I was sick this weekend. Just a cold, the same one everyone else in the house has had, but it dragged me down and made me not into doing much. Which was too bad because on Saturday night there was a chance for me to go out and have a little social-type fun with my friends. No, not a hot club or fabulous foreign film, but almost as good: THE HOME PARTY.
I had to call in sick, so missed out on the chance to nibble finger food, catch up on the latest news, and try on jewelry with the girls. You see, the jewelry home party is the latest stop on the "sell-from-home-and-make-a-bundle" train. And that train's been chugging along for a lot of years! I used some of my sick time to remember parties from my past...
My mom used to go to Tupperware parties, where you could win an orange peeler and buy a bunch of bowls. I went to one but all I remember is playing with plastic toys and eating cookies. She took me to a Mary Kay party once, where 12-year-old me sat with a bunch of "old ladies" putting on layers of makeup and wondering why the saleslady thought I needed wrinkle cream.
In college I went to a home party where the hostess was selling lingerie. "Try before you buy!" she said. And there's the dressing room, and here's the punch bowl full of cosmos, and before I knew it I was modeling undies in front of all my friends. That's where I wrote Rule #1 for myself when attending home parties; "Thou Shalt Not Spend While Drinking". I had to work extra shifts at the drive-in to pay for all the underwear I ordered at that party!
After S.P. and I got married it was candle parties, Discovery Toys, knives, and my favorite, Pampered Chef. At the other parties you always got finger food, usually chips and dip, veggie tray, and maybe a cookie. At Pampered Chef the hostess makes real food to show off how to use all the fabulous kitchen tools. If you're lucky the party is set for dinnertime and you can leave the family at home and go have a fancy three-course tasting meal including a cocktail beforehand. And the catalog is full of the coolest kitchen gadgets imaginable. Even if you suck in the kitchen you want this stuff.
Since we moved here, there aren't as many parties. Catalogs get passed around and orders are placed but no one really wants to host a party. Last year was the dawn of Occasions, a new kind of party where you could taste mixes and prepared items for party-ready foods. That was great. We just stood around and grazed, and when you wanted to order something you knew exactly what it would taste like. I thought it was the best sort of home party I'd ever been to.
Then I got another invitation. ""Bring A Friend!" the invite read. I could ask my mom, or a fellow teacher maybe. It was some of the techs S.P. worked with at the pharmacy. Not a company I recognized. What kind of products, I asked. The hostess suggested I check it out online. Oh, my. This was a SEX PRODUCTS home party. Lingerie, costumes, lotions, potions, vibrators, dildos, whips, cuffs, you-name-it-we've-got-it. Holy crap. Now, here's me, trying to fit the idea of this in with all the other home parties I've been to. At the Discovery Toys party we played with the products, at Pampered Chef the hostess showed us how to use the products, at Occasions we tasted the products. Hell no! I'm not playing with any vibrating clamps, I'm not watching the hostess show me how to use ANY kind of beads that are labeled "anal", and I'm sure not taste-testing all the Love-Lubes to find my favorite flavor!
And I didn't even want to think about what the door prizes would be.
15 hours ago