Friday, January 26, 2007

In which I play hostess like a big girl.

I'm having a dinner party tomorrow. A small one, just eight people (including myself). I would like to have more people to a party, but my kitchen and my dining room table can't handle more than eight. Even eight will be pushing it. But I got a lovely set of eight place mats and matching napkins from Crate & Barrel (still one of my favourite stores despite their role in the tragic couch incident) for Christmas, and I decided that I should put them to good use.

So, eight-person dinner party tomorrow. I have an expandable dining room table from Ikea, and four chairs to match it. I have a desk chair that can be used at the table as well. My sister is bringing over three of her dining room chairs to make up the rest. I was thinking, as I was busy being pleased about my matching place mat and napkin set, that I don't actually have eight plates that match each other. I have four or five china plates that my parents gave me when I moved into my apartment (actually, they are the plates my parents used when I was young, before they got a nicer set, and it's a little weird to be eating off them again 15 years later), and four purple plastic (or melamine? Like those plates for little kids? I'm not sure) plates from Target. I have eight place settings, so I will have to wash any utensils I use while cooking or I will wind up short. And I have four purple water glasses and a few clear glasses for the people whom I don't like as much. And my sister convinced me months ago to invest in a bar set from Ikea, so I have enough wine glasses to go around. So I should be okay, I think.

But hosting a dinner party is such a time-intensive, grown-up thing to do. I hosted many parties that involved drinking and eating while I was in college (as any B&S attendees can attest). But that was when we drank wine out of paper cups and everyone just laughed at me when I broke the corkscrew (five times!) trying to open the bottle of wine and we had to push the cork into the bottle to get at the wine. Things are on a whole new level now. I haven't even picked the menu yet, although I know that Torsten will be making a German dish as part of the main course (he's the useful type). But there's still the appetizer, the rest of the main course, the dessert, the wine, and the amuse-bouches to figure out. Plus I have to clean my apartment (did I mention that I convinced my sister to bring her beautiful purple Dyson vacuum cleaner over with her three dining room chairs so that I can vacuum my rug? Because my $30 Dirt Devil, for reasons beyond my comprehension, just doesn't cut it).

Maybe instead of thinking about things like vacuuming and amuse-bouches, I should be worried that my guests (all of whom know at least one person besides me who will be in attendance, but none of whom knows all the others) will hate each other and there will be no conversation and everyone will hate the food and get really drunk and spill things on the carpet and bother the neighbours. But I'm not really worried about that. And you know why? Because my friends are all grown-ups too. And cool people. But really, because this dinner party seems to have turned into a Meet My Boyfriend party. There's a reason that every person I invited immediately said they were able to attend, and it's because they're all wildly curious. But I suspect that they'll all be on their best behaviour due to the momentous nature of the occasion. And if not, we can always just change the subject and talk about Africa.

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