Sunday, December 03, 2006

The Mingle

One of the most emailed articles in the Sunday Times is an article about mingling at parties.
My friends consider me a good mingler. After one drink, I will talk to pretty much anyone and I can hold a conversation about pretty much anything. But I hate the fact that ninety-five percent of the time I am the one who always makes the effort. And when you are the one always starting the conversations, it can be exhausting. People don't know how to be gracious and social anymore. I found out not too long ago that the reason for this (people with the social graces of a wall) is mostly insecurity. Everybody that looks daunting and standoffish and aloof and superior is probably shitting in their pants thinking that everybody else there is better than them. However, we are adults and it is about time that we learned, especially if we live in what's supposed to be the greatest city in the planet, to behave graciously at a party. I've had it with rudeness.
I have started conversations with people who look like my approach is causing them internal bleeding; or even worse, with people so rude they don't even attempt to hide their indifference towards me (or is it paralyzing fear?). Sometimes, one strikes gold and talks to people who are nice, gregarious and gracious and this can be very lovely. But you have to know that as a rule, either you will be talking to your friends all night in your little inward clique, which is something I hate; or you risk being treated shabbily by assholes for no other reason than their own insecurity and lack of manners.
Now, the later you arrive, and the more inebriated the people, the far more amenable they are to opening up. The key is not to arrive so late that everybody is wasted and obnoxious, but just at the point where after probably three hours of social torture, people are starting to have a good time.
I have been to parties where after two hours people are still not talking to each other. It takes an average of more than three drinks to get people socially lubricated, which in my opinion is absurd.
I will also say that many men in NY are super lame. You can see them staring at you across the room, you can be standing right next to them and in my experience, they will not make the first move ever, unless they are from abroad. Europeans and foreigners tend to be far more adventurous than the homegrown variety when it comes to striking up a conversation. Men who stare but do not open their mouths exasperate me. Like we say in Spanish, did the mouse bite your tongue?
Some women also suck.
The other day, I saw a woman I had met at a party and with whom I thought I had a very interesting conversation. She seemed poised and intelligent and I was glad to have made her acquaintance. I saw her again at an event and though I did not remember her name (I'm great with faces, bad with names), I apologized for that and said hello anyway. She remembered my name. I asked her what she thought of a play I knew she had seen for I had seen her in the audience. She answered me in the most arrogant manner, looking down at me from the heights of her contempt. I was really taken aback. I remained cordial but I thought, WTF did I do to you?
In any case, I have met my share of women who have seen you seven hundred times at parties and still pretend you are not there. They say hi when they are alone and ignore you if they are with a date (in-ex-cu-sa-ble); they look down on you at certain parties but all of a sudden are your best friends at others, for no reason you can possibly discern. Obviously, none of these people are material for a budding friendship, and if this happens to you too often, you may want to consider switching to a social circle that is less insufferable. Luckily, I have a very nice bunch of friends who are warm and welcoming and fun and gregarious and who have quite impeccable social graces. Most of them happen to be from Latin countries. I am just saying.

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