I usually don’t give unsolicited advice. And if I do, you certainly don’t have to take it. But if you follow my party rules, listed below, I guarantee that your party life will rock. Or at least roll a bit more.
Most parents don’t get to party with the frequency we enjoyed in our pre-breeding days. A party can be a big, freaking deal. It’s our chance to go out, preen a little, drink a little, flirt some, go home late, pay off the sitter, and then, well, you know.
I don’t need many parties in my life—one every month or so works well. I do want the parties that I choose to attend to be damn good (or I guess I should say the ones I’m invited to—it’s not like I’m turning down invites).
While I don’t expect champagne and chocolate, I do expect for the other partygoers, particularly those of you who are parents, to follow a few simple rules.
I know you’re thinking: “Who made her queen?” Just trust me. If you follow Edgy Mama’s party rules, you and I and everybody else will have much more fun (now I’m talking about myself in the third person, too).
Party rule numero uno: Leave the kidlings at home. If it’s a family party, held during daylight hours, and kids are invited, fine. If not, they should be home with a sitter. If you have a baby (i.e., she’s unable to walk unassisted), and she’s asleep in a car seat in the corner all night, that’s OK. But don’t expect me to think it’s cute when your exhausted 8-year-old bounces off a wall into my elbow, knocking cold beer down my cleavage at midnight. Also, you’ll have more fun if you’re not trying to carry on conversations while keeping your kid from wreaking havoc. Suck it up and pay the sitter. Spousal benefits will ensue.
Party rule numero dos: Don’t talk about your kids the whole night. I love my kids. If you’re one of my dearest, oldest buddies, I might even love your kids, too. But there are places to talk about your kids—with your spouse, with your mom, with your therapist. Unless you’ve got an uproarious story and great delivery, don’t talk about your kids. Don’t corner your friends and ramble on about how your kid’s dealing with his food allergies. They’ll start avoiding you. It’s OK to forget about the kids for a few hours. I’m giving you permission.
Party rule numero tres: Don’t exchange business cards at a party. If it’s a Chamber of Commerce party, you’re allowed to toss the cards like confetti. But at a social party? No. Just don’t do it. Particularly if you’re talking to someone wearing a cocktail dress that clearly has no pockets. She’ll throw the card away at the first opportunity. While you’re watching, most likely.
In fact, talking about work at parties can be a kiss of conversational doom—unless your work story is about your boss being caught in flagrante delicto with the pizza-delivery guy. If you have work-related stories about sex, drugs or rock ‘n’ roll, spill ‘em. Otherwise, shut up.
Party rule numero cuatro: Have fun. Duh. It’s a party—why am I telling you this? Because the point is to forget about the kids and work and the rest of your stressful, dull life. Live it up a little. This does not mean you are allowed to get hammered if you’re driving, have unprotected sex with the host (without the hostess’ permission) or be generally obnoxious. However, you are allowed to tell jokes, laugh and sit in a corner engaging in impassioned conversations with cute strangers about, well, sex, drugs or rock ‘n’ roll. You’re allowed to be flirty and eat dessert and sip an exotic cocktail.
What happens if you break Edgy Mama’s party rules? Well, I won’t punish you, unless you like that kind of thing. But I probably won’t spend much time talking to you, either. If I break the rules, which I am sometimes wont to do, I give you permission to make me buy the next round, or wash dishes for the hostess or wear a funny-looking hat for the rest of the party.
So that’s it. Those are my party rules. They sound pretty hard-core, I know, but I’m giving you a New Year’s gift. It’s called fun.
Anne Fitten Glenn is a freelance writer based in Asheville. She covers a number of topics (including parenting) on her blog, www.EdgyMama.com.