OkCupid for friends and lovers – SD Survival Guide Critical Strategy and exposé

It’s not that San Diegans aren’t friendly. If I’m out at a bar, I need to just affect the breezy impermanence of a tourist at an ocean resort and feel quite comfortable talking to people. SDers are flakes anyway, so it’s quite safe to start conversations because, without considerable effort, you’ll never see these people again. Join the permanent vacation vibe.

But I’ll tell you what makes driving 15 minutes (every commute is exactly 15 minutes, right?) out to a bar alone, hunt down and panic my way into a parking spot, and pay for my own drink (the first one, anyway) worth it, and that is a gloriously awkward first OkCupid date.

mmm look at all my options

mmm….options

And for all you non-single monogamous / polyfidelous / otherwise-not-available people out there… OkCupid dates start out 100% as friend dates, anyway. Sure I flirted with them online, but most people I meet are savvy to the “friend-date unless proven otherwise” rule. I’m sorry, there’s just no way of knowing you’ll crackle my thunder ’til I meet you under the literal firmament. So, not only do plenty of people use the service for “just friends” (it’s an option), OkCupid culture naturally supports friend dates.

I learned how to really appreciate the awkward first date after a bit of practice, and if you follow my strategies, I think you will, too. The key is to go on enough of them that it becomes almost routine. And I tell myself that one of these is going to turn into a great story. I’m still ready and waiting for my first Trainwreck Date.

Overview:

  1. Write a smoldering profile…
  2. …but don’t rely on it. Force yourself to send messages out.
  3. Find that correspondence length sweet spot…
  4. …but hurry to set a date.
  5. Choose location wisely…
  6. …and score a new friend/lover/significant other.

1. Profile Writing

Write your profile like an intimate letter, not a résumé. Here’s how mine opens:

I rewrote the bulk of this profile because I realized I misrepresented myself as responsible and organized. I can do responsible and organized, easy, but that’s not the kind of cupid I want shooting my arrows.

For some reason this picture gets me the most OkAction

For some reason this picture gets me the most OkAction

I’m bragging right now, shamelessly, really…but I get a lot of messages (after this rewrite). And people tell me I’m a good writer and it makes me all happy on the inside of my body.

Anyway. I’ve learned that this is one of the few times where talking about what you are like and not what you do is probably more interesting (thanks fellow ‘Sam’ and OkCupid analyzer for that insight). Possibilities are more seductive than facts, and the romantic brain is an engine of imagination.

In other words, I deleted the part where I said I had a degree and a job yadda yadda and added this:

Yes and no are my greatest powers – and it feels like I always get what I want, now that I know what I want.

The goal is to just get all sparkly with your personality and show off what it would be like for them to have a conversation with you over a Sculpin.

The six things you could never do without

This is not the time for extreme literalism. No one thinks you are witty for being the 5,708th person who lists oxygen. This is time for hyperbole and passion and a little bit of adorable quirkiness. I included….

Seeing a non-human animal at least once a day

…amidst serious stuff like art, my brother, & a job that makes me feel valued.

You should message me if…

Steal this. Just steal it and put it at the very bottom. It gets me a ton of compliments, and even a few messages from shy people. It’s genius and I thought of it and I hope it goes viral:

*******
If you are shy on okCupid, just c&p this:

“Hi. I am really shy. I like your profile. Will you go look at mine and message me back if you are interested?”

2. & 3. Messaging & Maintenance

Facebook hack

You actually have a facebook email address. It’s [yourusername]@facebook.com.  If you don’t have a fancy pants smartphone (ugh…) with like, app thingies, and you check facebook all the time, you can set up OkC to send messages there. Then just be sure to drag one of the notifications from your “Other” to your regular “Inbox” messages and you’ll have an extra reminder that attractive people want to talk to you. Kinda buggy, though.

Send messages!

