It seems the popularity of the dinner party is declining. The British golden age of dinner parties in the Seventies is long gone. No more are the evenings of Prawn and Avocado cocktails and Bonoffi pies.
The reasons for the decline are obvious. With women working longer hours than ever before, it is not easy for them to put together an elaborate and impressive feast.
There is increasingly an ever-expanding range of restaurants in which to dine. Why cook for your friends when you can take them with you to a restaurant?
I think the middle-class aspirational culture behind the dinner party has changed quite a lot as well.
The decline of the dinner party is unsurprising, but it is rather sad. I do suspect, however, that it may lead to more people adopting the shoes-off rule in their homes.
A family who regularly entertain guests might feel under social obligation to accept lots of shoes trampling their home. However, with the more contemporary culture of entertaining being done in restaurants, it is likely that the home will become a more sacred domestic sphere. Those who go out to have their social life may be more inclined to be jealous for the cleanliness of their home when they are there. They may well expect the guests that they do welcome to remove their shoes.
I do hope so anyway.