herald

Sunday 20 January 2019

behave

I love parties. I really do. And, as long as they're not in my place and somebody else is organising them, I usually have a good time. There is something wonderful about being entertained in other people's homes. There is no need to worry about talking to weirdos because anybody there is a friend of the host or hostess who is more than likely a friend of yours.

You can help yourself to drink without queuing, you don't have to tip anyone in the toilets offering you a lollipop and, if you get bored, you can sit down and watch TV. Seriously. I was once at a house party and there was someone watching The X Factor who wouldn't talk to anybody until it was over.

I have also been at christenings where the men all crowd into the TV room to watch a match as dessert is being served. But apart from some people's lack of basic manners, parties are rather nice. You feel like you belong, which you never really do when you have to pay in somewhere.

When somebody invites you to a party it feels like a compliment. It means the host or hostess trusts you to behave in their home and probably thinks you'll get on with their friends. But then again, the downside to parties is that when you're not invited you feel left out.

A couple of years ago I didn't get an invite to a party and got an email from the host a few days later asking whether I'd had a good weekend? A good weekend? Reading all the Facebook posts about her party as I sat at home alone? More enemies than friends are made as a result of parties.

The only parties I truly dislike are the ones I have myself. There is terrible pressure to make sure everyone is having a good time and is well fed and watered. You worry that your friends from work will have nothing in common with your friends from home, you fret that nobody will show up or not show up until after the pubs have stopped serving, and then you worry that somebody will knock over something valuable or spill red wine.







garden

My dad is always having parties but he doesn't serve red wine, unless it's a garden party. Guests are offered white wine, champagne or water on arrival. He is a laid-back man and I don't ever remember him fretting about someone not turning up. But more often than not I find myself at parties where the host/hostess is distraught because half the invitees were no shows. 'I know who my real friends are now' is something I often hear seethed half way through the celebrations.

I have seen hosts/hostesses in tears. Dublin people are particularly rude about simply not showing up if it's raining/they're hungover/something better has come up.

I had a house-warming when I first bought my place around 12 years ago. It was on Good Friday and there was a punch-up between two lawyers. Ribs were broken, ornaments were smashed. Never again, I vowed. As a kid I never really got that song 'It's my party and I'll cry if I want to'. I do now.

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