Remember when we used to judge a party just by how big it was? When all we had to do to have a party was say, “Hey, I’m having a party Saturday night”, and maybe, maybe buy a keg?
And when we went to a party, we didn’t even notice the person’s house (sometimes we didn’t even know whose house it was) or whether or not there was food. We simply got excited about how many cars were lining the street and how loud the music was coming from the backyard.
We just noticed people.
I am, of course, talking about my single days (or college…or high school), and part of the allure of people meant, for me, guys. Nowadays, of course, I am not out scooping for guys (my husband will be happy to know), but I still think that we’ve lost something in our more mature married life in making get-togethers about the wrong things.
Nowadays, when we have a party, it’s so much more work. We are taught by countless magazine covers, talk shows, and Sunday morning columns that we need to have an immaculate house, be a fabulous cook, and carefully orchestrate the guest list, theme, and party décor to have a successful gathering. Now, I do know some women who pull this off beautifully, and actually seem to be enjoying themselves in the process, but for the rest of us, we tend to spend our own parties in mild state of hysteria trying to be something we’re not.
And here is the inherent problem, and the source of our stress: we have shifted the focus from our guests to ourselves, and honestly, we are all paying the price for this.
We are getting together less often. And when we do, it’s stressful and expensive. And not as much fun.
Now let me point out that this adult phenomenon does not occur everywhere. All over the world, and even in neighborhoods across the United States, there are people getting together regularly, in groups large and small, without any stress or large cost or maid service or decorating theme or even a single hour frantically scrubbing their bathrooms.
And here is the most likely place to find them: among people who are used to not having any money. Village festivals, large family reunions in playgrounds, neighbors in lawn chairs in the front yard, and, yes, twenty-nothings standing around a backyard keg- these gatherings all originate from the simple desire to just have fun, be together, and escape the daily grind. No one gets credit for a “fabulous spread” or “incredible hostessing skills” or “unbelievable house.”
And everyone has more fun.
So let’s all vow to get together this summer more often, and take some advice from people who know how to have a good time. Don’t worry about cleaning up- we don’t care. Just tell us what to bring over, and we’ll be there.