It’s Getting Hot in Here
Hostess Heat: hoe-stess hEEEt , noun;
1. The undesirable state of panic prior to hosting an event at ones home; traditionally occurring in the female gender.
2. Presents itself in the form of anger, stress, sighs, negative quips and general frustration; traditionally aimed solely at the male gender.
What is ‘hostess heat’? For me, the dreaded and inevitable hostess heat creeps on like clockwork the hours prior to a dinner party at my home. How can I possibly keep the house clean(ish), the toilets flushed, the children dressed, the dinner prepped, the couch dog-hairless, all the while adorned in something fabulously chic … and do it all with effortlessly? The truth is – you can’t. But, we all try. Hence, hostess heat.
My husband will claim that the severity of hostess heat is directly proportional to the size of the event multiplied with the familiarity of guests. Hence, if you are hosting a large dinner party with the boss, said infliction can present moderate to severe. If you are simply having the neighbors over for a potluck, you can expect a very mild outbreak.
What does it look like? It’s not pretty. Or contagious. But, it’s rather snarky and usually directed at the spouse and/or children and sometimes even the family pet. Perhaps it may start with the phrase, “How many times do I have to … “ or “Didn’t I already ask you to …” Miraculously, when the doorbell rings, the guests arrive, and the drinks are poured, hostess heat disappears. Hopefully, the scar tissue from the previous bout is not permanent.
Who is at risk? Any female who entertains is at risk of hostess heat. However, there is a strong genetic pre-disposition. My Mom, a fabulous hostess, suffers from a chronic moderate case. She passed that gene to me. We both love to entertain and like things to be just so. Enter hostess heat. My father and husband both know what to expect and are used to the episodes.
How can you prevent the onset of hostess heat? First, be reasonable. No one can do it all. Not even Martha. She has staff. If that doesn’t work, have a glass of wine while you get dressed (simply for medicinal purposes of course). Then, give your husband a list of easy things he can “help” with. Turn on the tv for your kids and plant them somewhere they cannot mess up what you just cleaned. Put the dog in the garage with a new bone. Don’t be overzealous with your menu. I live and die by the 30/30/30 rule: 30% homemade, 30% assembled from store-bought ingredients, and 30% outright purchased (usually dessert). Breathe. The fact is that not many people will notice if the guest room bath towels are ironed, or if the children don’t stink, or even if you secretly still have on your workout clothes under your dress.
Like many maladies of the female-variety, hostess heat cannot be cured. There is no magic inoculation or snake oil pills to be purchased online. It can only be managed. So, if you find that you too suffer from hostess heat, know you are not alone. Remember the 30/30/30 rule, pour yourself a glass, put on some new lipstick, and go forth and host…without the heat!
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