Recently, the lovely Lesbian Housewyfe faced a common situation: my wonderful wyfe came home and, as she walked through the door, said, “How about we give a party?”
I considered a moment, realizing that this could transform two days of my quiet life into total chaos in exchange for a few moments of enjoyment between cleaning up spilled drinks and washing these same glasses quickly so someone else could spill a new fruity iced alcoholic beverage onto my barely recognizable (and so recently mopped) floor before confronting a mountain of dishes and an entirely new sticky mess all over my house the morning after. With trepidation, I forced the word “Okay” through my lips and closed my eyes. After all, only two things could happen next. The first, and the one devoutly hoped for, is that we were going to discuss the idea over a nice dinner and start the preparations the next day. The second option was that my sweet considerate compassionate wyfe would say, “GREAT!”, open the door again, and several people would file into the house behind her uttering the three little words no unprepared hostess ever wants to hear:
“Where’s the beer?”
I was lucky.
I was stocked.
Even if I hadn’t been, I don’t see the run for beer as a hassle in this situation. When I escape to restock the ol’ liquor cabinet, along with whatever party fixin’s I deem necessary (like chips, salsa, and a fifth of scotch for the surprised hostess), I take a little extra time to pull myself together and think up some good excuses for the fact that I didn’t dust that afternoon. Yes, I know I was watching the PBS gardening marathon all afternoon, but I wanted to sound more productive than that. The added plus is that by the time I think up something plausible, almost everyone is gone.
Sometimes it happens.
Anyway, if I can’t seem to escape this phenomenon by avoidance, I find that guilt can be a major tool in getting help cleaning up. Don’t laugh. You know that all us housewives get to clean everything up. It’s just a fact of life. When it comes to party cleanup, everyone seems to lose their handbook of Lesbian Laws, no matter what Lesbian Law #22 says (Household duties are to be divided equally among all members of the residence unless heavy lifting is involved in which case this particular job falls under the domain of the butchy babe.). Maybe we should attach an amendment like Lesbian Law #42a: One must always assist one’s partner in any special or unexpected chores such as party clean-up or strange sheet stains, etc.
Hey, that’s kinda poetic, huh?
If, however, the party is not an ambush and I have time to prepare and plan the event, there are several questions I answer before I begin to buy the party favors. The first is “What kind of party do we want?” I have divided the concept of “Party” into three different categories, as I am wont to do.
These “Drinking and Dancing Topless” parties are those clear the brain, drown your sorrows, lose your inhibitions, and dance ’til dawn parties that you used to go to and perhaps even held in your small dorm room in college. Now, of course, you can only take the experience once every two or three years. Your next one is probably scheduled for some time around the turn of the millennium. While not everyone chooses to disrobe at these parties, we all know that one woman who just can’t seem to keep her shirt on once she’s had a couple of wine coolers – and it’s always wine coolers, isn’t it? DDT’s are the most poisonous parties of all. Especially if the legs on your kitchen table aren’t reinforced. No one should be faced with the sight of a half naked, hung over woman struggling to stand in the debris of one’s furniture first thing in the morning. It’s not a pretty sight. Trust me.
Eating and Talking parties (a.k.a. dinner parties) I have known range from the simplicity of a casual brunch to the formality of a gourmet Thanksgiving dinner. These parties are the most difficult to prepare because of the sheer amount of work that goes into making a meal but the payoff of a comfortable atmosphere and great conversation make the effort more than worth it. One of the best parts about ET’s is that, at the end, everyone usually goes home. One last note: although flexible in form, dinner parties are difficult to expand in terms of guest list. RSVP was created for these parties. Always use it.
Otherwise known as “Bribe, Reward, Acknowledgement” parties, these form themselves around big events like a friend’s move, a movie premiere, or making it to Friday without quitting your job. Sometimes you buy the beer and sometimes your boss does. Your main role in these settings is to sit back, drink the beverage of your choice, and dish the dirt for a couple of hours. These mostly impromptu and casual parties are the biggest culprits of sluggish mornings and can quickly mutate into either of the other forms of party. Most of the time, these are the ones that will surprise you at the door after a day at home alone.
