I do not like going to parties.
I’m not necessarily talking about parties where all of my friends will be present because, even though I will inevitably be awkward and say something offensive and spend the rest of the night in the corner chewing on my own foot, they are used to it and they are also used to my dancing. Thus a good time can be had by all.
I’m talking about every other kind of party.
Like a work party or a “networking” event. These are terrible because I will have to wear my least favorite combination: hosiery and heels. And I go there with the full-on intention of making valuable professional connections, and I really just end up being the lurker. Ya know, the person who stands on the outskirts of the event, pretending to answer very important emails? That’s me. The person who walks crookedly because their hosiery is bunching and because people are not meant to be pretend to be taller by jamming a rod into their heel. That can’t be good for you. Some sympathetic soul will come up to me and ask me questions about myself. I will answer speedily and thus slur my speech and they will think I am drunk even though I’m too nervous to drink. And then I’ll ask them questions while staring at them with unblinking eyes because the words “eye contact is important” are pulling my lids open from inside my brain. And after about 45 minutes, I will Irish goodbye on out of there, and frantically search for the nearest appropriate place to remove my shoes and pantyhose, connect to the internet, and pour the largest glass of wine known to mankind. Parties like these really make me long for the days when your only career options were farmer, merchant, teacher, doctor, and lawyer (and for women…teacher…until you were married. And there was no Seamless on the prairie. I suppose everything has its pros and cons).
Or the kind of party where everyone is sort of a casual acquaintance. These are the parties I always end up being early to. Even if I make a point to leave 15 minutes late to avoid earliness, I will still be the first one to arrive. I will make unpleasant small talk and help put out chip bowls. Then I will sit and swing my legs back and forth with my lips in my mouth, like a toddler waiting for their mommy to come pick them up. I wish my mom would come to parties with me. She’d probably talk to me, at any rate. That’s the main issue with acquaintance-only parties. Once the guests start to pile in, I have to scout the room for the least-threatening group to follow around and cling to for the rest of the night (and by the rest of the night, I mean about 45 minutes, before I Irish goodbye on out of there as well). The trick is that, once they inevitably excuse themselves from our conversation, I go and find the bathroom. Hopefully, there is a line. I wait there, go in, and check out my phone for a bit, counting the minutes until we are entering poop territory, then leave the bathroom, and find the least-threatening group again. The cycle continues.
It is very important not to be the lurker at these kinds of parties, because a booty-sniper in a button-down shirt will sniff out your vulnerability, and he will find the aloofness of your booty alluring and will welcome the challenge.
The kind of party where you know the host really well and everyone else is a casual acquaintance isn’t so bad. Then you can assume the position of chip-bowl filler all night. I love having a task. I will be ON TOP of that shit. No empty chip bowls on my watch! When you know the host, you can tack on as the unofficial co-host and just keep everything in line for the night, which is my comfort zone. Things in lines. Unless I’m in a line for food or services. That’s nerve-wracking. Also, if you know the host, it’s not weird to mix drinks for people. Believe it or not, I was a bartender for awhile (being the awkward bartender will certainly produce a post someday). And while I was terrible with customers (seriously, the stories are coming), I was awesome at mixing drinks, because mixing drinks is very formulaic and concrete stuff is what I’m good at. I have made many-a-friends for the night by being able to make a good margarita. So the lesson here is, if you’re uncomfortable socially, buy a bartender manual and study up. Everyone likes the margarita engineer.
Of course, if you are the co-host, you kind of have to stay until the end of the night, which makes it really hard to Irish goodbye. Does anyone else get a really weird high from Irish goodbye-ing? I don’t know what it is. I guess because I’m too nervous to do drugs or steal stuff, I have to be rude in order to get a fix.
I unintentionally worked in an Irish theme for St. Patrick’s Day! Funny how sometimes our art surprises us.