Hospitality as a virtue has been de-emphasized in most corners of the western world. That’s a shame, as hospitality as a core masculine concept has been around since antiquity. Zeus Pater was the god of hospitality in the ancient world. Of course this was more important when a journey of a hundred miles might take months, and your survival might depend upon the hospitality of strangers. A vow of hospitality made to Zeus between two men from different countries was sometimes symbolized by breaking a coin or votive disc and giving one half to each man. To break hospitality with someone so sworn was to invite divine disaster.
Growing up in the American Southeast gave me an interesting perspective on hospitality, particularly around the holidays. Thanksgiving and Christmas in the South are often elaborate affairs, excuses to flaunt prosperity and achievement, renew family ties, gossip, show off children and grandchildren, and generally affirm social position. At the heart of this effort is the opening of your home to valued friends, family and colleagues and demonstrating your ability to be genuinely gracious and hospitable.
Many men consider this responsibility a chore, a tedious exercise in filial bullshit and social posturing that they too often come out the poorer for. That is because they do not understand the full implications of this display, either socially or within their marriage. They do not realize the valuable potential for buffing their Alpha through being perceived – by their wives and everyone else – as Master of the Hall.
When a couple opens up their home to entertain there are certain areas that must be seen to: food, drink, facilities, entertainment. And while most dudes are content with a bag of chips and a keg, a big screen television, and a working toilet for their comfort, the goal of hospitality is not just feeding and entertaining people, it’s a high level social display.
As every wife knows (or should) when you have people over you are inviting them to inspect and judge you. And as every wife knows, forestalling that judgment by not entertaining doesn’t postpone that judgment indefinitely, it cements it. By entertaining well and demonstrating a sincere home and a gracious hospitality you help boost your wife’s position in the Matrix . . . and properly done that can raise your relative SR in her eyes tremendously.
How do you go about this? Start by refusing to be a victim of the holidays and embrace your role as host. Yes, that means a lot of ass-busting work on your part, but lazy isn’t ALPHA. Pitch into the pre-event cleaning with dedication and thoroughness. If nothing else, hearing how your wife spent a week cleaning and you didn’t lift a finger isn’t going to do you any favors in the bedroom. Figure out what needs to be done in terms of repair and cleaning and handle your business.
Cultivating a proactive, not reactive attitude toward the event will give you an advantage. If you know that the four areas of hospitality – food, drink, comfort and entertainment – are involved, you plan accordingly.
A bag of chips might be appropriate for a football game, but it’s actually quite easy to impress your guests with your table without expending dozens of hours in the kitchen. If neither one of you cook, then relying on catering instead of serving a trainwreck of a buffet or dinner might be less dramatic of a presentation, but it does demonstrate class and attention to detail. More importantly it places the comfort of your guests at the forefront. Practically speaking, few of us can devote the time, knowledge, and resources to creating delicious, well-presented food from scratch and remain at all charming. (I can, but I am an aberration). In a pinch, you can focus on one or two signature dishes and buy the rest.
Your menu selection is important, regardless of whether you made it or bought it. Ensure that there are at least a few all-vegetarian dishes available. For bonus points or a diverse crowd, make certain you have at least one Kosher and Vegan dish prepared. This need not be extensive. A fruit or pickle plate and an all-vegetable casserole is easy enough to prepare or procure.
Presentation is at least as important. Nothing demonstrates your dedication to hospitality more than your willingness to present your food in an attractive and pleasing manner. “First we eat with our eyes”, so make sure your food is pretty, attractively displayed, and fresh. At Stately Ironwood Manor we garnish. Everything. We’re just that way.
But the plate it’s on is as important to presentation as the scallions on top, so don’t hesitate to get out the good china for the occasion. Hell, that’s what it is there for. Use serving platters for meats, attractive serving bowls for food and wicker baskets for breads and such. Invest in some cloth napkins to dress your table, and for the sake of all the gods of hospitality get a decent tablecloth.
Ensure that each dish has the appropriate serving utensil and make sure that the plates, napkins and silverware are in close proximity. Also make certain there is a place for trash nearby and a clear spot for dirty dishes. Never let any item on your table get below 1/3 empty before removing it, or moving it to a smaller container. Make certain salt and pepper (and hot sauce, should the occasion demand) are also available.
