by rantywoman

Most people I know will, in a well-intentioned spirit of inclusion, invite everyone they know when they throw a party.  It’s a nice gesture, but the result is often a random, ill-matched bunch of guests.

When I do actually get around to entertaining these days, I try to put a little more thought into the guest list.  I don’t like having to exclude people, but I know everyone who attends will have a better time if, at each party I throw, I bring together a different group of people for specific reasons (and there’s also the necessity of whittling down the invitees, as I live in a small apartment with no backyard).  Last year I actually managed to pull off a dinner party with about sixteen older singles that was 50/50 male female, and  yes, all the men were straight.

I was reminded of this over the weekend because a female acquaintance of mine threw a small, erotically-themed party with a 50/50 male female list of invitees.   I believe three or four of us were ever singles while the other three were divorced parents.  I went in with some dread, as I don’t know the hostess well and knew none of the other quests.  It was indeed awkward in the beginning, but by the end of the evening we were all relaxed and rolling in laughter.  I’m glad I stuck it out.  It was an entertaining, adult evening.

The other party I attended over the weekend was a toddler’s birthday party.  Now I realize that there are many single people who are delighted to be included in such events and in fact are hurt when they aren’t invited.  I am not one of those people.  I went, though, because the mother who invited me has been a good friend and has attempted in the past to invite single men to her family gatherings for me, albeit without much success.

The birthday party was decidedly less fun, and I didn’t have the fortitude to stick it out.  Each child already had two adults hovering over him or her and hardly needed a third, especially an unknown one.  After a few attempts at small talk and a half hour of watching the children play, there just wasn’t much left for me to do or say.

I also experienced being in the presence of one of those mothers of a small child who simply does not register your presence if you are a single woman.  I understand that parents of young children probably have no time, energy, or interest in befriending a random new single woman, but when they don’t talk to me, or they answer my questions without asking any in return, the only thing left for me to do is stand around and coo over the children, the very ones whose parents are ignoring me.

I can pass on that.