As Gothamist read solutions from the NY Times' Style & Entertaining editor, William Norwich to readers' entertaining questions, we nodded our head ("Yes, when preparing a meal for friends, we shouldn't bend to their crazy diet of the moment!" "Yes, discussing weather at parties is always safe!") Until we hit the last question:
Q. Is it rude for a guest to ask to use a host's computer to check e-mail or surf or play games?
A. Why would a guest ask to do this? Their desire to disassociate from the social interchange is not a good sign of their mental wellness and, of course, it is downright bad manners. Would you let a guest try on your clothes? Asking to use someone's "personal" computer is like asking for a piece of paper from someone's diary. Of course, he or she who wants to use your computer is clueless and will probably need a major explanation of why you are saying no. This may also include professionals of great self importance like doctors and lawyers who think their emergencies are your emergencies. They aren't.
This might be where the generational split lies. While Gothamist understands it's rude to surf the web while at a party, checking email can be like checking your voicemail/home answering machine. Sure, it'd be great if everyone had a Treo, but sometimes they don't - and it's the same principle, someone sneaking off to make a call on the cell. Maybe it's just because Gothamist would gladly let someone check their email if there was a small gathering at the house. And maybe it's because we socialize with fellow heathens. Or maybe it's because we're horribly addicted to checking our email - Gothamist looks forward to deleting our spam.