I’m Right, You’re Wrong: Fashionably Late

by Marinka on August 14, 2011

As if this whole credit downgrading scam wasn’t bad enough, friends, we’re on the brink of an international incident. Thank goodness I’m Right, You’re Wrong is here for the rescue!

Because apparently in our family, a 7 pm dinner invitation means two different things.

Dilemma: When someone invites you to dinner at 7 pm, what time should you arrive?

Disagreers: Marinka and Husbandrinka

Position One: I understand 7 pm to mean 7 pm. Therefore, if I am feeling extra-generous, I arrive a few minutes ahead of time to help the hostess set up, so that we can begin eating promptly at 7 pm and no one has to endure hunger pains.

Position Two: It’s rude to arrive before 7:30. Everyone knows that 7pm is code for 7:30pm.

Ok, so usually I don’t disclose which side I’m on, so as not to prejudice anyone, but come on.

Can we agree to use Universally Accepted Numbers, where 7=7 and not some New Math From The Depths of Hell where 7 > 7?

And while I’m at it, who do I have to petition to get the 7s crossed? Because haven’t we all suffered from the whole “is it a 7 or a 1?!” confusion enough? For all I know, the stores are 1-77.

Where do you come out on this whole thing? Fashionably Late or On Time? (And do you cross your 7s? What would it take for you to start?)

And for more I’m Right, You’re Wrong fun, go here and weigh in on the whole texting issue.

One year ago ...

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{ 67 comments… read them below or add one }

Louise August 14, 2011 at 9:50 pm

If youre invited over for 7, then 7 is when you should arrive, not 7.30. And I totally cross my 7’s =]

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Marinka August 14, 2011 at 9:51 pm

Oh my goodness! Are you European? And very beautiful?

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Louise August 15, 2011 at 10:38 pm

Actually, I’m from New Zealand. But yes I am very beautiful

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the mama bird diaries
Twitter:
August 14, 2011 at 9:52 pm

Ditto to Louise. 7 is 7. And I also cross my sevens because I hate to cause any confusion for another person.

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Halala Mama
Twitter:
August 14, 2011 at 9:53 pm

7 is 7…and if you come to my house, it means we are sitting our asses down to actually eat at 7. So be here. Or eat cold food.

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OHmommy
Twitter:
August 14, 2011 at 10:17 pm

I cross my 7’s. Always.

Showing up late is disrespectful to your party, in my opinion. Actually it’s one of my biggest pet peeves. I value time and waiting around for people to show up in a restaurant for 30 minutes is rude.

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TulipTree August 14, 2011 at 10:23 pm

On time! My grandparents always came 1 hour early, my (FORMER, DUH) BF always got there 30 minutes late. Both made me exceedingly anxious. Although, if it’s a party, because I have the social anxiety, I like getting there 10 or 15 minutes late, but if it’s an intimate gathering and the hostess said 7? I’ll get there at 7. Clearly, you are right in this argument. Also, I cross my sevens. Those who don’t are heathens.

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Eric
Twitter:
August 14, 2011 at 10:50 pm

Personally, if your friends invite you to dinner at 7, get new friends. They eat too damn late.

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Brittany (BrittanyandTahn) August 14, 2011 at 10:52 pm

7 means 7.

Totally on your side.

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Magpie August 14, 2011 at 10:53 pm

I always cross my sevens. And I show up when you tell me to.

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Anthony from CharismaticKid
Twitter:
August 14, 2011 at 11:13 pm

I don’t think about these things. I think i’d bring myself into mental hell if I was worrying about how I was viewed.

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Julie McGuire
Twitter:
August 15, 2011 at 12:03 am

Seven means seven. No if’s and’s or but’s about it. If people come much later, I fear that no one is coming and I’m sitting in front of a stove looking like a buffoon and drinking my cheap wine by the gulpful. Show up at 7:00 or you will have a drunk hostess on your hands.
Twitter: jmcguire5

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eevie August 15, 2011 at 12:03 am

I cross my 7s, but I moved here from the soviet republics when I was 9. Crossing 7s is the one true way, sorry to say, America.

Also, I like to show up on time and begin hyperventilating when we are not on time. I think my husband, however, totally enjoys being late and waltzing in at 7:30. 7 means 7. Crossed.

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suburbancorrespondent
Twitter:
August 15, 2011 at 12:03 am

I cross my 7’s. And I am fervently punctual. But, with certain recurrent invites (such as the New Year’s Eve party we attend each year), I’ve learned that 7 means 8.

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Sarah August 15, 2011 at 12:13 am

I cross my 7s. (and Zs, but that’s a different argument).

