What makes a good hostess, or host?
A good host someone who opens their home and their heart to you, who makes you feel their home is your home, your basic needs never going neglected. Weather it be a cocktail party, dinner for eight, picnic for two or a weekend by the sea. A host should have a clean, (within reason), clutter free and warm environment to greet you. Your host should be provider and tour guide, taking you on a journey away from your day to day, a magical place where good food, conversation and comfort rule with an iron fist.
Transversely as a guest you bear half the responsibility as well, or at the very least forty percent. A good guest should be respectful of your hosts possessions and property, considerate to likes and dislikes of the host, accustomed to the ways of land and most of all, along for the ride. A gift is always a nice touch and a staunch refusal to allow your host to do dishes goes a long way with the Miss Manners crowd, as a host your job now becomes to dissuade your guest from toiling in the dish pit, this battle should take no longer than 7 minutes and the results will vary depending the participants. If your an overnight guest, leaving the room the way you found it and doing some manual labor, yard work, making the morning coffee or building a sculpture, is always appreciated.
The simple nuance of the host/guest relationship is a dance, best done with familiar partners, though there is something to be said for bringing a group of strangers together for a magical night . In a time of the Internet, instant messaging, email relationships, the simple act of dinner together need to be cherished. Like the fading elegance of the Thank You note, putting pen to paper, stamp to tongue, a visceral connection in recognition of time well spent.