Letters from Home

Parties: Math Made Fun!

Grilling Shrimp Wrapped PancettaDay 9, #reverb 10: Party.What social gathering rocked your socks off in 2010? (Thanks, Shauna Reid)

Here’s the best party advice I ever learned:
Never –ever– hang your invite up on a wall.

Parties are simple mathematical equations. They are algebra.

On one side of the = sign is everything you need for the party:

  • alcohol
  • friends
  • alcohol
  • food
  • streamers and noise makers and kebabs and funny hats and chairs
  • tequila.

And on the OTHER SIDE of the equals sign is your future as a popular human being, covered up in a sparkly wrap of flimsy self-worth.

Here’s some geometry for you, to further understand what I mean.

IF you just let any random nincompoop show up, THEN the most unpredictable group of discordant ne’er-do-wells will undoubtedly come, hauling behind them a pony keg and a parade of perfectly coiffed mullets.

And everyone else will be at Applebees.

So, IF you hang your invite on a wall, THEN the party will actually be at Applebees. Where you will not be.

Here’s the second best piece of party advice I ever got:

“B.Y.O.B.” is for amateurs.

Of course people might bring you a bottle of wine, or have their own favorite beer they want to cradle on their lap and not share with anyone (true story. He really did hold the 4-pack in his lap! And it was Keystone Light!).

But guests shouldn’t have to come with booze in hand. Arriving at a party should be worry-free, where guests perch at the precipice of an evening, ready to pour themselves into relaxation and slide down into a happily mysterious night.

Guests SHOULD have the joy of rifling through your leftovers in the fridge to find the last bottle of microbrew they’d never tried before.

Or better yet, they should come rushing over early, just to slurp down the annual white sangria garnished with celery, which you only make on the occasion your Arbor Day Smash Up.

My gay friend, Mike, was the Yoda of parties for me when we were roomies. He taught me the secrets. We were pretty poor (I was working at Chi Chi’s for extra cash), but I saw how the investment paid off. A quality party needs the “guest” factor: with every guest feeling like the party arrives when they do. They arrive thinking:

This is going to be fun. The guests are going to hand-picked. I don’t know what is going to happen, but I know I don’t have to deliver it. I only have to deliver my amazing self.

This Year’s Main Event…
So, since Shauna asked, I didn’t really go to any AMAZING parties that didn’t involve (headache commencing) goodie bags and bounce castles this year. Most were low-key affairs.

In July, we did host one fun event. It was a 2nd annual torch-lit folk concert fundraiser. More people showed this year than last. Colin’s pancetta-wrapped grilled shrimp (just hand-wrap big prawns in thin pancetta, dunk in olive oil, season, and grill. The bacon melts into the shrimp and “disappears”) sent waves of swooning guests back to the food table repeatedly.

And naturally bug spray was made freely available.

For now, I guess I am needing more low-key than PARRR-TEE!

The best time, for me as a guest, was in Maine, at a lake’s sandy cove with Ellen and Peter and their boys. It wasn’t a party: more like gathering of people who love our family and are happy to see us — ALL of us — and ready to give Colin and I some peace and tranquility in a very beautiful place.

That, to me right now, is the perfect party.

Speaking of parties, this post is part of a daily writing project called #reverb10. Find out more & join in this creative exercise here.