The New York Times is Wrong- Parties Are Not Dead

Holly Golightly managed to throw quite a party in a small space with no money.

Holly Golightly managed to throw quite a party in a small space with no money.

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.

Being Flaky

There seems to be an alarming trend among “millenials” (I myself am technically a millenial…) of sort of…glorifying flakiness?

And I get it, I really do. We often tend to over schedule ourselves and, often, we really do want to do all the things we commit ourselves to. And it’s totally a relief when you’ve got something after work every day on week, that something gets cancelled.  And I’ve definitely had plans where the other person calls and is like, “heeeeeeey, do you maybe want to cancel?” and I’m like, “yes, omg, I love you but this week is so busy.” But for the most part, flaking on plans is rude, rude, rude and it’s part of being a well mannered and adult person that when you make commitments and keep them, not to mention knowing your limits of how many social events you can manage in a given period of time. However, sometimes you must cancel and here’s how to do it without being a monster:

  • Give the other person an out. Say you are feeling kind of indifferent to getting off the couch, but you know once you get there, it will probably be fun. So call the person to gauge their mood, say something like, “I am still in if you are, but how are you still feeling about seeing that movie tonight?” And perhaps they will be just as happy as you to cancel. If they aren’t, you should still go.
  • Give as much notice as possible. Especially in NYC, you have to let them know at LEAST an hour beforehand because any closer than that and they are probably already on their way to meet you.
  • Don’t cancel on someone who is cooking for you or hosting you at their house in any kind of “formal” way. When I host a dinner party I get the groceries at least 3-4 days in advance, do major cleaning a day or so before, and often start cooking 1-2 days before. So someone cancelling, especially on short notice can create a whole lot of wasted money and time. The importance of not cancelling becomes smaller the more people who were originally invited- if it’s a party for 10, it’s not as big deal if you don’t go, if it’s just you, it is.
  • Be very apologetic and offer up an alternate. Say you have to cancel on drinks plans- call and say how sorry you are and then immediately reschedule that person to get coffee sometime in the near future. Do your best to make a firm plan so that person knows that you genuinely want to see them.
  • Don’t flake twice in a row, and really try to avoid flaking on the same people often. My mom used to tell me in regards to invitations that if you keep turning invitations down, people will eventually stop inviting you. The same goes for flaking; do it too often, and you won’t be getting the opportunity to do it as much.
  • Don’t use flaking as a tool to get out of seeing people you don’t like. Be genuine and only make plans with people you truly want to see and only do things that you are interested in doing. Don’t be afraid to decline invitations, declining is far better than cancelling.
  • Don’t ever cancel on something when someone has fronted you the money to attend (i.e. your friend bought popular movie tickets in advance because the theater has assigned seating). If you must, then you need to pay back the money if they can’t find someone else to take the ticket.
  • Don’t lie about it.
  • Don’t cancel on someone to hang out with someone else (unless it’s a major emergency). Needing to rest and recharge is a thing we all understand, but cancelling to hang out with someone else is sending a clear message that the first person isn’t important and that’s a terrible way to treat someone.
  • Don’t make conflicting plans with the idea that you will decide which you want to do at the last minute. That is garbage behavior.