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Can I take back stuff I brought to a party?
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Recently I was invited to a social where everyone had to bring food or a bottle of wine. When I carried my pinot grigio to the intimate affair, I realized everyone else had the same mindset: no food, plenty of wine.
I stashed my wine bottle in the corner where no one would touch it so I could tactfully take it home with me. When the event was over and the hostess asked if anyone wanted anything to take home, I quickly grabbed my bottle and put my full glass of wine next to my side.
I thought I was discreet, but apparently someone was eyeballing me the entire time and made a sarcastic remark: "I see you. I see what you have next to you."
I was so embarrassed, Harriette. If you bring a bottle to a party, should you just let the host keep it, or does it matter? Please teach me some party etiquette. --Embarrassed, Chicago

Typically when you take food or a beverage to someone's house, you are bringing an offering, and it's appropriate to leave it. If you bring a dish from home, you can ask for your dish back, but it's generally considered rude to take your food home with you.
For a potluck, which it sounds like your party was, the rules are more relaxed. Where you erred was in not being up front about your plans. You could have said, "I'm going to take home the wine I brought since we didn't need it." Being up front about it would have dispelled any discomfort. Hiding your glass and your stash are the things you did wrong.

My boyfriend is a huge football fan, but I'm not. I can't be the girlfriend who acts like she enjoys the game and engages in "sports talk" with his friends and their girlfriends. I want to skip a Super Bowl party he's invited me to, but I'm afraid that if I do, he may not want to take me out anymore.
We've been dating for only three months, and he thinks I'm a very well-rounded person. I am, just not when the subject involves sports.
Should I go and be totally miserable, or should I politely decline and tell him I will see him afterward? -- Non-Sports Junkie, San Diego

I'm sorry that when you get my response, the Super Bowl will have passed, but I wanted to offer some advice for next year.
I totally understand your discomfort with pretending to like football if you don't. But I do not think you need to bow out of this seminal social experience.
Not everybody who goes to a Super Bowl party is a football lover. People also go to socialize. Many are fascinated by the commercials. Non-watchers often cluster and chat. And, yes, everybody watches the highlights of the game.
Open your eyes to the possibility of enjoying the day. Here's to next year!

Lifestylist and author Harriette Cole is president and creative director of Harriette Cole Media. You can send questions to or c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.