Friday, March 24, 2006

Party of Jive

As I was reading a recent entry over at the Small Bus, I couldn't help but think of that old matching game they used to do on Sesame Street. The song is now stuck in my head:

One of these things is not like the others,
One of these things just doesn't belong,
Can you tell which thing is not like the others
By the time I finish my song?

I love E, and all of my friends, and I think they usually tolerate me. But more often than not, I am in the "not like the others" category. M's story of how she & E went out last night reinforced that. They had plans that fell through, and instead ended up having a wild night of drinks and laughter. The end of M's story asks, "How did you spend your Thursday?"

Ooh! Ooh! Pick me!

I went to a Tupperware party! It was fun!

No. Seriously.

You can laugh all you want. Truth is, I don't really go out much. I don't drink or smoke. I get bored at concerts and have no interest in sporting events. But when it comes to plastic containers, candles and cookware, I am a party girl.

People think that marriage and kids turn some women into this domestic stereotype. That they sign on the dotted line and suddenly they're DULL. Mindless. They entertain themselves by buying stuff on the Home Shopping Network, talking about their children's bowel movements, and swapping tips on how to remove grass stains from rayon. As a result, they're easily brainwashed into buying useless crap from the other Stepford Wives.

Must. Buy. Fake. Plants.

But I know the truth: women like this aren't made. They are born. I know because I'm one of them.

Marriage, kids, they didn't do this to me. I may be boring, but I've always been this way. I did the Going Out thing in my youth because it was a rite of passage. I love my friends, and I love hanging out with them, but usually, by 10:30 when my friends were just starting to have a good time, I was getting tired. I was ready to go home, heat up some popcorn and watch reruns of Little House on the Prairie.

No. Seriously. Ask Sete.

So I'm not ashamed to admit it. I enjoy these little gatherings. I get to flip through catalogs (how much do I love catalogs?), eat snacks, and catch up with my family and friends. What's better than that?

That's not to say that I don't see right through the sales pitch to the reality underneath. I've pretty much hosted them all - Home Interior, Pampered Chef, Partylite - and they're all the same story. An overdressed woman brings pretty stuff to your house. She talks about her products and her job really! enthusiastically! She tries to get you pumped up about "no more soot on your candles!" or "a practically indestructible spatula!". She continues to talk over the mini-conversations in the room so she can tell you exactly why this product is different than the others. Why you NEED this one.

But her real job isn't to sell you something. Her real job is to RECRUIT you. While your little votive purchase puts a few dollars in her pocket, she knows the big bucks will come when she gets you to work for her. At least, that's what her boss told her when she recruited her. And so on up the food chain. That's when she heard about the cars and the trips and the ability someday to quit your Real Job. She's gonna get that car someday. If she just works a little harder.

I have a soft spot in my heart for these women. They take their job very seriously, and I feel sorry for them when other people in the room don't stop to listen to their pitch. I find myself nodding my head as they pour their heart into selling me wooden spoons. I'm fascinated with their stories, how they needed some extra money to save up for a house renovation, or how they stay home with their kids but wanted to earn money on their own schedule. They are tied by a common thread: the belief that they've found that magic formula, and it's going to change their lives forever.

My cousin Dee is one of these women. She held the Tupperware party at her house, and is the only person in my family who has hosted more parties than I have. I constantly book a party off of her party so that she can get extra Free Crap. On top of that, she sells Mary Kay on the side. She's been trying to get me to host a pedicure party next month. I'm still thinking about it.

Unfortunately, my family and friends don't share my interest in these parties. They groan when they get the invitation and only come when I lay the guilt on THICK. So to them I say: this is your warning. Watch the mail for a very! special! party invitation coming soon to a mailbox near you. You can rediscover that magic burp all over again.

And keep your toes clean. Just in case.


Kelly said...

Oh!!! Can I come? Puh-lease? I LOVE those parties!

And for all the same reasons too: friends, food, spending money, cool stuff (that I could actually use), and you get to go home early and you're not looked at funny for it!

I think girls like us just ARE. If they had "tupperware" parties for teens, we woulda been there, huh? But there wasn't, so the real fun didn't start until we became housewives and mothers. No one should blame us for this!

Can you tell I wasn't a party girl either? ;)

erica said...

We don't tolerate you - your mom writes us big checks.

But really, if we didn't love you just as you are, do you really think you'd still be invited anywhere with us?

But, umm, whatever day that next tupperware/MK/Partylite thing is, I'm busy. :-)

Mete said...

Oh, I know, we all have our quirks. And some of us are definitely more quirky than others. It's what keeps life interesting.

All I can say is you're lucky you live out of town, my friend. You've got the perfect excuse. Unlike some OTHER people...

Anonymous said...

Here's the thing - I love those parties! I love the catalogs, I love the food, I love the gossip, I love it all. I am also envious of both the women that host the parties and the sales women pitching the products. I wish I knew more women of my demographic that would attend these parties rather than just write them off. I am a single, childless, professional, so needless to say, I am usually a "tag-a-long" as opposed to an actual invitee at the parties I've attended. I love the connections these women have with each other and the ease with which they establish common bonds. If I chose to, I could go out with peers any given night of the week and have what is perceived as a "life" but I still wouldn't have a good friends to try on make-up with and discuss skin problems or aging with. I love the exchanges between moms and wish I could relate to these women better. I enjoy the freedom that comes from not having kids and being a mother is not a life goal for me. Friendship seems to come so much more easily for the "soccer-moms" of the world. And as far as the Mary Kay lady or the Pampered Chef reps are concerned - even on my best day, I couldn't convince a 4 year old that I enjoy my job, let a roomful of jaded adults. I applaude them in their efforts and I think most of them are legitimately happy with the work they do. It takes iniative and courage to stand up there and try to command the attention of a roomful of women and sell to them. I couldn't do it.

Kevin said...