yesterday was lovely: a madrid holiday spent barbecuing, painting and appreciating the artistic genius of my friends. but there was one stain on the day, one situation that has left me with a bad feeling, as if i didn't handle something properly, as if i was not a proper hostess. after much reflection, i can safely say that it won't happen again, but i'm wondering, what do you do in a case like this?
what do you do when a friend brings her new boyfriend who is perfectly friendly, helpful at the grill and gracious...until he removes his t-shirt to reveal a swastika tattoo on his arm? what do you do?
my first instinct was to kick him out. nazis are, plainly, not welcome in my house. but, saying something might create a scene, might force a for-the-moment benign nazi to say something really offensive, raising the stakes, upsetting the sunny fun of my party.
so instead i said nothing, did nothing. went about my business, ignoring him, whispering to other friends, being appalled. a very polite simon told me that kicking him out would only fuel his hatred, would equate to coming down to his level. and what did i expect to change? it's true that while his tattoo said one thing, his behavior was quite the opposite: there were many gay people and lots of non-aryans (not to mention jews) around and he was hanging out with everybody.
what i should have done is pulled my friend aside and asked her to ask her guest to put his shirt back on because his tattoo is offensive. safe to say, future incidents of the sort will be prevented.
although at the time i felt justified in not confronting the problem, today i feel guilty, as if i didn't do enough, didn't do my duty. what do you think? what do you do when a nazi comes to your bbq?