Party Down: Navigating the Summer Social Scene Together
By Emily Johnson
A friend is in a six-month burgeoning relationship. She’s very independent, down-to-earth, and dating a sweet guy. He wants to spend all his time with her. For her part she’s trying to establish some boundaries.
They were going to a party one night and she was a bit dreading it. “I want to be free to have a good time, and not have to worry about him,” she continued. “I like to be able to do my own thing,” she said, “you know?”
“But sometimes I just get defensive and mean,” she said and then laughed. “It makes him keener, if anything!”
I remembered instantly what it was like to negotiate a party with my ex, and finding it an unexpected minefield. “Festivals are for old friends and new lovers,” someone told me at a festival after he’d lost me (on purpose).
Now, listening to my friend on the other side of this equation I understood better my ex’s need to exert independence, even though he was being a jerk, and my counterproductive neediness in response.
As I relax through the long weekend of Memorial Day I’m happy to be going into summer sans partner.
Read more in the July 2016 issue of Industry Magazine.
I was bartending at an after party for a play, and one of the actors was very young, obviously fresh to the scene, and excited. A few times he came over to shyly ask for wine. He checked in with his girlfriend, was very attentive, even as he had attention from all corners.
As the crowd thinned and the wine bottles emptied, he came over once more for a last cup. The girlfriend stopped him, saying, “Do you really wanna do that?”
He hung his head a bit, and she backed off right away. “Well it’s your night you do what you want.”
I watched idly this little scene, he was overacting on stage but very real right now.
Off to the side the main actor, a studly Irish gent of middle age, stood with an older woman, a member of the board. She’s impeccably turned out–I want her patent leather shoes–and she takes a gentle but firm hold of his arm as she leans in to whisper to him.
All 6’2 of him laughs and leans in and out. This one was better on stage, maybe too good off.
The house managers, suddenly off duty, invited me to scour the BBQ leftovers and to give them a beer. We chatted and bided our time til the hall was empty, or empty enough to gently nudge the remainders.