Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Party Fun

Don’t feel bad if I don’t come to your party. It’s not you. It’s the party.

Parties intimidate me. They are high-pressure, self-conscious-making, hide-by-the-punch-bowl events or rattle-like-talking-will-change-everything-and-no-one-will-notice-how-nervous-parties-make-you occasions. Going to a party for me is like a visit to the Serengeti. Parties are not my natural habitat. I don’t know what time is best for my species or where I belong in this picture. They are some sort of dis-reality.

I know plenty about the concept of parties from books I’ve read. Often I even know the people attending the party I'm at. Still, I become an alien within the context of that single word party. Actually I think many people do.

Call it a “get together.” Say that, “Some friends are coming over.” I might be all right. I might ask a few questions to make sure you’re not using a euphemism instead of the dreaded “p-word.” There’s a big difference between “Stop over for drinks,” and “Come to my party.” The difference is in what people expect and how they behave. It’s okay for us “to party.” Let’s just not officially have one.

When I get together with friends or meet for a drink, I figure we’ll have some good conversation and possibly eat. When I go to a party, the idea of fun rears it’s ugly head. I had fun at a party once. Well, I’m sure I must have. It’s just so hard to define what fun is that I can’t tell when I’m having it at a party—at least not always. Sometimes I don’t know I had fun until the day after it’s over. Fun’s a complicated, personal thing.

If I get to a party too early, the fun hasn’t started yet. I’m in the way, and everyone is looking at everyone else wondering what to talk about. I can almost hear people thinking, “Hey, where’s the fun that I came to have at this party?” It’s almost as if they are so busy looking for fun that people, who usually have great conversations with each other, can’t seem to find word one to say that doesn’t sound stiff and tired.

If I show up a little bit later, the fun may have started, but I might not recognize that’s what I’m seeing, because other folks’ fun might just look like people talking to me. What if I get there too late and the fun is already over? I could be standing around waiting for fun to start, and everyone else could start leaving.

Then there’s the even worse party experience. I have a great time and don’t really figure out how truly special it was until the next day or so.

Then I wish we could have the party all over again. But there’s no such thing as a “do over” on a great party. It’s hard enough to get a great party to even happen.

But a great evening with friends? They happen every time we're together.

My friends are such fun. I think I'll invite some over.
—me strauss Letting me be


mergrl said...

great post Liz, I much prefer getting together with friends, so much less pressure, and you know you are always going to have a great time!

have a great rest of the evening (hugs)

ME Strauss said...

Hi mergrl,
Yeah. Much more fun than a real party with real people there. :)

Have a good night sweet one.

Anonymous said...

your blog is intresting.

ME Strauss said...

Thank you, anonymous.

Eric Mutta said...

Never been a fan of parties myself due to the unpredictable nature of those things.

But isn't unpredictability what makes it so exciting? Yes, but I get very nervous if I can't tell in advance if something is going to be a waste of time [crazy I know, LOL].

ME Strauss said...

Hi Eric,
Good to see you. Hope all is well.
Yeah, the unpredictability can be part of the appeal--or lack of it.
Parties just seems to make so much pressure out of a normal gathering. :)

Rain said...

I wrote on the same topic after a recent party. Maybe those of us who blog are more introspective than most.

ME Strauss said...

Hi Rain,
That would surprise me if a survey said that those who blog think more about such things than others. After all, a writer's craft is watching and thinking.


Doug said...

Liz, can I come to your get-together? I'm exactly the same at parties. I was emailing (!) with a friend not long ago and the topic of parties came up. I told my friend that if she ever sees me at a party, I may be smiling, I may be laughing, I may even be speaking but deep down inside I'm plotting the revenge I'll take on whoever made me come.

ME Strauss said...

You're always welcome at my get togethers. We'll party all we want there.

J's Girlfriend said...

Excellent post!

ME Strauss said...

Thank you, J's Girlfriend.

Ananke said...

I'm with you, I loathe going to parties. Getting together with friends is so much nicer. :-D

ME Strauss said...

You're welcome to gather with my friends anytime you want.

fineartist said...

The paradox of parties. I loathe the leaving. Interrupting conversations to hug and say good night, trying not to forget anyone, remembering who hugs and who finds them to be awkward. Oh the stress.

ME Strauss said...

Ah Yes, Lori,
The other word for party--stress.
That's why I prefer to call them something else. So come on over and well have a "get together."