How to Be a Proper House Guest—JOKING!

By Susie Moloney

Ms. Chic has traveled all over the world. Of course, she has stayed in some of the finest hotels, hotels so exclusive, you’ve probably never heard of them. Once she saw Lulu waiting in line, just like folks. Ms. Chic did not bother her, however, as Lulu also didn’t bother Ms. Chic. Fellow celebres know the game.

There is much to learn about hotel living, and Ms. Chic knows all the secrets. One handy tip she picked up on her commercial traveling is somewhat surprising. While the pretty soaps, shampoos, and other pampering objects are yours to keep, the maid, bellhop, and concierge are not gifts of the hotel, as it turns out. You cannot take them home when you check out. Which is a pity. And a felony.

Staying in a hotel has a brilliant anonymity to it, one that is often very attractive; be it because you are not up to the many social requirements of your jet set or because you are on the lam, a hotel offers privacy. But sometimes a girl needs to be in the comforting arms of loved ones, particularly loved ones who have a pool and sunken tubs, and open bar.

On her travels, Ms. Chic has stayed in the family homes, the summer homes, the winter homes, the autumnal homes, the second homes, the Milan homes, the beach homes, and other large, well-appointed homes of some of the most glamorous people in the world! Often by invitation!

Ms. Chic has a je ne sais quoi that has proven irresistible to her friends. Literally, je ne sais quoi (for those who do not speak en Francais like Ms. Chic) means, "I don’t know what." And on more than one occasion, Ms. Chic has quite honestly overheard, "I don’t know what she’s doing here." Ms. Chic’s mystery surrounds her, always!

There is a special etiquette assigned to staying in a private home, and of this, Ms. Chic has learned many a valuable lesson, which she will now impart to you, the hungry traveler.

Be precise-ish

Be sure to give precise arrival times, so that your hosts are not put out upon your arrival, dashing around the estate, tossing valuables into marble fountains, shrieking, "This place is a disaster!" You do not want to arrive to see the fine linens in a state of se deshabiller. So, it’s best to arrive precisely at 5 pm, which is the universally accepted cocktail hour.

Be sure to suggest that you can only "stay a little while." This leaves your departure open. People are very polite. It takes weeks for them to move from, "Oh my, the weather is turning, have you booked your flight?" to "Go, just go, please, leave my family in peace, you soul-sucking parasite." Ha ha! Ms. Chic’s friends are very witty!

Travel Lightly

Very important: Appearances are tres important, and so when one arrives at their temporary home, it’s best not to be carrying all your worldly possessions. This tends to alarm your hosts. Particularly if one’s worldly goods include one or more sofas, babies, or tasers. Best for all if you store such items at the bus depot, where keen eyes are generally turned discreetly away.

When in Rome

If one stays with the sorts of seduisant with whom Ms. Chic stays, one must realize that such people will have special rooms set aside which are used for nothing other than the guests of one’s home. These are called "guest rooms." These are often filled with lovely art and whimsical antiques. These are for decoration only. It is apparently quite the faux pas to use the tiny chamber pot placed with period realism just slightly under the bed.

Neither a Borrower, Nor a Kidnapper, Be

When your host or hostess introduces their family members, using the possessive "my," as in, "These are my children," or "This is my husband," they are not issuing a challenge. Therefore, the proper response is not, "Well, we’ll see about that!"

No, No, No

Many large country homes are very old and come with a long and cherished history. Many of these homes feature much in the way of beautifully crafted woodwork, made from actual forests. Wood from nature. Ms. Chic does not usually like nature, because it gets on your clothes, but she does appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into a beautiful, tree-made home! But one does not carve one’s initials in the doorframe as you might a tree. It is just not done. One certainly does not draw a funny penis. While it is universally true that penises are funny, your hosts will not be amused. Trust Ms. Chic on this one.

Yes, Yes, Yes

There are many ways with which to repay the kindness of one’s friends opening their home to you. Flowers are very nice. Also, not digging in the yard, even if you had a dream that there was gold out there. Remembering that their dog is not a horse; if it was a horse, it would have a tiny saddle, and it did not, did it? Good guests also don’t use their fingers, and are nice to everyone.

Whether you holiday in the Hamptons, or the Jersey Shore, or that cute place in Malibu, remember to be on your best behavior, tell the funniest jokes, wear the prettiest dress, and get in and out before the phone bills come in.

Ms. Chic hides behind the skirts of a very popular writer of fiction. You can sort of tell.