Overjoyed: Ugh, you’re getting way more shade (shade means negative judgement) than you deserve. This was NOT a typical American dinner party or Thanksgiving. This particular person was just not a very good/experienced hostess.
I think the whole not wearing shoes thing is the hostess’ perogative, but the timing and everything else was quite thoughtless.
When guests arrive at my home I have at least 2-3 appetizers at the ready in case people are hungry. I never allow more than 2 hours between appetizers and entrees.
Here’s the thing: A lot of people are new to hosting guests. They didn’t grow up doing it and they don’t know what to do. I’m a Middle Eastern American girl and I grew up cooking, serving, and hosting from the time I was little. When I was 5 years old I had a tiny set of baking dishes and spoons. By the time I was 16 years old I probably could have hosted a pretty good dinner party.
I have had many people tell me that they love coming to my house because they feel so taken care of. I consider that a compliment of the highest order. However, I have learned not to expect much from other hosts. It’s not a matter of judgement it’s just that not everyone is good at everything. I’ve gone to parties with no food whatsoever or not nearly enough food to feed everyone to satisfaction.
In my opinion hosting guests is no longer seen as an art form (in American culture), but it is. Making guests comfortable requires experience, careful planning, skill, and thinking of others before yourself. Here’s my advice: host the type of events you would like to attend and expect very little of other events before you attend.
My husband has one work friend (a guy) who is a truly excellent host. He cooks, cleans, plans impeccibly, and serves people well. He is great at anticipating the needs of others (a major key to hosting) and he always throws fantastic parties. I very much look forward to events at his house and he has told me that our parties are his favorite to attend.
Continue to be the fantastic host that you are, and be kind and polite when you are not treated as you would treat people in your home. It’s the only classy thing to do and most people really don’t know the difference. However, in time you’ll find kindred spirits who appreciate catering to others and treating people to a wonderful, well-planned evening.