I Can't Even...
by Sara "Zarine" Jessop
Recently I hosted a gathering at Alchimia Lupanar wherein I sent out invitations that requested a reply. You see, when planning a gathering of any sort it can be quite helpful when guests have the decency to let you know if they will be coming or not, or even if they are unsure. There are many reasons why one may wish to know how many people will attend a given event and it is quite easy to accommodate such a wish, or so one would think.
RSVP stands for “Répondez, s’il vous plaît.” It come from a fancy language that not many of you are likely to know, but in the common tongue it simply means “Please reply.” Not “respond if you feel like it”, not “respond after the event is over”, and certainly not “completely ignore this invitation like an uncivilized heathen.” It means respond in a timely and honest manner.
Now, dear reader, there are many ways that an invitation might find it's way to you and an appropriate way to respond to each. I will address each of these ways as best I can. Most invitations will direct you in which way you should respond, and those directions if available should always be followed.
If your invitation arrives via the village postal service there a few ways you might respond. There may be a response card enclosed. Simply fill it out, slip it into the return envelope that should include a postage stamp if your host isn't a moronic pleb, and enter it into your mail receptacle. If the host did not include a return envelope or a postage paid envelope, then they have broken a very important social rule and it's completely acceptable to publicly shame them for doing so, or you may simply ignore their request for a response. If they ask for your reply by magical means such as telephone calls or Elf Mail simply reply in the appropriate magical manner as requested. If there are no instructions on how to respond a handwritten letter to the return address is an acceptable way to reply.
If an invitation is posted publicly on the realms wide Argument Board, also known to many as the Book of Faces, there is a very easy way to respond. You are either “going” or “not going”. Simply check the appropriate box. There is also a way to mark yourself as “maybe” or “interested”. Contrary to popular belief, neither of the latter responses are actually an appropriate long term reply. They are a short term response to use while you figure out if you can find child care for your little mosnter, or if your great grandfather's one hundredth birthday is really all that important for you to be at. Once you realize that having children was a huge mistake and you can't have fun anymore or decide that great grandpa will just have to live another year, change your reply to reflect whether you will be there or not. Don't make your host guess which decision you made. If you truly will not know until the last minute whether or not you will attend, make sure to speak to the host personally and explain. They will likely be alright with it provided you treated the situation with respect.
If an invitation is extended to the Realms as a whole via the magical Realms Net, you have a few options. For some events it is required that you respond. In which case, the definition of “required” is “to call for or exact as obligatory; ordain” and it means that you must do it if you are to attend. There will likely be a deadline by which you must respond and sometimes payment is also required. Instructions on how to both respond and pay will be provided. So do it, it's not very difficult. If you find it overly difficult to comply then perhaps you should stay home and evaluate your life anyways. Maybe sign up for a class or two at your local educational facility where they can teach you simple life skills like not drooling on yourself or how to tie your shoes.
Sometimes an event advertised on Realms Net will not require you to reply. In this case it is acceptable not to, though if you are sure that you will attend the considerate thing to do would be to RSVP anyways. And, dear reader, for the loved of all that is fancy, please reply if you have dietary restrictions. No feastocrat wants to slave away for days and then hear that you forgot to mention your gluten free, fat free, dairy free, tact free lifestyle and that you could they please make you something so that you don't starve. You are all lucky that I don't cook, because you would indeed starve. If you forgot to respond with your dietary restrictions simply bring your own food. Though I have a hard time believing that you forgot to tell someone that you're a vegan...
While this covers most of the ways that you can receive invitations and how you should reply, there are a few other important things to take note of.
Do not change your RSVP last minute unless it is completely unavoidable.
Do not ask if you can bring a guest or children to a private event. If bringing guests and/or children is alright it will be noted on the invitation. Asking these questions puts your host in an uncomfortable position and I don't know about you, but I don't like uncomfortable positions unless I am being paid for it.
Let the host know that you will be late as soon as you know you will be. “Zarine I'm going to be late..” To an event that started a half hour ago? Really? You can't get in your time machine and be on time? And if you simply don't show at all when you said you would, you'd better have a damn good reason. If healers and priests weren't involved, or the fire brigade or village militia didn't need to respond, it wasn't an emergency.
The moral of the story, dear reader, is be considerate of your host's time and resources. They were considerate enough to invite your sorry arse, you can be considerate enough to RSVP.
See you next Tuesday.
Zarine is the proprietor and Madam at Alchimia Lupanar, a magic marshal approved practitioner of medicine, and has 35 years of experience in giving her unsolicited opinion.