A Funeral for FOMO (from my list of Party Ideas)

tecatree and misletoecate

The Tecatree under the Mistletoecate

I keep a list of party ideas in a note in my phone. I have successfully thrown, “It’s a Very Tecate Christmas,” wherein we built a tree out of tecate cans, and look forward to, “Onesie, Twosie, bring me boozie.” Sometimes a party theme is just something to append to my signature text bolo* to intrigue/challenge the 40 or so friends who receive my last minute invite via their smartphones. How do I dress up for that? What does it mean? Is it even a real theme or is it just a joke?

everything-is-tubes-when-you-really-think-about-it

Sometimes, however, a theme warrants elaborate planning. For example…

“A Funeral for FOMO

Guests, dressed in black, enter my living room to see a small coffin, nestled in lilies, on an elegantly draped table. They are invited to write anything which has caused them FOMO in 2015, and place it in the coffin. Then, they should write any positive reasons they can think of for missing events and tape them to the walls of the room, and light a candle.

We sip wine and eat an assortment of tapas. I know I am supposed to be mourning the departed, but I am preoccupied with hosting. Maybe I am a little grateful for the distraction. The room starts to fill with the warmth of firelight and pleasant notes on the walls of, “I got to see my new baby niece,” “I went to Canada!” and, “Eating Milano cookies and binge-watching Fargo.”

At the appointed time, the pallbearers (there only need to be two because the coffin’s full of paper and probably made of cardboard, but we’ll have at least six because I want to be fancy, duh) carry their dutiful load out into the courtyard and place it inside a beautiful metal basin (our fire pit). It is ceremoniously doused with gasoline and ceremoniously ignited with extra-long fireplace matches.

After a poignant silence where we watch the coffin decay in the flames and contemplate the mortality of FOMO (and use the pyre to light cigarettes), Alexander Dial proposes a toast. He [says something really fucking elegant] while I pour out shots of whiskey. After we knock those back, we strip off our black outer garb to reveal “the brightest and/or shiniest shit you can find in your closet” (per the instructions given in the invitations) and go inside to have a dance party.

R.I.P FOMO


* Text Bolo, or text-message APB. In context:

Roommate: I want to have people over but I don’t want to do anything to make it happen please help <3 

Me: Nw I’ll send out a text bolo and invite everyone tonight

 

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Don’t tell me why you can’t come to my party :D

Memo: from the desk of Sami

emotion-sensor-sad-pink-hairOk, I am nervous about posting this. Maybe I am a terrible person for not wanting to know you can’t come to my party because you are having a bad day (but you hope I have fun anyway). Or! Maybe! Maybe you are a terrible person for making me evaluate your excuse — AND during the tender emotional time of preparing for a kickback with friends. “That’s ok,” I text back. “Take care of yourself!” I text back. Oh, yeah, why don’t I make you feel better for ditching me? Why don’t I tell you it’s okay and we’re still besties and I still love you even though you are abandoning me in my time of need?

Ms. Manners or your mother or that pre-printed invitation you got in 3rd grade told you to RSVP, yes. But are you really all such polite little angels that you just think it’s the right thing to do, to send me a personalized regret? Or (hmmmm) do you think the party will crumple like my resolve not to eat another Reese’s Mini out of my Halloween score-bag next week, if you don’t show up? Or do you just WISH it would? Hmm hmm are you trying to SABOTAGE my party with your depressing laments??

I am NOT talking about those of you who ghost my invite, then text a day or two later with a sweet, “Sorry I never made it! I actually fell asleep lololol.” You are exemplary human beings. You get that the only humane thing to do is 1. Quietly not show up  2. Fluff me later by tricking me into thinking you rue missing my shindig (so that you could stay in bed and eat bagel bites and binge-watch the L Word). I adore you. You understand me.

And yes! Yes there are exceptions. Maybe if I wanted to bang you and you are kindly letting me know not to expect your lovely presence, I’ll miss you, xoxo, feel free to have fun without me, wink.

Or, a head-count is useful (hmmm Facebook has that covered if you just click the “can’t go” option…) if I’m serving dinner or if I’m meticulously crafting favors for each attendee. BUT THINK ABOUT IT. I have moved on from such laborious methods of revelry. I have streamlined my socializations such that I can name my theme “Messy House Party” and I don’t even have to vacuum for you fools!! HA I trick YOU into making all the crafty favors and the dinners AND YOU LOVE IT.

Ahem. The following is a generalized example that happens every single time, yet you will think it is specifically about the time you *did the thing* — because it IS this predictable:

I send out an invitation, via Facebook for once (normally I text), to 40 or so friends.