If it is a full buffet, make sure that the traffic flow is managed and that everyone gets what they need in correct order. If it is light hors d'oeuvres or snacks, keep the area from looking like a bomb went off by checking it regularly. And keep the trash and dishes from piling up. If that means you need to jump into the kitchen to wash a few real quick, everyone will understand.
Almost as important as the food at your event is your beverage selection. The soft drink side of this is relatively easy: soda, diet soda, caffeine-free soda, water. Add in lemonade if there will be children present and iced tea if you live in the South. Coffee, tea, and hot cocoa should be available as well, as needed, particularly in cooler weather. Coffee should be freshly made with sugar, artificial sweetener, and cream available. Making a pot of decaf, particularly late in the day, is often recommended.
Make sure you have enough glasses, and have extra disposable cups at hand just in case. Stock napkins aplenty, and keep coasters at hand. People will judge you about coasters, and you don’t want to hear about a tiny detail like that for the rest of the season. Get some damn coasters. Running out of ice is never a good sign, so make sure you have a cooler of it in reserve.
Hard drinks are another matter. One can go broke with an open bar, particularly if one has my in-laws. Ensuring that you have Scotch, Rum, Tequila, Bourbon, etc. is an expensive prospect. What I usually do is mix up a big batch of a signature cocktail ahead of time and then provide a small but select number of other spirits for people who want something in particular. Add one good beer and a few bottles each of red and white wine. Keep the white chilled, the red at room temperature.
This realm involves the comfort of your guests. That begins in the bathroom, where you have ensured that there is a goodly supply of toilet paper and all incriminating prescriptions have been removed from the
medicine cabinet. Cotton balls, tissues, and an empty trash can, along with discreetly concealed feminine hygiene products, are all mandatory. Towels and extra towels should be provided, and make sure you get out the good soap. Clear away toothbrushes, deodorant and other personal items.
Make sure you have a well-stocked first-aid kit on hand, and for that matter get a cheap sewing kit, glasses repair kit, and that you have the following drugs on hand: Immodium, Benedryl, AZO Standard, aspirin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, pseudophedrine. Ensure that you have a private place for someone to nurse or change a baby, a place for coats to be securely held, and that the thermostat is set at a decent level. Having a quiet place someone can lay down is also recommended.
If possible, see to the ambiance of your place by starting a fire in the fireplace. Nothing projects warmth like fire. Candles, too, add to the effect. If your guests smoke, make sure you have a decent place for them to do so outside, with a convenient place for their butts.
Never argue or fight in front of your guests. When you are Master of the Hall, then you deal with your conflicts in private, or postpone them. Do not undermine the appearance that you are the perfect couple by trying to enlist your guests in your private issues. Nothing makes a guest more uncomfortable.
Music is almost mandatory. Keep the volume low and the tunes soft and non-distracting. Stay away from anything controversial or discordant.
If you have kids, this is a no-brainer. If you don’t, be sure you have a few kid-oriented activities (coloring books, crayons, videogames, etc.) to occupy their time, and be sure to have kid-friendly snacks and beverages at hand. And no, Bloody Mary Mix is not an acceptable child-friendly beverage.
The temptation exists to either spend all of your time with your guests or all of your time keeping the party running, but you should alternate both in fifteen minute cycles. Spend a quarter hour handling maintenance – toilet paper and ice check, dishes, glasses, trash, etc. Then spend a quarter hour greeting and mingling with guests by yourself. A quarter-hour back on maintenance, and then a quarter-hour mingling at your wife’s side.
That’s an important point: a woman’s role in the Female Social Matrix is established in part by how secure her marriage is. Being demonstrably affectionate and united in purpose, jovial and visibly happy in each others’ company, you build her position in the Matrix. Ignoring your wife allows her to be targeted by unscrupulous guests, so don’t be afraid to mate-guard if necessary.
There comes a point where the party is decidedly over . . . but there are always one or two lingerers. If they’re close friends, get them to help with the cleanup. If they aren’t, offer to call them a cab. In extreme situations you may offer them a place to crash and sleep it off, but try to avoid that unless you can’t in good conscience send them out into the world.
These are just a few suggestions for having a Very Alpha Holiday Season, if you’re a Red Pill husband. Demonstrating your value through your ability to successfully host a social even can pay huge dividends on the marital front.
But every party also carries the risk of drama. Don’t let that scare you. How you deal with adversity is one of the things she admires about you . . . and it’s your damn house. If you want to throw your drunk-ass brother-in-law out, go ahead.
There’s nothing Beta about that.