. . . And You Can Bring

By Rogan Smith |
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Snooty Woman

Look here. When yinna want throw party, please know how yinna ga pay for it.

A surefire way to get me to not attend your function is to utter these four dreaded words: and you can bring. Why? Because it’s presumptuous and I shouldn’t be slapped with a cover charge to party with you.

Somewhere in Bahamian history, I don’t know the exact point, people started taking liberties with other people’s money. In the last two years, I have been invited to a number of events and been told what I need to bring. Not asked. Told. In some cases, I have brought items only to have the host turn around and ask why I didn’t buy a gift.

From time to time, I host small get together events at my home. When I invite my guests to join me, I handle the costs to feed and entertain them. If they offer to bring something, I refuse. Most of them will bring a bottle of wine anyway. But, I never want my guests to feel pressured to do something they don’t want to do or can’t afford to do. I’m inviting them over because I genuinely want to spend time with them.

When I was growing up and my extended family wanted to get together, we would party potluck style. But, everyone knew the type of event it was, so we were prepared.

These days, I’m invited to weddings, funerals, baby showers, wedding showers, housewarmings and most times I am told, not asked, to contribute.

A woman I hadn’t spoken to for years due to her temperament, announced on Facebook that she had bought a house in an upscale community (her words, not mine). She constantly bragged about her finances, education, places she had travelled. You name it, she bragged about it. She later inboxed me an invitation to her housewarming party. I thought, ‘wow, maybe she’s changed. This could be a fresh start.’ The next day I got another message saying she had put my name down to bring ribs or steaks. Ribs. Or. Steaks. Basically, money or more money. I didn’t even respond. The day before her event she reached out to a good friend of mine to ask her if I had received her message because she needed to know how to plan. My friend told her to plan for Rogan not being there.

Let me tell you one thing about Bahamians, and I am including myself in this, you ain’t gonna invite us to ya upscale house in ya upscale community then turn around and ask us bring no upscale meats. Because as far as we’re concerned, you can afford to buy it yourself. We ain’t breaking bread with you in luxury only to later turn around and eat bread in poverty.

My philosophy is that if you cannot afford to have a party, then don’t. It’s one thing if your friends and family volunteer to help you celebrate an event. That’s fine. But, to demand or strongly suggest that someone contribute is a no-no in my books.

I’m celebrating my birthday on Wednesday. I thought about throwing myself a party, but I figured there were smarter ways to spend that money, so I tossed that idea. Instead, I will go out to dinner with friends and I don’t expect them to treat me.

We don’t just take liberties when it comes to parties. How many times have we accepted an invitation to stand in a friend’s wedding only to regret it later on? The excitement quickly dissipates as things get more expensive.

We have couples who have a vision for their wedding – and rightfully so – but their vision needs to take the bridal party’s pockets into consideration. They shouldn’t impose their wishes on people who may not have the means to pay a high cost. Unless, of course, the bride and groom are willing to foot the bill.

Parents also suffer from the “….and you can bring syndrome.” They seem to think that their children’s godparents are ATMs. The role of the godparent is to help that child become the best person he or she can be and to be there should something happen to the parents. But, we have bastardized this role.

We expect godparents to attend every function in the child’s life – not because their presence is required, but because their presents are required.

I was in a shoe store last week and overheard a woman complaining to her friend that her child’s godmother didn’t even offer money to buy school uniforms. She completely trashed the woman and said she wished that she had never asked her to stand godmother because she doesn’t help her out. What?! We’ve got this all wrong. It is the parent’s responsibility to provide for the child. Not the godparent.

Every year, students go on summer break. We know that in September they return to the classroom. That is no surprise. Rather than that mother being angry at the parent, she should have been angry at herself for waiting until August to get her child’s items.

I know that not all parents are the same. There are parents who wouldn’t dream about imposing gift requirements on their children’s godparents or asking them to purchase uniforms, etc. I honestly believe that not asking makes a person want to give even more. If I had a friend who were experiencing financial trouble and his/her child were my godchild, I would offer to help and I wouldn’t allow my friend to refuse me.

If you only take away two things from this column let them be this: don’t place demands on other people’s finances because as we say, you never know how people’s pockets are fixed. And secondly, and most importantly, don’t inbox me for no damn ribs or steaks.

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