I'm sure it's possible to serve "tacky nuts" at a party --perhaps cheep 'beer nuts' at a high end affair, or peanuts in the shell with no receptacle for the shucked shells.
However, setting out the classics is always acceptable, and in my book a wonderful idea. A few roasted and salted cashews to accompany a whiskey or cocktail is a perenial favorite.
As others have pointed out, if you want to "take it up a notch" you can "dress up" your nuts by doing a little prep work. Additionally, you can find "pre--dressed" nuts, like roasted Spanish almonds with rosemary that are a hit at any party. This is one way of serving nuts without serving simple "mixed nuts" from a 10 lb. Costco tub.
As others have pointed out, the only "tacky nut" here was the fellow who spoke out of line to his host!