Father Tony

The Beef of the Bedless Beach Boy

Filed By Father Tony | August 28, 2008 2:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: Fire Island, pines

Father T,

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?!


Dear U,

"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.

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I'm bummed, but accept that family comes first and make other plans.

I've been reading Miss Manners far longer than I've been blogging, and I know that he doesn't have to accept that because "family comes first." Sure, he should accept that he's not going, but this Fernando character has proven that he's an impolite person, not someone who sticks to his word, and a bad person to make plans with.

I don't think that the email writer should do anything to find out why he was uninvited. Whether Fernando was painting with his mother or enjoying a day at the beach, he was snubbed and insulted all the same. (Painting with his mother was something he could have known about and planned in advance, and if it really was an emergency painting session that could not be moved, a phone call, not an email, is in order.)

I'd say this person should just give up on Fernando instead of extending another invitation to him. The world has enough polite people that folks like him can be ignored and removed from the invite list (the questioner was planning on joining in the heart of guest culture: reciprocal invitations and paying it forward... right?).

My two cents from years of education with Miss Manners....

Dear Alex,
Chances are that Fernando simply "traded up". This is, of course, rude. Hence my suggestions about ways to "play" him into getting trapped in his little deception. At best, Fernando is truthful but careless and clumsy. "Uninvited" should trade up to a better set of friends.


They might not have glamorous timeshares, but if the foundation of the relationships "uninvited" forms isn't fun vacations, then he shouldn't mind. If his motivations were just to get back into the same timeshare no matter what, though, then birds of a feather....

I am of the opinion that uninvited shrugs his shoulders, and finds some new friends. The rudeness of others is out of his control, and as you said, Karma will extract its toll. The trading up theory is most plausible, and sparing uninvited's feelings the most likely lame defense for rude behavior. The truth can be painful, but getting caught in a lie is far worse. The wise move would have been to tell the unwanted invited guest, that he was no longer invited. I think it best for the dissed lad to let go of it, and keep moving forward.

I agree with you up to a point: once an invitation is issued, one should not rescind it, but being truthful about this doesn't make it any less rude. In life, we should all learn to be careful about the friends we choose and the invitations we issue AND accept. In my wild and stupid years, I made some mistakes in all three of those areas. These days, if you get an invitation from me, it is serious. If I say I'm gonna be there, I will be there. And, if I enter your room in a bath house, you can rest assured that I won't run screaming from you after I've cranked up the dimmer on the light switch (Well, I at least promise not to scream).

I'm sure that this was intended to go elsewhere and to far deeper waters but hey I just got some cool ideas on things to do with our beach house which can sleep a dozen. I know that my 18 year old son did the exact same thing there recently.... hmm...

Well of course it is rude to rescind an invitation, and a thing I personally would not do. The lying about why his "friend" shouldn't come up for the weekend only compounded the problem further. If you are going to be a rude prick in the first place, why not own up to it instead of lying? In for a penny...

George Tadich Jr | August 29, 2008 8:56 PM

Please, just move on. You sound like a lovely, sensitive, intelligent, human being, far, far superior to the beach-bubblehead. Although, don't get me wrong, a beach-bubblehead, be he from Rehoboth, P-town, Fire Island, Venice Beach, Santa Monica, Huntington Beach or Newport Beach, can absolutely transform a weekend at the shore into the memory of a lifetime.

Just never tolerate bad manners. It's like that "Brady Bunch" episode when Marcia made a second date with the hot guy, after already accepting a date with the "decent and kind" guy. She was going to explain "that something just came up." Marcia sure looked like a douchebag. Didn't she?

My point is that Marcia could have had the hot guy and all of his buddies gangbang her all summer long. She still could have treated her first date (you)with hospitality and respect...and a seafood dinner, cocktails, and a plausible "kiss-off."

Gay people can be jackasses too despite what "Will and Grace" taught us. I hope the creep that "was painting his grandmother's house" got crabs. Not that I haven't. Not that he would care that much. Not that you should wish body lice on anyone...

However, I hope you can take some satisfaction in knowing, ahead of time, what an idiot you avoided. I bet he votes Republican.

There's the slimmest possibility, isn't there, that Fernando's mother was being SO difficult about the painting that he never got around to changing his Facebook from the original visit to FI, right?

I mean, was there actually sighting of him there, or just the word of a website...which could be sending out old information while he's sweating away with paint rollers.

The Uninviting, I suppose, is more plausible. But anything's possible when you combine family and technology.

I agree with George,until you hear it from Fernando,you are only judging and projecting.So,I see it that you have two choices:ask him,or let it go and move on.