If you’ve read my previous post, “You Don’t Have To Bring a Date, Come Alone. Come Alone. COME ALONE!” you know that I was alternatively stressed, concerned, pissed and kinda bummed by the repeated suggestion that I come alone to a dinner party. Here is the update.
Yes, I went alone. Yes, and as I predicted, it was fine.
Let me set the scene. It was at a private home, more like an estate. The night was beautiful so everything was set outside –cocktails and hors d’oeuvres for an hour, then a buffet dinner at tables around the pool. It was a catered affair with gorgeous centerpieces and decorations all in pink and white, to celebrate Cheryl’s being cancer free. Guests were also encouraged to wear pink, and on behalf of those who did, Cheryl would donate money to Cancer research. Everyone had on some sort of pink. It was a really classy affair, with around fifty guests.
Okay enough with the back drop, this is how it played out.
- I walked in alone.
- I was greeted by Cheryl who immediately introduced me to, let’s call her, Regina, who was the ONLY OTHER SINGLE PERSON THERE!
- Cheryl informed the group I was standing with that Regina and I were seated at the same table –because we were THE ONLY SINGLES THERE!
Awkward? Yes. Appreciated? Yes. It made sense, actually.
- After Cheryl made the announcement that Regina and I would be dining partners, Regina joked, “But we’re not a couple!”
Of course I took that opening to add, “Well, the night’s young.” Ha ha ha, the Tears of a Clown.
- Then, someone noticed, not me, that one of the ladies standing in my group HAD ON EXACTLY THE SAME BLOUSE I DID! The same pink, jeweled halter top.
I swear, that has never happened to me before. We laughed it off. She said she’d picked hers up in the islands, Martinique, I think, while on vacation.
“Where did you get yours?” she asked.
And me, being painfully truthful, admitted, “At a consignment shop.”
At a consignment shop.
Let’s review, shall we? She got hers while on an exotic island vacation. I got mine at a thrift store.
There are two things wrong with this:
One: I admitted I was wearing a used shirt. No shame in wearing second hand clothes, but sharing that information isn’t necessary. It’s not like telling folks you have a rescue dog — one of the few situations where the wealthy applaud acquiring someone else’s cast offs. I should have said my blouse was a rescue. My snappy comebacks come years late … but I digress.
Two: I thought the beauty of buying at a consignment shop was that you were less likely to get something that someone else has! I mean, seriously? It was the only top like that in the store, of course. Indeed it was the only top like that I’ve ever seen. Oh snap, I guess it’s because I don’t vacation in the islands, or vacation at all. Crap.
Wait, there’s a third thing wrong with this — WE WERE WEARING THE SAME SHIRT!
Eventually I made my way away from my shirt twin to some familiar faces. As Cheryl promised there were a couple of couples I knew because they had kids the same age of mine and who are in the same activities. One was the same couple who, at the graduation party, had walked away from me. But this time they were very talkative and friendly. The husband reminds me (and my kids) of McDreamy on Grey’s Anatomy.
And we did the suburban parent thing and talked about our kids, college applications, etc. The other couple introduced themselves to me as if we’d just met, which was weird, since I’ve been running into and exchanging pleasantries with this couple since our high school senior kids were in the fourth grade.
- In discussing their children’s college application process, the couples shared that their children blamed them for having not gone through any hardship about which they could write about on their essays, “Oh yes, she’s mad because we’re successful and not divorced and she has had what she needs. Can you believe that? Yes, we’re sorry we’ve given you a good life.” I couldn’t even summon up the Tears of a Clown to respond to this particular topic, as I stood between the two couples. Though I did discover that one of the moms had NOT gotten into the college I went to. Score one for me. Empty victory, because she was being nice, damn it.
- Cheryl had hired a professional photographer and also took pictures herself. The couples were asked to pose together. I was asked to pose by myself. Regina was also asked to pose by herself. Yup.
