Simple rules for the party season

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Nicole Stanfield tells you what you need to know to make the best of those fall parties.

The leaves are falling, the air is getting nippy and despite the objections of those who are still wearing (shudder) jean shorts and flip flops, this means that autumn has arrived. But what does this mean? It means that school is in session, and that there is a cluster of holidays coming up: Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas.

In short, it means "party time."

There is a very high probability that you will be asked to attend a party within the next few months. It may be a raging kegger (as you kids call it nowadays) or a quiet family affair. But at any rate, you will be asked to, at a certain day and time, come to a certain place where other people are gathered to celebrate something. Here are some tips on how not to be stupid while doing so.

But Nicole, you may say. What do you know? I have attended close to 300 parties and I am not stupid.

Let's see, shall we?

1. Dress to impress

If someone is inviting you to a party, they obviously think you are important to some degree. So why show up looking like you just ran a fun run at 6 a.m.? Yes, I know, be yourself and all that jazz, but if I see another person roll into a party dressed in a hoodie and jeans like they can't afford decent clothes I will scream. Weddings aren't the only places you need to look nice, people. Parties, even intimate gatherings of friends, count as events, so why not make it special by dressing up or at least dressing decently?

You complain that Cape Girardeau is boring, yes? Well maybe it would be more interesting if you dressed more interestingly when you went to things. Just a thought.

2. Don't hide in the kitchen

Everyone has probably pulled this move at least once. You show up with a friend and they split, leaving you with a bunch of people that are at the most semi-familiar to you, or you are stuck going to a party by yourself.

Either way, a few minutes of failed socialization later and you are standing in the kitchen, drowning yourself in booze and various chips, probably next to a few other people who are likewise frightened of others.

The best way to open a conversation with someone is to compliment something they are wearing, then ask them where they got it, then talk about the store. I swear, it works nearly every time. People are very connected with what they buy; they consider it an extension of themselves. So complimenting a lady's socks is like complimenting her feet, sort of. Or something like that.

Remember, if you are at this party, then there is a high chance that there is at least one other person there that has similar interests as you. Find this person! Be their "party friend!"

3. Don't be a jerk

This is a very broad etiquette tip. Specifically, I mean don't be a jerk when you're drinking. If you have a problem with projectile vomiting or public urination when intoxicated, for the love of God, do not get drunk at a party. If you cannot take care of yourself when drunk, designate someone to be your handler all night so I don't have to hear you brag about how many beers you've had while you're leaning over my shoulder and I'm worried you're going to puke on my shoes. Simple rules:

a. Nobody cares how much you've had to drink. Also, try to remember to talk with about half the loudness that you normally would; volume of the voice increases as you drink more.

b. If you want to make out with everyone at the party or someone of the same sex, you don't have to get drunk just to do so. Everybody can see through your charade anyway, so just do what you want when you're sober!

c. Please, please, please gather all the intelligence your drunk brain can muster and make your way to the toilet for throwing up. If you do it on the floor or on furniture, you are a complete ass. And if you do it on a person, you are a complete ass times four. And if you do it on me, well, let's just say I have no qualms with punching the hell out of someone who's intoxicated.

Just a few simple tips to keep you looking good, talking it up, and not being a total wad. You may not be the life of the party, but at least you won't be "that guy." You know, the one who's not invited but shows up anyway, and everyone's like, "ugh." That's the guy.

I forgot to include any tips for party hosts, but there are only three small tips you need to make any jam successful:

1. Booze.

2. Music.

3. Board games!

Got that? Great. Now you're set for the party season. Just be on the lookout for "that guy." You know who I'm talking about.

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