Unless you have specific information to suggest otherwise, 7 means be there at 7 give or take 5 minutes for someone’s watch being set differently. Tardiness is disrespectful and rude, and a call should be made enroute (if possible) to apologize and update a new arrival time if you are delayed. (For example, drawbridge over a river is up, train blocking the road, car accident, etc.)

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tracy
Twitter:
August 15, 2011 at 12:15 am

I am also a seven crosser. Funny story – My parent’s house number is 2477 in a very teeny town in Indiana… they have had the same mail carrier forever and they have been receiving post from me, the seven crosser, forever. YET – now for the 55th time running – I get EVERY letter I send to them BACK to me with the note “no known numbers, return to sender.” My poor parents think I keep forgetting their birthdays, anniversary, Christmas.

I personally think at this point the mail carrier is just fucking with me. But dammit I will not uncross my sevens!!!!!!

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No Ordinary Momma August 15, 2011 at 1:07 am

7 means 7…and it should be crossed. While you are on this campaign to unify the way we write numbers, can you please address the number 4 as well? I like it closed on top, not open like a fucked-up-pitch-fork.

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Lex August 15, 2011 at 1:18 am

I’ll be the naysayer – 7pm means anywhere from 7.15pm up until 7.30pm. And PLEASE DON’T COME A FEW MINUTES EARLY. I’ll still be running around in my sweats with the kids screaming upstairs.

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Amy Z August 15, 2011 at 1:25 am

I am an “on time is 10 minutes early” kind of person. So for a dinner at 7 sort of thing, I would arrive by 6:50 at the latest. Lateness infuriates me.

Also? I totally cross my 7s. I always have.

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Tracie
Twitter:
August 15, 2011 at 2:21 am

The stores are 1-77. I’m dying over here reading that.

Yes. 7 means 7.

The 7 should be crossed.

People arriving at 7:30 should not expect food. (or at least not food that an unhappy hostess hasn’t mixed with something treacherous).

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Stasha
Twitter:
August 15, 2011 at 3:12 am

Cross and late is never fashionable.

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Alison@Mama Wants This
Twitter:
August 15, 2011 at 3:55 am

7 is 7. Can someone please tell the Malaysians that 7 is 7?? NOTHING ever starts on time here. 7 is apparently code for 8. Nutsuckers.

I cross my 7’s. I have no reasonable explanation for that.

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Zina August 15, 2011 at 4:18 am

I cross my Zs. So that people won’t think my name is 2ina.

Also I have to disagree with No Ordinary Momma: it’s better to write 4 open at the top, so as not to confuse it with 9.

Also, of course you are right about not showing up late for dinner. But what is this whole fancy “dinner invitation” thing, anyway? We don’t do that here in Utah where we have too many mouths to feed already.

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From Belgium August 15, 2011 at 7:08 am

Guests should arrive between 7 pm and 7 :15 pm, if they are later they must call. And for the love of God do not come early, chances are you’ll find the hostess in her underwear.

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christy August 15, 2011 at 8:17 am

Ooh I love that I get to chime in on this. I think 7pm means 7pm. I have some dear friends who are French, and they INSIST 7pm means no earlier than 720pm, and preferably 730pm. Is your husband French?!

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Augmented Gem August 15, 2011 at 8:40 am

7 means 7, not later than. I dislike being late/having late arrivals.

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Bill
Twitter:
August 15, 2011 at 9:04 am

I firmly believe 7 means 6:45. If you’re not 10-15 minutes early, you’re late. My wife believes 7 means 8. She thinks, “why come to a party when no one will be there yet?” We compromise and show up at 7:15. It kills me every time.

Uncrossed – If you can’t tell the difference, you’ve gotta work on your penmanship.

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MommyTime
Twitter:
August 25, 2011 at 12:35 am

Argh. 7 never means 6:45. Particularly for a dinner party. At 6:45, I am not wearing makeup yet, something still needs to be swept/tidied/tossed into a closet, and the kitchen still looks like I’m cooking in it rather than serving from it. I need those 15 minutes to make the transition from the hurricane to the calm hostess. I would so much rather have someone arrive at 7:15 than at 6:45. For a big party, though, where there will be lots of people and no sit-down dinner, the arrival time is more likely to skew later, so 6:45 is radically too early amongst my friends at least. 7 would then = 8. I know. Confusing.

