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You sift through the engagement parties and wedding showers. It’s too cold for wedding season to begin but cold enough that you’re plagued with cabin fever. The regular bar circuit has grown stale and you don’t want to sit at home flipping through the Apple TV menu trying to find something to watch.
Enter: The Adult Dinner Party.
They’ll start few and far between. No one really wants to surrender their place to the torment of their closest friends. Vacuuming sucks. But eventually, it becomes easier than going out. Easier than waiting in lines to go to bars playing Top-40 songs you’ve never heard before. Easier than being around people more enthusiastic about rail vodka than you. You become just another dude standing around talking about work while wearing a Brooks Brothers button down underneath a Peter Millar quarter-zip cashmere/cotton blend sweater.
It’s a harsh realization, but it’s a necessary realization. You’re an adult now and the parties you attend reflect that. The differences between house parties as a young 23-year-old and group gatherings as someone in your late 20s will shock and horrify you. These, friends, are those differences.
The alcohol is actually provided.
Okay, okay, you’re right. Yes, you actually have to bring a bottle of wine as a gesture. But all that entails is going to Whole Foods and getting the most expensive looking $18.99 bottle of wine they offer only to hope the hosts of the party never look up how much it actually costs. It’s a small price of admission to be an adult. If you’re lucky, they’ll just bring that very same bottle of Malbec to a party you host a few months later.
Bar carts are all the rage right now. You find me a wedding registry on The Knot, and I’ll find you Mad Men-y bar cart that will eventually be littered in $35 bottle of booze that came from a “Stock The Bar” party you begrudgingly attended. And when is that alcohol consumed? Exclusively at dinner parties.
No one finishes the appetizers.
Meat and cheese boards (you know, charcuterie) have replaced buffalo chicken dip as the appetizers of the moment. Prior to that, it was spinach-artichoke dip before it fell out of favor because it’s absolute trash.
What kills me is that by night’s end, these meat and cheese boards go completely unfinished. There may be a rogue chunk of mangled brie or a few pieces of Sopressata just begging to get eaten, but being the person who takes the last of the scraps is pretty much social suicide. We live in a health-conscious society which is why the aforementioned dips disappeared in the first place. You used to be able to scrape the bottom of a Velveeta container with the last of the Tostitos, but not anymore.
Some people actually *gasp* drive themselves.
I know, I know, it still shocks me too. I’d say these people need to get off their high horses, but sometimes life gets in the way. And by “life,” I mean things like “tee times,” “half-marathons,” and “kids.” Woof.
I never thought I’d have a group of friends responsible enough to attend a social event that left them sober enough to drive themselves home, but I also never thought I’d get old enough to stop drinking red wine out of Solo cups either. Come night’s end, a lot of people will take their coats out of the designated coat room (read: the extra bedroom) and make their way to their mid-sized SUVs only to drive home without taking back roads to avoid the cops. These are the same people who will go for runs the next morning. Despicable.
…but the people who don’t drive themselves leave at a reasonable hour.
Maybe you’ve got some single friends who don’t have babysitters to pay or dogs to let out. Or maybe your friends are just alcoholics. Either way, there’s no judgment coming from this end. There’s a high chance that I’m going to leave these parties with Red Wine Mouth™ and an Uber queued up.
The only difference between this Uber and the Ubers I’m more accustomed to taking? I’m calling these up at 11 p.m. instead of last call. Literally foaming at the mouth to go to bed at the same time I used to make my way out for the night. Hell, you might even be receiving texts from your younger coworkers asking if you’re going out that night while some hipster shuttles you back to your apartment. No shame in responding with a “headed home for the night.” After all, you started at six o’clock while those young whippersnappers were still curing last night’s hangover.
There will be candles. A lot of candles.
My favorite part of my parents 90s dinner parties was snuffing the candles when everyone left and my parents peeled me off the couch after I watched D2: Mighty Ducks for the hundredth time. The snuffed smell still gets me. All the nostalgia.
No longer are we worried about randos knocking them over and setting your IKEA futon on fire. Now candles are pretty much a status symbol. Couples have drawers in their homes dedicated to storing these things. They’re not even scented — they exist purely for ambiance. It’s a wild world we live in.
You actually eat fucking dinner.
We aren’t in “come over and do a power hour territory” anymore. That’s for the 20-year-olds and people still clinging to their youth. When you enter your responsible friends’ apartment, it’s entirely possible it smells like something that’s been cooking for upwards of 45 minutes. Lasagna. Game hen. Fucking casseroles. Shit you find on Pinterest.
And the kicker? People actually sit down and use cloth napkins and flatware that they registered for. They’re pretty much daring you to stay sober enough that you won’t fall asleep at the table while that fire-loop plays on Netflix and Bublé Pandora blasts through a Bose speaker.
Despite the full meal and early bedtime, you’ll probably still wake up hungover though. And not just because you’re old. You definitely ended up opening that bottle of Malbec. .
Image via YouTube