I never thought I would be googling Emily Post and proper party etiquette, but I found myself doing just that today. I was talking with a few co-workers about people not clearing their plates at informal parties and picnics and came to the conclusion that quite a few people do not immediately clear their plate from where they are sitting after finishing their meal. I started thinking back to all of the parties I have been to in my life (keggers and disturbingly unsupervised teenage house parties excluded) and how I have not only cleared my own plate, but been the designated bus-girl for most of the other guests.

This brought me to the terrifying realization that I am just as crazy as my mother! (I say this with love. Anyone who knows my Mom knows that she is a little bit type-A). I can very clearly remember standing in the kitchen with her shaking our heads at the lazy jerks at our family Christmas parties enjoying their second (or eighth) cocktail as they walked away from their empty plate on the coffee table. I never saw the look of confusion on their faces when they returned to the coffee table to retrieve their messes wondering who stole their plate before they could go back for a second helping of ham – I was far too busy scrubbing their cheesy potato caked plate and making sure it made it into it’s proper place in the dishwasher.

Party Etiquette Cleanup Crew

More disturbingly, as I delved a little deeper into my memory I found that my Mom wasn’t shaking her head at all of her lazy jerk party guests, she was shaking her head wondering how she was going through so many plates once again. Maybe she was even shaking her head in sympathy for her very clearly crazy daughter who found the need to take people’s plates away when they turned their heads. Or for those poor people enjoying a mouthful of cake only to return their fork to a crumpled napkin fluttering in the space where their plate had been. I’m now left with the realization that it’s me standing alone in the asylum on this one.

So, as I get ready to attend a graduation party this afternoon, I am going to try to keep my hands to myself and mind my own plate. If you do happen to see me cleaning up behind people that I may or may not know, remember, I am a work in progress. Don’t you judge me!