Monday, June 11, 2007

Fear and self-loathing in suburbia

I had a dinner party on Saturday. It had been planned for weeks. I only did it because I seriously owed several work colleagues a dinner, and my turn was way way overdue. Except of course I hate entertaining at home. I just hate it. Well, I should rephrase - some things are OK if they are low key. I did a breakfast last year when England were playing in the World Cup, and we had mimosas, coffee and croissants and watched the football. Easy. There was also only four of us in the house, which is a number I am pretty content with. Come to my place to watch a DVD and order pizza? Sure. As long as the house is tidy first, which it isn't always I admit, so I need some notice. But a dinner party for 6 just scares me. That whole providing food, making sure the timing works out, not killing any of your friends thing. Scary.

You see, I worry that I'm going to give my guests food poisoning - maybe my hygiene standards aren't what they should be, maybe I left some of the food sitting out too long, maybe there'll be rat droppings in the food and my friends will die. OK, the rat droppings thing is ridiculous, I know, but I have a fear of rodents and an even bigger fear of other people being the ones to find out I have rodents. As far as I know, there are no rodents at my house, and I have a pest control company come out every 2 months so I think they would notice. But still. I'm irrational. Then I worry that the food doesn't taste as good as it could do. And that people hate it and are only being polite when they say it's delicious. And I worry that I'm messing up too much as I go along - I forgot to refresh the ice in the ice maker, because I never use it in drinks, so it was probably stale in their glasses of water. I forgot to buy coffee, and while 5 of us said herbal tea was just fine, what about the other one? I forgot to buy fresh sliced almonds so they were probably a bit stale too. I forgot about the naan bread until the last minute, and by then it was cold and I didn't have time to warm it up. The rice was overcooked. One of the curry dishes was probably too hot for everyone. I didn't plan out my serving dishes in advance, so was rummaging in the kitchen cupboards. I don't know if other people are comfortable having appetizers in the living room, or serving themselves wine as I expect them to. I worry that people will think badly of me because I never did get the sink unclogged, and it takes two hours to empty so as people arrived there was disgusting water in there. I wonder how lacking my social skills really are.

And of course, when I'm nervous, I drink. So I was knocking back the wine like there was no tomorrow, and then started making social gaffes. I remember staring at my friend's cleavage for too long - I was actually trying to figure out if I could see her bra or if she was wearing a sleeveless top that was supposed to be visible. But I'm sure I stared way too long and was probably noticed. I made an inappropriate remark because I misunderstood what someone was saying about the color of Barack Obama's lips.

I know, this all sounds stupid stuff. I've been told this morning by one colleague that he and his wife had a great time, and a lot of fun. It was probably all just fine, and nobody cares about this stuff. But I spent much of yesterday (hungover) hating myself. Ugh. How on earth do people enjoy entertaining? Are they the ones with perfectly clean houses who are master chefs? Do they not spend the entire time worrying about their guests? I wish I was one of those people.

And now I feel really fat and poisoned. And I have my repeat bloodwork on Friday, so I really need to spend the week being perfect food-wise. Not to mention that I want to be off the booze in preparation for the IVF, but now have two open half bottles of wine just begging to be used up when I don't feel poisoned any more. Because of course I can't possibly just throw it away, can I?


calliope said...

for starters- you simply have to finish off the rest of the wine. to not would be SUCH A waste.

glad the dinner party went well- that is so grown up of you.

namaste said...

Sorry I've been absent - I'm just returning to blog-land to check on my friends.

I can so relate to the dinner party angst. I've found that the key is to ply the guests with alcohol and then no one notices anything that I might be imagining be wrong. :)

Sounds like it went fine. Bravo for being brave enough to host! I too wonder who those people are who make it look so easy... and why I can't be one of them...