be hoped I can join in before it’s too late.

Either way, destination anythings are incredibly obnoxious.  Weddings, birthdays, bachelor and *ugh* bachelorette parties… all just tacky and dreadful.

And while not exactly being rude, they’re not far from it.  It’s like you’re inviting people who only meet a certain qualification of free time and disposable income.  Wafting your hands wide open and saying, “Hey, anyone who can come is welcome” is hardly good manners.

There is a sterling exception to this, of course, and that’s when the invitation includes a ticket and a room.  The celebrant wouldn’t dream of inviting people to a dinner party and charging them for the pleasure, would they?  This is the same thing, writ large.  The truly fastidious would handle passports, visas, fees and cab fare, too.

Or at least the birthday cake and bridesmaids’ dresses.

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