What is a Party Without Guests?

“Thank you so much,” she says, wrapping me in a hug before she steps into the cold. “We had a great time. Page, you’re a wonderful hostess.”

I tell them I love them, wish them well. I beam.

“Thank you for coming to our party.”

Back in the summer of 2003, Ex-Husband and I came up with the idea of throwing a kick-ass kung fu movie night for our friends who dug that sort of thing. We asked around, had 15 confirmed guests, and proceeded to buy enough food, booze, and other party supplies (paper bowls,ec) for roughly 20 people, not wanting to run short. We were pumped. Together we deep cleaned the apartment, made a giant pot of chili, and decided on an optimal play list for the evening.

One person showed. One. My best friend. He was a good sport and great company. The three of us binge ate and binge drank until our campy Hong Kong low-budgets seemed like high art. Ex-Husband and I ate chili for every meal the next week. It was heartbreaking.

It was over a year before we threw another gathering, and even then I found myself tense for dozens of parties afterwards, feeling like I couldn’t relax until at least 3 or 4 guests showed up.

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These days, the house parties I help host are popular events, attended by throngs of interesting, fun people.

But even so, I’m a nervous wreck until 3 or 4 guests show up. In my experience, there are few things sadder than a house prepared for a big party with no guests.

“Thank you for respecting our house.”

I often wake to find our house nearly as clean or cleaner than before the festivities. Sometimes guests arrive early and help us clean or prepare. People bring wonderful dishes with them and/or donate money towards the costs of the food we prepare and other expenses associated with throwing a party. It is a rarity when someone breaks one of our house rules regarding not smoking on the property, etc.

“Thank you for respecting each other.”

I am happy to say fights and drama are extremely low levels at our gatherings. Even as things get wild, we want to provide a safe environment for our guests, so respect for others’ physical and emotional boundaries is tantamount. We are selective about whom we invite, and I can count on one hand the number of adverse events in which an individual was not mindful of others’ boundaries and had to be redirected and warned.

“Thank you for letting me know what you need.”

This may seem like an odd sentiment, but in truth, as a hostess, I want my guests to be happy. Many of you are also dear friends of mine, and I care how you feel. If you are sick, hungry, nervous, or in any other negative state that I can easily remedy, then by all means, I want to know. It can be difficult to communicate a need/desire when you’re in a large group setting, so thank you to those whom I was able to help – whether it was getting you medicine, giving you a hug, pouring you a drink, or giving you a tour of the house.

“We collect interesting people,” I like to say. And oh, what a wonderful collection!

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