By and large parties fill me two urges. The first is to vomit. Violently. The second is to spend the night played sociological games with the attendees. It’s very difficult to explain why I detest the party going experience so much. I don’t know whether it’s the false expectation that everyone should have a good time or the statement it makes on your age.
One type of party which is often the most infuriating is the over enthusiastic host party. This is when the host gets tipsy and starts trying to introduce everyone to everyone else and tries to make every guest dance. The older I get the more it makes me want to commit murder. First off dancing isn’t fun. For men it never is, it’s something we have done to please women. If a man does enjoy it, they are often either Billy Elliot or Boy George. Where as with women it’s an age marker. When they were younger it was fun. As grown adults they do it to have that same feeling again. The trouble is the closer you come to the middle-ages of your life the more absurd you look.
Eventually there comes a time in your life when you are invited to parties where nobody dances. And that is even worse. Everybody stands around brushing elbows in previously established groups. As the night wears on these groups will slowly integrate, in the meantime topics will range from work, stuff my kid does and the importance of the third revolution of the Pompadours to the time we live in. There will be at least one baby at the party, stuffed in a corner with an antsy mother and a father who wants to stay longer. There will be at least one man drinking wine from a glass who will almost certainly be wearing spectacles. All the while the only genuine bonds which are made are between the smokers as they grab strangers to accompany them outside, to the garden or the balcony.
I often struggle at these social gatherings. I hate dancing and I steadfastly refuse. I don’t have an interesting job to blather on about. I don’t have a child to use as a subject every time a conversation drops into silence. I quit smoking half a year so I have no reason to extradite myself from the mundane conversations which make up a party. Inevitably I am the idiot who ends up on the receiving end of an explanation as to why fedora hats were vital in the Spanish revolution. Often I feel as though I should oblige the other person by debating whatever obscure theme happens to be the subject of the day as if I know something about it just for something other to than dance, talk about work or children. Therefore I have gained a truck load of absolutely useless knowledge which I can fall back on an either look like a nerd or a complete arsehole at any party I attend.
Yet still it is not enough. When I look around at a party I see rats in a science laboratory. I see a mass of humans which I must study and investigate. I am fascinated by humans. One of my favorite pastimes at parties is a game named after the French film ‘Amelie’. For those who have not seen it, every new character is introduced by the narrator, using their name and then three things they like. It can be absolutely anything. So I will look at someone and try to hazard guesses about this person. For example they may bite their nails, they like going on bike rides and they like walking around their home with their pants on their head. To conclude the game you must approach the person and try to introduce these topics into the conversation to see if you are right. You can play this with friends too, it’s actually much easier to approach the person with someone alongside you. Most people are surprised about how after you play it a few times it is surprisingly easy. I have played it in bars, cafes, clubs and many other places. Only once did it go wrong, when my partner in the game had alleged that one man liked to wear women’s underwear. After much discussion about how to approach the subject I decided to go back to school. I stealthily approached him and gave him a wedgie, my friend was wrong and the poor guy was quite angry.
Tonight I am going to a party. I don’t know how many people will be there. I know maybe 5 of the guests. I have an incredible sense of foreboding which is often right. I know if we are to have any fun tonight, mischief is the key. It’s ironic how when I was a teenager and I went to parties I would do my best to be mature and grown up. Now I am attending adult parties I do my level best to be immature. It’s as if I haven’t evolved in my life, like I am clinging onto my youth by my fingernails. And that’s alright by me.