Experiment with these numbers, but here are my benchmarks:

  • (When you first start out) Dedicate 1 night a week to seek new people and start 3 message threads. Each query ought to be a paragraph or two long. Show that you’ve read their profile. Lists can work well, i.e. “I think we should meet someday for these reasons…”
  • Find the comfort-zone of correspondence with each person. Generally I go for two volleys (I write two messages, they write two messages) before offering my number and a date, but sometimes three. Offering my number too quickly makes people think I am desperate and/or creepy and/or a robot and they ignore me and I cry. Offering too late… well I mean if you don’t take this seriously you are not going to make any friends and you will be lonely and boring and sad.
  • Don’t get caught up on % matches or profile details. People poorly represent themselves and also don’t know how to fill out quizzes (seriously y’all drive me insane) and only people equally as neurotic as me score a 99.  Your goal should be to find people who seem to have some potential, you know, get the important stuff right, and hurry to actually MEET THEM. You really can’t know what someone is like ’till their face is three feet or less from your face.

The Follow-Up

There are two basic types, and they’re critical.

  1. You let a thread die and stopped responding, or just never responded in the first place because you were waiting for a time when you were less drunk at 3am in the morning to think of something witty.
  2. They let a thread die because you were too cranky / intimidating / boring / weird / they are such hotties their inbox is bursting with noise and they lost your diamond in the rough.

I like to get a little creative with these follow-ups, but the main goal is to give both parties the benefit of the doubt that messages aren’t perfect and everything still has the potential to be shiny.

Aww sorry I never got back to you. I didn’t get the butterfly connection at first and wondered what would make someone think of soft sweet jazzy pop from the 60s while reading my profile and was so despondent I got distracted.

Anyway I don’t normally ignore attractive PhD chasers with sharks on their heads and a 92% match score. How are you?

Again, it is IMPORTANT to follow-up with dead threads. If Katelyn never came back with her glorious witty comment, we’d never have met :( :( :( Good thing she is an OkC professional. I learned from the best!

[text removed for brevity - also her username is not xxxxxx...don't even try]

[text removed for brevity – also her username is not xxxxxx…don’t even try]

5. It’s just a freaking internet date

You are meeting a stranger. Off the internet. You do not need to invest heavily in this date.

Good locations:

  1. A dive or beer bar, like Bar Pink, Lancers, Small Bar, Tornados, Hoffers, Red Wing
  2. A coffee shop e.g. Lestats, Filter, the Living Room
  3. Mexican food. No? Haha. I’ve never done this, but if someone will agree to meet me for Mexican food, then I will like her already.
  4. Somewhere you would go anyway, and you could run into friends, and seem all popular… such as Gossip Grill or The Ruby Room Merrow

Also, I am desirable and important, so I save my Fridays and Saturdays for old-friends-are-gold-friends and first dates get a weeknight. It is pretty embarrassing how often I’ve re-used the Taco Tuesday theme. (El Zarape for dollar fish tacos & the best green sauce you’ve ever tasted sober….and Lancers for a $6 Bloody Mary, poured heavy, with like 5 vegetables, and spicy like I like it.)

6. Results

Guys, I got Katelyn from OkCupid. Enough said. <3

blurry-lesbian-love-our-first-pic-togetherBonus section: Don’t be an idiot

Rejection

Please don’t tell someone you’re “just too busy.” That’s exactly the same as saying “Well if I was lame and didn’t have activities I would be desperate enough to hang out with you.” Obviously you have a profile and you’re looking for something. If you’re too busy to build friendships/relationships then disable that monster.

It is perfectly conventional to just ignore the first message if you’re not interested, and many people are okay with not following up after one boring date. I agree that blatant rejection hurts more than mysterious no-response. I do try to give closure to people I’ve met for a date whom I don’t feel particularly drawn to befriend or befuck, but damn it takes a lot of effort.

