Thursday, December 03, 2015

the sparkling social life of the semi-hermitic

The Sober Husband and I have become homebodies.  After all, when you have a comfortable home with pleasant company, it doesn't always make sense to venture out into the larger world.  But lately I have resolved to gear my social life back up, get out more, etc..   And, weirdly enough, this weekend we have been invited to a number of parties, so it would seem a good time to act on this resolve.  Two are in Oakland on the same day, so it would work to stop by both of them, and coincidentally I had a hair appointment already set for the day, so it will even be a good hair day.

But the resolve is crumbling already.  One of the parties is a holiday gathering for volunteers of a certain large organization, and there are a few requirements.  The guests are supposed to bring a gift to donate to charity, their own cup to drink out of, high end homemade cookies for a potluck, and little trinkets to give to the other guests.  I RSVPed yes and was all set to go, and then I read this list of requirements, and my reaction was that they have gone too far.  What exactly are they giving me?  If I have to bake (and the call was to show off your cooking chops with really fabulous, fancy, amazing cookies), and I have to bring a gift for charity, and I have to bring little bits of sparkly crap for the other guests AND my own cup, what is the point?  I could stay at home with my cup and drink my own alcohol without having to cross the Bay Bridge.  Not to mention that there's a theme you're supposed to dress for.  True, it's optional, but encouraged, and that makes yet another requirement.

It reminded me of a similar party I didn't attend, where I was supposed to bring food, pay $25 to cover the hostess's expenses, and to prepare a ten minute speech about my passion for my work.  There is just so much you can ask from me under the guise of inviting me to a party.  Even leaving aside the speech (and I think it's best to leave it far, far aside), you are not going to see me both bringing food and paying. That brings together the worst features of a potluck and an unhosted event thrown by a reluctant host.  

The other prospective party this weekend refreshingly did not set any requirements for the guests.  But today the host of the second party posted a note about the food, after realizing that the entrees are all shellfish.  If you are a meateater but don't eat shellfish, you're encouraged to speak up so another entree can be ordered for you but if you're a vegetarian,  there will be a few vegetable side dishes you'll be asked to share with the meateaters so don't ask.  I realize I am insanely touchy about my vegetarianness, but I am also allergic to bivalves (not shrimp or lobster, though).  This presents me with a dilemma.  Should I feel free to speak up and ask for an entree, since I have a legitimate medical reason not to eat what was ordered, or should I remain silent as an undesirable vegetarian who doesn't merit an entree?  In the end I am not going to trust any of that food, since the restaurant notes that pretty much everything is cross-contaminated with shellfish and because the restaurant seems to have no concept of vegetarianism.  And also in the end, the host is someone I like a lot, and I don't want to be a bother, so there is no way I would ask for anything special.   It's just so much easier to stay home, where I don't have to worry about clam contamination or feeling like a freak because I'm a vegetarian. 

On the other hand, there's one more party.  There is no dress code.  There are no requirements that we bring cups, gifts, fancy baked goods, or anything.  Since there's no dinner served, there are no issues with food. And, unbelievably enough, it's within walking distance of our home, and held by someone we love.   I see no way out of it.  Even Thoreau held occasional dinner parties when he was living at Walden, and even a crabby curmudgeon like the Drunken Housewife occasionally inflicts her company upon kind party-givers. 


Claire M. Johnson said...

I don't know if it's just my circle of family or acquaintances, but really, I can't imagine hosting an event and not including a vegetarian option (and, no, fish is NOT legitimate vegetarian fare. Fish is a total cop-out, sort of like the meat eaters' sop to vegetarians when they can't be arsed to expand the menu. It's like, "Oh, we've solved the vegetarian problem. We'll just serve fish). I mean, really, in the Bay Area? I know which party I would choose. The one without an agenda. My life is, essentially, ALL agenda. I would love to go to a party where the only agenda is that one have a good time. Preferably with some decent wine. Red. Or champagne!

Anonymous said...

One "request" (not requirement!) per party is my limit! -- Anais

AwesomeGirl128 said...

great to see another post! any chance (at her approval) to see posts about younger lola (and/or her awesome friend alyson ;) )?

the Drunken Housewife said...

I will write one, but I have to make sure it isn't too embarrassing. Of course younger Lola was COMPLETELY AMAZING and FABULOUS and so is her friend Alyson, so any anecdote should be only charming, but sometimes people are modest.