First Lady Michelle Obama at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, on Dec. 25, 2013, in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. 
Carolyn Kaster/AP

Critics poised to pounced ahead of Michelle Obama’s 50th birthday

Updated

As she prepares to celebrate her 50th birthday, First Lady Michelle Obama may also want to brace herself for the latest round of nit-picking. 

The celebration for her 50th birthday on January 17th is set to be a dance party, a fitting event for a woman who has made movement and dance one of the focal points of her time in the East Wing with her Let’s Move campaign. But the invitation has drawn the ire of the etiquette experts, or at least those quoted by theWashington Post‘s Reliable Source, who worry she’s crossed a line by encouraging guests to eat before they arrive. 

In an article titled,I Don’t Think It’s Rude, But…“ the authors interview the likes of Emily Post’s great-great-granddaughter and a local DC party planner, who agree the move is in awkward, if not poor, taste. 

“I don’t think it’s rude, but I do think it’s a little . . . different than what people are used to. How’s that for putting it delicately?” joked Emily Post descendant Lizzie Post. While she didn’t directly criticize the move, she added that she wouldn’t suggest anyone else “put ‘eat before you come’ on an invite.”

The invite to the ”Snacks & Sips & Dancing & Dessert” celebration specifically tells invitees to wear comfortable shoes and be ready to dance, and the first lady hinted she may be planning to do the Dougie at a Christmas event at the Children’s National Medical Center in December. 

Even the first lady’s pre-birthday celebration, an extended holiday vacation in Hawaii, has drawn critics. The Washington Times juxtaposed their coverage of Obama’s extra vacation relaxing on the beach – a present from her husband – with the polar vortex gripping much of the nation in sub-zero temperatures. Detailed reporting about the plunging temperatures and advice for those weathering the cold was followed by the Honolulu report and a picture of Mrs. Obama with bare arms basking on the beach. The message seemed clear: this lady’s living it up while you’re bundling up. 

And the folks at TMZ have unearthed a new complaint: the first lady’s presence is bothering Hawaii locals. Obama’s trip to Maui to stay with her friend Oprah has apparently bothered Oprah’s neighbors, who complain that security checkpoints set up for the first lady have made “day-to-day life almost impossible.”

And as we’ve seen in the past, a chorus of critics have begun to worry what the vacation might cost taxpayers. 

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney responded to questions about the vacation cost from Fox correspondent Ed Henry Monday, noting that “the first family will appropriately fund personal expenses,” but admitted that she will fly home in a government aircraft.

Watchdog.org crunched the numbers to determine that the first lady’s airfare could cost taxpayers nearly half a million dollars. While that’s a hefty pricetag for a flight from Hawaii, it’s barely a rounding error in terms of the full federal budget (less than 0.00002%).

After five years in the White House, the first lady is prepared to brush off the critics. And people lucky enough to receive party invitations–however they may have been worded–aren’t complaining. 

“That girl can dance,” Democratic strategist and party-invitee Donna Brazile told the Chicago Tribune. “That woman can still shake a tail feather.”

Michelle Obama

Critics poised to pounced ahead of Michelle Obama's 50th birthday

Updated