Sunday, November 13, 2011
Where's the party?
Maybe it's my advancing age. Maybe I'm one of those outlying planets, like Uranus or Pluto, which orbits so far from the sun that it takes fifteen years to find out what happened last Thursday.
I suppose I'm a little sensitive because I work in fashion advertising, and in order to rake in the green, we must peddle the black, in the form of little black holiday dresses. Or medium black or plus size black. Whatever your size, you'll step out in style this season.
Okay, that was weird and annoying. Sorry.
My employer is also fervently pushing men's tuxedos because, apparently, we're now kicking off the biggest party season of the year, bigger than a slate of all-new Kardashian episodes. That's fantastic; I love parties. I'm a "my-red-plastic-cup-runneth-over," party aficionado.
The thing is, I currently don't, nor have I ever, worn a tux to anything but weddings and proms, and it's been so long that none were black. Where are all these black tie galas? Who are these people? Am I merely an insignificant, jean-and t-shirt clad island in a sea of dashing partygoers filled with Carringtons, Ewings and Bond, James Bond?
Actually, I couldn't care less about dressing up that fancily for an evening of patent leather follies. I'm a low maintenance reveler, whose party modus operandi has evolved slightly, yet not changed all that much.
Like most of us, the only parties I attended as a school-aged kid were birthday affairs where all activities were scheduled to culminate with the grand cake and present-opening ritual. After indulging in a few games or maybe eating some bad pizza, it was time for the birthday boy to get his.
I prided myself on consistently hugging the guest of honor to grow an inch. Pinches are mean and can bruise. Plus, I used to get spanked for pinching.
High school parties differed widely from the structured, adult-sanctioned kiddie bashes. No agenda was necessary when forty people gathered by a river, a keg of Rainier in the bed of some dude named Lonnie's Mazda pickup. The only certainty was a makeout session between two random folks who would deny the entire episode at school on Monday.
I prided myself on consistently hugging Lonnie, or whomever facilitated the event. Chipping in a couple of bucks for the keg seemed so shallow and impersonal.
I believe the word "college" is Latin for "It's noon somewhere." The party concept rose to art form status during those four (or five, in my case) years of higher achievement. We wore togas, asked girls their majors at least seven hundred times and learned to drink beer out of receptacles normally reserved for lifting and separating.
I prided myself on consistently hugging the person at the party who looked the saddest. Despite my good intentions, let's just say the emotion no longer betrayed sadness following my embrace.
As an adult finally free of academic constraints, the parties I attended still enjoyed a collegiate atmosphere, yet with an an added air of sophistication. After all, malt liquor had replaced beer as the beverage of choice. Frequently, the guests would stuff themselves into the kitchen to maintain close proximity to the liquid refreshments, leaving the main room virtually vacant, other than really tired people who lay face down on the living room futon.
At these homey events, I prided myself on consistently walking down the dark hallway, opening the door, turning on the light and hugging whichever couple had chosen the coat-piled bed as a good place to vigorously nap.
We don't even call them parties anymore. We're all pushing fifty and they're not referred to as "get-togethers" or "barbecues," certainly not formal soirees where cumberbuns and bow ties, silk pashminas and strappy heels spackle the room. It's usually a small group of friends, some wine and nice chairs with lumbar support.
I pride myself on hugging everyone in attendance. And most of these people finally know me so well that, by golly, they usually hug me back.