Blow #1: You post on the party wall (where everyone can see!) that there are too many parties this weekend. Implying that you won’t come to mine. Implying that you are going to a better party.

I make a joke and you make a joke so it is funny so it’s worth it. For the Sake of All Things Party, I allow this. Then my nice friend tells me I am still popular and I feel OK.

Blow to my fragile ego #2: In the tender hours post-official-start-time, while I am waiting to see if other people will arrive or I will just be drinking Popsicle & Malibus with Kevin this fine evening, I get 2-4 text messages from wont-shows. The reason is they are tired and sad, although they give me other reasons. I know you are just tired and sad. I should probably respond “Noooooooo please come my happiness depends on youuuuuuuuu!!!1!” and maybe you will rouse your butt on over…but I can’t pressure you into making good decisions; I am not your Party Mom. I am your Party Teacher. Read the blog, learn the lesson, or flunk out.

Blow #3 K.O. You text me that you can’t come to my party tonight because your dog died. Your. Dog. Died. This is the most depressing thing. I do not need to hear this right now! I am trying make Party! Now all I can think about is dead puppies and I want to get drunk in a sad way and not a fun way :( :( :(

So now I am on the floor pathetically calling for Kevin to refill my disgustingly sweet yet fabulously novel drink made of melted dessert and that one bottle of liquor that no one wants to drink. The spirit of Party is skewered. This show can’t go on…

Except, honestly, it does. Worse case scenario, I am getting drunk on Friday night with Kevin. It’s really, really, not a rough deal.

kevin-is-the-improbable-pinata

Not pointed at me, not a problem

statue-sculpture-male-roman-marbleKatie Seibert’s friend (mine now as well, I hope!!), Chris Fawkes, instinctively apologized to his lesbian entourage for the ubiquitous penises around the bar. Specifically, he indicated the ones in a revolving slideshow on the main TVs, though many more peckered peppered our surroundings in graphic statuettes, wall paintings, additional cathode-ray tube televisions mounted face down at us from the rafters and showing man-on-man porn videos, and a line of greco-roman orgy murals across a steel beam that I had missed on my survey of the room.

Katie dismissed the apology. “I really don’t have an issue with them if they’re not pointed at me.”

“Not pointed at me, not a problem;” Fawkes made the catchphrase.

I agreed, as did Katie’s girlfriend. I’ve had a rant developing for some time now on the shaming of genitals that occurs in the gay community. I don’t often miss an opportunity to express my dismay for the way we insult the bodies of the opposite sex.

Gay men, for example, sure seem to love the “C-word” and talk about vaginas like they’re steaming snot pockets.

From a post of mine in 2014:  I hear the most misogynistic crap come out of the mouths of gay men.

Part of me wants to give them a break. If the world has been trying to force-feed you women on a platter like they’re juicy delicious burgers (every Carl’s Jr ad, ever) and you finally want to express your right to want something different in life by proclaiming, “ewwww vaginas,” who can blame you, right?

Gay women tend to pair the adjective of “gross” with many aspects of men, penises not excluded of course. Considering the great lengths to which I am forced to fend-off presumptuous men (e.g. with dicks), I don’t begrudge a lady her need to generate an electric fence of penis-hatred to keep out her foes. Our (reality-based) fears of sexual harassment and assault give us negative reactions to the male body, sometimes if not always.

Side note: I wonder what it feels like to have a part of your body, e.g. the naked and aroused penis, inherently seen as aggressive? (Powerful too, to be true.) It makes me a little sad for the gentle, consent-loving, yet desire-having men out there who have to live with this perception which is largely out of their control.

There’s also another aspect to our squeamishness that is more personal, more complex, and related to the force-feeding I mentioned before. Despite my diatribes of body positivity, I very recently squicked out beyond self-censorship when I touched an (extra-soft) “packer” for the first time. A packer, or a facsimile flaccid male member that is meant to be worn inside clothing, can be found at many LGBT-friendly sex toy shops, which is where I was. “Eww eww ew,” I whispered loudly to my compadres, my eyes squeezed shut and my hands wringing.

When the prevailing narrative expects you to enjoy the bodies of the opposite gender, and you do not, you will feel the pressure in the moment of now and you feel the pressure from all your memories through childhood and beyond. You might feel or have felt a vague discomfort, a dissonance, you might have tried to entertain the idea for some time, or you may even have had sexual encounters or long term relationships. For me, my revulsion is the remnants of having to renounce this original heterosexual programing. It’s like growing up and remembering you used to eat boogers. Eww eww ew.

