Dinner Party Timeout.
BY S.H. CARLYLE
Sweetheart, I’m trying to help you out there. I really am. I’m setting you up all over the place. Our first date. That thing with the painters that time. Our how-we-met story? If you can’t nail our how-we-met story then we’re beyond hope. I know other couples who don’t even tell their own how-we-met stories anymore and just tell ours instead. But to hear you tell it just now made me want to blind myself. You’re just lucky I dumped lighter fluid from the fondue on Hilary and pulled you out of there as the flames spread.
Can you please tell me where your head is? Because I know it’s not here. It’s not at this lighthearted dinner party for your cousin’s birthday. You’re missing cues everywhere. I’ve finished every single one of my own sentences for the past hour. Do you even see what’s happening? We’re getting killed. I appreciate the effort you’re putting in, but you need to pull together your so-called charm and be a little more fucking delightful out there.
As a couple, we usually define excellence. That’s our game. That’s the way we play. We don’t do background. We’re a sure thing. When people invite us to their vegetarian chili cook-offs and yurt-raisings, they know they’re getting adorable. They know that they’re getting what they’re not and they know they should be. They know that they hate us but they hate themselves even more for not being us.
Take yourself back two weeks to Justin and Miranda’s potluck. Do you remember that? Do remember how it feels to absolutely crush every other couple in the room? We were untouchable. After you told the Mexico story, Brian and Christine went home and broke up. Straight up ended it. They figured they would never get to our level of anecdotal cuteness and that they might as well give up. Brian moved out. Christine kept the dog. All because we make them look like speed dating accountants.
Like at Eric’s birthday when Nicole started in on some bullshit about her and Tim’s last trip to her uncle’s kale farm. You smacked her down by telling everyone about the time we made spiced kale chips and my mouth got all itchy and that’s how we found out I was allergic to kale, but only cooked kale, because I had a bite of your salad the next day and I was fine. And it WASN’T the spices, we just know, because those are the ones we use for our famous Chilean popcorn. Nicole just shriveled into her seat and starting drinking really fast. Tim told me she threw up in the car on the way home.
You used to be merciless. Remember when Todd proposed to Tina at Randall’s New Year’s party? You just looked at me and said, gently but audibly, that I ask you to marry me every day and that you’ll say yes when I finally stop asking. That doesn’t even make sense, but everyone loved it. They melted. No one even cared when Tina said no or that Todd left and used the ring to pay for a hooker.
You need to breathe, focus and make this happen for us. I know we broke up three months ago. But not telling anyone and continuing to go to these things is the right thing to do. The feeling of victory is addictive. And when you go back to our apartment tonight and I go back to Matt’s guest room/home office, that feeling will still be there and you’ll know you’re a winner. So stop crying and let’s get back out there.
SUGGESTED READSSee, the Giant Robosquid is a Metaphor for Your Fear of Commitment
by J. Alex Boyd and Jonathan Baude (6/16/2010)
My Interactive Call Center
by Teddy Wayne (3/23/2007)
Group Mobilization as a Desperate Cry for Help
by Christopher Monks (8/21/2003)
RECENTLYFull Disclosure Form for Fiction Writing Workshop Submission
by Anita Gill (10/27/2016)
Monologue: Rick Bayless’s Wife Weighs In On Tonight’s Dinner Plans
by Spencer Ham (10/27/2016)
List: If Bruce Springsteen Wrote About Adjuncts
by Shannon Reed (10/27/2016)
POPULARIf Women Wrote Men the Way Men Write Women
by Meg Elison (10/25/2016)
A Brutally Honest Social Media Job Interview
by Sarah Fader (10/21/2016)
When My Grandkids Ask Me What I Did to Fight American Fascism, I’ll Proudly Tell Them I Tweeted a Few Times
by Sam Spero (10/19/2016)