When I was in my twenties, like most people, I partied it up. I could out-drink most of my friends and spent many a night playing air guitar on my knees in a club. When I met my husband, I aggressively hit on him while drunk and standing on top of a table.
Now? Not so much. At 36, my body isn’t great at handling all that booze, I get anxious a lot, and I have too much going on to even think about staying out late most of the time. I’m writing a book, own a business, have another blog that is established and am trying to get this one off of the ground. Plus, I write for a living as one of those elusive freelancer humans (then why isn’t my grammar better? I have no goddamn idea), the kind you hear about but never really meet (because we mostly live under rocks).
But, I love the idea of being festive for the holidays. So, this weekend my husband and I went all out. We threw a neighborhood mixer and invited everyone on our street over for mulled wine and snacks. My husband still doesn’t believe that “mixer” is a real thing and is convinced I made it up to fuck with him because he’s foreign. I WISH I had but no, no dude, it’s a thing. We stuck invites to all the doors and crossed our fingers that a human or two would show. Turns out, our street is full of boozers who you don’t have to convince to drink. This is what we like about them (not always easy to find in SLC). So, around 6:30 people start showing up and I’m shoving spiked eggnog and mulled wine into their hands (or hot chocolate for the kiddos). It’s around this time that my dog starts losing his shit, entirely, because he’s anxious and he doesn’t like strangers.
Forward to two hours later when our neighbor sets down her nine-month-old daughter to crawl. She managed to go about one foot before Oliver came flying 2,000 miles per hour out of nowhere and lept onto her back. To hump her. Horrified, I run over and try to pick him up but he’s managed to lock his front legs around her stomach. I’m trying to unlock his legs while lifting and he’s fighting me and for a second I was like, “Please dear lord kill me,” and I worried that I’d accidentally pick her up along with him and she’d be dangling midair while Oliver kept thrusting. But after a few seconds, I managed to pry him off. Then I put him in the back room with some chicken to bribe him to stop molesting the children. That only worked for a minute so then I had to give him a giant stuffed animal to hump instead so if you looked down the hall you could just see my dog going to town on a giant Pig toy, all panty and ew. Then someone was like, “how old was Oliver when you got him?” And I had to confess that we’ve had him since he was 12 weeks old, which meant that he was entirely our fault and I felt a slight pang of shame. Then I refilled my cup and the shame turned to laughter and I was like, “OMG, my dog is so fucked up,” giggle, giggle. I did vow to work harder on his training, though. Because he’s stressed af.
Most of the night involved me filling up drinks and telling Oliver to stop humping people. One little boy sadly said, “for some reason, Oliver doesn’t want to hug my leg,” and his mom and I laughed because, awe, the innocents of children. And I was like, “He does love to give hugs,” because what else do you say? But it was a lot of fun because our neighbors are fantastic and thoroughly entertaining and PARTY ANIMALS. The mixer started at 6:00 p.m. and went until 2:00 a.m. And I was like, “OMG, HOW ARE YOU GUYS STILL AWAKE!?” I could have easily gone to bed at 10:00 p.m. But I couldn’t site my age (mid-thirties) because most of our guests were older than me and whatever they’re doing or eating I need in my life because they were lively and raging until all hours of the night. And I love that.
I don’t want to be one of those people who turns forty and decides my life is over and completely stops socializing because I think it’s important for my own health and the health of the community. As humans, social interactions are critical to our mental health. Being social and putting yourself out there is a habit just like anything else and once you stop it’s so easy to brick yourself into your home and never leave again and pretty soon you have an entire city of people who don’t talk to one another. It’s especially easy for a writer because with Amazon and grocery delivery, I really don’t need to leave my house like ever and there have been many times in my life where I’ve gotten weirdly anti-social and developed bizarre habits like talking to myself for hours at a time. So, I’m going to keep it up with the holiday cheer and make this an annual mixer (hooray for starting new traditions that also increases social capital!) But I need to work on my stamina and Oliver’s training for the future.
Any tips on throwing a killer holiday party? Has your dog ever molested your guests? Let me know in the comments below!