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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Host party they’d like to attend

Washington Post

Dear Carolyn: My brother and his wife are expecting a little boy this spring. I’ve offered to host the baby shower.

The problem is that the parents-to-be are putting all kinds of conditions on the shower. They want it to be co-ed. They also don’t want to open gifts at the shower.

I really don’t like these ideas, and wish I hadn’t offered to host the shower.

These two have a habit of being very bad hosts when they host parties themselves. They’ll turn off the heat to save money and not care about the comfort of their guests. They serve minimal food and you always leave hungry. I just don’t want to be seen as an awful hostess so I can accommodate their preferences. – Baby shower dilemma

Bias is a funny thing. You see these two as bad hosts, and so you’re using that lens to view their baby-shower preferences as hostile to the guests you’ve agreed to host. And it made (by my count) two requests into “all kinds of conditions.”

As a total stranger, I don’t see your brother and his wife as anything – and I see their two requests as generous to the guests at your shower. Merciful even.

I get that showers are vehicles of tradition and that every tradition has its true believers.

Anecdotally, though – and personally, so there’s my bias – I’ve seen people turn on the whole institution of baby and bridal showers with increasing vehemence.

But the last straw is that “traditional” showers in the registry age are arguably just women watching an honoree open gift after gift after gift of things she herself picked out and knew she’d be receiving.

This may still not be the party you’d like to host (or, ah, the hosting example you’d like to set for these two?). But you offered to host a party in their honor, and this is the party they’d be honored to attend.

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