Why Big Parties Stopped Being Fun

Emmy week is over and I can breathe a sigh of relief. Since my husband works on a show that gets nominated for an Emmy almost every year (although not, I should point out, the Emmys they hand out in the televised ceremony that people actually watch–animation is the poor cousin and is celebrated at the “Creative Arts Emmys” which take place the week before and no one knows or cares about), he also gets invited to a number of fancy parties. And he expects me to go with him.

And to that I say, “Bleah.” And, frequently, “Do I have to?”

I know, I know–no one is going to play the sympathy violin because I have to go to a big fancy party with lots of food and free alcohol. Parties are not something you’re allowed to complain about. Even if you hate them as much as I do.

I didn’t think I’d be like this. When I was younger, I thought I would love dressing up and going out to elegant events with other people who were dressed up.  But, as with so many things (the freedom to buy as much candy as you want, being able to stay up as late as you want, etc.), the reality doesn’t measure up to your childhood anticipation.

Here are my top ten reasons why adults parties are less fun than teenage ones.

1. THEN: they served M&Ms and diet Coke, AKA the food of the gods. NOW: the food is precious little hors d’oeuvres served in individual ceramic spoons and looks a lot better than it tastes.

2. THEN: you always wore your cutest pair of jeans and favorite slinky top.  NOW: you always wear Spanx.  And no matter what you put on over the Spanx, you can’t feel sexy after you’ve seen yourself in the mirror in your Spanx. But after a certain age, you’ve got to wear the Spanx.

3. THEN: you were underage and couldn’t get alcohol but sometimes, thanks to someone’s older sibling, you scored a delightfully illicit sip or two. NOW: no one cards you anymore, but it doesn’t matter, because even a small amount of alcohol gives you a headache.

4: THEN: you went to a party with friends and moved around in a gaggle with them all night long. NOW: you go to a party with your spouse and sooner or later he sees someone he knows and you get to choose whether you want to nod and pretend you’re part of their conversation or just stand there looking sullen and bored.

5: THEN: your parents gave you a curfew and waited up for you. If you came home late, they’d yell at you.  NOW: your kids wait up for you and that means you’re going to pay a huge price the next morning when you can’t get them out of bed for school. So you don’t dare come home late.

6: THEN: there was all that excitement about whether you’d end up making out with one of the guys you’ve had your eye on. NOW: you won’t end up making out.

7: THEN: a party was a good excuse to experiment with make-up, the bolder the better. NOW: the only experimenting you do is to see whether there’s any concealer in the world that can cover up those bags under your eyes (there isn’t).

8. THEN: at some point, you and your best friend would end up in the bathroom together, to discuss all the drama going on around you, and stay there so long laughing and gossiping and crying that people would wonder what had happened to you. NOW: you end up in the bathroom because you have to pee and spend so long wrestling the Spanx on and off that people wonder what’s happened to you.

9: THEN: you either knew people already or you met them for the first time. NOW: everyone looks vaguely familiar and you know you should probably remember who they are and how you know them but you can’t, so you spend the whole time dodging people or smiling and saying, “Hi, there . . . you.”

10: THEN: darkness was entrancing and magical. NOW: darkness is hard to see in.

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