Since I don’t have big limpid Bambi fawn eyes to turn on them, and I’m not as cute as a puppy, I’ve learned how to chat people up quickly so they’ll trust me. Seriously. I once had a guy in jail confess murder to me because I seemed so trustworthy. (I didn’t promise not to tell.)
All these are useful skills when you’re a journalist, but they’re the same skills you need to chitchat with people at parties. And I’m over it. My friends who are teachers feel the same. They have to put themselves out there every day, and when they get home, they just want to lie on the couch face down and only look up when the microwave popcorn is done.
Now, if you’re a good-looking woman, or a specimen of male handsomeness, or a billionaire, you’re thinking to yourself, “Gee, Marla. I never have any trouble talking to people at parties. I don’t know what you’re thinking about.”
Well, oh lucky ones, that’s because the people come to you. There’s a circle of folks standing around you, laughing at things that aren’t even funny, just so they can gaze at your splendor, or estimate the size of your wallet and whether you’d take them to Cabo for the weekend. (Answer: Probably not, but good for you for trying.)
Since I’m not good-looking (I once got a letter from a reader telling me I was too fat to be in the newspaper. I wrote back that he should stop drinking a quart of vodka a day and beating his wife), it’s all just too much like work. So I skip those kinds of parties, no matter how many shrimp towers or chocolate fountains they have. Trying to be clever and witty and interesting is exhausting.
I’m not a hermit, though. I like getting together with friends, especially if wine is involved which, knowing my friends, it usually is.
My best friends don’t require me to be entertaining, they’re happy if I just sit there and drool. Or pet their dogs. Or peruse their bookshelves to look for any new additions since the last time I was there.
If they don’t have any bookshelves, they’re probably not my friends. One of my readers told me she likes to alphabetize people’s books at parties. She can come over to my house any time. Another reader who’s a librarian told me she amuses herself by organizing the books by the Dewey Decimal System.
Until now, my favorite party activity has been eating as much special holiday food as possible, while looking around guiltily to see if anyone’s noticed that I just sneaked back yet again to eat more home-baked cookies.
This year, though, I’m on a diet. Yes, it’s a complete ripoff that I should have cancer and still have to diet, but what can you do? Life is cruel. So I’m trying to just stay away from all cookies and other spawn of Satan. Seriously, I went to a holiday brunch the other day and there was a box of See’s chocolates and I … didn’t even eat one! That might be a first for me.
Of course, I did eat two pieces of cake, but we won’t talk about that, right?
So, if you’re thinking about inviting me to your Glamorous Event, send a limo for me. Then, I’ll probably come. I love riding in limos. And I’ll stay. At least until the shrimp is gone.
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