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Peajaye
Twitter:
August 15, 2011 at 9:27 am

My aunt would always show up at least an hour late for dinners, then dominate the conversation with the how’s and why’s of her tardiness, then end up staying about 5 hours too long. So I began issuing invitations such as: “Get here whenever you want, but drinks are at 7, antipasto’s at 7:30, dinner’s at 8, dessert’s at 10, and we’ll be done by 11. We have to work the next morning.”

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Kati
Twitter:
August 15, 2011 at 9:31 am

I absolutely cross my 7s, without fail. But, also my Z’s, so take that as you will.

Okay, so 7 PM for dinner means 7 . Why on earth would you arrive half an hour late to a dinner engagement? That to me seems unspeakably rude, and leaves the hostess to try to keep the dinner warm and (in my case) listen to the kids whine that they are going to starve to death any second now…

Admittedly, I’m still twitchy from inviting people over for dinner at 6 last week, planning it perfectly to be ready to serve at exactly 6:15, and they arrived at 6:45. It was lasagna. At least they had a valid excuse, but still. Twitchy.

Ohhh…yeah….I don’t want people too early, either. 10 minutes either way is no big deal. Any more than that? No.

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Kristine
Twitter:
August 15, 2011 at 9:33 am

Holy seven crossers!

::drinks holy water::

Is this some kind of a cult?

(Seven means seven on the dot. UNCROSSED. Ahem.)

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Adventures In Babywearing August 15, 2011 at 9:34 am

I try to be right on time but am usually a LEETLE late. Sometimes early and then will definitely help the hostess, but hopefully just RIGHT ON THE EXACT STATED TIME.

Steph

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DawnA August 15, 2011 at 9:38 am

Always ON TIME or a few minutes early. Especially if someone is cooking! It is a big deal to get everything ready and to the table at the same time. You certainly don’t want to be the guest to mess that up. And I cross my 7’s.

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Kristen
Twitter:
August 15, 2011 at 10:32 am

I cross my 7s too.

If someone invited me to dinner at 7:00, I would try to arrive 5-10 minutes early. I had an anal hockey coach in college who made us think that being somewhere right on time actually meant we were late, so early to me = on time.

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Megan August 15, 2011 at 10:40 am

As a hostess, if I tell you to come at 7, please do not come at 6:50. I will not be ready for you. Also, dinner will not be at seven, it’s cocktails and nibbles first. Be there between 7 and 7:15. Later than that is probably not good for a dinner thing.

I want to cross my sevens, but since I don’t actually write anything much anymore I always forget.

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Becky
Twitter:
August 15, 2011 at 11:40 am

I vote “on time”. Always. Late is sucky.

But Husbandrinka is probably still peeved at not getting to go to the premiere of Russian Dolls , so he’s just giving you a hard time.

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Merideth August 15, 2011 at 11:45 am

7 means 6:55. What is worse than showing up late is showing up late with a guest. Oy! that one kills me every time.

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Kati
Twitter:
August 17, 2011 at 10:22 am

Oh my gosh YES. I have a friend who – EVERY time I have invited her over – has brought someone else with her, without even telling me in advance. Just shows up with someone I either barely know or have never met. And shows up whenever she feels like it, usually about an hour late…because she’s waiting on the uninvited guest to be ready.

Makes me a slightly less likely to invite her over again.

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Anna Nonamus
Twitter:
August 15, 2011 at 12:04 pm

I started crossing my 7’s in HS cause I thought it looked cool, and still do it to this day. Heck, a sloppy 7 might also be a 2!

And I agree- 7 is 7. 7 is not 7:30. It isn’t 8. Fashionably late is fine for events where there is no planned sit down- going to a party, going to a wedding reception during cocktail hour, etc.

Dinner at 7 is dinner at 7. Being late doesn’t make you fashionable. It makes you an asshole.

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pam August 15, 2011 at 12:19 pm

For a dinner party you must show up on time. Seven means Seven.

No I don’t cross my 7’s, no I’m not European, yes I’m quite beautiful, thank you…

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leanne August 15, 2011 at 12:43 pm

7=7. For sure. And I cross those 7s. And I cross the letter z, too, for good measure.

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Polish Mama on the Prairie
Twitter:
August 15, 2011 at 12:58 pm

To me, 7 means 7. And not a minute sooner. Because if it me having a guest over, I am cleaning, cooking, and making sure that the kids are not (oh, who am I kidding? Of course they are) destroying my cleaning efforts.

So, usually I arrive 5 minutes later to give the host an extra couple of unexpectedly needed minutes to prep.

And I totally cross my 7’s! Why doesn’t everyone?

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Catherine
Twitter:
August 15, 2011 at 1:00 pm

Maybe I’m a prude but to me 7 means 6:50. The term ‘fashionably late’ was coined for those who have no concern for anyone but themselves, people who can’t tell time and men.

