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For as far back as high school (when I first started attending parties involving alcohol), I can not remember a single house or apartment party I’ve been to where the majority of the people didn’t end up in a kitchen by night’s end. The inherent need to be around kitchen utensils is something I’ve only just noticed in the past couple of weeks. And sure, when you’re at an apartment the kitchen is a logical destination to end up in if the living room doesn’t have ample seating. But what about at those massive house parties you used to go to as a wide-eyed 20-year-old? I’m racking my brain trying to think of a time where I didn’t end up in the kitchen shooting the shit with someone who I met five minutes prior. I’m coming up blank.
All of the action is in the kitchen. Sure, you’ve got some people hanging out in the living room but those are the people on their phones looking to make a move. The living room folk are a different breed from the kitchen goers. If you’re in the living room for an extended period of time at a party, it’s because you’re either watching a sports match of some kind or, like I said, you’re on your phone. It’s also a dead giveaway that you don’t know a ton of people at the party. The kitchen is where you go for conversation. The kitchen is where boys become men.
Think about it for a second. Where is that girl you’ve had your eye on going to go when she finishes that gin and water? Hint: she’s not going to the living room. She’ll inevitably have to pee but after that it’s straight back to the kitchen to get a refill.
It happens without you even thinking about it. Is it muscle memory? Some inherent need to be within arms reach of the refrigerator? One minute you’re giving your jacket to the host to throw in the spare bedroom and the next thing you know you’re four beers deep sitting on the kitchen counter next to the stove. It’s an inexplicable phenomenon that I cannot explain. And it happens at every single party I can ever remember being at. Most of the people at any given party gravitate towards the kitchen like a pack of moths to a flame. But why?
First of all, standing initiates conversation. When you’re in the living room you’re probably on a couch or sitting on the floor next to the coffee table. Maybe you’ve got money on a game that’s being played out. Maybe you don’t feel like socializing. I don’t know the exact reason why people choose living room over kitchen at a party, but there is a distinct difference between these two sects. The living room just doesn’t make for a very welcoming environment.
And then we have to factor in the lighting in a living room as opposed to a kitchen. Living rooms tend to be dimly lit which makes for a much more subdued atmosphere. When you’re crammed into a kitchen with ten, fifteen, or twenty other people, you’re sort of forced to interact with one another. Conversation is fluid in the kitchen and you can dabble in several of them at one time. You can be explaining your theories on extra-terrestrials to some dude whose name has already escaped you and in one fell swoop turn around and try to get gin and water girls number.
More importantly is an idea that I thought about a few weeks ago as I stood against a kitchen stove sipping a Modelo. At every human’s core are caveman-like tendencies. The Gibbon. The Chimp. The Gorilla. The Human. All of them are inherently drawn to the warmth of an open flame. So where is the nearest open flame when you’re at a party? Well, unless you’re at someone’s parents’ house and the decision has been made to get the living room fireplace going, the nearest open flame is probably going to be at the stove. That doesn’t mean anyone will actually turn the stove on. It’s just the fact that there is the option of a flame in the kitchen. And yeah, you can get nit-picky and tell me that some people have electric stoves. But my point remains. The kitchen just exudes a feeling of warmth that any other room at a house or apartment party just doesn’t possess.
Take stock of your surroundings this weekend when you’re at a party. I can almost guarantee that you’ll end up in the kitchen. Just make sure you get there early enough that a seat on the kitchen counter is available. No one wants to be the guy up against the stove who ends up accidentally turning the gas on. .
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