Still, I find it off-putting when I go on a date with a woman and she over-emphasizes her distaste for dick like it’s a guaranteed fact that I’m going to agree with her. First thing that comes to mind — I date a lot of bisexual women. I imagine them listening to my overzealous date ramble on like penises are pestilence which infect everything they touch. Insulting men’s bodies can transgress into insulting the women who love them. Next, we have the problem of we’re now talking about men on our date. If our lesbian date fails the Bechdel test, I’m out. But, most importantly, I am bummed out on body shaming.

We are talking about people’s bodies, here. Their parts which they carry with them, which are used in daily life, which they use to love others. I think of the hate we have for our own bodies, and imagine someone else hearing mine for theirs on top of that. Okay, sure, many of us will be able to shrug it off, thinking, ha, that lesbian thinks penises are gross how subversive and yet obvious. At the same time, I’d rather we see each other with more humanity. I’d rather we didn’t resort to pinning a slew of complicated personal and societal issues onto the type of genitalia or sex characteristics a person happens to have.

So, please, think about the language you use. Are all beards universally gross, or are you just reaffirming your own sexuality after years of being told the wrong thing as a child? Are vaginas inherently disgusting and scary, or are you disgusted by the way the hyper-sexualization of women is pushed onto you and scared by the intensity of this pressure? And dicks — are dicks a problem if they’re not pointing at you?

How to Eat Just Tuna

It is 4th of July weekend and 22 of your closest friends have gathered in the mountains for a camping retreat. On this property last year, you worked together to build a sloped-roofed structure, which is called “the cabin” when you are feeling proud, and “the shack” when you are self-deprecating. In the nearby shade, you erect tents, on the picnic table you arrange food and necessities to share, and directly beside it, you raise up metal scaffolding to attach shade and a network of many green and blue and white and purple tulle strips — this is the “kelp forest.”

For dinner on Friday night you will have a Meal Ready to Eat (MRE) of beef enchiladas. You make a hat out of long foxtails by gathering them together at the base with a red rubber band and splaying them over your cranium in front of your face and around your shoulders. This protects you from the mosquitos, but you also use the tiny amount of reception you have to send out messages to friends who have not yet arrived, begging for bug spray and incense. Soon it is dark, and you are hungry. You add water to the instant hot pack in your MRE and heat up your hermetically sealed dinner.

MRE-meal-ready-to-eat-TUNATomorrow you will have “TUNA.” You know your future self will enjoy the suspense of wondering what is in this brown bag, ominously labeled just “TUNA.” If it is tuna casserole, then why not label it so? If it is tuna salad, then why is it in an MRE package, which, of every one you have had, always have a heating element? Your friend says her vote is tuna poke and you smile with excitement even though you are scared it’s just a tuna filet. You begin to doubt this challenge when altitude sickness makes you lose your enchiladas (and they taste the same coming out as they did going in).

The cure for altitude sickness (besides quitting drinking for the weekend, hydration, and rest) is apparently zip line rides. The exhilaration of falling forward under a whizzing cable raises your blood pressure and erases your nausea. The headache’s gone, too. So are the flashing lights. This morning you could only lie on the fake grass turf under the kelp forest, but now you are ready to tromp in leaves, dance to live music, and shoot fruit from an air cannon. Then, sundown comes, and you tuck the brown package under your arm.

You can’t bring yourself to open it. “What does it mean, just TUNA?” Your friends tease you for your obsession. One gives you a snack of tuna on crackers to build your courage for the main course. You lie down in the kelp forest with the brown package, and tuck it under your head. With any luck, you’ll break the heating element inside and be absolved of eating it. You sit up and help your friend type an exposition on the subject. A deranged exposition.

What is tuna? t u na is

TUNA (omi nous) it’s what’s for dinner.

tuna is a saltwater f ish

that t atstes not unlike ch icken .

t u TUNAis frequently seen isn

quiet is the night

Whilst you’re in reverie of tuna swimming through seas, a friend tries to tell you another is going to use your tuna bag as a pillow. But you falsely hear that she is off with your tuna and about to open it. You sit straight, suddenly, and shout, “Don’t open it!!” and are afraid like you have just woken up from a nightmare. You apologize to your startled friends when you return to your senses. This tuna is becoming a complex.

Your friends will draw helpful instructions on the TUNA package to make the task of eating it less daunting.

Your friends will draw helpful instructions on the TUNA package to make the task of eating it less daunting.

