For a lone man in crisp khakis, he did quite well at the for-women-only party

Janet's world

March 04, 2007|By Janet gilbert

Here is the true story of a man of daring, a man of confidence, a man with the requisite je ne sais quoi -- which is French for "khaki slacks and collared shirt" -- to go where no man has gone before: a women-only party.

Giarc Tuots, whose name has been cleverly spelled backward for privacy, saw the "Open House" invitation on his kitchen counter and noted the date. His wife -- who was invited -- read it as well, but it was only in a paragraph toward the bottom that the phrase "for my women friends" appeared, and how many of us have time to read the fine print on a party invitation?

So, when the date arrived, Giarc dressed in his crisp, neat, always-appropriate suburban male party uniform (SMPU) of khakis and collared shirt, and walked over to the party. He did not concern himself with the fact that other neighborhood men would be sporting their SMPUs at the open house; that is, if any other neighborhood men were even thinking of showing up.

I often think about how refreshing it would be if we women had a prescribed uniform that eliminated having to try on several pairs of shoes, switch purses to match, and accent our ensembles with jewelry when we're getting ready to go out. Think of how emotionally freeing as well as just plain time-saving it would be to be able to say: "Well, it's a back-to-school night. Let me check the uniform list. ... Hmmm, that's the BSS -- black slacks and sweater." Of course, every woman in the school auditorium would be wearing the BSS, but we women should just get over it. The Janet's World Department of Fashion Statisticians reports that at any given school function, 9.3 out of 10 men will be wearing some version of the SMPU. What's more, they have never overheard a single guy commenting to another guy: "I think the flat-front would have accented his whittled waistline, whereas the pleats add unnecessary midriff bulk."

But let us get back to that Crashing Crusader, that Marauder of Mixers, that Stalker of Sociability, Giarc! He said his first clue that he was not on the guest list was when the hostess greeted him by asking, "Did you bring Ibed?" But of course the hostess did not actually say "Ibed"; that name has been privacy-protected in the Janet's World tradition.

"She's on her way," he said. The hostess looked confused.

Giarc then briefly talked to me, and I admit that I did not help him in any way to ascertain that he was not invited. But this was because his presence caused me to wonder -- had I unintentionally excluded my spouse? After all, I had only skimmed the invitation before pinning it on the family bulletin board. The entire time Giarc was talking to me, I was actually holding a worrisome internal conversation with myself: "I thought the invitation said women friends. But maybe it said winsome friends. Or wedded friends. I'd better text-message my husband, and tell him to get into some SMPUs and get over here, fast!"

Fortunately, before too much time had passed, a friend walked in, took one look at Giarc, and said "What are you doing here? This is a party for women."

"I was getting that feeling," said Giarc. He laughed and announced he would be leaving soon.

"What's your hurry?" I said. "We were just about to discuss our placentas."

Giarc, to his credit, stayed on to chat about quiet dishwasher models and Cookie Lee jewelry, and he helped himself to a few treats from the dessert table before heading home. He looked keenly disappointed at our beverage options of wine or spiced cider. But all in all, I think he had a fine time because he was, however briefly, the life of the party -- the Emperor of the Unwelcome.

Next time I host a baby shower, he's on the list.

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