Thursday, August 6, 2009

Ask Suburban Matron: Guest Room "Relations"

Okay y'all, this one has me questioning everything that I understand about hospitality. A dear reader writes:
Dear Ms. Matron, here's a question that's been bugging me as we make our summer rounds of visiting family. I read in some magazine at the nail salon, maybe it was Redbook, that two-thirds of people think that it's NOT OKAY for their overnight houseguests to have, um, s-e-x while staying with them, like not even in the guestroom. The people they interviewed who were against it said things like, "I don't want to think about that going on in there," or just "It's rude. Gross!" And even more people said they never did it while staying at someone else's house, especially if they were staying with family. Without getting too personal, let me just say that this rule had not occurred to me! What do you think???

Thanks,
Mrs. Newlywed

Congratulations on your nuptials, Newlywed! And let me add that this is the reason that I always reach for Us Weekly or People at the nail salon. They're not likely to lay weird booby traps of etiquette-guilt. Because I'll say right up front that my first response to this was, speaking as a hostess, I don't care what people are up to in my guest room, as long as it doesn't set fire to the house. Opening your house to guests does not come with the power to regulate their intimate behaviors. And speaking as a guest, I think the guest room is a private space, as long as we're not creating a disturbance. If the mister and I have ever stayed at your house, just put your hands over your computer screen right now, but it certainly never entered my mind that business time, behind closed doors, could be bad guest behavior. That said, an overnight stay at someone's house is not the night I would choose to debut, like, my circus trainer/trapeze artist roleplaying fantasy. If such a thing were in my mind.

So have I missed something in the rulebook of hospitality? What do y'all think? If you feel inhibited from pursuing your amorous interests when staying at someone else's house, what does that feeling stem from? And if you would prefer that your guests don't get busy, tell us why. Did you have a really bad experience with guests that left you filing a claim on your homeowners' insurance? We are all ears.

16 comments:

Jane said...

In a related study, two-thirds of husbands said they would describe themselves as "long-suffering."

Amy said...

Well, as someone who frequently hosts people, I sure don't have a problem with it! What happens in the guest room stays in the guest room. I honestly can't believe that many people would be grossed out by the idea! Did they survey 11 year olds or something?

Jason and I lived with family and friends for the five months before we moved to Oz. And I can assure you, um, we did not consider the wishes of our hosts in this department. :)

Keely said...

As a host: sure, go for it. As a guest: sure, go for it. Except at the inlaws. Because they think X was conceived by immaculate conception and they're old enough that I'm fearful of scaring them into a heart attack. Also, ewwww.

The Dental Maven said...

Whatever guests do in the guestroom is their own damn business! If you can't handle that? Don't have guests.

Michele said...

Uh oh! I suspect that my first son was conceived in a friend's guest room. Why didn't I get the memo?

the gazelle said...

As long as I can't hear you (and you can't hear me), I don't care. BUT - when we have guests, we don't...ummm....take advantage of our own bedroom in that way. We might if the guests ever stayed more than a night or two. Or if the long-staying guests weren't my parents. hmmm.....just makes me uncomfortable for some reason. I have, however, totally taken advantage of the privacy & relaxation that comes with a vacation at someone else's home. :)

Jenni said...

"buisness time," hahaha!

i think it's fine, as long as you are careful to keep it down and keep the door lock if there are kiddos about.

Casey said...

Well I've been on the giving and receiving end of this one. Wait, that made me sound like a slutsky. Elliot was ehem well, conceived in a guest room but it yucks me to think about people doing it in our guest room. I guess it's a good thing we no longer have one.

A Day That is Dessert said...

I just don't want to know what goes on once the guest room door is closed, know what I mean? When I travel I tend to feel inhibited but husband doesn't - enough said.

The Stiletto Mom said...

Before this survey came out, I never thought about it to be honest. And I probably will go back to that stance. Who cares?

Dave said...

As long as the hosts can't hear anything, then it's business time. But if there's a chance that business will be heard, then business hours are over!

bsouth said...

"That said, an overnight stay at someone's house is not the night I would choose to debut, like, my circus trainer/trapeze artist roleplaying fantasy. If such a thing were in my mind." Such a thing is obviously in your mind as you've posted it!

My daughter was conceived on my best friend's living room floor. She was quite proud when I told her!

fraught said...

I'm a fan of guests stripping their sheets and putting them in or near the washer in a big bundle. This little trick saves your hostess extra steps.

And, too, in doing so you might find the lovely silk panties that you, as a guest in a guest room, went to bed wearing and which at some point were removed by you or someone close to you, and which ended up between the sheets at the very foot of the bed.

Which will save your hostess having to try to return them to you without either of you acknowledging that you both know Good and Well what was being done when they were, um, misplaced...

fraught said...

PS. But hey, by all means have at it!! (In case it wasn't clear where I stood on the question as posited. :)

Sara said...

Never thought about having a formal stance on it, but I loved reading everybody else's responses. And experiences!

I'm in the no noise camp. Long as you can't hear them and they can't hear you, have at it indeed.

I can't say I'm always feeling business-like when hosting or being hosted though.

Aviva said...

Well, hm. I don't have a formal policy at our house. But when I was younger, in my 20s, and an ex-boyfriend came to visit with this wife, I generously let them sleep in my bedroom for the one night they were passing through town and I slept on the couch in the living room. And well, I did get squicked when I learned they'd had sex in my bed.

But now I'm a grownup and we have a real guestroom and like most folks here, I'm fine as long as I don't hear it. And actually, before I had a munchkin, I used to smile if I did hear my guests going at it (the bed I used to have in there creaked badly).

Now, while I don't have a policy about it, I do remind the guests most likely to, er, have business that they're right next to the 4-year-old's bedroom and if she hears funny noises, she might come investigate. :-)

My husband and I haven't ever had business in anyone else's guestroom, but I suspect that's mostly because the guestroom we've spent the most time in is his parents'. And like another poster, we don't do business when they're visiting us, either! :-)