Throwing a party is good for the general order. When you live day-to-day you can ignore the year's worth of flotsam accumulated beneath the couch cushions.
In fact you go about your evenings perched on the sofa, mug and novel in hand, blissfully unaware of the ecosystem evolving beneath the leather. Suddenly, on an otherwise typical Tuesday night except that it is a Tuesday before the Party on Saturday night, your brain concocts a certain (as yet unnamed, as far as I know) chemical. Somewhere deep in your genetic code an embedded switch triggers a latent domestic skill once witnessed in the childhood home: Lift cushion, Insert vacuum extension device, and Suck up all that lingers there.
And so there I was in my ridiculously purple robe hoovering up paperclips, popcorn kernels, and assorted flora. All for the sake of the general order. No one would look beneath the cushions. Yet it made happy to prepare the way for my guests, especially in such a secret way.
The day before the party, I bought myself sunflowers and arranged them in a vase given to us as a wedding gift from my book club. I should buy myself flowers more often. But somehow it takes a party to think of the indulgence.
When I throw parties, my house is never more radiant. I see it through a guest's eyes and fall in love with the wood beams and chipped plaster walls that desperately need to be painted. That leaky faucet. . . quirky. The needs-to-be-replaced old school linoleum floor. . . perfect for spilled drinks. The Persian rugs emanate color in the candlelight. And that statue I have always resented (yes, resented) seems light-hearted and whimsical.
People talking with vigor (in order to be heard), fancy shoes, colleagues not talking about work, philosophers being chatted up by working stiffs, biologists and high school German teachers a-mingle, writers, graphic artists, professors and former students. . . all mixed up in a tiny house with food catered by Victorian Pantry (it was my first time to have a party catered and and oh boy was it tasty and pretty) and copious libations of all sorts (the tequila defined smooth).
Parties come in all shapes and sizes and fulfill all kinds of functions: celebrations, life-rituals, traditions passed down, etc. But I love me a good-old fashioned Bacchic occasion. No reason needed other than the compulsion to enjoy friends and make new ones. And nibble a bit on the buffet. And watch your friends' babies turn into little people.
Not to mention the decadent feeling of sleeping in the next morning knowing that your couch doesn’t have to be vacuumed until the moon is full once again.