Thursday, May 1, 2014

A Pool Can Make For Quite An Attraction; Can Sometime Attract Unwanted Guests

Dear Tazi:

My wife and I moved to our middle-class suburban neighborhood two years ago. We do not have children, although many of our friends do, and we like to entertain. Normally when we entertain, we do not have to explicitly comment that it is an adults-only event and that it would be inappropriate to bring children. It is not that we do not like children; it is just that we prefer the company of adults at our cocktail parties. Plus, my wife and I both feel that a cocktail party is not the proper venue for a child.

Spring is here, which means summer will soon be arriving; and with it our annual entertaining issue. As previously stated, we "normally" do not have to explicitly state our parties are adults-only; but in the summer-time, nothing is normal. My wife and I have an in-ground pool and enjoy swimming in it for both fitness and fun. We do not mind having the neighbors over with their children during the day, so long as they keep an eye on their charges; but evening is when we entertain, and as I have said cocktails and children do not belong in the same room. Unfortunately, there are a few couples on my street who feel that rules do not apply during the summer months.

These couples are always welcome in our home, so we do not wish to offend them by asking that they leave their kids at home; but my wife and I are not comfortable with having children near the pool when it is dark and their supervision have been imbibing. Most of the neighbors have made comments to these couples, suggesting that they leave their children at home, but the usual response is to comment on how much their children just love the pool, and how they don't have the heart to leave them at home. Short of closing the pool to all of our guests - thus eliminating the one thing of interest to these children - how should we handle this situation?


Dear Party Planner:

You seem to me to be the generous sort; opening your pool to those who wish to use it, with the stipulation that parents keep an eye on the children that they brought with them. Therefore, I am going to suggest that you be direct in approaching your neighbors who insist on bringing their children to your soirees. In a polite but firm manner, let them know that daiquiris and children are not a good mix; and that their children are welcome to use the pool during the day, with parental supervision, when alcohol is not being served.

I realize that being direct is a great way to offend some people; but I believe the presence of children is the greater offense to the rest of your guests, who appear to want to relax in a grown-up environment. You do not mention how these children behave when they are in your pool; but I am guessing they can be quite rambunctious, when all the adults want to do is relax and cool-off in calm waters. If the parents in question are offended, simply restate that no offense is meant and that you are simply looking out for the comfort and well-being of all of your guests. At this point, some of your other guests will probably come to your aide to assist in driving home the point.

Rare is the person who will bite the hand that feeds it. If these couples enjoy both your company and your hospitality, I doubt that asking them to leave their children at home during the adults-only time will offend them so much that they storm out, never to return.

If the direct approach is not a direction you are comfortable taking, expect these couples to return with children in tow. At that point, simply inform them that the children can sit in or around the pool as the adults do but, for the comfort and safety of all, rambunctious play will not be allowed. The children will probably be so bored out of their minds that they will beg their parents to take them home and leave them there.

Now, may I add one last suggestion about serving alcohol at an evening pool party? I would not advise it. Alcohol and swimming can lead to drowning and other serious but unintended consequences, especially when the lighting is too dim to see well. You may want to keep the pool open during daylight hours only - something that would also solve the problem of children attending your evening get-togethers.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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