And I cross my 7’s. Every time I do I think I should stop doing that. But I’m too old to give it up now.

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dadsprimalscream August 15, 2011 at 1:18 pm

Your husband is confused. For dinner you should always be on time. 7:00 means 7:00.

If it is just a party, in other words, the host hasn’t had to cook dinner, arrange reservations or whatever, then I agree that 7:30 or fashionably late is OK. But for DINNER it’s rude and passive aggressive to show up after 7:00

Dinner – on time
Party – just a bit late

PS Cross my 7s only when I think it’s unclear that it’s a 7

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Ilana
Twitter:
August 15, 2011 at 1:21 pm

My husband is very prompt and I am less than. So he is always super annoyed with me when we must go somewhere together. By his definition, we are always late but what does that mean when regardless, we are ALWAYS the first to arrive?

SO.

Position TWO.

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Laurie August 15, 2011 at 1:21 pm

I cross my 7s and my Zs. I couldn’t even really tell you why and when I started but I think it was to keep them from being confused with 1s and 2s. Of course my 1s still look like lower-case Ls but I can’t do it all people!

You show up when you are told to show up. If it is a very good friend I’ll call about an hour or so before hand to see if they would like me there a few minutes early to help with set up or if I can bring a last minute item like a bag of ice. But I never alter the time without the host/hostesses special permission.

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Dana
Twitter:
August 15, 2011 at 1:55 pm

Seven means 7 — crossed!

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Sophie@Fabrications August 15, 2011 at 2:30 pm

Not only do I cross my 7’s, but I hate it when guests invited for 7 arrive at 7:30 come 8:45, leaving me hungry, upset and with cold food. This type of guests are never invited twice to my home, not even for afternoon coffee.

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Abbey August 15, 2011 at 2:31 pm

I follow the do unto others approach. I am inevitably late on finishing with my cooking (underestimating time to cook turkey, forgot to actually make appetizer) and bless my guests who show up late. By them showing up late, I can finish, get cleaned up (from toiling in the kitchen), and appear relaxed when they arrive. Added bonus, I get to be a bit righteous for them being late. And, oh my god, I hate the people that show up early. If I say 7, it means I will be ready no earlier than 7. If I meant 6:30 and want help cooking I’d ask.

Seven crossing. I think it’s pretty and very international looking. I really wanted to take up the crossing when I was younger. I think I instead spent time putting hearts to dot my ‘i’s. That said, less work is more in the day to day, even when it’s a mere stroke. I say save the cross on the seven except for formal occasions (wedding invites) and stop putting a hat on the ones to confuse others it might be a seven.

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Brenda K-C August 15, 2011 at 3:04 pm

There is no such thing as fashionably late Late is late and late is rude!
Cross the 7 to quit the confusion. And by the way, today’s date is 15/08/11!

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Stimey
Twitter:
August 15, 2011 at 3:22 pm

I say that 7 = 7, but I am ALWAYS the first person to arrive and then the host and I sit awkwardly together for a little while before anyone else arrives, so I might not be the best person to listen to. However, when I am the host and I sit sadly by myself between 7 and 7:30, I realize how many people think 7 = 7:30.

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Zee August 15, 2011 at 3:25 pm

7 is 7. Being late is rude unless you have a darn good reason. I don’t get annoyed if someone arrives late to my events, but I do everything possible to arrive on time.

That being said, I no longer arrive much earlier than the time listed. I once arrived 15 minutes early to a friend’s bridal shower and everyone was still in sweats and curlers, and just starting to make the food. The party didn’t start until 2 hours later than the listed start time, which is normal in their culture (which is different from my wasp-y culture). I had 2 hours to be at the shower before making another commitment, so my time at her shower was spent setting up for the party and cutting up Costco chickens. By the time I had to leave, the first of the other guests were showing up. I’ve asked her if she told me a different start time just to get me to help! (she swears she didn’t, and I believe her. But that’s not a bad idea).

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Slow Panic
Twitter:
August 15, 2011 at 3:42 pm

OH! We have this argument at my house all the time. OK, not all the time because we don’t get invitations all the time, but you know what I mean (what I mean is once or twice a year. maybe). Anyways. I say arrive on time or just a FEW minutes late. My husband says 30 minutes late minimum.

He is wrong.

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Amy W August 15, 2011 at 5:09 pm

7 means 7. I do cross my 7’s. I’m never there at 7, but I wouldn’t call it “fashionably late”, I would call it, “I have kids so we’re late.”

