Last night I mentioned that we were having a bunch of friends over for dinner. “A bunch of friends” really only meant two other couples, who had met each other once, briefly, and whose connection to each other is only through us (and a mutual love of Disneyland). It just turned out to be convenient to have everyone over at once.
While I went to work yesterday morning and then had my therapy appointment, Doug, ever my hero, spent his day cleaning our apartment from top to bottom. We’d picked up and vacuumed our bedroom the day before, and I marveled as I stood on a part of the floor we hadn’t seen since before we moved in 18 months ago. (This is, sadly, actually true: there were still a few boxes of crap in our room that hadn’t been opened since Seattle.)
Our friends showed up around 6. One couple brought the main course; the other brought fixings for dessert; we’d planned a few sides. At first, as we all sat around making small talk, flipping through a women’s health magazine I’d borrowed from the breakroom at work, and constructing this meal, I was a little concerned about whether everyone would get along and whether they’d all enjoy themselves – which is often the problem when introducing friends to other friends. But by the time we’d pulled our table out of the corner and set a few extra folding chairs around it, by the time we were all seated and commenting on how we had more food than any of us really knew what to do with, everyone seemed to have relaxed, and therefore, so had I.
After we’d eaten, we cleared off the table and Doug brought out one of our favorite party games, Loaded Questions. Much innuendo and laughter ensued, and everyone took off again around 11, which I consider to be a totally reasonable time for dinner guests to go home.*
Once the door was closed and locked, Doug came over, smiling, and gave me a quick kiss. “We just had our first dinner party!” he said proudly.
Somehow, I hadn’t realized this until he said it. I was floored.
I thought back to a time before Doug, and before Andrew and Lilly, when my ex and I used to go over to Dawn and Joe’s house for dinner and board games on a regular basis. Sometimes, it would be just the four of us, but sometimes a few of Dawn’s other friends would be there, too. I was in my early 20s, and I remember thinking what a cool, grown-up thing it was to invite people to your home and serve them food. I remember looking forward when my ex and I would be married, have a place of our own (we were living in my parents’ house at the time), and could be cool grown-ups too.
Of course, my and Doug’s home now is nothing like Dawn’s was when she was my age: we live in a small apartment, with mismatched, hand-me-down furniture and a tiny kitchen. (Ok, so Dawn’s kitchen is pretty small, too – but somehow mine seems even smaller.) I think it never occurred to me that I could entertain without wedding-gifted china and servingware, and a matchy bathroom set. But apparently I can.
This is the sort of thing that child-free 20- and 30-somethings should be doing with their time, right? This is the stuff I need to embrace and enjoy now, while I can, before babies come along and leave me without the time or energy to plan dinner parties, or before children are present, so my friends and I can’t be squealing and laughing about four-foot penises and salad-tossing at ten o’clock at night.
I feel like last night also set me up pretty nicely for my housewife project. The apartment is basically clean, and if we can keep it that way for a few more weeks, well, that seems like a much better starting point for my efforts at keeping a home than the disaster-zone-apartment did. And now that I know Doug and I make decent dinner party hosts, I’ll be more confident about being the sole hostess to future dinner parties, or cooking something fancier than Hamburger Helper for just Doug and me – which is to say, throwing dinner parties for two.
Looks like my cute aprons are soon going to be used for more than playing dress-up.
*One thing I can’t stand: when I have someone over, and I am ready for the night to end, and the other person doesn’t get the hint, and I end up having to “entertain” way later than I even want to be awake.**
**KG, this is not in reference to that night the other week when we hung out here longer than we had originally intended to, talking about our crazy relatives and drinking the best wine ever. That night was awesome, and totally worth my losing sleep and being late to work the next morning.