I’m Great at Pretending to Listen to You

I went to a party last night. A simple little cocktail party for a bunch of my wife’s friends. Seems fun, right? No. My wife’s friends are boring. All they do is talk about their kids and families and what the next season of Modern Family is going to be about and what’s in this dip that they just can’t stop eating and wow, you’ve lost weight what spin class have you been going to is it Greg’s class because he’s the best yadda yadda yadda and the whole time I’m just standing there with a drink in my hand that’s not nearly strong enough imagining what it would feel like to bury a screwdriver in my own forehead.

So many people to be bored by, so little time.

But you wouldn’t know that’s what’s going through my head when you look at me. No sir. Because even though on the inside I’m tearing the skin off my own face, on the outside I’m cool as a cucumber. I make eye contact, I nod, I cock my head slightly to the left while saying “Hmm” to indicate to you that I find what you just said to be extremely interesting. But I don’t find what you’re saying to be extremely interesting. I am actually going over my head a new flanking strategy for my next online multiplayer bout of Modern Warfare 3.

How do I do it? I’m great at pretending to listen. I’ve been married for a while now, and although by she’s caught on to my tricks and strategies at this point, I’ve had plenty of practice to use those skills on other people who don’t live with me and won’t box my ears when they figure out that I’m not actually paying attention.

Oh, here it is, the most boring cocktail party in the universe.

For example, next time you’re thinking about whether or not to start Mark Sanchez on your Fantasy Football roster this week while some weird-looking finance guy with the most boring job in the world jabbers on and on about the benefits of fixed indexed annuities and how good my wife’s three-cheese dip is and the sad state of things in the middle east, here are some tips on how to get through it. Just look into his eyes, nod occasionally, squint your eyes now and then to show him how interesting his comments are, and say noncommittal, broad things that won’t tip him off, like, “Really?”, “Interesting,” or “I think I read about that in the New York Times.” Shift your weight back and forth to keep your legs from falling asleep, widen your eyes in shock to keep your eyes from getting droopy, and if you’re brave, you can even scratch your head with a slight confused look, giving them the satisfaction of thinking they are more intellectual than you, and giving you the satisfaction of getting them to wrap it up sooner to search for someone who is more on their intellectual level. Win win.

Pretending to listen is a subtle art. Don’t clasp the other person’s face. That’s trying to hard.

If at any point the boredom is just getting too much and the man in the suit that’s four sizes too big for him won’t shut his fat face-hole, just interrupt him gently by saying something like, “Wow, what you just said made my day, can I get you another drink to celebrate your intellect?” or “Wow, let me go get my wife, she has got to hear this,” or simply “You just blew my mind, and I need to sit down so I can think about the purpose of life and the universe,” then proceed to sit down directly in front of your own TV where a TiVo’ed episode of “The Walking Dead” is waiting for you. Killing Zombies with crossbows > talking about tax deferred retirement savings.

So there you go, just a few of my many tips on how to survive a horribly boring conversation. Maybe in my next post I’ll talk about how to look like you’re busy at work without actually doing any work, how to look like you mean it when you tell your wife that you’re “Sorry,” and how to get a doctor to diagnose you as a sleepwalker so you can get away with late night snacking and TV watching.


10 Ways to Get Out of a Crappy Party

So you know when you’re stuck at a crappy party. But you can’t just leave or you’ll insult the host or make things even more awkward. So as a follow-up to Ashleigh’s latest post, I thought I’d share some ideas on how to escape once you find yourself stuck in a crappy party.

Don’t use the grandpa/uncle/mom/etc had an emergency excuse. It’s played and people will know you’re lying. Try some of these instead:

10 Ways to get out of a bad party

  1. Look up dramatically into an upper corner of the room. When asked what you’re doing, say, “Somewhere in the city, a crime is being committed.” Then leave out the window while beginning to unbutton your shirt.
  2. Offer to show everyone your “hilarious” impression of someone going in rewind, and then reenact the party in reverse all the way out the door. Don’t return.
  3. Take the last thing someone boring says in a conversation, and say, “That’s what my father told me…just before he died.” Let the awkward moment sit for a while, then excuse yourself and walk out the door.
  4. While in a conversation, stare at someone behind your back intensely. When the people in the conversation ask what you’re looking at say, “We’re being followed,” then dart out of the room.
  5. Feed the dog chocolate, then offer to rush it to the vet when it gets sick.
  6. If you’re a chick, play the “Period” card.
  7. If you’re a dude, play the “My Girlfriend’s on her Period” card.
  8. If there’s an old guy at the party, talk to him alone for a few minutes. Doesn’t matter what it’s about. Then come back looking shaken and tell the group that you just talked to your future self, and he said you had to leave the party immediately or face “dire consequences for future us.”
  9. At any point during a conversation, put your finger to your ear as though listening intently, then say, “Ten-four. The package is on the move. The badger wants his honey.” Then run out of the room while reaching into your jacket pocket for a “weapon.”
  10. Show up in your underwear, then say, “Aw man, not this dream again!” Then exit.

Hope this helps. And here’s a bonus. Can’t leave the party? Have the party leave you instead.