One last thing

This question KILLS me. Come on, San Diego.

okcupid-stale-is-to-steal-89475

….Aaaaaaaand now you know I spend way too much time on OkCupid. Seriously though, it’s one of the best ways to break into interesting friend niches in San Diego. Unless you want to be a redditor forever…

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Cell Phone Plans in San Diego – Survival Guide Style

First I’d just like to say my I can feel my blood cells crying inside of me. There is a lot of poison in there. I hadn’t been doing my usual thing Wednesday nights and boy did I just jump right back into old habits last night. I have confusing text messages in my phone from “Poppa Sara.” Everything is still in my wallet that was in my wallet, but it has been thoroughly re-arranged. This morning my mouth tasted like chocolate cake and eyeliner.

Anyway. I need to talk to you about smartphones.

My phone is not very smart. It is a feature phone I bought in 2011 for $99. It has a slide out keyboard. It *can* connect to the internet, but I like to avoid that. Instagram is not even an option, haha, no, why would you even think that?

samsung-gravity-touch-T669I got bad olives or a bad roofie in my martini one Goth Night @ the Flame and a phone just like this one went way down into a toilet. I tried to fish it out but there was nothing I could feel except my lost dignity. So I re-ordered it off Amazon. Besides a brief stint with CHINAFONE, which was cool because it had A FREAKING RADIO ANTENNA but not cool because it didn’t send picture messages even though it had a camera wtf… I have been loyal to this phone for the past two years.

Samsung T669 Gravity Touch, your time is coming to an end. I need 4g. I need more than 2 megapixels. I need Facebook in my pocket.

Katelyn needs a new phone as well, because it never seems to work when I need her immediate attention and dammit why doesn’t she ever text me back? Anyway, she went in for the HTC1. The sales rep, who for now I’ll call Mr. Sprint Guy, saw me send a text message on my piece of junk and slyly said, “Actually, we have a Buy One Get One sale on this phone next week.”

I tried very hard to replicate the face I made then but I think I’m a little too hungover.  Just imagine this with me making a creepy “heeeeeeeeee?” noise:

crazy-eyes

I guess I could have just put a picture of Crazy Eyes from Orange is the New Black.

Mr. Sprint assured us that he’d be able to get me in to their plan, “Oh yeah, I can work you in there,” even though Katelyn and her family are maxed out at 5 lines. With the Katelyn family discount, that would mean $30 a month or less for unlimited high speed data. And a free HTC1 (well at least half off). Sign me up.

Plus like, shiny matching lesbian phones. Adorable!!!

See, I’ve been with T-mobile for years and have never gotten a subsidized upgrade. My parents always stole my device upgrades. Now I’d have to pay full price to change my phone. Or $200 to leave T-mobile. It was $200 I was willing to pay…. or at least try hard to get out of paying. I mean, my reception really, really is terrible.

We went back the next week and the same Mr. Sprint was there again! He grabbed our two HTC1s, a couple of Otterbox cases he said he could price match to Amazon, and started ringing us up.  Then things got weird.

Katelyn: “So you can grandfather in Sami to the plan, right?”

Mr. Sprint: “Well, I actually have to change the plan, but it’s really just a change in the name.  It’s basically the same thing. It’s hard to explain. I wish I had something to show you.”

Katelyn: “Wait, you’re changing the contract? Can I get a printout to compare?”

Mr. Sprint: “They’re just changing the way things are named and the way the numbers are organized, but it’s basically the same thing. I can’t know the actual numbers until after it’s rung up and the taxes are added.”

Me: “What do you mean by ‘basically’ the same?”

He got a little uneasy because I called him out all cold-blooded like I do. Katelyn repeated her request to see a printout of both her current plan and the new one. He grabbed a pamphlet and showed how her current plan works. He had to clock out to avoid overtime, so he handed us off to a supervisor. She walked us over to a tablet, and showed us a magical webpage that I can’t locate now. Seriously where is that webpage? It was kind of like T-mobile’s pretty webpage, in that you could easily mess around with the plan and see what kind of price it made.

I got on chat today and got the details for you. I lied a little bit. Also I wasn’t as nice as I usually am to customer support because Cathy (not her real fake name) was inept and went on a completely inexplicable tangent and also my liver is made of sadness right now:

Cathy: Thank you for visiting Sprint. What questions can I answer for you today?

