Sir F. Chook, Inventor of Leopard Oil

Likeness captured upon a daguerrotype machine in Japan, July 1891

Lettres

Wherein the Author reflects upon certain topical & personal issues of the Day.

Venus Infers: Parties and Partying

Penned upon the 9th of May, 2007

Madam C, of Madam C's House of Pain!

My deepest apologies, devoted readers, for my unforgivable absence. My only defence is that life in the House of Pain is not always the carefree romp one might imagine, and at times it is distinctly lacking in beer or indeed skittles. Necessary unpleasant misdeeds don’t perform themselves, and to top it all off, one of my ships went down in a storm en route from Morocco and for a while now your humble correspondent has been forced to endure a sobriety of near-Anglican proportions.

My silence may have given you cause to doubt me, but I assure you that my beloved Public is never far from my thoughts, nor are the conundrums that plague those humble folk less fortunate or well-bred than myself. Today I will be discussing the excellent question raised by Z. W Wolfenburg-Kross: When to Leave the Party, and Why. Obviously this question cannot be satisfactorily answered without first ascertaining the nature of the party and one’s particular relationship with the hosts, so I will cover a few basic scenarios.

If the atmosphere of the gathering in question is essentially beneath you but you’ve kindly agreed to grace the hosts with your uplifting presence it is customary to arrive anywhere between “fashionably” and “ridiculously” late, be interestingly over-dressed, drink a moderate amount (veteran party-goers may with to carry upon their person a small hip-flask of good quality spirits, in order to prevent leaving oneself at the mercy of the host/s taste. Others may prefer to live dangerously), and leave after only an hour having given the impression that other more exciting commitments require your much-sought-after attention. Perhaps a clandestine meeting with the Russian Ambassador, or a conference on Tantric Yoga at which you are the Guest Speaker.

If one’s presence is required at some assembly of people who might, to the casual observer, be construed as one’s peers (or worse; relatives), it is wisest to arrive as late as conveniently possibly. Be sure, however, to take into account travel time and venue accessibility to avoid making your fabulous entrance at too inopportune a moment – for example, mid-way through somebody’s eulogy – unless personal issues dictate otherwise, in which case I leave this entirely at the reader’s discretion. In my experience, bursting in upon an unsuspecting crowd whilst roaring drunk can be quite appropriate under certain circumstances, and if a memorable impression is desired I would go so far as to endorse vomiting into the open coffin/mother of the bride/etc. This will have the favourable effect of being both shocking and hilarious whilst also ensuring a permanent blacklisting from future events of this nature. At this point the guest is presented with a variety of options in regards to taking their leave – one may have even succeeded in having oneself forcibly removed. If not so fortunate, a swift yet not over-hasty exit is recommended. Have one’s chauffer prepare the carriage for such an event. Those who like to plan ahead may even have prepared a few brief remarks with which to punctuate their egress – try to avoid resorting to common obscenity, however, unless (like myself) the sheer inventive extent of one’s repertoire in this area has been proven to cause loss of consciousness amongst the elderly and infirm, and sterility. Of course, readers of a more gentle and unobtrusive nature may settle for eating and drinking everything in sight before leaving at the earliest polite opportunity. An invented emergency or “previous engagement” may prove invaluable. I suggest a childbirth, or a wedding at which you are the celebrant.

At a party where the company is likely to prove promising and further acquaintance with the host/s is desired, the guest should of course be on their best behaviour and observe the usual guidelines of courtesy. Determine beforehand the preferred poison of the host/s and present them with a bottle/pouch/pony upon your arrival. Manner of dress should of course be fabulous without dominating attention, inebriation kept to a minimum and welcomes not out-stayed. A brief hand-written note of thanks and a return invitation to one’s next private soiree is likely to be warmly received.

Lastly, of course, when congregating exclusively with one’s chosen companions and bosom friends it is acceptable to behave howsoever you damn well please, provided that the conviviality of the occasion is not subsequently lessened for anyone else – for instance, causing the arrival of the police (unless you’re playing Parson’s Pubis, a well-known drinking game). If one remains until the next morning (or equivalent thereof, depending on how long the party lasts) some attempt to repair damage and remove evidence never goes amiss, and true friends can always be relied upon to commandeer a cab and see you safely on your way.

I suspect I am beginning to sound rather like a horoscope (albeit a useful and pertinent one, I hope), and I feel that my near-inexhaustible supplies of wisdom are outlasting my coherence. So it is with a certain reluctance that I leave you for now to meditate upon my humble advice, enrich your little lives and become worthier people or at least more informed party-goers. Until next time, my darlings,

Madam C


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