The Hostess with the Leastest

I haven't spoken at length to anybody but The Varmint, Baby Mak and Deb for more than seven days straight. This remains true despite the fact I hosted book club with 4 of my favorite gal pals in attendance on Friday. And did I mention there was wine?

My hair's been on fire: Work and a bunch of social events were the accelerants. By the time my beloved book club rolled around, I was social milquetoast and had zilch left to give.

These days, hosting two events in one month will pretty much take me out of the game for three weeks. The first DSC_2823event was larger scale than book club: We celebrated Makenna's second birthday with a brunch at the park last Sunday. I learned something about my party planning preferences that gig: In my universe, hosting a party for two year olds is a lot easier and more fun than hosting a party for adults.

I loved the cooking, making chocolate cupcakes, booking Elmo, and buying balloons. It was a fun party to plan. And every single little guest is gloriously appreciative - sweet faces wide-eyed, excited and full of the kind of ecstasy adults reserve for large purchases and fleeting moments of carnal bliss. There is no holding back, no judgment, no worries about whether the guests are happy or not. They'll tell you if they want something, "Makenna's mommy? I want some juice!" (Dude! That's cool. Go get it right over there!) and exactly what they like and don't, "I LOVE cupcakes, but hate cake." (Really? I'll take cake any way I can get it!)

patnjanI think I'm getting old, because these days - while still fun - adult parties are increasingly more stressful. Etiquette issues, personality conflicts, alcohol consumption, drivers and non-drivers, misbehaving marrieds and covertly-seeking singles - it's all this congealed mess of feelings and wants and guilt and insecurity that after a couple of cocktails and some rocking dance music just blow forth in unexpected and unsavory ways. 

As a self-aware neurotic, I find it hard to relax and enjoy the spectacle of most adult parties. I already feel in danger of losing my compassion to time and sagacity (or repetition and cynicism, if I'm being negative). Shouldn't the observation of my brethren include a bit of empathy - out of respect, or shared history at the very least?

DSC_2785There are people, like my friend Christy, who are absolutely brilliant hosts and charming guests. They channel their inner Martha Stewart, create custom cocktails and delightful dishes, are always funny and entertaining and easy. I think I'm going to petition Christy's blog to include her 5 Tips for Successful Hosting. Me? I aspire to that sort of talent. Christy says that in my case, a lot of it is my having a toddler and being stretched to capacity (see? I told you she was charming), but the truth is simpler: I'm unlucky.

I always seem to end up in the bathroom with some personal catastrophe - two recent incidents involved unexpected bodily issues, one of which involved stashing the host's white mat at the bottom of their laundry basket. There was a mortified confession later in the evening which only narrowly avoided tears - and was overheard by the host's teenage son. I don't know about you, but I find it rather hard to be the congenial and charming party guest when you just Mansoned the master bathroom. 

So, I'll keep working at it. The lightening up. The hosting. The timing of events to be nowhere near when Aunt Flo might visit. And in my case, the toting of a catastrophe kit: Baking soda, spot-away, needle and thread and a week's supply of Immodium AD and tampons.

You can just never be too careful.






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I am a writer and lazy artist who loves travel, architecture and design. Right now, I'm into photography. My fabulous husband (a.k.a. The Varmint) and I are also the principals of a San Diego-based creative agency - and new parents to the divine Baby Mak. Read More >