The Essence of eVite

It truly is a wonder how anything social was facilitated way back in 1995.

No email.

No cell phones.

And in case you’re throwing a party, no eVites.

Back in late 20th Century, “land” telephone lines were used when getting people together for celebrations of any kind. Perhaps if the event was important enough, invitations were purchased for a relatively substantial sum and sent out via “snail mail”.

Still, there wasn’t a mechanism to actually automatically tally who was coming and who wasn’t.

Enter eVite…

And with it, somehow more headaches when trying to plan a goddamn get-together…

As you probably know, eVites ask for invitees to confirm attendance by responding either yes, no or maybe. Why any host keeps the maybe option even as an option (including me) is beyond logical thought. In a world when being decisive is as antiquated as VCR repair shops, offering such a selection is social suicide for several reasons.

It appears that some respond “maybe” just to view the eVite without the host knowing such a crime is being committed. For those not in the know, one quirk of eVite is downright Orwellian, as it allows the party-thrower to see who is viewing the invitation and when (by date) if the invitee hasn’t been responded to it with a yes, no or maybe yet…Those who don’t respond will view the eVite everyday just to see who’s attending but never will take the plunge in (gasp) actually replying.

To avoid being caught as an eVite troller, some respond “maybe” as a means of buying time without committing to being there or not…kind of like the person who continues to bang their soon-to-be-ex-significant-other until something better comes along to save them completely from a world of apathy or lonely transition. The reason for the delay usually isn’t a legitimate excuse, and is only done to see who else is going to the shindig…as if the host or the party itself isn’t a good enough reason to swing by.

Then there are those who suffer from ERA (Evite Response Anxiety). This angst is found primarily in men, who genuinely believe it’s not cool to respond to an eVite.

“Would the Fonz respond to an eVite if they existed in the 50s?” is the apparent thought process.

eVites are quite intrusive when you really think about it: The old days of the mid-90s meant simply privately calling the host and telling him/her that you can’t make it.

Now it’s a whole new excuse game: Not only is one required to state their intentions if the answer is no, but needs to state publicly why they’re not available.

If a nice embellishment or misrepresentation of a reason is in place, a “friend” that is also in the circle of trust can read it and let the host know that it’s complete bullshit (trust me, some folks live for these moments).

Some actually may be telling the truth, however. The problem is that such candor can become a bit too much information for the other 100-200 people on the eVite to swallow.



No 2:

Brian Fantana: I wish I could come, but I was rushed to the hospital after my trip to Turkey and it turns out I have Avian Flu. Doctor says I’m the first case found in the US, so now I’m quarantined for the next 430 days…during which time I’ll likely die. Say hello to Jenny, Dave, Mike, Gretchen, Lisa, Jason, Hal, Rob, Casey, Tara, and Amanda for me though!!

Melissa: Oh crap! This sucks. I soooo want to see you guys, but I JUST GOT ENGAGED last weekend!!! It was so romantic. Jeff was so nervous. I knew when he said he was taking me to Court Street that it could be a special night. And it was! He got down to a knee after dinner and popped the question I’ve been waiting for for five years. Still, I’m sure your birthday party will be fun too, but we’ve got some wedding planning to do, and… (Thankfully at this point, eVite has a character limit on responses).

The invitees aren’t the only ones at fault in the game of chess that is the eVite experience. Some hosts (who will be left nameless) periodically create fake addresses of B-List celebrities and have “them” respond immediately to get the ball rolling. This only confuses the rest of the invitees, who then begin an email frenzy amongst themselves asking if whether Johnny Damon and Misha Burton are really coming or not, which only delays the response process even further.

Some also view eVite as a chance to explore that second career as a comic and testing their material out in front of a large (albeit, electronic) audience. Casual explanation as to why you’re bailing on the party? Naah…too tedious. Survival of the funniest…

Then there’s the individual (who has never organized a bash since High School) who forwards the eVite to their entire distro list of 75, but then doesn’t even respond him/herself or bothers showing up. People like this are the most likely to be banned from future invitations…

Turning on the guest limit restraint option on an eVite is also always highly recommended, as some like to play the role of grand facilitator and answer on behalf of entire counties in New Jersey, only to appear at the festivity with four people, and not the 50 as previous indicated on the eVite.

We kid because we care…

Punctuation marks are also a hallmark of the eVite, particularly amongst the X Chromosomes. Never before has the exclamation point been so abused since that Seinfeld episode where Elaine breaks up with her boyfriend (the infamous Jake Jarmel) for not using enough of them in a phone message about her friend having a baby.


Yes 46:

Kate Veatch: This sounds awesome!!!!! I can’t wait to see you guys!!!! I’ve been working so hard lately that I absolutely need a drink!!!!! Count me in!!!!!


Then there’s the eVite abusers. You know the type: It’s a non-descript Monday night in April and the fifth-to-last episode of 24 is on, so why not throw a viewing party and send an eVite out to four people? The folks at The E should have a minimum guest requirement of at least 20 or your computer blows up just for even attempting to use the service when an short email or 4 phone calls at 30 seconds each suffices.

Finally, there is the biggest crime known to eVite: The theft of guest lists from other eVites. Nothing says desperado more than inviting those whom you’ve never had any contact with before in any lifetime…all in the name of making a party or one’s popularity appear bigger than it is. It’s kind of like the guy who only dates girls with small hands to make his unit look bigger…there’s no way around a simple truth in the end.

The year is 2009.

Phones attached to a wall are out.

And eVites are in…

The question is: Is this a good thing?