Recently, the New York Times’ Style section continued it’s trend for being tone deaf and out of touch by declaring “The Death of the Party”. I made a particularly frustrated noise upon seeing it as I had JUST thrown a party the previous week.
The author, Teddy Wayne, says: “The incidence of house parties in America (and sections of Canada) thrown by and for those in their 20s, the prime years for adult socializing, may be dropping for a raft of technological, economic and cultural reasons.”
Now, I am on the older edge of the “millennial generation” but my experience has absolutely been full of parties. I went to many a raging house party full of underage drinking and shenanigans in high school thanks to some friends with remarkably obliging parents. In college, I was in a sorority so there were plenty of parties there, but even if I wasn’t, Tulane was a party school and there was no lack of them. I even attended Stanford for a semester due to some…hurricane problems, and even they had some particularly wild parties. And now as an adult in New York, it’s almost a constant cycle of parties- some in apartments and some out at bars.
Wayne sites David Foster Wallace’s famous prediction “It’s gonna get easier and easier, and more and more convenient, and more and more pleasurable, to be alone with images on a screen,” which is true, I suppose. But if my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds are any indication, it’s all of our friends being out at parties and other fun social events that are giving us FOMO rather than pleasure.
He does point out a fear of party throwing saying that these days a keg and some discount chips just don’t cut it, interviewing one girl who said “As for alcohol, her friends have top-shelf taste. “Now it’s bourbon — and not just any bourbon.” Which…can be true, honestly. I throw parties and I can easily spend a hundred dollars or more on food and beverages. But that’s because I like to put out a really nice spread. In my experience, people are perfectly happen to bring things to share and don’t REALLY care that much about what you serve (and if they do, maybe you need better friends?). If hosting at your own apartment is too much, it’s really easy to “host” the festivities at a bar. Definitely in the millennial age group, no one sees anything wrong with that and plenty of people like the excuse to come out as long as someone is doing the actual organizing. It may technically be “rude” to invite people to a thing and then not pay for everything, but who cares when you are in your 20s (and now that I am going to be moving on up into my 30s, I am seeing that age bracket as not so stodgy either!)? Jaya and I usually throw an Uncommon Courtesy anniversary party every year at a great tiki bar and everyone always has a great time.
Meeting at a bar also solves the problem that Wayne proposes that with rents in NYC so high, the younger crowd is all spread out over the city and going from your house in deep Brooklyn to a party in Astoria can take ages and many subway transfers. To that I say pffft anyway. Are these people really that lazy? Didn’t we all move to New York to not stay at home all the time (and I say this as a major homebody!)?
Anyway, I challenge all of you to pick a date, throw a party, invite everyone you know, don’t worry about space or food. It will be fun! And invite some Times reporters, as they don’t seem to get out much.
I’m in New Haven, and I also have not seen any indication of the house party being a thing of the past. I throw a huge back yard keg party every year and small dinner and wine parties (that get fairly rambunctious) on an almost monthly basis. I also go to a weekly potluck that often devolves into a dance party. Maybe the author just needs to find better friends.