You: I’m trying to get to this webpage they showed me in the sprint store that showed us how to have 6 phones on a plan

Cathy: I would be happy to help you with the Sprint services.

You: Thanks, so how do I get to that webpage? I started trying to look at a plan but it only let me add 5 phones

Cathy: Once you submit your personal information during checkout, you will receive a credit evaluation to determine your eligibility for service. There is a page in the order process that will indicate if a deposit is required at this time.

Cathy: If additional information or a deposit is required after you have submitted your order, one of our Order Support Agents will contact you.

You: That is totally not what I want

You: I just want to know what the plan looks like to have 6 phones. Currently I am with T-mobile and I was thinking of switching to sprint if I can have 6 phones

Cathy: Alright.

Cathy: I am going to ask you a few questions to better assist you today.

You: ok

You: See tmoible has a nice and easy to use page here: http://www.t-mobile.com/cell-phone-plans/family.html&#8230;

You: I thought you have something like that

Cathy: How many of those lines will be smartphones and basic phones?

You: 6 smart phones

Cathy: How much data would you need for each line? Do you prefer 1GB or unlimited?

You: unlimited

Cathy: Thank you for the information.

Cathy: Based on the information you have provided, the Unlimited, My Way plan will cost just $360 per month, before taxes and fees.

Cathy: On the Unlimited, My Way plans, the first line is $50 a month, the second line is $40 a month, the third line is $30 a month and each additional line (up a total of 10 lines), is $20 a month.

Cathy: Each smartphone will require either a $30 unlimited data package or a 1GB data package for $20 a month.

Cathy: Each line on our Unlimited, My Way plans receives unlimited talk and messaging.

You: Ok, thank you for that information, that is exactly what I needed!

Cathy: My pleasure.

Cathy: Are there any other questions I can help with?

You: That’s it

Cathy: Thank you for visiting http://www.sprint.com.

Ok, have I lost you yet? That was really boring. I apologize. Wait, no I don’t. NEVER SAY SORRY. Never.

The important thing to realize is that $360 is NOT ‘basically’ the same as her current plan. Katelyn left the pamphlet* at work, so I can’t give you exact numbers, but her current plan + $30 a month is more like $180-200 dollars. Um, no. Mr. Sprint your new name is Mr. Scumbag.

mr-scumbag-from-sprint-telephone-business-card-college-storeYou should have seen the look on Ms. Sprint’s face when Katelyn did the math for her, and it sunk in that she had been living in Mr. Scumbag’s fantasy world where a $100+ difference is basically the same. Except the name is different. Right.

We walked out immediately.

Moral of the story, kids, always insist they show you a print-out before they take your credit card. And if anyone has an old smartphone they don’t want I’m in the market….  Not that I couldn’t drop 600 dollars right now for a brand new shiny one but I don’t feel like carrying around 600 dollars in my purse at all times. Ya ya ya I know there is insurance but Anxiety is not a cooperative member of the United States of Sami and insurance doesn’t make the panic go away when it’s two days before Christmas and there’s a hole in my car and… that’s a tale for another day…

All told, it’s not that Sprint is worse than any of the other cell phone companies out there — they’re all about the same when you average out the pros/cons — it’s just important to remember that some salespeople are scummy scummy loserfaces and they don’t care about your feelings. And also if you really want 6 phones on a Sprint plan, stick with the old plan and just add an additional phone on a separate line for $80 cuz you’re still better off that way.  So, put on your consumer armor and don’t let the Mr. Scumbags of the universe trick you into giving them lots of your moneys.


*I can add this pamphlet to the interwebs later if anyone would like that. Probably should, as a public service.

Know-it-all Syndrome

Know-it-all Syndrome. You know what I’m talking about. Well, generally, it’s a bit more extreme than what I’ll discuss. “Sufferers” of this disease are known to annoy everyone around them by pretending knowledge on every topic of conversation. What I’m aiming at, however, is more the general adaptation of this habit, where you nod away things that are going over your head. What’s the harm in pretending to know about something you know nothing about? You’ll just Google it later.

