Early in July my friend Chip invited me out to Fire Island for the weekend. He has part of a share in a house in the Pines. As it turns out, I was already acquainted with one of his housemates, Fernando. We had such a great time that weekend, Fernando extended me an invitation to come back again a few weeks later. I ran into him the weekend before we were headed to the beach and he confirmed again that we were on. Then, Monday morning I get an email saying that he's not going to be able to go to the beach because he's got to help his mother paint her living room. I'm bummed, but accept that family comes first and make other plans.
Well, Friday rolls around and I hear from Chip. He asks me why I'm not at the beach with Fernando, and I explain about the house painting. Then Chip says, "Oh really, because his Facebook page says he's enjoying the beach." Now I don't know how to feel! I'm hurt because if his plans changed, shouldn't I be invited out again? How do I respond?!
The Beef of the Bedless Beach Boy
"Beach bediquette" is something with which I have some familiarity, having owned a house in Provincetown that slept twelve (if you count the convertible furniture which many renters made use of, ignoring my house rule that there never be in excess of eight people in residence).
Let me begin by saying that you are one of a human sub-species whose stellar members include Kato Kaelin in O.J. Simpson's house and Klipspringer in Jay Gatsby's house. Men who make themselves useful as guests and end up enjoying comfortable lodging without the distasteful business of having to pay for it. I admire your kind and I cannot help but wonder what you brought to the house that got you a second invitation. Some guests cement their return by cleaning up messes that everyone else, hellbent on partying, ignores. Some bring aspirin and other medications. Some guests commandeer the kitchen and churn out memorable meals. Still others simply unrobe and function as eye and arm candy for the host(s).
A subset of that last group are the ones who freely share their sexual endowment and talent with the other housemates, correctly understanding that they have not been invited for the weekend because of their skill at Trivial Pursuit. These guys must perform a high-wired balancing act of sexual-social prowess that involves intramural bed-hopping without causing recriminations over breakfast.
I suppose I would have to ask Fernando why he invited you for another weekend. I bet he would tell me "There was something in the air that night. The stars were bright." (Sorry. You knew that was coming.)
On to your question. You were invited back. Then you were uninvited and given an excuse. Then you find out that Fernando went to the beach house after all.
You are right to suspect that Fernando may have "traded up," and, if so, shame on him for inventing a lie in order to be rid of you in favor of someone else.
You have rightly considered the possibility that Fernando's plans changed again after he uninvited you, and you wonder if he was obliged to un-uninvite you.
No simple answer here, but practically speaking, unless Fernando thinks he will never run into you again, he was a fool not to have un-univited you. However, if during the time between your uninviting and his decision to go to the beach house after all, he decided that he was no longer in a frame of mind to schlep a guest, his decision to go alone must be respected. This only works if indeed his original excuse - painting his mother's living room - was on the level.
I believe in karma, and I believe that what goes around comes around. This means that even if Fernando was not literally obliged to un-uninvite you, he will eventually rue that little oversight or deliberate maneuver whichever the case may be.
What should you do? The possibilities are delicious.
a)Text him, volunteering to help the poor boy with the painting.
b) Invite him to dinner or a movie or some other in-city pastime knowing that he will probably want to relax after painting all day, and restate your gratitude for his invitation even though it did not work out. Even if his mother lives outside New York, he will have to decide whether or not to extend his deception when he responds.
c) Leave evidence of your having seen the telltale Facebook info but say nothing.
d) It's now too late, but you could have hit the bars (starting with the Townhouse...) and gotten yourself invited to someone else's house in the Pines and then saunter by Fernando's place with a cheery "Bonjour-la" over the fence.
Seriously, I think you ought to ignore the un-uninviting. It will gnaw at you, and unless you are comfortable expressing to him directly your disappointment about not being un-uninvited, you will never hear what he's got to say about it.
What you really ought to do is click on iTunes and get yourself a copy of Billie Holiday singing God Bless the Child That's Got His Own.