December 5, 2012

December 5, 2012

Party On, Garth

With the holiday season upon us, it’s time to create/refresh the covers we use at parties and other social gatherings. If you’re lazy, you can continue to introduce yourself as Nancy Drew (what a coincidence!), a freelance accountant working mostly in the education sector who needlepoints in her spare time.

Or is that just me?

But if you want to keep things fresh, it’s probably a good idea to start working on your legend. Pick a name, hometown, profession, and hobby that are uncommon enough to preclude follow-up questioning but not uncommon enough to raise suspicion.

For example, I’d love to reference one of my favorite TV shows of yesteryear and claim to work for “a clandestine government organization seeking to rid the world of evildoers.” I mean, it’s a quote from SheSpies and it’s true. But that’s just the sort of smartass quip that throws people. Better to go with “commodities trader” or “multinational bulk manufacturer.” If asked to define further, use buzz phrases like “We get products to market” or “We leverage synergistic efficiencies.” Basically, quote Dilbert cartoons before excusing yourself to get another drink and some more cheese.

Or is that just me?

For an introvert like me, this is a fun way to survive parties, especially with strangers. For all they know, you could be Carmen freaking Sandiego. Own it. Ever wished you knew how to knit, or weld, or make your own shoes? You do now! In fact, historical trades are the best obscure hobbies. No one can disprove your claim to be a weekend cobbler, cooper, or chandler because they don’t know how. You don’t think I can make a horseshoe? WHY DON’T YOU PULL OUT YOUR BILLOWS SO WE CAN THROW DOWN?

Thought not.

There’s always the risk, of course, that you’ll run into someone using the same play. And if math tells us anything, it’s that no group of people will contain two (fill in your obscure hobby here, for example: amateur whist players). Should someone connect the dots and try to connect you with another person who “shares your passion,” do what I would do: Fake anaphylactic shock.

Or maybe just learn a bit about your “hobby” and see if you can make the other person look bad. This is called “winning the party.”

One last note on hometowns: Midwestern towns are best, because they’re all the same, and attract so little recreational travel. When’s the last time you were in Sioux City? Topeka? Mankato? Learn a few good crop-centric jokes (start with corn) and you’ve basically got the region covered. I’ve got a solid seven minutes about dairy, since I’ve been doing this for a while.

A bonus of this strategy is that when the hosts are cleaning up and trying to figure out who took the shrimp home, the best they’ll be able to do is “that girl from Iowa who makes her own shoes.”

Winning the party, my friends. Winning the party.

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