Look at this sheep. It is so smug.

Look at this sheep. It is so smug. ‘Cuz it has cooler tastes in music than you.

Recently I promised myself to stop pretending. The idea for this vow grew out of the little brown notebook I carry in my purse. I’d started writing the things people told me, as they spoke to me. I named it my memory augmentation device. (My memory is unreliable enough without the drinking.)

Something started happening. I noticed a twinkle, an edge of excitement in their voices as I wrote. They’d add more, “oh, and look up The Ben Heck Show.”  I’d latched on to the idea a long time ago, from some reading, that “observation is sexy” and I realized I could show a little appreciation for someone just by writing these things down in front of them. Look, I’m listening.

This didn’t cure my know-it-all ‘syndrome’ right away. First, I must add that my case is a little unusual. Due to my delusional escapades as an alien princess, a Christian, a heterosexual… my connection to reality is a bit flimsy. I can never be sure just how far off I am when I’m confused about the order of things. Which century was pointillism? Where is the Bay of Pigs? I know the answers, I really do, but pretty much anyone can make me question myself. Hey, they didn’t spend 7 years of their childhood sharing brain-time with an extraterrestrial dignitary. They might be a little more in tune with the real world.

And look, I will never catch up with people who have been paying such close attention to 90s pop-punk that they actually know the name of the lead singer of Blink-182. (Seriously I don’t know and I don’t care.) So, I nod and pretend to know a few things about ‘culture’ and hope the subject changes soon. If a subject is truly boring to me, why slow down the trivia slinging? This I’ll allow, despite the vow. Let the nerds exchange their factoids quickly before they realize they need to educate me.

But, what I’m going to quit doing is going along with something I don’t know just to seem cool… and smart… and stuff. I kind of realized that no, just no, it doesn’t do you any good. People like being experts, they like knowing some esoteric thing about history, or science, or just some band you didn’t know existed. I’m going to let them show off that knowledge to me.

And, really, is there any shame in not knowing everything? In this information age, there is so much to know. Let’s stop trying to stay up on the same trends. Let us meander every which way, collecting data deeply, and share synopses. Let us learn this world collaboratively, and stop believing the loneliness will only go away as soon as we know exactly what our neighbor knows. Ask each other, what do you know? and stop pretending to know it, too.

An opportunity to test this theory came up immediately after I took the vow. Recently, I admitted I didn’t know what the Camino de Santiago was. I’ve been in a long conversation with a pretty pen-pal and I figure she deserves, as much as anyone, the truer me. So I confessed. I added, “Let me know if you find this endearing or you like me less for not memorizing all the same things you have memorized.”

She responded, “Now, I do find it endearing that you didn’t Google The Camino de Santiago. Although when I wrote it, I expected you would.”

What followed, in her own voice, not Wikipedia’s, is a personalized and very real description of the Way of St. James. I read it, twice.

A conversation with my brother

It’s 11:59pm. I miss a phone call.

“Oh it’s Zach, it’s only Zach,” I say loudly and facetiously to my lovers.

I call my brother immediately.

“Zach, you there?”

“Hey, hi, I just wanted to like talk or something,” the drawl in his voice is permanent so I can’t know if he’s drunk, just affectionate, or both.

“For sure, what’s up?”

“You like at a party or something? You busy?”

I explain that I’m not. Loosely. Through a few dropped calls, we establish that he’s lonely and that I’m available to talk.

“It’s just that back home,” he means San Diego, “I’m a God. You know what I’m saying?”

“And you’re a– in Berkeley you’re a puppet.” He’s told me this before, how he’s a character, how he performs. But he adds something new:

“I’m a clown. And everyone laughs at the clown. But the clown cries you know. This is just an allegory. I mean. I’m — a metaphor — I’m using poetry, here.”

