Monday, December 19, 2011

Virtual Cocktail Party from Randi Sherman, author of Paula Takes a Risk, Available March 2012

Virtual Cocktail Party


I enjoy getting together with my friends, have cocktails and dinner, and spending time catching up on the latest gossip. But quite often by the end of a workweek, I’m just not up to the effort it takes to get myself to the restaurant to meet with them.

What am I going to wear? Where are we going to meet?  How much is it going to cost? What if I drink too much?  How would I get home? What about the friends who live in another city or across the country?  I’d like to get together with them.  But it’s not practical to jump on an airplane and fly out of town to have dinner.  Out of necessity and the desire to maintain friendships, I have come up with an alternative method of socializing. It’s called the Virtual Cocktail Party. 

A Virtual Cocktail Party is an alternative to a face to face meeting with those friends that you would love to chat with.  It’s far less expensive and much more relaxing.

Plan your Virtual Cocktail Party.  During the week, inquire about a friend’s weekend plans.  Ask if she would like to have dinner or cocktails on Friday.  Instead of determining which restaurant to meet at, plan to meet on the phone.  Arrange a time. Determine who will be initiating the call.  Make a reservation.  If by chance you are unable to make it to the Virtual Cocktail Party, no one will be left sitting alone in the bar, cursing you for standing her up.

Although, at most restaurants and bars it is frowned upon when a customer dares to show up in a bathrobe and fuzzy slippers, it’s perfectly acceptable at the Virtual Cocktail Party.  No effort has to be made determining what to wear, which clothes are clean and pressed, or which outfit is the most slenderizing. Wear any old thing you happen to have hanging over the back of a chair. You could fish something out of the hamper or off of the floor.  Feel free to mix seasons.  Wear a silk blouse with sweat pants. No make-up is required. You could even wear a facial mud- pack and a hair net.  Naked is acceptable too.  The idea is to be comfortable.  Rest assured that no one is going to see you.

No waiting.  Seat yourself.  You don’t need to hover around the bar or to be friendly to the hostess in the hope of being seated before breakfast.  No effort is wasted flagging down a waiter.

If part of the restaurant experience for you and your friends includes people watching and providing color commentary about the patrons and fashions around you, there isn’t any reason why you can’t participate in this activity at the Virtual Cocktail Party.  Just turn on the television (same channel).  The home shopping network or an infomercial will provide the perfect background activity and plenty of material on which to “dish.” To accomplish the audio-effect of the restaurant-buzz, keep the volume low.  Feel free to point and talk as loudly as you wish.  There is no worry about being overheard or receiving nasty looks from the people at the next table.

Eat whatever you would like.  Eat as much as you want.  No one is there to judge you or give you a you’re-such-a-pig look if you eat an entire pizza.  Consume a frozen Sara Lee cake. Don’t bother using a fork or removing it from the tin.  Manners are optional at the Virtual Cocktail Party.  Put your feet on the furniture.  Drop food on the floor.  Talk with your mouth full.  Go ahead, lick your fingers, and drink from the carton or the bottle.  If you don’t have a napkin handy, use your sleeve or a dishrag.

The call waiting feature on your telephone or an unexpected doorbell could be treated as if someone has stepped up to your table and interrupted your conversation.  If you have to use the bathroom, simply excuse yourself, put your friend on hold or go together.

You will never have to drive home from a Virtual Cocktail Party.  No time is spent searching your car in the parking lot.  Think of the money you’ll save on parking lot fees and bridge tolls.  Think of the aggravation that is avoided.  No jail time, no attorney’s fees, no DUIs. Have a cocktail or two, or three.  Drink as much as you’d like.  You don’t have to drive home.  You’re already there.  When your cocktail party is over, hang up the phone, turn out the lights and go to bed.

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