These parties can be the most impressive parties you attend, also. I went to one party recently which definitely fit into this BRA. Oh yes, they do let me out of my little house sometimes and I manage not to disappoint.
You see, through connections which seem tenuous at best, my sweet love and I attended a screening of the new film adaptation of Richard III starring Sir Ian McKellan who was also in attendance. Then, the three of us (well, actually the fifty of us) rushed to an excellent and completely expensive restaurant downtown for a lovely reception with lots of free wine and food.
And I got to meet Sir Ian McKellan.
And talk to him.
And he was totally gracious and wonderful and not at all like Richard which, truthfully, was exactly what I expected.
My extra bonus was that Stephanie and I got to him at just the right time so that he was tipsy enough to be talkative.
Here is how it went:
I joined the group of people surrounding Sir Ian at a point when the crowd was mainly composed of people I knew. I tried to look cool and discuss certain points of interest with my sweet honey bunny but it is really hard to do that when you’re just a starstruck staring idiot. Anyway, that approach seemed to work because, before long, he spoke to me. “I don’t think I’ve been introduced to you yet.” So I introduced myself as LA Bourgeois and he said, and I quote directly, “Bla?” When we finally got that name thing corrected, someone distracted him and he felt the need to depart. He shook Steph’s hand and she said, “It’s been lovely talking to you, Sir Ian.”
His response was, “Well, we haven’t talked at all.” and he stayed and we discussed the movie and laughed and had a good time until our friend Michael (our entree to this soiree) came and stole him away from us poor lesbians. Goddamn queens get ’em every time. So we stole him back. But just to say farewell and let him get back to his wine and photographers. All in all, I think I did okay for my first meeting with a famous person. He laughed at my jokes and enjoyed my company for the time it was foisted upon him.
But that wasn’t all…
1) My friend, Dr. X, who I don’t want to alienate, told her “I met a famous person once” story the day we all went to the movie. Apparently, she and some of her friends were in New York one day and they saw the crowd exiting the theatre where Patrick Stewart was performing his one man Christmas Carol. They decided to hang out at the stage door and see him. Well, while they were waiting, Dr. X (then Graduate Student X) admonished all of her friends to be very cool when they met Patrick. So, as soon as he exited the theatre and walked near her, she screamed, “I love you, Patrick.”
When asked about his reaction, she said he took two steps to the left and searched desperately for an escape route.
Determined not to repeat this performance, Dr. X was very cool at the reception until she discovered that she was talking to one of the men who was starring in the touring production of “Dial M for Murder” as if he were Sir Ian McKellan.
My friend, queen of the goobers.
It’s strange how, after a party, all the “party tales” make you sound like you’ve just attended a real life soap opera, isn’t it? Oh well, on to the rest of my stories.
2) One of Stephie’s friends that I don’t know very well was talking to Terry, Michael’s cute husbynd. Knowing what a thrill it can be to meet a famous person, he leaned over and graciously asked her if she wanted him to introduce her to Sir Ian.
Stephie’s friend, who did attend the screening, immediately answered, “Who’s Sirian?”
Our only response was “You know, that new model from Africa.”
3) I met this guy and his girlfriend who were touring with the “Dial M for Murder” production starring Roddy McDowell (not to drop names or anything so crass as that. Who the hell am I kidding? If I could run through all the streets of Denver yelling “I met Roddy McDowell and Sir Ian McKellen” and still feel cool about it, I would.) and I could swear that I have seen him on PBS or maybe A&E on one of their mysteries. We met them in kind of a weird way and basically they attacked us because they overheard that we lived here and wanted to know where the best skiing was. Stephie told them and we went on our way.
