Tracy Lee Curtis

Wrangling a good party host is harder than you think

Getting saddled with entertaining at someone else’s party is no picnic
Getting saddled with entertaining at someone else’s party is no picnic

Walking into a party last weekend, a few minutes fashionably late, my friend and I are still the first to arrive. And since I was invited by a friend of a friend, I walk straight up to the host and introduce myself. And then he says …

“I gotta take a shower.”

This is a new one. I haven’t been to a house party in a few years, but clearly things have changed. It used to be you get to a party, the host greets you at the door, offers you a drink, and then points out the chips and dips and pigs in a blanket.

Not this guy. He’s going to bathe. But not before asking my friend to cut limes – and mentioning something about a DJ, a pot of chili, and warning that the Western horse saddles draping all the bar stools are not actually attached.

As the first guests arrive, I’m immediately asked where John is.

“Who’s John? Oh, John! He’s in the shower. We have plenty of fresh-cut limes. And chili, there’s chili. No pigs in a blanket, but there’s a DJ somewhere, hopefully not trying to ride a bar stool.”

This is why you don’t leave hosting to your guests. Because we don’t have any information. I don’t know when John’s coming down – or if we have any more limes, if the chili’s meatless, or why the bar area looks like the starting gate at the Kentucky Derby. I just don’t know.

What I also don’t know is why do you post a nice invitation on Facebook telling friends that you’re having a party with food and drinks, football and a DJ. But not mention what the party won’t have, which is – well – you.

But just as I start to stir the chili, he descends the staircase. And I’m confused, because I don’t know how to react. I’ve already seen him, so I’m not as excited as everybody else. Plus, I’ve been working – we needed more limes.

And I’m confused because I don’t know how he’s supposed to react. It’s like he’s walking into his surprise party – but he already knows we’re there. Or like he’s arriving at his wedding reception – but without a bride. He’s making his grand entrance – in his own house. John has just arrived. From the john.

I don’t know what to do. The only thing I can think of is to start a round of “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow,” but it doesn’t catch on. Everyone just seems so happy that he made it … downstairs. I’m happy too. With the host back in the saddle, I can take a break. Better yet, we decide to leave before it’s time to serve dinner...

He’s probably gonna need to shave.