There's an old saying that you probably know. The world can be divided into two kinds of people: those who believe the world can be divided into two kinds of people, those who don't believe the world can be divided into two kinds of people, and those who can't count.
Anyway, my favorite two-kinds division is guests and hosts. You're either more comfortable attending someone else's party or hosting your own. I'm very much more comfortable as a host: I have control over the guest list, and I never have to ask where the bathroom is. There's also the fact that I don't have to drive home afterwards, so I can drink as much as I want. That's not such a big deal, though, in part because it takes so little alcohol to get me drunk, but mostly because I always make b&c drive, so I can get as blotto as I want even if it's not my party. Hell, I could even have that third beer!
We had a small barbecue/party on Saturday evening. We would probably entertain more, but b&c has been away a lot, and I'm, well, some would say I'm not the best planner. B&c mentioned last Sunday that Saturday would be a good day to "do something" and I said, "Sure." Then on Monday we started thinking about what "do something" might entail but not until we were finished with the evening's horizontal quality time and subsequent dinner, so we didn't really make any decisions. On Tuesday, we decided that b&c would grill some meat products, and I'd make appetizers, side dishes, something alcoholic, and dessert. On Wednesday, it occurred to me that I needed to invite people. It's always something.
I've learned a few things about giving dinner parties over the years.
1. Less is more. Back in the day (i.e., 2006), when we entertained, I'd spend two days cooking, exhaust myself, and make way too much of many different things. But I've learned that if you tire yourself out cooking, you can't drink as much, so nowadays, I prepare fewer dishes, buy some things pre-made, get everything done in a few hours, and make way too much of fewer foods.
2. While it's true that you will feel simply awful if your partner sets the grill on fire and there isn't enough food to feed both the fire department and the police when they show up, your partner setting the grill on fire is really a low probability event. So stock up on plastic wrap.
3. A drunk guest is a happy guest. And a guest who's easier to grope. With this in mind, it's okay to lie about how strong the beverages are. It's for the greater good.
4. Everyone likes punch. Sangria is a good choice. The secret to making good sangria is to find the cheapest red wine possible. I used a five-liter box of Franzia Chillable Red. It's completely undrinkable by itself, but it makes terrific sangria. And at $9.99, it works out to the equivalent of a buck fifty a bottle.
5. A barbecue is not technically a dinner party, so you don't have to set a table or assign seating.
Anyway, everybody ate and drank too much and had a terrific time. My friends are unfailingly polite. I'd told them to come at 6:30 "or whenever." They were all there by 7, and they all left at midnight. And despite my repeated protestations that they shouldn't bring anything, we ended up with two bottles of wine, two bags of cookies, a bag of ripe tomatoes, and a pot of mums (two took me at my word and didn't bring anything: the bastards!). You can see most of it in the picture above. The tomatoes and one bag of cookies got eaten during the party, though.
I'm not sure what to do with the pot of mums. B&c says he can plant them in the yard, but I suspect he might not get around to it. We'll eat the cookies and drink the wine (one of the bottles is branded Ménage à Trois, so I reckon I have to save it for a threeway), but, really, I'm kind of over all of these house gifts. I'm sure my friends' hearts are in the right place, but I'm not going to take it any more. The next time, I'll put "bring nothing but your fine self" in the invitation, and if they still ask me what they can bring, I'll tell them to bring a blowjob.
I reckon then they finally will learn not to bring anything. Either that, or I'll get some blowjobs. It's win-win!