Friday, September 24, 2010

House Guests and Locked Doors

Dear Social Grace,
A question has come up concerning how to handle the touchy subject of allowing other people to use vacation homes when one is not there. It is my understanding that if there is sufficient room in said home, guests do not need to use the master bedroom. I believe that space should remain personal and that one should not have to empty closets, dressers and medicine cabinets to allow guests access to one's private space. There are more than sufficient en suite rooms available for the guests without the master bedroom. Is it permissible to lock the door to the master suite? The guests have rather spirited children and I do not relish the idea of my lipsticks being used as finger paints on my bathroom walls . I look forward to your answer.
An Avid Reader

Dear Avid,
Thanks for writing. Avid Readers are my favorite kind, and of course I love hearing your dilemmas. The bottom line answer to your question is very simple: "Your House, Your Rules." That said, like everything, there is a Gracious way to implement this. I assume you don't have the type of guests coming who are likely to, well, do something like......(the following clip contains some rather unGracious language, but it is so cursed funny that I decided to use it anyway.)

If there is ample space in the house so that the guests don't have to roll out sleeping bags, your master suite need not be invaded. But locking the door can be tricky. Even if your intention is to preserve your privacy--and I agree--the guests really don't need to see your bleaching cream or La Perla lingerie--they might take offense at the locked door.

You know I am a fan of the "little white lie". Here is the perfect opportunity to utilize this valuable social tool. Lock the door. Then make the following phone call to your guest.

Say, "Angelina, I'm delighted that you, Brad and they children are going to use our house next week. Just a quick heads up--we've had workers and cleaners in and out recently and we locked all of our valuables in the second floor bedroom for security. I won't be back before your stay to unlock it, but there are plenty of other en suite rooms for you to use--the third floor front room has the most comfortable bed and a great view of the lake. Have a wonderful time!"

Note that you are not going to call the locked room 'master suite', which might be seen as a slight.

Good luck!

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