“Right, you’ve got a tear painted on your face…” He keeps talking like he doesn’t hear me.

He mentions feeling better than everyone, how maybe he’s a sociopath. “But I have empathy. I love every fucking living thing on this planet.” He’s just surrounded by morons. People who can’t even distinguish a rectangle from a square, or solve a crossword puzzle. He reads The New York Times every day.

“Hey, Sam, can I ask you something? How many people died in the Syrian Wars?”

“Uh,” I guess blindly, “30,000?”

“That’s cute. One hundred ten thousand,” he says.

“See, I don’t know anything. I’ve been asleep.”

“Right, everyone is clueless.”

“I’ve realized lately that I’ve been out of touch with reality for most of my life. Now, I finally fucking care. I want to know everything. All of art history and science. I want to understand things like I’ve never understood them before,” I say. I mean it, too.

When we talk I giggle loudly. It’s good, his voice is good. Other people don’t sound like themselves on the phone, but I just hear my brother in the hot piece of plastic against my ear. He mentions how the Illuminati or maybe the overlord lizard-brains are monitoring our call, trying to intercept it, how he’s been really into conspiracy theories, “But I’m just high, it’s fun to talk about these things. I’m just augmenting my brain chemicals or some shit. Hey Sami, I’m going to drop a bomb on you, k?”

“Okay Zach.”

“You know when you were little, I was like 3–” he’s wrong, he had to have been at least 6, but he remembers things from age 3 so I don’t blame him for thinking it could have been then, “–I overheard you talking about your alien thing, Anastasia.”

“Venastasia.” I correct, and wonder now (and not a moment earlier) what the other people in the room think of my side of the conversation.

“Right. I just think there’s something about us.”

He asks me to lucid dream with him. When we were young our grandmother told us stories of sharing dreams with family far away in Michigan. She told us how our uncle, at 7 years, would touch people in the grocery store, and they would start crying. “Either she’s fucking crazy, and it’s in my genes so whatever,” I imagine his squinty self-deprecating laugh, “or there’s some extra-dimension bullshit going on.”

I have asked myself in the past if I were crazy, and I know the ache and frenetic sadness that comes with that. Even though I hear my brother saying these words, asking me if he’s crazy, I’m not worried. Somehow I’m confident he’ll be fine.

We finish our conversation with these thoughts, “You’re the only person I can really talk to about this, Sam. You know you share more DNA with me than anything else in the world.”

“I think about it every day, Zach.”

“Meet me in your lucid dream, in the café on Mars.”

Theme party ideas for adults

Of course, the first week I miss a scheduled post, 6 people at a party make a point to tell me they enjoy my writing/blog. Did you all work together to guilt trip me? Because it worked. You crazy kids made me a little weepy, d’aww.

Also, I got a slew of nonsensical comments from the interwebs, which the WordPress spam robot completely missed. Probably skipped ’em because they aren’t linking to Christian Loubouton shoes or Gucci handbags. Instead they just link to facebook profiles of attractive people. I’m keeping some of them, because look at this one:

Your website has to be the eltcreonic Swiss army knife for this topic. (from Pocket Cheese)

I don’t know if a bunch of drunks found one of my business cards or I’m just being punished by the blog gremlins.

So, I’ll set aside the part of my Saturday generally reserved to pretending if I lie still in bed I can fall back asleep and my hangover will go away and Katelyn might wake up and I can ask her to bring me a water…and instead I’ll write a make-up post. But don’t ask me to say sorry. Yes, I prioritized getting laid over writing in my blog, and no one can make me apologize for that.

This is what I look like right now.

This is what I look like right now.

Choosing a theme for your party

I have been throwing theme parties since I was 7. I would plan for my next birthday just as soon as the last one passed, brainstorming ideas in my journal. I found that two key ingredients made for a notable party — the type of party people talked about for days after — and that was a carefully chosen guest list and, of course, a well-executed theme.

