Party Talk

I’m going to a party tonight. The only reason I got invited is because of Miss Mary. I don’t get asked out much at all these days. More often than not, I’m just “Mary’s husband,” or possibly “Mr. B.” I’m okay with that.

With old acquaintances disappeared, I realize it’s probably as good a time as any to add some new names to my black book of contacts. Yeah, let’s make that a goal for the fall and winter—meeting some new people.

Meeting new people inevitably means getting the “what do you do?” treatment. It’s that age-old question all Americans have been socialized to ask. Work and job type still serve as a kind of societal litmus test. Or maybe, it’s just that way with people over a certain age. Do millennials care about anything other than their smartphones and Tinder-type apps? Oh, right—Tinder is so yesterday with these whiz kids and hooking up.

Given my residency in free agent nation, I’m no longer able to blurt out the standard one, or two-word response when queried, like “doctor, lawyer, salesman, or roofer.” Actually, I don’t think there’ll be many roofers at this party, but I could be wrong.

Writer might work as a response—it’s what I do part of the time these days. It’s also the descriptor most amenable to me. But, it’s only one of many things I’m about in my current career configuration.

Freelancer works for a general category. However, I think it’s too ambiguous for anyone still employed in a traditional, 40 hours per week, Monday through Friday, with six weeks of vacation time, type of job.

One thing is certain, my hats are many and varied. I could say what I do requires a diverse and variable skillset. Since diversity is a word that gets bandied about in multiple contexts—plus, it’s so chic in a PC kind of way—I think I’ll work that angle a bit and see how it goes.

Men used to wear only one hat, not many.

Men used to wear only one hat, not many.

Of course, getting past employment is merely hurdle #1. What happens when politics, or other subjects are broached?

8 thoughts on “Party Talk

  1. Well, old friend, it is always good to meet new people. I am very impressed by people and who they are just by being who they are…I base my thoughts about a person on if they are kind, look me in the eye and acknowledge that I am a person with thoughts, ideas and feelings. I read an article recently and actually saved it (now it is from Oprah Magazine) about being ethical. I have been thinking about being more “ethical” to myself in a way that I stick with what I believe and am not afraid to speak to a topic, but then I also weigh, is it worth the energy and repercussions after it has gone through the pipeline of a person’s mind? I have always been one to say what I think and still am, though I try my very best to see both sides. Being a talker it can be hard to keep my mouth shut and sometimes the moment takes over. I find that I regret what I say sometimes but also find that if I do speak up it is who I am and who knows the person I am speaking to may also have the same thought and then there we are “new friend.”

    My daughter is a millennial and I think she really cares about a lot of things but I am concerned about her and young people her age stepping up consistently and speaking up for themselves, America and others but I also know many people my daughter’s age are underemployed, underpaid, underinsured and with student loan debt. And are so busy fighting to survive that they get tired.

    What I do when I am out with new people is kind of follow the lead of who I am with. My two best girlfriends and my husband are great ones to have beside me at these times, in a social situation. I kind of take their lead.

    Your, Mary is the greatest…such a sweet and strong spirit….she will be a good one to go with to a party to meet new people….I am sure you agree.

  2. @Sally Sometimes I’m just really tired of trying to be social, when the return on that investment of time and energy has been so disappointing the past year, or so. My mother used to say, “people can be so disappointing,” and I think she was right.

    Another friend from long ago used to say to me, “the masses are asses.” I’ve found that to also be true, more often than not.

    I’ll go and put on my best party veneer, employ my A-game repartee, and make the best of it. My expectations aren’t that grand, so it’s likely I’ll not be disappointed.

    Mary, on the other hand, will probably have a good time.

  3. Another one of those “In Europe… ” observations (I’m sure you’re plenty tired of them already), but anyways, what one does to earn money is a tasteless point of introduction.

    In hustling America, the first question asked by classless Americans is, “What do you do for a living?” Sniffing out where the money is, and hence whose butt to kiss.

    See if you can avoid the subject at all. Who gives a rat’s patootie how we whore ourselves out, ask about hobbies, dreams, aspirations, sidelines. See if you can get an American to discuss a book on a shelf, or even the quality of the shelf holding the book (in terms other than of cost).


  4. This makes me think. People never ask me what I do, ever, but then again I never go to parties. If I did I would talk about what the person reads, what they like to do, what they watch on tv….I am fairly basic in my existence which is not a bad thing.

    My favorite discussions occur in the cat food aisle at Wal-Mart, in line at the grocery store, at my regular go-to coffee/pick up lunch place and on the street where I talk to someone about their pooch they are walking. And talking to people who have had a fortunate occurrence in their life and it made them happy.

    I have never cared about money! And that’s the truth.

  5. How I love a party! But that is not to say I’ve always been at ease in every party situation. Sometimes, parties are a dull assortment of boring people. Sometimes they are a fascinating group of boorish people. And sometimes, the mix is “just right” and everyone goes home relatively unscathed and happy. Giving parties, like wearing hats, was once something hosts and hostesses did with great thoughtfulness. Emily Post had a heading in “Etiquette” titled “taste in selection of people.”

    Guest have some responsibility towards the well-being of the party, too. Many guests do not think they need do anything except show up. But going to any party, short of a keg or toga party, does require effort on the part of the goer.

    Of course, all these notions of parties etiquette are a fading notion of what was once considered “civil society.” Give it your best, my brother, and consider it all preparation for The Biddeford Ball on October 3! (Have you bought your ticket?) And then party invitations will be going out to the October 9 cocktail event preceding the last Casavant organ concert of the season and the debut of the new Casavant Cocktail in development by my personal mixologists. TAKE HEART!

  6. @LP Didn’t have to talk too much about my “hustling” life. Actually, I kid you not, Brett, founder of Bull Moose Music was at the party. Of course, we talked music,running (he was a big track guy in HS), and Bowdoin, his alma mater.

    @JAB I gave it my best. Two really good conversations–the one mentioned above–and one with Mary’s spin coach and fellow tri-athlete, Sara, who hails from London. Her husband, John, was also very nice.

    Once the band, Sly-Chi, got revved up, it was hard to socialize, drowned out by the honking horns and the white-boy funk. They did manage to get people out on the dance floor, which really isn’t my thing.

    As parties go, this one was a lively one. These days, I prefer a smaller gathering.

  7. I liked the book signing we went to at Julie-Ann’s. That was the last “party” David and I have been to…before that maybe a Christmas Party like 10 years ago….I liked the party at Julie-Ann’s…that is my thing!

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