Flirtation Technique #307: Pretend to Be the Hostess

Asking people if you can get them drinks is a good way to make new friends at a party.

One of my BFFS, the adorable and erudite Daisy Milliner, had a big birthday party on Friday night. She'd asked me to get there by 7pm to help her with the set-up, but I ran late because I had a minor fit of appearance anxiety. I put on outfit after outfit, feeling like each one only made less attractive than the last. Finally, after about thirty minutes of trying on 75% of my wardrobe--and littering my bed with rejected outfits--I forced myself to get into a leather skirt, a slinky black top, fishnets and heels (the very first outfit I'd tried on, natch). Then I hopped on my bike.

I arrived at the party feeling, if not quite morose, rather resigned to the idea that I seemed to be constitutionally incapable of having any fun that night, given my mindset; I decided to give up all hope of enjoying myself and, similarly, to not put any effort into being flirtatious or even charming. At the same time, I wanted to be Daisy's right-hand woman for the night; to be perfectly pleasant and functional, but really only in service to her. I decided the best role I could play would be a useful one--something of a lady-in-waiting.

So it was that I ran around, trying to make sure there were open wine bottles on the table, and re-filling the hors d'oevres plates when Daisy asked, and asking if people needed drinks ... and what happened? I realized how lovely it is to help make people feel at home at a party. Even better, lots of old friends showed up; some newer ones, too. And despite my bad attitude, I had more fun than I've had in a long time. At one point, there was some bachannalian dancing to Liverpudlian synthesizer-rock band Wave Machines; at another point, there was a spontaneous combustion into an acapella version of a Simon+Garfunkel medley. (Which is to say a group of us starting singing. Loudly. Very badly. Caterwauling, really. But quite joyously.) I even drank an entire TWO glasses of wine--which is basically a completely wild alcoholic indulgence on the part of this lightweight.

And after leaving around 3am with the very last group of revelers, I went with them to a bar down the street for a night-cap. Which, in my case, consisted of a couple sips of someone else's Guinness.

Am I a wild party animal, or what?

It was a lovely party. Even if I'm still suffering acutely from the sleep-deprivation hangover.


On Saturday night, another of my BFFs--my former BF Jake Stein--had a swanky invite-only party at The Clover Club. I'd been looking forward to it. But at 730pm, after I'd showered and washed my hair, I promptly feel asleep, setting my alarm for 745pm, thinking a quick 15-minute-refresher nap might do me wonders. I woke up briefly to turn off the alarm ... but didn't really wake up until an hour later. By that point, I was practically frozen, thanks to my wet head, and moreover felt like death that no one had even bothered to warm over.

Regardless, getting to Jake's was important to me, so I pulled myself together. Luckily, attiring myself came much more easily that night; I put on my fancy teal-green wrap dress, a seamed pair of stockings and heels, and off I went. By 10pm, I was ensconced in the warmth of The Clover Club. The party was ina private room, where there was a fire blazing in the hearth and all sorts of comfortable down-filled love seats, as well as a constant flow of fancy cocktails and cheese plates aplenty.

Afterward, though I thought I could very well pass out with exhaustion at any moment, my dear friend Ruby Finch (who'd also been at Jake's) helped me to make it over to a party that one of my editors was having, at her fabulous industrial loft near the Brooklyn Navy Yards. My editor manages to be an incredibly high-achieving journalist, who is also a miraculously warm and championing mentor, so I'm really glad I went by to attend her party--full of groovy jet-setting writers--though I fear I did not add much, if anything, to the convivial atmosphere.

Anyway ...


If there's any news-you-can-use flirtation data from my weekend, I think it's this:

Acting like a party hostess is a great way to meet new people at a party. 

I'm thinking that it's possible to do this at many (most?) parties you go to--even if you don't know the hostess particularly well and she hasn't asked you to help out. You could either do it with her blessing--telling her that you'd like to make sure people's glasses are full--or just with the force of gumption alone. How hard would it be to stand by the cocktail table for a few minutes, telling people who come up that you'd like to mix them the cocktail of their choice? (Who would object?) Or else you could simply approach a group full of strangers and --with no special explanation-- confidently and warmly ask if any of them need a re-fill?

Am I a nut-job to suggest this? I hope not. But there was something so nice about being at Daisy's, and feeling like it was my job, as her friend, to try to make sure everyone was enjoying themselves that I'd like to be an ambassador of goodwill at every party I go to in the forseeable future.

Peeps, let me know your thoughts on this matter. And if anyone experiments with this tactic this week, please report back.