When the party moved to the assigned poolside tables, I sat between the McDreamys and the only other single person at the event, Regina. I discovered that Regina was divorced with children and in the midst of downsizing so we talked about the whole downsizing, moving, process, etc. and I chatted with her and the other couples about our kids, etc. I think the people (and by people, I mean couples) on the other side of the table may have been interesting, but the centerpiece was too big to talk over. They must have been listening to our conversation, however, because in the buffet line a woman asked if I was a professional organizer because I seem to know so much about it. Ha!
No, I’m not a pro. But yeah, I know a lot about it. I know a hell of a lot about moving and downsizing . . . but I digress . . .
And that was that, except that at some point someone said, I think it was Regina, “I heard someone else here has on the same top, is that true?” And I, of course, helpfully, pointed her out. My shirt twin was at the next table, as it turns out. I added that, “Well, I had wondered if I’d be dressed appropriately. Clearly,” gesturing to my shirt twin, “I am.” Ha ha ha, Tears of a Clown.
The party wound down, I left when everyone else did. It was nice, fine, a lovely affair. It was the kind of party I used to like to look at from a distance, “Oh look, rich people are having a party!” And then I’d drive or walk by to try to catch a glimpse. It was good to be more than a fly on the wall, or a nosy neighbor, or a creepy stalker.
But, as to the whole “Come Alone!” thing — no, Cheryl did not have an ulterior motive and play matchmaker for me, unless, of course, you count Regina.
And yes, I was fine without a date. As far as I could tell, and based on Cheryl’s comments, all the other couples were married. It was not a casual date kind of party. It still would have been okay to have brought a date, but it was okay without.
This does not mean, however, that I will forever go to these things alone. Nope.
Just Me With . . . a shirt twin, a lady dinner date, and a new career as a professional organizer.
P.S. Cheryl actually did a great thing by having assigned tables, especially when there are only a couple of singles and some guests who don’t know many other people. I didn’t have to walk up to a table of couples and ask if I could join them or wait by myself for coupled up strangers to sit with me. And at least I wasn’t seated with my shirt twin.
I thought I was the only one who felt that way about Matt Paxton.
Apparently, no, he has quite a large following. I hope it’s not disrespectful to his wife to say this: I love him.
I know this much … your twin blouse had by far the smaller footprint, since it was previously owned and you didn’t jet thousands of miles to buy it! 🙂
This is true. The store is local and the blouse had been in my closet for weeks. I’m glad it got some use.
That same shirt thing is exactly something that would happen to me as is the going to a party alone. It’s always awkward when they try and figure out what to do with you. Once I was the “host” for a Newlywed type party. Yeah, great.
Lovely, the host? Lovely. Yeah, the same shirt thing was kind of par for the course for me. Whatever.
To me, as a Brit, the whole you need a date to go to a party’ deal is quite alien, and very American! If you get invited to a wedding, for example, your partner will be invited if he’s an ‘official’/long-term/’real’ boyfriend. If you’re single you’re not expected to bring anyone – and I think it would be very rare that at a party of 50 you’d be the only one on your own. I do remember reading/watching US books/films as a teen and being totally blown away by the concept of having to be asked to go to a prom by a boy (and not going if no-one asked you). I used to think it quite romantic (when I was 14) but now I’m glad the UK hasn’t (yet?) evolved like that…
Well done you for going, though! And well handled with the ‘sister’ top issue! (It only happened to me once – we had both bought it from the cheapo shop ‘Primark’, both having paid about £2.50 for it, so we both winked at each other and kept quiet!)
I do love reading your blog! 🙂
Thank you and nice to hear your perspective as a Brit. Here it depends on the type of party and where it is. A party of 50 in the city — there would be more singles. Some parties are just more geared to couples. Now people go alone to weddings if not in a serious relationship, but I think in the past people felt like they had to have dates. I don’t enjoy going to weddings at all, so it never mattered to me. Here proms are still in couples but girls can ask boys and often go as just friends. Yeah, but I think you guys are more evolved.
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[…] A good six years ago I wrote about being invited to a party with a plus one but being strongly encouraged to come alone. See You Don’t Have To Bring A Date, Come Alone! Come Alone! COME ALONE! The party has become an almost annual thing and I have gone a few times. Always invited with a plus one, always attending alone. See I Went To A Dinner Party Alone […]
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