I like parties. I like throwing them. I like going to them. I like loud music and inadequately chilled booze. I like dancing. I like flirting. Stick a glass of wine in my hand and pitch me into a herd of strangers and I will keep that conversational ball in the air. Rely on it. It’s in my DNA. In my family we call it the mingling gene. Can’t learn it; have to be born with it. I was born with it. My brothers, too. We get it from our father—a handsome man with the ability to charm entire rooms with very little perceivable effort.
This year I am throwing a party. A big party. It’s hard to predict exactly how big but it’s fair to say, even at this early stage, that things may have got a teensy bit out of hand.
It started with an email that I sent out to my closest friends—the ones who have kept me these past months from ending up face down in a ditch. I wanted to do something to say thank you and a party seemed like the answer. Celebrate the fact that we have each other, that sort of thing.
I looked at the list of people I had invited and saw that it was relatively small. And I thought about the purpose of the party a little more and realized that there were other people that should have been on the list that weren’t. And they were all the ones who have dragged me through this experience. Even if it was just for a couple of hours. Even if it was just for a night. Even if it was just sitting on a bar stool bullshitting away a sleepy Friday evening.
So I invited the Jamaican. I invited the Drug Dealer.
I invited the California. The Californian is going to DJ.
I invited the Brazilian. The Brazilian’s bringing his girlfriend. And he’s said in front of witnesses that he will samba if we pour enough booze down his throat.
As for my close friends, some are coming and some are not.
I haven’t heard from the Trinidadian, but that’s par for the course. He’s the international man of mystery as far as social engagements go. He will either come or he won’t. If he comes he’ll bring a bottle of wine that would cover a monthly mortgage payment. If he comes he won’t dance.
The Hungarians and the mid-Westerners live in my building, so their choice is simple: come to my place or be kept awake by a rowdy bunch of very badly behaved yahoos.
The Spaniard, in true Spanish fashion, is bringing her own portable party—her two brothers and their girlfriends.
There are a couple of omissions. Brits have sent their regrets. They live in London and their teleporter is broken.
Dear, close friends in California have sent groovy best wishes.
The Roman is similarly constrained by geography. He will have to seek what consolation can be found in the Eternal City.
As I was thinking about whom to invite I thought too about the Greek.
And as if he had read my thoughts, he recently broke radio silence.
“And okay, I want to enjoy your company, kopela,” his text read. (Don’t bother googling it; kopela is Greek for bella. The kid remembers his lessons.)
The Greek has decided, because evidently hope really does spring eternal in his young Greek breast, to renew his advances. Seriously, with this kind of determination why he is not running the free world is a complete mystery to me.
Perhaps hoping to lengthen his odds he offered me three choices. The first was dinner because it was, er, Fashion Week, and, heaven knows, a dinner date is the time-tested method of celebrating Fashion Week.
His second suggestion was rodeo bar.
His third suggestion was a trip to Coney Island.
I read his text, which arrived at some improbably late hour. I have inferred that the Greek works in the restaurant business in some capacity so his social life is only getting going at one or two in the morning.
I was tempted, for a solid three minutes, to add him to the list. Make it a complete set. The feeling passed.
Really, really would never get rid of him.
Then I looked at the guest list again and saw that there were several young men on it with demonstrably loose morals (the Jamaican is threatening to bring his entourage). And I thought about a few single women of my acquaintance who could benefit from meeting men with demonstrably loose morals. So I sent out a few more invitations. Almost everybody said yes and the tenor of their replies has suggested that everybody I know in Gotham is ready to pounce on an opportunity to behave without decorum.
Now I really have absolutely no idea how many people are coming. None whatsoever.
Normally I would be nervous but in accordance with the general theme of the year, I have decided to embrace the uncertainty. Odds are, unless the universe is feeling particularly pernicious, that worst thing that could happen to me this year has already happened. There’s nothing an out of control party can do to tip the scales. Either it will successful or it won’t. Nothing much I can do about it except provide food, booze and music. And if things really take off, maybe alibis and bail.
Besides, parties are good to throw when times are tough. I have rigorously field tested this theory.
In 2005 when Hurricane Katrina and an incompetent federal government tag-teamed to lay waste to New Orleans, I was working in television news. It was a heartbreaking story to cover. I felt sick every day. I threw large amounts of money at the Red Cross but still felt useless. I wanted to get drunk and cry, and couldn’t do either. I decided to throw a big party. It was last minute, but still people came. By unspoken consent we caroused without reserve and crawled out of bed the next day, hungover and discombobulated after scant unsatisfactory minutes of sleep. The house stank of beer and cigarette smoke. The house smelt exactly as it should have done.
It felt great. It was cathartic. Parties can do that—they are a tangible reminder that we are not alone. The good ones show us that we stand or fall together.
They also give us something to gossip about for weeks to come, which scientists now agree is a useful social service.
When I was married, my husband and I used to joke that it wasn’t a party until at least three people had called the next day to apologize for their behavior. I once told that to a friend who works in law enforcement and he snorted and said; “It’s not a party until somebody calls the cops.”
For this party, I’m raising the bar a little higher. I’m aiming for a SWAT team. It’s been that kind of year.
I’m looking forward to it.