I have to confess that our friends are, on the whole, a pretty fabulous bunch. When we do have parties, everyone leaves saying how lovely everyone was, and I think, yes, that’s because I am almost pathologically selective about who is in my inner circle and, subsequently, at our parties.
Going to other people’s parties, however, often feels like some kind of torture. Not when they are close friends (and you know you’re going to know at least six people there, and more than that, you really, really like the six people who are going to be there), but parties held by acquaintances, or parents of your children’s friends, or people you know through work.
The one we went to recently was in a beautiful house on the other side of town. It was filled with fantastic 30-somethings, all at least a decade younger than I am, and in some cases two decades younger than Beloved.
We walked in with the sort of smiles on our faces that said: ‘Hello! We don’t know a single person here because the two people we do know haven’t got here yet because, bugger it, they had another bloody cocktail party before this one and had we known they were going to be this late we would have been that late too, and we’re really uncomfortable standing in the corner nursing our pomegranate cocktails so we’re going to keep smiling in the hope that someone will come and talk to us.’
The crowd all knew each other. And no one knew us. We bestowed our beaming smiles upon unsuspecting strangers in the hope that one of them might introduce themselves and start chatting, but no one did.
For all those reading who are thinking, hang on – aren’t all Americans super-friendly? Don’t they all just wander over and introduce themselves? Don’t they talk even when you’re not in the mood for talking? The answer is a resounding no. I think those Americans exist in the Midwest, perhaps. Californians are definitely friendly. But anywhere within a 30-mile radius of New York City? Forget it.
Our friends who were coming from the other cocktail party, never came. We eventually found a quiet, empty room, and the two of us sat there waiting for a time when we could reasonably leave. It didn’t take long. We found the host and hostess, flung our arms around them and thanked them for a fantastic party.
And we were in bed by nine thirty. Not a bad night after all.
(This article was first published in The Lady Magazine.)
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