I might be a washed-up, 47-year-old recovering addict and self-professed weirdo, but I still know how to party. It’s nice to get out of the house once in a while. But these days I am careful about the way I approach social get-togethers. Whereas my younger self would have just rocked up, smashed into the drinks and just waited to see what happened next, the middle-aged me has a well-crafted strategy to maximise the pleasures and minimise the pain of parties.
I call it ‘The Sam Method’, and it works every time. Let’s take my brother-in-law’s 60th birthday party last Sunday as an example. It was an afternoon do, staged at my mother-in-law’s house. I scoped out the guest-list in advance: just close relatives and plenty of kids. Good. I don’t like a soiree with too many variables.
I made sure to arrive on time. If people are boozing, it’s good to speak with them during the first drink when they are starting to relax but are not yet boring and repetitive. I worked the room methodically, sharing a warm, informative and entertaining catch-up with each adult attendee. I kept each exchange brief enough to be efficient but not so fleeting that it seemed rude. Next, I made some of the children laugh. Nothing fancy. No magic tricks or juggling. Just a couple of poo jokes. You know, standard stuff.
Your support changes lives. Find out how you can help us help more people by signing up for a subscription
After all this was out of the way, I moved on to what I call ‘phase two’ of The Sam Method. I took a plate and worked my way along the buffet that had been laid out on my mother-in-law’s dining table. I piled it high with salad, sandwiches, crisps and bits of quiche. As much as I could fit on. And then I fucked off into the other room.
This is what I always do at family dos. Get the chit chat out the way then disappear somewhere quiet to stuff my face in peace. In this case, it was my mother-in-law’s lounge. As the best room in the house, it is usually empty. Her best furniture is in there. The carpet is spotless. It’s not a room that’s appropriate for ordinary human occupancy. That’s why I hid there with my plate of food. I knew no other fucker would come in and bother me.