R.S.V.P. It’s French. It means répondez s’il vous plait. Translated into English it means get off your lazy ass, pick up the phone, and call the number on the invitation I sent you and let me know if you are coming to the party or not. If I don’t answer the phone, just leave a message.
Okay…okay.. translated into English R.S.V.P. actually means respond please. But for some reason, it appears that people are completely ignoring the little note that says R.S.V.P. on their invitations. They’re not responding at ALL. And I’m not sure why.
Is it because it’s French and not that many people in the good ole U.S. of A. speak French? Well, if that was YOUR excuse, you can’t use it anymore. I’ve just translated it for you and so now you know what R.S.V.P. means.
The same holds if you were going to say you don’t R.S.V.P. because YOU think it means REGRETS s’il vous plait and that you only need to call if you AREN’T coming to the party. It doesn’t. If I wanted you to only call if you weren’t planning on attending my party, I would have written the words “Regrets Only.” But I didn’t.
And while I’m at it, let me also tell you that the date written after the letters R.S.V.P. means that you are supposed to call and announce whether you are coming or not BY THAT DATE. It’s kind of like the sell by date on a package of ground beef. Or the expiration date on your carton of milk. You are supposed to do something BY THAT DATE. When the date is linked to an R.S.V.P. it means you are supposed to let me know BY THAT DATE if you plan to attend or not. It does not mean wait until the day after the party to say “Oh, by the way, sorry we missed your party, we went camping that weekend…”
And now, dear readers, I’m sure you are asking yourselves what on earth is Belle’s diatribe all about? You might even be shrugging on your jacket this very moment to run out and check your mailbox again, just to be sure you didn’t over look an invitation from me. Don’t worry. You didn’t. My anger isn’t directed at you.
It’s directed at THE PEOPLE I SENT BIRTHDAY PARTY INVITATIONS TO for Snags’ 6th Birthday. And yes, I know his birthday is over and done with and that the party has already come to pass, but sheesh! I realize I should let it go, but I can’t. This is STILL bothering me.
And it’s bothering a friend of mine too. Natalie recently mailed out invitations for her daughter’s birthday party. When we received ours, I picked up the phone to call and say that yes, Snags would very much like to come to the party and we were looking forward to it. My friend then informed me that I was the ONLY person who had responded so far, and she was getting a bit worried. Why weren’t people responding? Had the invitations been lost in the mail? Did people not like her daughter?
I assured her that people loved her daughter. Her daughter is beautiful, and smart, and friendly. I explained that I had experienced the same thing over Snags’ party invitations. I told her how I had sent out 15 invitations and only half that many bothered to respond.
“So what should I do?” my friend asked.
I suggested she give it some more time. Be prepared, I told her, to feed and party with all the children you invited, but understand some of them won’t show up. And they won’t tell you they aren’t going to show up. And then, I went on, understand that some children WILL show up even though their parents haven’t called to tell you they are coming. And those children will likely bring uninvited brothers and sisters with them. It’s a real mess, I agreed. But plan for a full house and maybe half will come. “You’ll probably have leftovers,” I told her.
I’ve discussed this issue with friends and co-workers alike. I’ve asked them all what they would do, if they sent out invitations with a clear request for people to R.S.V.P. and the R.S.V.P.s weren’t coming in. Many people said they’d pick up the phone themselves and call their intended guests. They would outright ask people if they were coming. Others said they wouldn’t call. They said they would hope for the best but expect the worst.
I think in the future I won’t write R.S.V.P. on my invitations at all. I think I will come up with something new, an R.S.V.P. alternative. I will write it on the invitations in fat red magic marker so it’s hard to miss.
I’ve thought of a few already:
C.A.T.M.I.U.R.C.T.T.P.O.N.B.4.12.O.S. (call and tell me if you are coming to the party or not before 12 on Saturday)
W! T.I.W.E.& S.D.S.A.O.Y.K.I.U.D.C.A.T.M.I.U.R.C.T.T.P.O.N.B.T.D.S. (Warning! This invitation will explode & spread dog shit all over your kitchen if you don’t call and tell me if you are coming to the party or not by the date specified).
Or, maybe simply: