Saturday, August 13, 2011

Lifting the Mary Richards Curse

I cannot begin to tell you how many wedding, baby shower, engagement and other “special” occasion gifts I have bought over the years. My favorite line from Sex and the City is when Carrie asks when she gets to have a “Congratulations You Didn’t Marry the Wrong Guy Shower” as she laments having to buy an expensive gift from a registry for someone’s baby shower.

I don’t mean to sound bitter – but you are bitter, Blanche! However, there comes a point in a single man’s (and I am sure woman’s) life when he gets sick of having to celebrate other people’s milestones by spending inordinate amounts of money because they want the pleasure of his company and lots of free stuff when no one celebrates the single man's life.

Personally, I think the whole registering for presents thing is the most selfish act in the world. There, I said it. You were thinking it, but I said it. And do you know I have been called selfish for thinking that?

I’ll give you some examples. I knew a couple who lived together for seven years. Then, they got married and registered at the most expensive store they could find. Seriously? All I could think was you’ve been screwing each other for seven years, and now you decide to get married, so we have to help you fill your home with necessities? What did you use all those years, paper plates and plastic sheets?

My favorite was the friend of mine (and I say friend loosely) who got married on July 4th weekend in Newport, Rhode Island. The trip would have cost me over $3,000 not including the present from their registry I would be obligated to buy. I sent my regrets. And he had the nerve to get pissed at me. All I did was RSVP that I could not make it. I actually was going to send a present, but when he got pissed, I changed my mind. He hasn’t spoken to me since. That saved me from having to buy a baby present for their unfortunately ugly child.

Seriously, did I ask him to spend $2 to celebrate my latest trick? I should have. Actually, I should have made him fly in and watch!

And don’t get me started on baby showers. All of a sudden, we have them at work. I thought these were just for your girlfriends to attend. Now, if you are going to have children, shouldn’t you wait until you can afford to buy your own diapers? I refused to participate at a work-related one, and I was made out to be a pariah. I didn’t screw her, so why should I celebrate? I didn't even get a kiss or a cigarette.


I have never held a housewarming party, or more exactly, apartment warming party, either. I just think that if I am going to move into a new home, it is my responsibility to furnish it. If I cannot afford to furnish it, I have no right moving in. Also, as you can gather from the above, I never have been comfortable asking for presents. I don’t throw myself birthday parties or any other parties to try and get presents.

Before I continue, I must offer a clarification. No one enjoys buying presents more than I do. I love giving gifts. However, I especially like giving them on my own terms. If I know your birthday is coming up, I would rather surprise you than be told to buy you something. There is no joy in obligated gift buying. The irony is I rarely celebrate my own birthday, but I love celebrating other people’s birthdays.

If you move into a new home, I will be the first to give you something to celebrate the occasion, unless you throw your own housewarming party. If you have a baby, I will buy you a present, but don’t invite me to the shower. Besides, there was a time when Jews didn’t throw baby showers. One always waited until after the baby was born.

Another note on birthdays. What is up with gay men celebrating every goddam birthday? Seriously? “I am going to be thirty-seven, and I am throwing myself a party!” Thirty-seven, who cares? We know what you are doing. You just want gifts! And the ones who do this never write a fucking thank you note!

I always write thank you notes. I guess it is because I get so few presents … said the old bitter queen.

I also expect people to do the right thing. When I moved to Rockville after twelve and half years in Mount Pleasant, I didn’t get one housewarming present. That is OK. I didn’t ask for any, but you would think all those people I bought presents for over the years to celebrate their life-changing events would have sent me a goddam card or something. I think that was the point where I said enough is enough.

There was the couple who bought a new home and I bought them a Mezuzah complete with rabbinically blessed parchment, too. The couple who got married and I bought them a complete set of China. The couple who bought their first new car, and I bought them a complete car care set. None of these gifts were solicited. I just bought them.

Do you know what those couples bought me? If you said nothing, you win the magic duck.

So, when I bought my first home, I was asked if I would throw a housewarming party. The thought never occurred to me. Have we met? I don’t ask for presents.