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dusty earth mother August 15, 2011 at 5:46 pm

It’s lame and Euro-wannabe to cross your 7s. Just sayin’. And be.on.time. Come on!

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awesome dude August 15, 2011 at 8:58 pm

You hit a raw nerve with this topic.

It is, actually, a sign of aggression in being late or getting too long to get ready to get out of the house.

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Rebecca August 15, 2011 at 9:58 pm

I am on time. Always. Its kinda of a curse actually because everyone else is always late and then I have to lie and say “Oh no no no I just got here”.

So for me 7=7

With that being said…I am from Mexico, so when we have family gatherings we always make sure to ask: American time or Mexican time?
Mexican time is 7=7:30, maybe 8

Also I used to cross my 7’s when I was younger

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Carrie August 16, 2011 at 7:03 am

You’re both wrong. Dinner at 7 means 7:15. Not so late that you’re rude. And not so early (or in Marinka-speak “on time”) that you’re rude.

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Mwa (from Lost in Translation) August 17, 2011 at 8:51 am

I do cross my 7s. I also try to be on time, but I do live in Belgium, where 7 is code for 7.30, so when I do arrive on time, often people are still in the shower. This is a problem.

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joeinvegas August 17, 2011 at 12:49 pm

Did the invite say 7 or say ‘show up at 7:30 because that’s what we really mean’? Show up at the time expected. (NOT early – almost worse as hostess is running in circles and does not want you to see how unorganized they are!!!)

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ndk August 18, 2011 at 11:50 am

Seven means seven, and preferably a few minutes early. “Fashionably late” is rude if you’re going to someone’s house and especially if you’re the only one(s) invited.

My dad crosses his 7’s.

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deborah l quinn
Twitter:
August 18, 2011 at 3:27 pm

I cross 7s and Zs, but if you show up early, I’m crabby, undressed, and screaming at my children. Show up at 715 and I’m hissing at my children to shut up and watch TV dammit, and no long crabby b/c I’ve had a glass of wine. I’ve also hidden the dirty dishes, scraped up the worst of the spilled goo on the couch, and have changed out of my week-old t-shirt into a clean(er) shirt and clean(ish) pants. So I’m with Carrie.

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l August 20, 2011 at 1:11 am

I’m of the it means 7:30 (well, maybe 7:15 for a sit down dinner) school. I know when I’m preparing I need every last minute before I’m ready. People being early kill me. And I always leave pad time between the time I ask people to come and when we actually sit down to eat, because I expect them to trickle in over the course of half hour or so too. Parties are another story. Parties you can be HOURS late to.

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Rachel - A Southern Fairytale August 23, 2011 at 11:39 am

7 means 7, in my world 😉

However, I also believe that being late shows a lack of respect for the people you’re meeting — so there’s that 😉

I do know, that not everyone is raised with that belief though….

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Jessica August 24, 2011 at 6:24 pm

7 =7 If you are more than 15 minutes late you are rude.

However, I agree that 7 is late for dinner. We usually eat a 5:30 so we can include the little ones. We invite people over at 7, but only because they refuse to agree to come any earlier. When they inevitably show up at 7:30 or 8 they have very unhappy hosts on their hands.

I don’t understand why people feel it is acceptable to be late everywhere

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MommyTime
Twitter:
August 25, 2011 at 12:25 am

Okay, but here’s the thing: YES, 7 means 7. But WHO in their right mind plans to serve the roast beef with a big voila! right on the very dot of people’s arrival time?! Are they supposed to walk in the door and drop their coats on the mat while frantically dashing to the table and picking up an outstretched napkin so as to ensure that they aren’t somehow rude for the carving of le beouf? If you’re invited for 7, you should get there at 7, and then there should be a civilized 15-30 minutes of cocktail and nibbles and conversation before the seating at the table begins. That way, if there IS an accident that holds someone up (and, yes, that someone should call ahead if s/he will be more than 10 minutes late; I consider 10 minutes a reasonable grace period to account for colicky babies, bad traffic, or other ways life interferes with ultimate punctuality), there is still no dinner crisis, and everyone has a happy glass of wine to clutch in the meantime.

At least, that’s how dinner parties work at my house. Where the 7s are always crossed, and the wine is always flowing, and the centerpiece of the dinner invariably takes 10 minutes longer to cook than the books says…pass the appetizers, please!

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Tara September 17, 2011 at 12:06 pm

This. Totally.
(And I tend to cross my 7’s somewhat randomly….as in when I remember to. I actually think they just look nicer crossed and had no idea that the reason for crossing wasn’t simply an aesthetic one. Who knew?!)

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