Trust me, it's not because I'm Jewish, but all this love-thy-neighbor-as-thy-loves-thyself stuff really irks me, especially during the holiday season. I barely love myself, and in no way, shape or form will I ever love the wannabe-Liberace down the hall who purrs to his cats, the girl who wears nude pantyhose and kitten heels (#stylefail) or the hunchback of Notre Dame who complained to the co-op board (my first mistake -- I know) about the sound of "disco music" coming from my apartment. Nonetheless, I had to accept the creepy cat man's invitation because we live on the same floor, and he promised there would be some very good-looking men from all walks of life at his holiday soirée, to which I now want to ask him, "uh, what streets do you walk exactly?" The party had its moments, and not only did I walk away with a buzz, but it reminded me of a few dos and don'ts for the holiday hostess with the mostess.
Give the Party a Beat
Okay, I get it. Barbara Streisand is to him what Madonna is to me, but that doesn't mean I would ever bore my guests with her greatest hits. I was seriously having a #bitchplease moment with her lamenting "papa can you hear me?" No, honey, he can't; nor can the 20-year-old construction worker who appears to be screwing the MILF on the second floor. "Who is this?" he asked, which caught the ear of creepy cat man who replied "you don't know Barbara?!?" Even though it was all very comical and had me biting my lower lip so I didn't start laughing hysterically, creepy cat man answered his own question. Not everyone knows Barbara, but they would know a playlist with classic holiday carols as performed by Rod Stewart, Annie Lenox, Mariah Carey, Tracey Thorn and, yes, Streisand has a Christmas album too.
Creepy cat man did have one thing right: the bar (surprise). He hired a model/aspiring actor, who bartends in his "free time" to make some extra cash (of course I had to ask). Having a bartender allowed the host to mingle with neighbors and not leave guests asking "where's the ice?" His bar was also stocked with every type of top-shelf liquor, which is the way to go, even if it costs you a few extra bucks. If you can't stock the bar, consider one or two holiday cocktails (think vodka with fresh-squeezed citrus, rosemary and thyme) and tons of either a Cava or Prosecco. Serving cheap vodka and tequila speaks volumes -- it means everything else is going be cheap, including the food, which I will get to in one minute. I definitely didn't think he needed to serve cocktails in gorgeous Baccarat crystal glasses, but he was on to something. When hosting a party, never let guests use your overly dish-washed glasses. Instead, head to Bed, Bath and Beyond and get fresh and inexpensive glasses. You know the ones, a dozen for $9.99.
Perhaps this was the worst crime of all, combining a fabulous bar and those precious glasses with a pot-luck style dinner. Although he did have some fine meats, figs and cheese out for starters, the main course was our collective responsibility. I mean, #bitchplease, I don't cook for myself, let alone thy neighbors. And so at all different times, and in random take-out and Tupperware containers, the food arrived in the form of trays of lasagna, deviled eggs (vomit) and barbequed chicken wings. When I arrived with my cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery, creepy cat man said, "thank god, we didn't have dessert." Okay, maybe if you are in college, but if you're hosting a party, not so much. Plus, I have no idea how sanitary my neighbors may be, and after looking at the woman's hands from the seventh floor who kept asking me to try her stuffed mushrooms, I wanted to hurl. If it's your party, you supply the food along with the drinks. And whether you buy food or, gasp, cook it yourself, never serve it in the container it came in or was cooked in, make sure to use a respectable tray and put out the appropriate utensils so people can easily put it on their plates.
This should really come as no surprise, but no one had anything to talk about. The primary conversation was a bitch session about the new lobby, how long it took and why were the terrazzo floors imported from Italy. I had no idea why they needed to redo the lobby in the first place, but I was not about to jump on this bandwagon. Not only was this conversation so not of the holiday spirit, but one guest, who is on the co-op board, told a resident to f*ck themselves. Again, I bit my lip. But all of this could have been avoided if creepy cat man had thought ahead -- you must know your guest list, introduce them to each other and be prepared to include a one-sentence bio about each person. This allows everyone to have a joyful commonality to get the conversation started. I had to find the interior decorator who lives on my floor all by myself. We both agreed the candelabra and doilies were a bit much.
This may not seem like a big deal, but what's going on in your bathroom is extremely important. Although I only advocate plush white towels for every bathroom in America, when you have guests repeatedly using said towels, white doesn't stay so bright. Instead, put out grey towels (the new beige). A few other easily overlooked details: please don't leave your prescription bottles of Zoloft and Prevacid for all to see. And even though you hope they aren't necessary, and that no guests are taking a sh*t in your bathroom, replace your Lysol bottle with matches.
Invite Your Friends
I really did find creepy cat man's "all walks of life" friends to be a bit sordid, but this gay brigade was the best part of the night because, guess what, they didn't give a sh*t about the lobby. They just cared about having a good time (and cocktailing) which is all your holiday party should be.
Need advice from a gay best friend? Leave a question below in the comments section or write me at firstname.lastname@example.org