It’s time to open it. You peel apart the top seal. You dump the contents in your lap. Out of the big brown package falls many smaller brown packages — pretzels, tortillas (tuna tacos?), candy, a cookie — and one blue one. It is a bag of Starkist tuna, packed in water. It is, really, Just Tuna.

You eat it with a spoon.

How to Throw a Passive Aggressive Notes Party

10153710_10203537055131676_771742438_nIt’s nearing the second anniversary of the Passive Aggressive Notes Party (actually, it’s almost exactly two months late for that but it turns out no one cares) and boy am I excited. Last year, my ma and pop were out of town and I wanted to use their sweet digs to throw a rager. They didn’t exactly say I couldn’t, but they didn’t say I could, either. I recalled the helpful notes around the warm and welcoming home of the Pu’uhonua family during one of their Splash Up events, and I wanted to the theme I chose to incorporate instructive notes on how to not trash my parents’ house. With an evil chortle, I went over to www.passiveaggressivenotes.com for inspiration.

1173803_10203537246096450_1083177518_nThis theme is not only a delightful excuse to encourage your friends to be mean to each other, but it is also convenient to organize. For supplies, you will only need sticky notes and/or construction paper with tape (painter’s, as to not take off the house paint — your guests are going to leave cheerful little messages in the strangest places, which you will not discover for many days), and markers/pens. I also got a lot of joy out of a stack of self-stick name-tags. My friends gave out charming monickers such as “Jizz Wizard,” and “Unwitting Hipster.”

I enjoyed posting notes on the proper use of the stereo, such as reminders that household pets might not appreciate loud music the way we do (It’s ok, the birds don’t mind if you increase the volume to INHUMANE levels <3) or not to play music that I hate (You know what this party NEEDS? Some top 40s bullshit!!). My guests delighted me with a note on the mirror that read, “That used to look so good on you!” and a thank you note written on a card stolen from my mom’s stationary set: “Thank you for sending your parents out of town, but instilling so many rules it feels like they never left anyway…”

thank-you-passive-aggressive-note

Many of my friends, however, struggled with the concept. Adorably, these kind kids could not grasp how to mimic passive aggression. We discussed formulas to generate notes. One consistent combo is to tell someone to do something you obviously don’t want to them do, and add “please,” hearts, or both. “Please throw your trash all over the floor, thank you.”  Another pattern is to explain a simple concept as you would to a three-year-old. “GUESS WHAT? It turns out if you tap on the glass it stresses out this pet snake and she doesn’t want you to do that. Let’s be nice to the snake, ok? :)” You may also just rely on the passive aggression inherent in leaving a note rather than confronting someone about a problem. Extra points for anonymizing yourself or your target. For example, we kept a ledger on the fridge of money owed by friends to others.

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If you didn’t get an invite, don’t worry. You don’t have to miss out on the fun. Simply leave me a passive aggressive message in the comments!

(P.S. Ok, jokes aside, if you didn’t get an invite, it’s because I hit the population limit. Out of respect to the people I live with, I’m going to have to wait for some more “no” RSVPs to come through before inviting additional people. For some reason, people think it’s hilarious to say “maybe” instead of “yes” so it is making it a bit difficult to do my party math this time around…)

4 Party Life Hacks I Have Actually Used

Slow the fuck down. Relax. Take the time necessary to fix your party emergency. You can sneak off to a side yard, a car, or, depending on the demand, chill out in the bathroom. The benefit of having an ‘emergency’ at a party is that most people will be too distracted to notice you. So, get yourself to calm down so that you don’t make matters worse.

Stinky Pits

stinky-pits

(I forgot to put on deodorant because I forgot my normally non-sweaty body can produce smell.) Lock yourself in the bathroom, take off your top, and use hydrogen peroxide on your pits — it kills the smelly bacteria. If it’s your clothes that smell, you might be SOL, not only because you don’t want to be walking around with soggy pits but also because hydrogen peroxide can bleach clothing.

Bloodstains

hydrogen-peroxide-doodle

(I also forgot my body does that monthly thing it does.) Hydrogen peroxide again is good for getting these out, as well as spit.

Panic / Anxiety

anxiety-cartoon

(I also forgot I do this sometimes.) Compression is an effective way to stop panic in its tracks, at least for me. It’s best if you’re prepared for this by training a friend or two, but I find in general if I just go up to someone I’m on hugging terms with and demand, “Squeeze me!” they’ll give me the tight embrace I need. If I’m lucky, I can get some group hug action. Full body squishes are even better…climb into a cuddle puddle? If you want to learn more about the science of why this works, look up “parasympathetic vs. sympathetic response.” Anyway, I know this can seem counterintuitive if you have social anxiety, but I like to think I’m just using the science and people just happen to make decent substitutes for a compression machine.

