10 holiday party tips from the gays!
Brace yourselves. The Christmas and Hanukkah party season is upon us. Like it or not, you're going to have at least one invitation and party go-to, and if you're a 'gay', well, chances are you'll be juggling multiple events on several nights. It's just the way we do things. So suck it up, get your holiday sweaters to the dry cleaners and get ready to dive into the party season with vigour.
I'm here to give you some of the best tips for surviving and enjoying this year's holiday bashes.
Let the party organizer know if you're coming or not. It's rude not to send a reply within a few days. It makes the party host think that you're holding out for another offer. It is not your business to ask who else is coming or what food or drink will be served. If you have issues with certain people, drinks or food, then come prepared.
Dress appropriately. Is it formal, semi-formal or casual? You can wear a nice dress shirt or a polo and sport jacket to just about anything, but if it's formal, put on a tie. Ladies can always get away with a sharp pant suit and heels, but if you've got a nice little black dress then put it on and dazzle it up with a little festive costume jewelry. Don't forget to layer, too. If it's warm, you can peel off a layer or two. Just don't leave your pants in your host's kitchen.
Arrive on time. Not early, and not terribly late either. If you're coming from another event, be sure to let your host know that you'll be arriving a bit late. If it's a dinner party, then arrive when asked. It's rude to expect your host to hold off serving or to keep a plate warm for you. If you can't make it for the dinner because of work or another commitment, just let them know in advance.
Bring a gift. Don't fret about being fancy or try to look like a big spender. Your gift can be a nice bottle of wine or liquor, a lovely scented candle, a box of good chocolates or candy, or a potted paperwhite or poinsetta. Attach a little tag or a card with some warm wishes.
Spend some time with the host(s). Thank them in advance for having you over and compliment them on how great they look, or how nice their place is, or how delicious the food/drink was. If you have to embellish the truth a touch, then do it, just don't lie outright and tell them how much you adore the fig and pistachio cheese log. You might just end up with one under your own tree in a few days.
Mingle and Network. Your host is often too busy to introduce you to everyone. It's perfectly acceptable to introduce yourself, even here in Vancouver. Other guests will appreciate it and you never know who you might meet - a future friend, lover or employer is only a "hello!" away.
Don't drink too much. Stick with one thing over the course of the evening and follow the old stand-by rule: one drink followed by one water, soda or juice. And if you're drinking, for goodness sake, don't drive. Take transit, a cab or arrange for a car service.
Don't be a bore. Nobody wants to hear about your accomplishments all night. Ask about what other people are up to, talk about current issues or holiday plans, but above all, talk. There's nothing worse than a wall flower that just stares into space looking scared.
Leave at an appropriate time. Don't ask to crash on the sofa because you've had too much to drink, or ask to wait until the SkyTrain starts running again. If you see your hosts yawning and hanging around the entrance, then it's probably time to go.
Thank your host(s). Again. A hand written note the next day is best, but at the very least a phone call or thoughtful email will suffice.
So there you are: 10 tips to get you by. If your schedule isn't too busy, maybe it's your turn to throw a little party this year.
Keep smiling, pack mints, wear nice socks and I'll see you on the circuit!