Now, there is something else I don’t do well either – throw parties. I have the Mary Richards curse. Any child of the 1970s knows all about the Mary Richards curse. Some of my parties in the past have been disasters.

When I was in the seventh grade, my best friend, Scott, and I decided to throw a party. We went to different schools. We invited our friends to his house, so everyone could mix it up. They didn’t. The ones from my school would be in one room and those from his in another. And they kept switching rooms all evening, never wavering from their schoolmates. I heard about this for a year. This was strange to me because when we would go to United Synagogue Youth (USY) conventions, I was the one who would always sit with new people. Isn't one of life's great joys, meeting new people?

I threw my next party when I was in ninth grade, and one of my guests proceeded to try to convince everyone in the room to accept Jesus. The rest of my guests were Jewish and all but one still are.

I didn’t throw another party until I moved into my first apartment. This time, I invited a cross-section of guests, and it was the first time I encountered cliquedom. Apparently, some people there felt we should all be grateful for their presence. Not only that, everyone left before ten. My cousin Carole-Sue told me they left because I had the lights on too bright.

However, I never gave up. Over the years, I threw a party where all forty-two people I invited to my studio apartment in West Palm Beach showed up, and one guest monopolized the room by telling everyone how she wanted her twenty-three-year-old daughter to get her tubes tied but no doctor would do it. There was the party where two drag queens got into a fist fight on the front lawn. There was the party where it turned out there was a feud between two groups of guests, and the room went silent for almost an hour until everyone left. There was the party where I said BYOB and no one did, so I had a bunch of boring sober people in my house until three in the morning.

And the pies de resistance was the party where my then-boyfriend was caught screwing a passed out guest on the coats in the bedroom while a former one was doing another’s boyfriend in my walk-in closet. Some would say that party was a success, but they didn't have to clean up the mess!

So you can understand my resistance at throwing another party. Dinner parties don’t seem to be a problem as long as I keep the guest count to no more than four.

Well, I decided maybe I should give it one more try. And here is where living in a mobile home has its advantages. You have an open layout that is perfect for entertaining, ample parking for your guests, and no codes for guests to punch in order to be buzzed up.

However, the biggest advantage is the “Yoko Ono Factor.” What is that you ask? In the movie Jeffery, the question is asked, “Why did the gay man date Yoko Ono?” and the answer: “To see the apartment of course!”

I knew most guests would come just to see the “trailer”!

I decided to celebrate Lucille Ball’s 100th Birthday, and I planned the party with very short notice. I also did not call it a housewarming. I just said let’s celebrate the Queen of Comedy and come see my new home. I invited a cross section of guests and did what my mother taught me about always inviting those who have invited you. This was easy because the single gay man over forty rarely gets invited anywhere. Apparently, even lesbians consider me a threat. It must be my AMC Spirit – a total lesbian magnet of a car.

Well, was I surprised. For the first time, I threw a party where people actually enjoyed themselves. No drag queens tore each other’s wigs off. No cliques were there to look down at the other guests. There were no mass migrations from room to room. No one got laid in the bedroom – was this a plus? There was just enough booze. The lights were adjusted perfectly, and the music at just the right level. The best part was everyone was talking to people they were meeting for the first time rather than just to people they already knew.

You should have seen the looks on the guests’ faces as they entered my home. All of them looked up and down as if to say, “So this is what a trailer looks like on the inside.”

I think that the secret to my success is the fact that when one attends a party in a mobile home, he doesn’t feel a need to impress the others in the room or act like an ass. Mobile home living allows you to be yourself and enjoy life! After all, the host can’t possible put on airs when his house was brought in on a semi! And how often do you go to a party hosted by a Gay Jew in a trailer park?

All I know is that the Curse of Mary Richards is finally lifted! Who knows? I may just throw another party very soon!

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1 comment:

  1. Me personally, I'd have thought the Drag Queen Fisticuffs would have been guaranteed success for a party. But I'm weird like that. lol