Historical themes included (and feel free to steal them)…

Teeny Tiny Party – Miniature everything. Cupcakes turned upside down and decorated like cakes. Those toothpicks with tiny pinwheels on them. Half-sized gel pens. Mini skirts encouraged. Palm-sized pizzas. Custard cups of “spaghetti” made from angel hair pasta and the littlest hand-rolled meatballs. Even the invitations were itty bitty.

Under the Sea – If you make ocean-themed blue jello cups, don’t put gummy sharks in them. Don’t put gummy anything in them. The sugar gets all sucked out and the gummy engorges with water and you end up with floppy tasteless shark blobs. Actually, this was entertainingly gross. I also made sea-shell pasta and hot dog “octopuses” (slice the hot dog vertically just past the halfway point, and the dangly hot dog “legs” will curl when you boil them).

Image from Taste of Home, click for recipe.

Casino Royale – Invitations in black envelopes included cut-up card confetti and fake money. I made a roulette table out of a lazy Susan and card-stock. Keno board out of a white board and painters tape. Poker table. Poker chips scattered everywhere. A paper-mache golden egg, covered in a thick layer of glitter, contained prizes for the winner with the most counterfeit cash.

Sweet 16 – Candyland. I found a freaking candyland VHS tape + floor game and left it playing downstairs to add to the ambiance. Giant lollipops made out of balloons and cellophane. Smarties necklaces. Decorations and food were strictly pink, orange, and white. Those little sticky white pork buns.

Murder Mystery Dinner – I wanted to throw one regardless and was willing to write my own script, but I lucked out and found a boxed murder mystery at the thrift store. Aw yis, vintage. Each invitee received a wax-sealed manila envelope stuffed with a packet of instructions, including period costume ideas and character breakdowns so they knew in advance how to play their roles. My mom helped me put on a 5 course meal, and each ring of the dinner bell both signified when to bring out the next dish and to advance the game one round. The murderer ended up being a surprise porn star from the film, “Stiff Upper Lip.”

Image from Vintagegameworld.com

I’m a Big Kid Now – For my 18th birthday I encouraged guests to dress up as 5-year-olds. One boy came in a Spiderman costume. Everyone brought baby pictures and we had a guessing contest. Bubbles. Crayons. Finger-painting. At the end of the party, I had a bead-giving ceremony à la YMCA summer camp, where I gave out plastic beads on safety pins to each person in turn, explaining what the color of the bead signified and what each person meant to me. I cried. A lot.

And, of course, with any of those themes you need only add alcohol and they become adult parties. That’s really what I do; throw a kid-worthy party with over-the top decorations and at least one craft activity and/or game, and tack on a BYOB.

The Mashup Formula

I’ve also recently discovered a sort of formula, and that’s the mashup. Take a style (such as a genre or pop culture meme) and mash it with a type of event or holiday. And then throw it on your birthday because, yes, you can have Halloween in February (Sami says it’s OK).  I did “Ravemas,” which was actually kind of temporally relevant because my birthday is two days after Christmas.gingerbread-cookie-club-kids

  • Rave + Christmas = Ravemas:
  • Fishnets, glittery Santa Hats (Claire’s had the best ones), fuzzy leg warmers, antler ears, big black boots
  • Mistletoe & cuddle puddles
  • Egg nog and spiked hot chocolate
  • Twinkle string lights every-the-fuck-where, plus rave-y lights
  • My friend brought his DJ gear and played a house set
  • Cookie club kids decorating sesh

Using this formula, I can think up a mint of other themes for ya:

  • Tim Burton Easter
  • Death Metal Valentine’s
  • German-style Wake (for the passing of your 20s). Ziggy zaggy ziggy zaggy. Oi oi oi!
  • Walking Dead Prom
  • Office Party Halloween (put on some bunny ears and pretend you’re in the conference room trying to get a sexual harassment suit)
  • Sci-fi Speed-dating
  • Dexter Pool Party

Get creative, because no one wants to go to yet another Mad Hatter Tea Party this year.

P.S. If you’re asking why I don’t throw more parties, why don’t you offer to host a location for me?