Not A Hotel Again So Soon

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

My college-graduate son has been living at home while he conducts a
job search. Then his girlfriend arrived. We are actively rooting for
them as a couple so we turned over the rec room to them and they set
it up as a mini-apartment, admittedly small. This weekend his best
college buddy and his fiancée came to visit so I relinquished my
sewing room (which doubles as guest bedroom) for the two days.
When I went in after work on Monday I was dismayed at how they left
it. Can you please give some tips for guests who will be staying in
someone’s home, with special attention to young folks who seem to
have been raised without the manners that my generation was taught
to display?

Not A Hotel Again So Soon

Dear Not So Soon:

The rules for adults are pretty much the same as for young adults: be
kind; be clean; say thanks; don’t be a pain in the patootie to have
around. But to elaborate a little more…

Generally it’s considered polite to bring the hostess a thank you gift
when you say hello. That can range from a bouquet of flowers to food.
One friend in Alaska received a hunk of freshly killed elk, but
personally I prefer pre-packaged or vegetarian gifts. It could even be a
small box of candy, or an offer to take the family out to dinner. But it
is important to make some gesture to show you appreciate the
hospitality. It’s also good manners to ask the hostess about the timing
and rhythms of the house: what time are folks up and about, and what
time does quiet evening begin? If car sharing is involved, be sure to
show proof of license and insurance. Limit showers to a reasonable
length given the extra burden on the hot water heater. Keep smoking
outside and avoid getting drunk. No drugs. When you leave, strip the
bed and fold it nicely. Wipe down the bathroom and treat it like your
own home, not a hotel with on-call maid service. Follow up with what
we used to call a bread and butter note, or at least a phone call to say
Thanks, we appreciated the time with you.