HOW-2 Meet Women



Chapter 9

Party Time

The Party Vegetable

                              Is it a party in a parlour?
                              Crammed just as they on earth were crammed,--
                              Some sipping punch, some sipping tea,
                              But, as you by their faces see,
                              All silent and all damned.

Being shy, you probably regard an invitation to a party with about as much enthusiasm as the prospect of attending your own execution. Just think, you could be standing there in the shadows by the back wall, surrounded by clusters of babbling strangers, feeling everyone's eyes on you (is your fly open?), in one hand a slowly dripping warm soft drink that has long since gone flat, in the other a limp stalk of celery oozing what is allegedly cheddar cheese dip. Your feet ache, your stomach is painfully knotted and spasming, and rivulets of sweat have dried on your forehead. This just might not be your idea of a fun time.

A strong case can be made for avoiding parties altogether. For the shy person, parties may be the worst of all possible places for meeting people and making friends, much less connecting with women. Parties have a justifiably bad reputation for poor food, rowdy and drunken behavior, and mind numbing stupidity on a massive scale. Calling them a monumental waste of time and energy could be something of an understatement. All the same, before dismissing parties altogether as an option, consider them... as an opportunity to practice and flex your newly developed social skills, to use your imagination, to stretch and extend your confidence muscles. Parties are a challenge, a test of your resourcefulness and ingenuity, an exercise in risk taking in the social arena, a leap into the unknown, a roll of the dice in the grand game of people.

Shy man, you are certainly no one's idea of a "party animal". Party vegetable comes closer to the mark. So be it. "Grow" into the role, if you can, if you dare, for good things come at the oddest of times and in the unlikeliest of places, even, heaven forbid, at social gatherings.

                      party, n.:
                      A gathering where you meet people who drink
                      so much you can't even remember their names.


Preparedness is everything. Do your research before stepping through the door at that party. Find out who will be attending. If possible, meet and get to know a few of the people beforehand. Perhaps you can arrange to accompany one or more of them.

It's the day of the big party, and it looks like you'll be going alone. Call the host. Ask if he/she needs help with setting up the tables, with food preparation, with decorations. In any case, arrive early so that you can meet and have a few minutes alone with the host and at least a couple of the guests. Stay away from alcoholic beverages and do not overindulge in the indigestible snacks. "Work the room" if you are able to, if you dare. Do not linger if it threatens to turn into an unproductive evening, and time your exit.

                   Man who arrives at party two hours late
                   will find he has been beaten to the punch.

You might well call attention to yourself by virtue of your costume, especially where everyone else attends in normal party attire, or in everyday wear. Rent a costume. Come as D'Artagnan (of the Three Musketeers), or as Cyrano. A neck ruff and tight fitting pantaloons will do wonders for your appearance. The saber at your side will also command respect, and more than a little astonishment. Act the part... swashbuckle.

In a pinch, the local thrift store or your aunt's attic can supply outmoded clothes, perhaps a Nehru jacket from the '60's or a snap brim fedora that was last fashionable when Truman was in office. Ancient "claw hammer" tuxedo jackets still turn up on occasion. Matched or mismatched, you can provide an amusing counterpoint to all the staid, business-suited party goers.

Be part of the entertainment. If you play an instrument, be it a harmonica, a pennywhistle, or a lowly kazoo, so much the better. Strap on a guitar and belt out the first few notes of a ballad, and listeners will gather round. Juggle a few balls in the air and gaping onlookers will jostle each other for a closer look. An impromptu magic show is sure to draw an audience. Practicing the ancient lore of storytelling attracts those who have not yet lost the ability to exercise their imagination. Even the prosaic art of telling jokes elevates you above the other attendees.

                As there are three of us come on purpose for the game,
                you won't be so cantankerous as to spoil the party by sitting out. 
                                     Richard Brinsley Sheridan

Doing It Yourself

Discouraged by all the bad times you've had at other people's parties? Well then, throw your own.

Keep it small, inviting only a few of your closer friends. Keep it simple, preparing a bare minimum of snacks and refreshments. Lay in a generous supply of juices and soft drinks, and show your good judgment (and courage) by avoiding alcoholic beverages altogether. Plan well ahead, and pay attention to small details. Get advice from others who have thrown parties.

Be sure to introduce the guests to each other, if they are not previously acquainted. On to fun and laughter-inducing games, such as 'charades', to encourage mingling, and, eventual pairing off by the singles. Then, dim the lights and put on slow music, suitable for close dancing. You, as the party facilitator, will find yourself free of any pressure to get close to any one particular woman, and for just that reason, it may happen of its own accord.

Any excuse will do. Your own birthday deserves a party, as do those of your friends, family members, and colleagues. There are major and minor holidays aplenty. Even a Groundhog Day party can be a memorable occasion.

The Entertaining and Party Planning Tips site gives some useful pointers, at least in the matter of preparing hors d'oeuvres and snacks. Likewise, the local library may have a few books on the topic of party planning. Your best resource, however, would be a friend or relative who has hosted a party or two of her own.


Parties are one of life's obscure and enigmatic gifts*. As with anything guarded by a minefield, enshrouded in barbed wire, or buried in a manure heap, there must be a secret place... where gleams something resembling treasure, or at a minimum a "meaningful experience". If the entrance fee is a just bit stiff, the prize beckoning from within may be worth it. Perhaps.

Parties are one of those social institutions that preserve and enforce the gap between the socially adept and the rest of us, the "losers". If, as previously stated, "For the shy person, parties may be the worst of all possible places...", what then is the point of this exercise? It is a defiant piece of theater, a dare accepted, a demonstration that even under the most unfavorable of circumstances, in a room full of semi-intoxicated, faceless, anonymous persons, the shy man can match his more socially adept colleagues in the art of mingling, of getting acquainted with strangers. It is a matter of experience, technique, self-confidence, and... principle. Witness that even this pernicious institution, the social gathering, can be subverted to the advantage of a sufficiently motivated shy person.

                            "All discord, harmony not understood
                             All partial evil, universal good...
                                        Alexander Pope
Is this, then, a "call to arms" for you as a shy man, an imperative that you absolutely must attend parties? On the contrary, it is a personal decision, a "judgment call", based on your needs, comfort level, readiness, and temperament. You will do perfectly well socially even if you never attend another party. Only be aware that you could, should you wish to.

* The literal translation of Gift from the German is venom, or poison.