Friday, January 02, 2009

Digitus Impudicus

My understanding of the way invitations work is this: You put together a wish list of all the people you’d like to come to your party, knowing that most will probably accept the invitation while some will not accept. Non-acceptances might be due to prior engagements or financial constraints if the party is happening, say, on the other side of the planet.

To be not invited to a party could be due to a few reasons. Maybe the person having the party is oblivious to your existence. Don’t take it personally; it’s a big world.

To not be invited could be due to the fact that they know you, just not well enough to invite you because your are not a family member or close friend. Again, don’t take it personally because the thing with friendship is that it’s a layered thing, a satellite thing. You might be cool and they might be cool, but the cosmos hasn’t made you close just yet.

To not be invited might also be a snub. Maybe you mix in the same circles but you’ve done something to piss off the invitation-giver. You can be offended by this or you can shrug it off. Depends on what kind of person you are. I tend to be a shrugger; if the friendship means nothing, it’s nothing. I turn my back and leave, flipping the bird in a nonchalant way like Iggy Pop at the end of his Big Day Out gig a couple of years ago. (Side note – did you know that flipping the bird was known as digitus impudicus in ancient Rome?).

But there’s a whole other possibility that I’ve not been able to find any reference to in any of the invitation etiquette websites I’ve been trawling recently. This is the one where the person holding the party tells you they are holding a party but they have decided not to invite you. That’s right – someone got in touch with me to tell me they have decided not to invite me to their thing. I’m not distant enough a satellite to simply ignore, not worthy of a simple non-invitation snub, but worth contacting to officially inform me that I am not invited.

This is what is known in the industry as a double snub. Or because there is a degree of nose rubbing, a dub snub ‘n rub. And I think it’s hilarious. It’s possibly something to be quite proud off, like when you write something and receive hate-mail over it.

Thing is, how far do you take this business of contacting people to tell them they are not invited to your thing. If you are telling everyone who is not invited that they are not invited, the list of non-invitees has to be pretty extensive, given the size of the human population. Bugger me - just contacting everyone you know who isn’t invited to tell them they are not invited has surely got to outweigh the list of people who are actually invited. You’re going to be a busy little you’re-not-invited-to-my-thing writer.

Oh there was an amusing qualifier... if I was upset about the fact that I was not invited I could request an invitation. Gee. Wow. Lucky me.

You humans just get weirder and weirder. Main thing that I’ve gotten out of all of this is that if I ever start a thrash metal band, it will be called Digitus Impudicus.


Y said...

I can't get my head around what I just read. Is this someone you recently had a falling out with? How did you respond when they told you about your non-invite status?

Kathryn said...

It's a bit ratty, I think. But I'm sure you'll sort it out...somehow. :)

Lee said...

In theory, Y, it's a person who I love quite dearly. We fall out a lot though. I responded with bemusement.

Not sure I'm interested in sorting it out, Kat. It is what it is.

isabelle said...

Blimey ! Well, as we say in Yorkshire, 'there's nowt as queer as folk'.

I like your mellow approach though, it most certainly is what it is.

About your other post. You know , I didn't feel sad when you said your grandma enjoyed the fireworks from afar.I think I know how she felt, it wasn't a vicarious pleasure, it was just as real. Although she didn't smell the burn and hear the bang, perhaps they seemed like stars in the sky, but just that little bit nearer.

( Oh and a happy new year to you. I'd invite you to my party, if I was having one.)

Lee said...

That is a good way of thinking about the fireworks thing, Isabelle. I was thinking how seeing the fireworks from a distance is a little like the enjoyment you get out of watching documentaries about places you know you'll never make it to.

I think the fireworks always remind of my grandmother and there is a bit of baggage there.

(Happy new year to you too. If I lived in Yorkshire and you invited me to your party, I would probably come).

Be Bop A Lola said...

You're always on my party list, Lee. Oh, and thanks for the Iggy pic. I always wonder what he's like when he's just being Jim Osterberg?

Lee said...

Thank you, MM. I only recently found out his real name. Weirdness.

meva said...

Whoever did that very weird thing about the non-inviting clearly had no lust for life.

No loss, Lee.

Birdy said...

I don't know why I feel the need to add to this, but ho hum.

It was always assumed there would be an invite to a thing on the other side of the world and we had discussed dates, times, plans and so on.

After thinking about it for some time, and realising that actually I would be on that side of the world not long after the thing on my side of the world, I felt incredibly guilty at expecting someone to pay, with both time and money, to be at an event during which I would probably only see him for 10 minutes. It would cost at least 10 days and at least £1000. For 10 minutes worth of seeing. Sorry, but I can't ask someone to do that.

To that end, I said I'm terribly sorry but I don't think I'm going to invite you because I don't want you feeling obligated to spend all that time and money when I can see you a few weeks later on your side of the world, but if that's wrong of me to think that and you really do want to come then of course you can come.

I didn't think it was that odd a thing to do, frankly. Especially since I've been told enough times how much he loathes the thing on my side of the world in the first place.

I guess I'm just not sure I'm deserving of such sneering criticism.

Lee said...

She does have a lust for life Meva. Nice Iggy pun though.

This ain't sneering criticism, Birdy. It's a bemused look at invitation etiquette. It was the actions and not the person that I was discussing.

And it's not the thing (singular) on your side of the world. It's the things (plural) on all sides of the world. I have been very clera about that to everyone for a very long time.

I think we should leave this discussion here, agree to disagree etc.