The awful parties we do for fun


January 01, 1991|By ELISE CHISOLM

The party you don't want to go to may still be looming on the horizon for you.

You got through the gift exchanges, the spending of money you didn't have, the carving of the turkey, the whining of the overly tired children and the sore throat that follows the holidays. And now you would like to go to a really nice New Year's Day party with maybe four close friends. Or just relax and stay home with your main squeeze and a peanut butter sandwich.

You are tired, you are bone tired from all the hype that comes with "doing" Christmas, your in-laws, your kids and your job at the same time. Seems like Thanksgiving was just yesterday.

Forget it. You will still be stuck with one or two utterly boring parties, and that goes for next year's holiday time, too. The parties are either pay-backs or showcases for corporate-climbers -- a kind of social fete for those who want to get ahead or feel they are behind.

I could not have lived this long without having to attend several parties that afterward my husband and I breathed a sigh of relief and talked about what made the party so bad and hopefully forgettable.

The Borings give the worse parties.

They mix people from his office and hers. He makes septic tanks, and she sells computer software. So you hope there's a snow storm and you can all talk about that.

The Borings usually make you play a game, a game that is complicated, one that they themselves made up.

The Borings always have egg nog, which nowadays most people feel is too fattening. They never have an open bar. So if you are tired, you wish you'd brought a flask. They always have several different fruit cakes, and you choke down a piece and wish for a soft bagel or even a stale croissant. They have cheese balls and dips, but not enough to forgo the fact you will have to fix dinner at home later.

To top off the evening, the Borings usually have a theme. One year it was Dickens' "Christmas Carol" and you were meant to come in costume. Last year you were to come dressed as a Disney character -- I went as Grumpy.

Sometimes you have to bring a gift to exchange, so you look around for a fruit cake you've had for years or a scarf you can't stand that someone gave you last year.

Usually there is ham or turkey, although I have to say there is a good chance there is a ham in the form of a person who will sing his version of "Auld Lang Syne" and a turkey who will spill egg nog down the back of your dress.

But if you don't make their party this week you are apt to get one of those long detailed Christmas letters telling you how smart their kids are, how wonderful their life is and how great their parties are.

But perhaps harder to take than the Borings' parties are the Wayouts.

They are apt to have a theme party, too, replete with macrobiotic food and coconut milk mixed with vodka.

The people at their party are mixes; former flower children; hip performers from local comedy clubs and neighbors who consider themselves "with it." There's usually a professor who teaches native dance, who will dance on the coffee table later if egged on with a quart of nog.

Someone will tell fortunes and predict the New Year. But in general you have to be up to deal with the Wayouts' parties.

If you go to the Borings or the Wayouts, you have to have them back, or send them a nice potted plant that will cost you over 30 bucks.

Why don't some of the people who want to show off their fruit cakes, antique stained glass windows they just installed, their new twins or their cocktail dips just wait until February to have a party? February is such a boring month.

Cheers and Happy New Year.

Elise Chisolm's column appears Tuesdays in The Evening Sun.

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