Reasons why to never, ever throw a party.
1) The cleaning. Okay, the actual, physical work of cleaning is not the worst thing– even though it’s a total drag and takes your whole and entire Saturday and has the kids practically up in arms by time supper rolls around. Nope. Not the worst thing. The worst thing is that after a couple of hours, it occurs to you that no one’s house should be such a mess as to require hour upon relentless hour of scrubbing to make it hospitable to people lucky enough to not live here. You start to question your worth as a grown-ass person. Questions start to present themselves; “Is that toothpaste on the wall?” “Why are there chicken bones under the couch?” And “I sure hope those are chicken bones.” Since this whole endeavor is for your birthday, you can’t help but think maybe by this decade you should have a better grasp on this whole housekeeping/cleanliness thing.
2) The dread of explaining to your guests the, um, idiosyncrasies of your bathroom. “Hold the toilet handle down for not less than 11, but no more than 14 seconds. Also, the snazzy foaming soap dispenser works just fine, you just have to pull the nozzle back up to its original position when you’re done. Also, don’t push down the drain plug in the sink, or we’re going to have to find a nail, a hammer and a pair of pliers to get it back out.” No number of fluffy, just-washed towels and fancy candle holders are going to erase the white trashiness of those instructions. Martha Stewart you are not.
3) The fear that some Lookee Lou is going to take their life in their hands and sneak a peek behind the shower curtain. Back in the day, when you and your spouse were all heady with the joy of homeownership, you looked at the cracked tile in the shower and said, “Phffffbt. How hard could that be to replace? We can totally do that.” Answers: Very, and no you couldn’t. Now you are battling mildew so pervasive that it has probably evolved into a sentient being. (It, too, is wondering why there are chicken bones under the couch.) Your only option at this point is to hire a bona fide professional to subdue the beast, but the hazard pay required has placed this maddeningly beyond reach.
4) You know what? The whole dang bathroom. You’ve seen the water from the shower drip, drip, dripping into the basement laundry room long enough to know that whole thing is going to cave in one of these days. Better just to send everyone to the Super America down the street. The bathroom is better and they can bring you back a blue raspberry slushie. It’s a win/win, really.
5) You have nothing to wear. Seriously, not a thing. Yes, you manage to clothe yourselves daily, but you look terrible in all that stuff. Plus, it’s dirty, or the zipper doesn’t work, or it’s all wine-stainy. Screw it. Put on some bright lipstick and big earrings. Start drinking early.
6) The absolute fear that not a single person is going to show up. You have been out of junior high school for a super long time by this point, but it still feels like the only folks you can con into showing up for your birthday are your cousins and that’s only because their mom made them. Now you live in different states and you don’t even have that safety net. People are busy. They have kids, lives, jobs. They don’t want to come to your party. They want a nap. YOU want a nap. Maybe it’s not too late to call your Aunt.
The reason we all do.
That moment when you look around at the many people in your home and they are talking and laughing and there is music and suddenly this party feels like you are on that old show, “This Is Your Life” and it is the very best episode ever. Your kids and their friends are there, children you have known since they were babies, and now are almost grown up people themselves. There are teeny little kids and old friends and new friends and work friends… And yes, it could be the sangria talking, but you are aglow with the wonderment of how stinking fortunate you have been your whole life to be around the people you’ve known–whether or not they happen to be standing in your living room at this particular moment. It is clearly the best idea you have ever had to host this party and you resolve to throw many, many more. Of course, you’ll have to do something about that dang bathroom, but you can worry about that, tomorrow.