In response to popular demand, Booklist Online offers its first advice column. Have a burning question about etiquette or literature? Ask a book!
Dear Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk,
My husband’s birthday is coming up and, as always, he wants to celebrate it with his family members who live nearby. He loves my cooking and so I plan to host dinner in our home. There will be seven total including us (three women and four men). However, by following a standard seating arrangement alternated by gender, we still end up with two men seated next to each other at our round table. I’m afraid they won’t be comfortable with this arrangement. Help!
—Flustered in Florida
The first rule of birthdays is you don’t talk about birthdays. You’ve broken the rule and that’s your first problem. Your second problem is you have furniture. Break the furniture into pieces and sit on the floor. You don’t have to sit in a circle. Circles are part of your bourgeois conditioning. Break the circle. You and your guests can crouch on the floor around the burning furniture, eating with your hands. If it bothers you to have an extra man in the room then the four men should fight and the loser should leave to reclaim his masculinity through subversive and violent acts directed at your community. Meanwhile, the rest of you should stockpile weapons and canned goods in case he returns. Frankly, Flustered, I think you may be imagining the whole thing.