I’m no good at parties.
I’m no good at them. Times have changed since 1992 where I could just arrive, take the top off a Rheineck, shout out to people who weren’t even listening anyway, and immediately start dancing to Outshined by Soundgarden.
At these gatherings, you could spend up to five hours not saying much at all to people but still be socially relevant and together enough to be invited to the next gig.
These days we have to front up and talk. People watch what you are doing, ask you what you do for a living and worst of all — watch how you are managing your children.
These events can be soul destroying when the main function of them was, as peddled in the circulated email, “fun”, “lots of bubbly” and “there’s lots of other couples going along”.
These modern parties have changed.
They should be renamed:
Demographic Comparison Gatherings
Everybody is pretending to be relaxed. Everyone works, and has children.
How can they be relaxed?
The reality is, no one is relaxed. That can only happen later when the hostess’s husband pours the first of many high-quality, astonishing-result vodka shots.
At the beginning, all is well. We enter, introduce, remember and immediately forget names, and why anyone else is here because we are already tethering children to something inexpensive, so they won’t break something expensive.
We sit, women with bubbly, men with beer. People ask at first about the children. How old are they?
The host spends what seems like an hour trying to put music on. On his new gadgety iFucker.
It’s really a cry for help. He’s unsure the music will go over well with the guests. He’s got ‘everything’ he says and yet nothing that represents his real taste. He settles for Lorde, the 40-something person’s safe place.
The children jockey for position in the vast family room and the hostess fails to switch on the savouries, so there’s a dash to Hell Pizza, staged in the manner of a late World War Two battle, with casualties, shouting, blood and everything, as the host snaps a toenail on the accelerator pedal of his Landrover Discovery while reversing.
The busted toenail becomes the conversation piece for the next hour, and other anecdotes are presented:
That taxi in Bali ran over my foot that time [raucous businessman laugh]
I get stuck in the kitchen, helpfully drinking more bubbly.
The hostess and a friend approach and I’m in the conversation of doom. Weight, diet, how they’d like to have sex with either Dan Carter or Richie McCaw or even, inexplicably, Mike Hosking. Real estate.
I begin a serious campaign to load the dishwasher. The women chatter, it’s nasty fodder about work, children; it’s just nasty.
Why do modern women come over so nasty? Because they are in the grip of Demographic Comparison Gatherings.
The men cook the gourmet sausages that few will keep down. What’s noticeable is that there is no music or real fun for the adults. It’s a raft of conversation about technology mishaps.
My iFucker fell apart once. Had to take it back to the shop.
If someone would only put the flattened cardboard box out, I would demonstrate my anomalous break dancing style. It would be bright and invigorating. We could break dance to White Lines (Don’t Do It).
We could resume smoking Dunhill Reds from 1997 out on the porch, hiding the butts in the planter.
The micro managing of the children would fade away and they too would relax. They’d find an inexpensive shoelace to play with.
And soon it would be time to go home from the Demographic Comparison Gathering.
The next day-debrief of the night would be downloaded from the iFuckers onto Facebook. Pictures of Dan and his buggered foot. A stack of empty pizza boxes. A blurry picture of Denise having a sip of wine.
I yearn for a good party. I used to be good at them.
Coming soon on The Sane Companion. Coffee cups, printed with our signature shooting lady. I just need to ask Anthony first. Imagine a nice cup of Joe and a read of the blog. Repleteness.