Sunday, July 17, 2011

Party life

We went to another party last night.  A party thrown by a work friend of Mark's.
I am not very fond of going to parties, especially parties where I don't know anyone, except my husband.  For years I would just send him on his merry way and stay home with the kids. 
It suited me fine, but it made him feel embarrassed or weird to never have me with him. 
I was the ghost wife.
The nervous nelly at home. 
Parties really bring out my social anxiety.  
I didn't understand why it  felt so hard for him to let me be a hermit, but I also didn't want to make him feel like he was living with a mental patient that couldn't handle real life, so I resolved to be better, and I think I have been better lately. Before he married me he used to go out all the time, to parties, to see music, to bars; all things I hate. Noise, smoke, strangers, badly prepared food, dirt.
This is the second party I've gone to with him in two months. 
Before I had children I used to throw a lot of parties. 
I used to be fairly social and know a lot of people. 
Something just changed dramatically in me when I turned 30, like a flip of a switch, I got so I just couldn't be around people anymore. 
Very strange. 
Now I feel like don't really know many people anymore, which makes sense given over a decade of hiding out.
Back when I used to host parties, I always tried to include the fringe  or shy people in conversation, draw them in. 

I sat alone last night a good deal of the four hours I was there, and no one really spoke to me. 
It was really odd. 
I couldn't sit in a room and know someone was sitting there not talking, I would be compelled to rescue her. 

With no rescue in sight, and not wanting to cling to Mark, I did the next best thing.  I sought out people to talk with and sort of interjected myself into conversations, with mixed success.

There was one tattooed  old school punk rock fellow that I had seen at the previous party sitting across from me talking about health insurance with a woman that also didn't know anyone, a neighbor, at some point this fellow said
"if I ever see my Kaiser doctor on the street, I will spit in his fucking face!" 
and I thought, now that is someone I can relate to!  And sure enough, he turned out to be a delightful conversationalist and the neighbor lady wasn't too bad either.  They kept me from feeling like a compete loser until Mark drifted back my way. 
Part of the problem was the type of people at the party. 
There were tons of publishing and advertising folks, who all knew each other and tended to clump and talk shop; that is where Mark gravitates.  They tend to be the hard drinking and smoking set, and I never fit in, because as soon as I answer the question what do you do, they immediately lose interest.  
In these situations I tend to look like some kind of idiot clinging to Mark's side not saying a word, at most of these events. 
There were also a large group of edgy lesbians with crew cuts and giant skull tattoos, for the most part that type- the shaved headed skull tattoo set, tend to hate me, I have no idea why, but over the years that has always been the case.
Then there was a little group of greasy haired comic book collecting men, I usually have my best luck with them, or with the drunk floozies, that need assistance, say opening a bottle of champagne or retrieving a false eyelash from the onion dip. 
So that is who I flowed between.  The drunk redhead, that might have been pretty when she was 20, but has had a lot of hard miles on her since then,  who likes to get about two inches from your face and then speak in a really loud voice, and the balding Kevin Smith look a like that lives in a basement with 10,0000 comic books, and of course the vulgar and hilarious tattoo guy who hates Kaiser.  The art gallery neighbor wasn't bad either, I've taken enough art history to be able to hold my own with art snobs.  She had a lovely bob and beautiful blue eyes and she was chatty.  She reminded me of a high school friend I have lost track of.  Sort of vulnerable yet snooty.
I love chatty people. 
I suspect my skirt looked stupid and possibly provincial, but I haven't kept up on the laundry since the kids have been gone, so I wasn't feeling super secure.
I felt like I looked like some homely hayseed.
I brought a quinoa salad and an expensive bottle of wine, Mark bought a case of PBR.
Everyone liked the salad, but that might be because everyone else brought either beer or chips, so there wasn't a lot of real food available, until the host busted out the smoked pork, about two hours into the party.  
That is another sign that I am not a good party person.  I hate it when I go to someone's house and they don't have the food prepared, when it takes ages to get something to eat, and you wind up drinking way too much because your are waiting around for the damn BBQ or what ever it is they are making. 
If I invite people to dinner at 5:00, the food hits the table no later than 5:30, or I put our appetizers, or both.

quinoa with sweet potatoes, green beans, cashews, cilantro, zucchini


  1. I think it would be more interesting for you to come socialize with my small friend group. We love good food, nerd out in a cozy environment, find place and comfort for each other, and no one loses eye lashes in onion dips. I love your writing.

  2. and I can relate to everything you said. my wife and I don't like to go to parties where everyone is drinking since we don't drink, and we just feel pretty overwhelmed... But, it's good to know what the story is on what you like and don't like, that's for sure....

    Let us know how the next one goes!