The strange part of this story is that he was the only one out of the cast besides Roddy McDowell (How the hell did all these Brits converge at once upon a western city such as Denver?) that I recognized. The lead female was being played by some woman from Robocop and the lead male by some guy from Dynasty. I had to admit that, even though I know quite a bit about popular culture, there are some areas where I’m rather insulated.
4) Roddy McDowell shoved me while he was trying to get to Sir Ian to bid him adieu.
5) The movie was really really good.
Well, I think I’ve fawned enough. Back to the real subject.
After deciding which kind of party I want to enjoy, the guest list becomes the most important thing in my life. The people you invite to your party form the atmosphere. Several types of party guests are in existence today. Since the genus contains many different species, I will only list the most prolific. Lots of the party participants are just variations on one of these general themes anyway.
The Party Girl/Boy Toy – Basically harmless, undresses at the slightest tip of a glass then tends to break it. Frequently clueless, she has been overheard as saying things such as “Who’s Sirian?” Unrepentant flirt, usually ends up in the bathroom having sex.
Intellectual – talky person who brings evocative ideas into the conversation, generally an academic. Can be an overenthusiastic boor if trying to be cool. May also be known as “Queen of the Goobers.”
Queen Bee – seen only at the most important events, tends to upend everything to check out the marking. For concrete reference, see all references to Roddy McDowell above.
Clown – the life of the party. Groups cluster around this person. No conversation but great entertainment.
Cuckold – sworn enemy of the Party Girl/Boy Toy. His/Her life partner (although perhaps not for long) is the one in the bathroom. Dangerous to combine the two types in one room after this occurrence.
Great Friends – These are the people who gather with you in a small corner of the party and just comfortably make great conversation like, say, Sir Ian McKellen (just to drop names, if I may. What’s the use of going to all these parties if you’re not going to use the experience shamelessly afterwards?).
Hostess – Would any party be complete without her? She can be seen everywhere, wearing a harried smile and carrying at least two more things than she should.
A balanced mixture of these types is a good combination for any party, but keep in mind the pitfalls inherent in every situation. If you aren’t careful, when you give in and invite that one party girl you know, you may have changed your lovely dinner party into a wild evening of raucous sex and loud music. More than one of your grandmother’s crystal glasses will be sacrificed on the alter of her libido. The same goes for that quiet and intelligent woman who provides the most provocative conversation at your dinner party. She may be the most interesting person sitting down, but totally out of place at your huge blow-out. Truly, it is easier for her to make the transition than your alcoholic party girl, but it’s important that she doesn’t just end up in a bare little corner with you baby-sitting her all night. I realize that Lesbian Law #20 says When giving a party, one must invite everyone one knows, since leaving someone out would be rude and potentially dangerous to the other person’s self esteem but remember, you have things to do!
The last question I must ask myself is, “Do we have enough plates?” Now it is time for the real nitty gritty. This question can limit your guest list or expand your china cabinet. Careful consideration of your abilities and resources will provide a basic skeleton for quite a party. Everything is based upon a foundation and this is yours for a party.
“No one will rave if you don’t have enough chairs or glasses.”
Thank you, Etiquette Annie!
Where did she come from?
Anyway, everyone likes to come to a party where the hostess is prepared. My basic foundation of party needs are usually covered by an empty trash can (or cans, depending on whether or not I want to do dishes afterwards), proper dishes and glasses (whether plain paper or fine crystal is your decision), enough chairs for comfort, and a great music selection.
And don’t forget, I know what I’m doing. After all, Lesbian Law #1 is Never Underestimate the Power of a Lesbian Housewyfe.
I give good party.
More than most of the time.
I can see that my party philosophy has changed quite a bit between my twenties and my forties. These days, I prefer a dinner party where I can show off my cooking skills and the evening stretches into deep conversation about all things political, philosophical and artistic.
However, a good blowout might serve me right now. Our new house has a firepit that’s begging for an evening of beer and chatter.
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