An Obituary for the RSVP
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of RSVP, one of the finest examples of traditional European finery to cross the Atlantic. RSVP took his last breath on Saturday, quietly at home, surrounded by his close friends, the thank you card and the little wave when you let someone in front of you on the highway. Sadly many of RSVP's most cherished friends are also in poor health, having themselves succumbed to decades of atrophy and disrespect.
Although his final days were but a remnant of his earlier glory, RSVP enjoyed almost two centuries of respect and commanded a place of honour at gatherings across North America, whether they be gala affairs or backyard BBQs. In fact, there was a time when simply including RSVP at your event elevated it to a higher level of sophistication.
RSVP's storied life began in his native France where he was known as Repondez, s'il vous plait. In that country, RSVP enjoyed the same level of affection bestowed upon other well-known cultural icons including Edith Piaff and the Eiffel Tower. RSVP was well into middle age when he was lured across the pond to play a starring role at the parties of Americans who were experiencing newfound wealth and status due to the industrial revolution. Initially skeptical of this new land, as the years passed, RSVP grew to like and even embrace North Americans with the same fervour he had once reserved for his beloved France. Thad Manners, a biographer of RSVP, affectionately refers to this period in time as his "hayday" noting that in those days, RSVP was so highly regarded, those who showed up at an event without him were often turned away.
RSVP's health started to deteriorate about 50 years ago and, despite the best care from the world's most renowned etiquette physicians, attempts to restore his youthful vigour, were in vain. Always a class act, RSVP eventually accepted that nothing could be done and chose to live out his remaining days in relative obscurity. He made a rare public appearance a year ago, when he was coaxed out of retirement to receive a lifetime achievement award at a White House ceremony in his honour but, upon arriving, he was devastated to find that many of the guests no longer respected him and some didn't even know who he was. Like so many of these awards, it was bestowed too late in life to have any impact on his reputation.
Humiliated and beaten down, RSVP retreated to his summer home in Provence where it is said, he found a level of contentment and was able to forgive everyone who had treated him so shabbily in his later years.