December 7, 2006

The "bloggerlike behavior" at Evite.

As invitations are set up to encourage a reply that all the other recipients can see:
And while some people simply refuse to respond to Evite invitations, countless others find themselves composing clever detailed responses that require so much effort, they end up R.S.V.-Peeved.

Just last week Carolyn Fitzpatrick, 32, a retired lawyer from Wollaston, Mass., spent 20 minutes drafting a “no” response to an Evite.

“Twenty precious minutes,” said Ms. Fitzpatrick, the mother of a 3-month-old and a 2-year-old. “Do you have children? You don’t understand what 20 minutes to yourself is.”

So why bother?

“There’s pressure,” Ms. Fitzpatrick said. “You’re on stage.”
Ha. You don't sound too "bloggerlike" to me. The article goes on to print the chirpy regret she took 20 minutes to write and how much personal vanity she invested in the project. I suspect that the author of this NYT "Style" piece is friends with Fitzpatrick, heard her tale of tiny woe and then got the idea to concoct the "Style" piece.

Well, do people want to go to parties or not? Why not send out invitations for parties that will never even exist and just create a forum for everyone you know to write a message bragging about all the things they are so busy doing this time of year?


Too Many Jims said...

I am kind of suspect of the notion that the author is a friend of Ms. Fitzpatrick's. I'd be pissed if a friend of mine revealed my vanity by saying that the response "had to be so witty that invitees she did not even know would find themselves wishing she was coming to the party." Plus there is the unflattering point that it took her 20 minutes to draft that response. Then again I wouldn't describe myself as a retired lawyer at the age of 32 particularly if the reason I made the career choice was to care for my 3 month old and 2 year old (which I am not disparaging, incidentally). Maybe this is all some level of NYC/Manhattan cool that I can't comprehend.

Goesh said...

"chirpy regret" - luv it

Ann Althouse said...

TMJ: I think the women involved believe it's flattering. As to cool, to me it sounds as cool as the usual Christmas letter.

Susan said...

Jims, You caught one of the same things that caught my attention: retired at 32? If she were a competition swimmer, maybe, but a lawyer?

Dave said...

I got an evite to a holiday party and responded "Well, I'm going to be in Cozumel then, but for you I'll fly back."

(The party is in NYC.)

My friend, of course, recognizes my sense of humor and knows I loathe beaches.

But she sent me an email "My sister saw your response and thinks you're crazy to fly back just for my party. I tried to explain your response to her but she didn't get it."

So....interpret that as you will.

Atticus said...

Who are these people who feel so free to be snotty about their the NEW YORK TIMES?

Tim Sisk said...

"Carolyn Fitzpatrick, 32, a retired lawyer from Wollaston, Mass." ?!?

Can one retire at 32? Was she that good a lawyer? Or is this a way to say that she made the choice to stay at home and raise her child while not losing her fem-cred?

Tim Sisk said...

Sorry, I missed too many jims comment which expressed the same idea.

reader_iam said...

Boorish, crass and tacky.

Figures we'd find a way to turn a simple ritual of courtesy into a form of exhibitionism. (That applies to the invitation as well as the replies.)

Joseph Hovsep said...

Ezra Klein noted this phenomenon a few months back:

As for the "retired lawyer" I'd guess she "retired" from the law and is planning to work in another field. Its not uncommon at all for lawyers to decide after a few years that practing law isn't for them, or, in this case, to take time off for parenting and then move on to some other field. I don't think the decision to switch should be viewed as something to be ashamed of. In fact, suffering in a career that you've found you don't like seems like the bigger shame.

But, then again, the relevance of including her status as a former/retired lawyer is a bit obscure, unless the writer wants to show that this phenomenon is an affliction of certain kinds of professionals (as Ezra noted in his post on the subject).

Ann Althouse said...

There is an official status called "retired from the practice of law." It means you don't have to pay dues but you're still a member of the bar.

Joseph Hovsep said...

I think I read too much into too many jims' comment, which led to my above comment about whether one should admit to having retired from the law.

Anonymous said...

"Sorry, I'll be busy paying my daddy's whores that night."

That ought to hold 'em for awhile.

PatCA said...

Now I feel really dumb. I just say yes or no when I get an evite!

I have noticed nowadays that there is a certain loss of face in admitting that you are indeed not busy enough to decline an invitation.

Since we did away with etiquette of entertaining, the entire thing has gone downhill, IMO.

MadisonMan said...

I'm hoping this is an east coast burden. Here in Madison, when I get an evite, I just say Yes or No. I didn't realize I'm being judged by my acceptances/declines.

For someone who has to include in her description that she's a retired lawyer (this is relevant to the story how, exactly?), however, I'm unsurprised that she feels pressure to slam her inlaws in the national press. I hope they're reading.

MadisonMan said...

btw, Ann, I agree that Ms. Fitzpatrick knows someone at the Times and that's why this filler is in the paper. I don't know if they are friends, however, as Ms. Fitzpatrick doesn't come off looking very good here.

Jim Hu said...

Your post reminded me to reply to two Evites in my inbox... and to experiment with what you can put into the response box. It's not can't put in HTML for links!

Anonymous said...

Two of my brothers, and their families, live in Wollaston. Wollaston never struck me as being a bastion of pretentiousness. Fitzpatrick sounds like an idiot, and I'd be mortified if such a write-up ever appeared anywhere about me.

I quit software development eight years ago to stay home with the kiddos -- when I was laid off I didn't look for another job -- but I have never consider myself "retired". "Retired" means you're not working for pay anymore, nor do you intend to ever do so again. Fitzpatrick may never practice law again, but there has to be a better way of saying "she stopped being a lawyer to care for her children" than "retired." Wouldn't "former" do?