Social dilemmas. We all have them, but not all of us have a social gnome with which to resolve these dilemmas. This is where I, your crass and apathetic social Sherpa, come into play. I present to you the 2010 Guide to Embarrassing Social Situations.
Q. I’m often confused by the wording on invitations regarding attire. What does “Black Tie Casual” mean? Or how about “Business Standard?”
A: Ahhh, the eternal question of what to wear to a function that you probably don’t want to attend in the first place. Let me break it down for you:
Black Tie Casual: You’ll most often see this phrase in reference to weddings or incredibly snooty dinner parties. The “Black Tie” part simply means that you have to buy a new outfit. The “Casual” part means that you can leave on the tags and return it after the wretched affair is over. Be careful when choosing your attire for one of these get-togethers, as you’ll want something that can withstand a possible open bar, a possible dance floor, and a possible need to flee the scene quickly after you throw up in the coat closet.
Business Standard: This is easy. Take one of your sluttiest shirts and put it on under a blazer. Add a martini in one hand and a business card in the other. Accessorize with a string of pearls and several phrases that involve a lot of acronyms.
Smart Casual: This can go several ways, but very rarely does it go the way of “smart.” The only tips I can give to anyone attending an event where the attire is “Smart Casual” is to smartly and casually invent a deadly sickness to be stricken with hours before the first mindless chit is chatted and watch the game at home like you want to in the first place.
Q. I really hate when I go to a dinner party that’s buffet-style. How can I avoid the inevitable hesitation and awkwardness that everyone feels when it’s time to start the buffet?
A: I often find it funny that people will attend a party specifically thrown to serve them dinner and then act as if they aren’t hungry when it comes time to actually eat said dinner. Several tactics exist to get around this. I often hide in the bathroom and stay there until I hear something to the effect of, “You’re the guest – YOU go first!” This also gets me out of the sight-line of the hostess before the meal so she can’t ask me to help chop lettuce, garnish devilled eggs, or clean up the unfortunate mess in the coat closet. Another option to anyone arriving too late to claim the bathroom is to start a fire in another room and go first yourself. No one will think you a gluttonous pig and you can get revenge on the jerk who claimed the bathroom before you.
Q: My best friend wants to wear white to my wedding. What do I do?
A: The answer is obvious. Simply respond to the request by telling her what you’ll be wearing to her not-so-distant funeral.
Q: My son is turning 4 in a couple of weeks and we want to throw a party for him and several of his friends. We don’t like exposing our son to cartoons, video games, plastics # 2-5, or people named Patton. How can we express these concerns on the invitation without being too wordy?
A: How about this – “We live in an incredibly boring household and before our little Stalwart III grows into a mass murdering crazy person, please join us for his 4th birthday party this Saturday. Please, no gifts, but feel free to donate to a charity or bartender of your choice.”
Q: My neighbor’s dogs are constantly relieving themselves in my yard. How can I confront my neighbor politely and get this (literal) load of crap to come to an end?
A: The simple solution would be to gently ask you neighbor to clean up after his dog. A much more satisfying solution would be to collect the droppings and light them on fire in your neighbor’s living room while attempting to avoid the buffet line.
Q: I am a complete germo-phobe and I really hate touching other people, i.e. shaking hands, hugs hello, and so forth. How can I explain my phobia to others without coming across as standoffish?
A: Let me tell you a little secret. People are disgusting, vile creatures and you have every reason to be a little freaked out by these germ-carrying cesspools. However, I don’t particularly like touching the hand of the weird mailman, but I do it for the free Victoria’s Secret coupons. I also don’t particularly care to give the midget cashier at Mapco foot rubs every Wednesday, but I do it for the free Slushees and discounted hot dogs. My point is that while you think people are revolting (and rightfully so) you are probably just as repulsive, and if you could get over your little “fear” you too could be munching on pork by-products in the comfort of the walk-in beer cooler.
Q: My friends and I are having an argument. They say that you are a single, 58-year-old recluse who sits around watching Lifetime movies and sipping homemade Molotov cocktails. I say that you are only 32, have 7 cats, and enjoy knitting cozies for kitchen appliances. Who is right here? P.S. There’s a steak dinner riding on this!
A: Perhaps you should treat each other to a trip through the White Castle drive-thru because I can assure you that I’m neither a recluse, no am I 58. I have never watched a movie on Lifetime, but I will confess to the occasional episode of “Columbo.” While I will always admire a well-cushioned microwave, my knitting skills are limited and my ferret, Freckles, ate my knitting needles three years ago. Now, if you’ll excuse me, there are hookers to be eradicated and pineapples to be tended.