Five Ways to Empty a Party

  1. Respond with “That’s what she said” to everything any guests says to or around you.
  2. Say you just got out of prison and are feeling a little “itchy.”
  3. Pop in an Emo Phillips DVD.
  4. Take one article of clothing off every 10 minutes.
  5. Start a prayer circle.

25 Ways to Tell if You’re at a Crappy Party

Well, it’s Friday! And you know what that means. Par-tay! But do you ever have that moment where you walk into a party and immediately know you’ve made a horrible mistake?

Sadly, not all of our most anticipated nights turn out to be all we hoped for. Just because the Black Eyed Peas have a “feeling that tonight’s gunna be a good night” doesn’t mean it ACTUALLY ending up being a good night.

So I thought I’d be helpful to all my dedicated blog followers, and instead of the usual post about dating, do a post on how to tell if you’re at a crappy party.

25 Ways to Tell if You’re at a Crappy Party

  1. The balloons outnumber the guests.
  2. As you walk in, all the guests are checking email on their cell phones.
  3. Everyone is wearing Hawaiian leis but no one is smiling.crappy party
  4. The stereo is playing “Jock Jams Volume VII.”
  5. When you walk in, the host is a little TOO happy to see you. Like a cast away spotting a rescue boat.
  6. That dude who brought the guitar only knows Bush and Nickleback songs.
  7. It’s potluck and 27 people “brought the napkins.”
  8. The host requires all guests to bring “a funny hat.”
  9. Half the funny hats are being worn by dogs.
  10. There’s only one other girl at the party, and the host refers to her as “mom.”
  11. You’re an hour late and there are STILL only a few cars in front of the party locale.
  12. There are free copies of “The Watchtower” next to the punchbowl.
  13. The party invitation included Microsoft clip art images.
  14. When you walk down the hall toward the party, you can’t tell which apartment has a party, and which apartment has old people who went to bed early.
  15. The ending time for the party is listed as “question mark” and a clever emoticon.
  16. The guy hosting the party also does your taxes.pet party
  17. You instantly check your watch the minute you walk in.
  18. That girl/guy you’re interested in has already thrown up on the couch. And there’s no alcohol at the party.
  19. The host suggests the guests try doing “improv.”
  20. During the party, you can’t help wishing you were having a Sims party on your Playstation instead.
  21. You spend most of the party talking about other better parties.
  22. Everyone is sitting. Everyone.
  23. There is humus and veggies, no drinks or sugary foods.
  24. You find yourself talking more to the pets than the people.
  25. By the end of the party, the babies are awake and the adults are asleep.

Daylight Savings Time Decorating Tips

It’s Daylight Savings time on Sunday! The day where we “Spring Forward” into warmer weather and sunnier days.

You no doubt, like our family, gather around all the clocks in your home and at 2am turn the clocks back together. It’s wonderful family bonding time as you sing songs, exchange gifts, call family members who live far away, and more! But some of you may be wondering what you can do for your own Daylight Savings party. Thankfully, I’m a holiday decoration pro, so I’m taking the liberty of divulging some of my decorating secrets (Byron City citizen’s only, hehe) and my family’s favorite activities that will make this Daylight Savings Time your finest hour 🙂

Daylight Savings Time Decorating Tips:

1- Put clock hands on a disco ball. It looks like a clock, but way more fun!
2- Serve special daylight savings time “Clocktails” out of emptied hour glasses.*
3- Draw clock hands on your eyeglasses or sunglasses**
4- Serve “Hour d’oeuvres”, little snacks that have something to do with time, like minute rice shaped like digital watches, clock tarts, hour bars, Spring rolls, etc. Be creative!
5- Hand out miniture clocks as party favors to count down to the big event.***

Daylight Savings Time Activities:

1- Hold a Three-legged “Spring Forward” Race. Same as a three legged race, but you have to jump!****
2-Hide alarms all over your home to go off at random times during the night to keep your family members on their toes!*****

Our family's bundle of Daylight Savings Time resolutions from last year.

3- Write Daylight Savings resolutions on festive red scrolls,, bind them all together, and put a clock on the front that counts down to the deadline to complete your resolutions.******
4- “Daylight Savings Pictionary”: a twist on the classic party game, where you draw pictures that correspond to different hours of the day. For example, a sandwich might be noon, a car in traffic might be 9am or 6pm, a glass of wine might be 10am, jogging might be 11pm, knitting by the window might be 3am, etc.
5- “Spin the Clock”: it’s like Spin the Bottle, but instead of kissing the person the bottle points to, you give them a list of chores you want them to do and a time limit on completing them!*******

That’s it! Hope you have fun!

*They are actually extremely difficult to drink out of without spilling all over yourself. Be careful.
**Can cause headaches, nausea, and astigmatism
***Make sure your guests do not confuse the party favors and the minute rice Hour d’oeuvres.
****Can cause broken legs, ankles, and head injuries. Practice and stretch beforehand.
*****Remember where you put all of the alarm clocks. One went off every ten minutes for 8 days before we found it inside the airducts.
*******Do not take on an airplane.

*******Can be played without your family knowing that you’re and including them. In fact, the whole party can be done against their will! It’s fun!