Posted at 7:30 AM Feb 16, 2010
By Andrea Grimes
It's not polite to disrespect one's elders, but since I've never met last Sunday's letter-writer to Ask Amy, I don't so much feel like I'm disrespecting my elders as I am disrespecting some old guy who thinks it's beneath him to pour a pot of tea for his family, that being wimmin's work and all.
But I get ahead of myself. Here's what "Joseph" wrote into Ask Amy on Valentine's Day, thereby making him our Sad Bastard of the Week:
Our grandson recently got married and one Sunday afternoon the newlyweds paid us an unexpected visit. After visiting for a short while, I thought my wife should have offered them some coffee or tea.
I would like to know who should take the initiative to make an offering. I feel that the wife (who is the home-maker) should have taken it upon herself (or should have asked me) to make a lunch or something to offer to our guests.
I know that we made a bad impression on the young couple. What is the correct way to handle this kind of situation?
I know we don't have to be surprised that some old guy thinks it's his wife's job to Do Everything while he sits by and watches or waits for orders. A different time, different ideals and all. But we can be amused at the mental image of Joseph struggling to stay silent in his chair while secretly seething that his wife has not yet made tea, but being so overpowered by his strong moral sense that only wives can make tea (or give their husbands permission to do so) that he cannot bring himself--nay, he just cannot do it, for the order of the universe depends upon it!--to boil some damned water himself.
Which is, of course, Amy's answer: boil some damned water your own self, Joseph:
I just love that Joseph sticks to his guns with regard to gender roles over being polite to guests. That's dedication. Perseverance. Supreme assholery.
However, it is your home too. You don't need to wait for your wife to come up with hospitable gestures, even if she is the home-maker and you are accustomed to following her lead at home.