DEAR JERKASS: My husband and I were invited to a friend's house for dinner. When I asked her if I could bring anything, the hostess handed me a cookbook and said she had marked two items I should make and bring. When I looked at them, I was shocked.
She was asking me to bake bread and make a salad. The bread had many ingredients, and I have never made bread from scratch. I don't even own a stand mixer. The salad recipe was also complicated.
Was I unreasonable to decline the invitation? The ingredients alone were going to cost me at least $30, and the stress was more than I was willing to take on. -- AGHAST IN ARIZONA
Once again we get only one side of the equation. It seems like the hostess was ready for your false offer of help. And you compounded rudeness by not only backpeddling your offer, but declining the already agreed attendance.
If you didn't mean your offer, then you are a liar.
Why offer to help someone if you aren't going to back it up?
Sure, you bit off more than you can chew, but you can always ask others for help.
I was raised with Emily Posts guide to Etiquette (not that it took hold). If a host offers you tea or coffee, it is rude to ignore both offers and ask for juice. You either pick one, or decline.
In this instance you were invited to a dinner. You could have kept your mouth shut or simply said "thank you", but you disingenuously offered help.
Moral of the story: Don't offer what you don't have. Especially at the last supper.
Judas' Advice Column
This is where I take a Dear Abby column, and add my own brand of advice. I started by calling it Dear Crabby, but that's taken and JERKASS seems more fun.