We Forgot To Put Out the Recycling…Again

trash-can-monster

(The blue bins are full from last weeks kickback, and I just invited 20 people over.)  Invert a box over the recycling bin and cut a hole in it just big enough to fit crushed cans (and glass bottles). Decorate it to look like a monster, including a thought bubble that reads “YUMMMM CRUSHED CANS.” (This has become a permanent fixture at my house because it’s the only way to get people to crush their cans. If I simply tape a sign to the bin, it gets ignored.)

For more, read 6 Party Coping Mechanisms.

Why does a party lifestyle blog need feminism?

Why does a lesbian need feminism? Why does a lesbian going out to a gay bar during San Diego Pride week need feminism? I mean, I’m categorically sexually disinterested in men, I’m in an environment which should not have friction or competitiveness or predation between women and men, and this week is, in theory at least, all about solidarity in our minority status as LGBTers. So you’d think I could take off my feminist hat and just enjoy my Adios, right?

Actually, my interactions went fairly well last night. The only example I can truthfully give is that a friend-of-a-friend started to tell a story and stopped at the word bitches, “Sorry, I always say that word. Anyway these bitches…” So, at least he was aware. Fuck though, I hear the most misogynistic crap come out of the mouths of gay men.

Part of me wants to give them a break. If the world has been trying to force-feed you women on a platter like they’re juicy delicious burgers (every Carl’s Jr ad, ever) and you finally want to express your right to want something different in life by proclaiming, “ewwww vaginas,” who can blame you, right?

I’m full of empathy until gay men I’ve barely met spin me around like I’m a little doll (ok, sometimes I like that because my shoes are awesome — but it doesn’t matter if I like it; he should get my permission first) or whistle at me in a drive by or slap my butt or (and, of course this happened) touch my crotch. They basically do this because there’s some sort of agreement between gay men and straight women that she can treat him like a little pet –hashtag gaybestfriend!! — in exchange for a boost in confidence from his (male) approval, and he can…well I’m not sure what he gets out of the arrangement but I’ll have to talk to my gay male friends and get back to you. Perhaps the social mobility through her straight world? Anyway, whatever the deal is, I think it’s a weird and kind of fucked up relationship. And it certainly doesn’t work for me when I’m assumed straight and so desperate for validation from a man that I will accept it gladly from one who isn’t even sexually attracted to me. More willingly, even, because I’m not expected to “pay out” for the favor.

Even when I attempt to retreat from the pressures of the straight world — when I try to go somewhere where I’m not going to be bombarded with cheesy pick-up lines or creepy staring — even at a gay bar, my interactions are still colored by the gender roles which filter and mutate into my environment. Sure, I’ll be able to relate with a gay man on many points about our shared queer space. But there are still going to be moments here and there where his viewpoint as a man means he’s going to trample over me. I will grant a few jabs because of my femme privilege — in that I blend into the straight world so easily and by choice of appearance or whatever he might not. But, I think there is a point where a negative attitude against women goes beyond the objection to the oppressive straight culture and into just mirroring sexism from that same culture. There are moments where I am made the object of a joke, or I have to witness a drag performance which is overly mocking of women rather than gender roles in general, or I’m actually molested, or I see other women treated this way. These things remind me of why we need feminism.

Just because it is to a lesser extent does not mean it should be ignored. Party environments can of course amplify misogyny — hello booze and hook-up culture. But environments which are expected to be safe can still host some of my most uncomfortable moments. Even a party thrown by a particularly enlightened bunch of hippies. Not every moment is going to be puppies and rainbows, but as long as the risks are so dire (rape, violence against women) I’d like to not be reminded of them. Not when I’m trying to get drunk on blue liquor, especially.

And that’s just the gay bar. Like I hinted at before, booze and hook-up culture makes for some pretty desperate maneuvers (and upsetting behaviors) at any party. All I really need to say is I live in a world where telling a man that I’m a lesbian does not turn him away; it turns him on.

There is no escape from the restrictive narratives which police gender. There is no escape from the entitlement that many men feel they have in regards to women’s bodies. Not even parties, and especially not parties in a lot of ways. People are trying to get drunk and fuck, after all. So long as I am surrounded by people who are trying to have sex with each other, and our larger cultural example of how to negotiate around sex and gender is so broken, I am going to be a witness, collateral damage, and/or a target of sexism. And I’d like to help fix that. So I can drink in peace.