What Is the Best Way to Handle a Drunk at a (Nice) Party?

Advise the Etiquette Expert

CHOW's resident etiquette expert, Helena Echlin, addresses perplexing food etiquette dilemmas in her column Table Manners. We've helped her out with questions in the past, like this one recently on dating someone who doesn't care so much about food.

Now she has a question from a reader who has an all-too-common problem: What is the best way to handle a drunk at a party? Note that is no college kegger — this was a baby shower. Read on for the full situation!

Q: Recently my friends threw a baby shower for me. I didn’t want it to be like a regular baby shower—diaper cakes make me want to vomit—so it was just a regular co-ed cocktail party. It was so much like a regular party that it even included one extremely drunk guest on the verge of passing out. His eyes were half-closed, his speech was slurred, and at times it seemed as if the only thing keeping him upright was the hostess’s priceless antique grandfather clock. He stood too close to people, staring at them, and grabbed several women’s derrieres. He also hit on one of the hostesses in front of her girlfriend, and at one point, looking for a napkin, grabbed a stuffed animal and used that instead.

I knew that he was drunk but didn’t realize how far gone he was or how offensive he was being. Or maybe on some level I didn’t want to risk a confrontation if I tried to get him to leave. So I just sidled away from him and tried to have fun at my party. Afterwards, I found out he had harassed my friends and felt bad. What is the best way to handle a drunk at a party? And if you’re the drunk, what can you do to make amends?

— Baby Shower Blues

Readers, what's your take on this sadly all-too-common dilemma? (Well, maybe not at baby showers, but we've all dealt with that one embarrassingly drunk person in otherwise polite company.) What is the best way to handle the situation?

Give Helena your advice, and she'll pull it into her column next week.

See more Table Manners columns at CHOW.

Related: Table Manners: Bad-Palate Breakups

(Image: CHOW)

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Faith is the executive editor of The Kitchn and the author of three cookbooks. They include Bakeless Sweets (Spring 2013) as well as The Kitchn's first cookbook, which will be published in Fall 2014. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband Mike.