I love dinner parties. If I had my way all forms of drinking/eating/conversing with friends would be done at dinner parties. Clubbing, yes it’s all very well for dancing and picking up – but sadly I’m rubbish at the former and not interested in the latter. Call me a freak of nature – but I like being single and I intend on being single for a good while to come.
Now writing for The Upcoming, I am sent all over London (Brixton, Angel, Kings Road, Hackney, New Cross, West End) to review all sorts of events (film premieres, cocktail bars, theatre productions, art exhibitions, restaurant reviews) and most of the time I get a +1. After much consideration, I have decided that if there was one person that I was bound to then it would be most detrimental to my networking.
Take, for example, Monday night. I was sent to Baker Street to review the T S Eliot Award Ceremony and I went solo. Entering the impressive Wallace Collection, I was ushered into an indoor courtyard which was brimming with people. Waiters meandered through the maze of bodies handing out glasses of wine and delicate canapés.
Taking a glass of red, I realised that I was the anomaly – everyone was with colleagues or friends and huddled into groups.
If I had been with a friend, or boyfriend, no doubt we would have sat down and talked until the ceremony started. We would have taken comfort in each other and been relieved that no awkward situations could possibly have arisen. But this wasn’t the case. I was alone and I wanted to meet people, I was going to infiltrate a group. And that is what I did.
A question, a lean and I was in. I had met Agnes, director of the Women’s Poetry Society and signed up for the club’s next meeting on 13th February, where I have agreed to read from my travelogue in the open-mic section of the night.
A Single Success!
I appear to have gone off on quite the tangent. Back to dinner parties, yes, I love dinner parties. Rather sidetracked by journeying around London reviewing, I realised that I hadn’t actually seen a group of friends in a sociable environment for a while. I was reminded of this by my good friend Jen last week, her text proved the kindling to the fire and by Sunday a 14-person dinner party had been arranged. And I would be preparing it – SOLO.
I’d be lying if I said I was a relaxed hostess. In fact, though I enjoy hosting, my stress levels have been known to sail dangerously close the higher end of the Richter scale. Last night, I really wasn’t willing to subject myself to this and so out went the duck breast, gratin dauphinois, caramelised carrots and red wine jus and in came the jacket potato.
Why had I not thought of this before? Yes it doesn’t have the impressive nature of the former, but it meant that I did not have to be hovering over the stove keeping sauces heated while making sure that my duck breast remained the perfect pink. Fourteen jacket potatoes were cooked and placed beside these were bowls of cheese, ham, tuna mayo, sun-dried tomato and mozzarella, salad and baked beans. The buffet commenced.
No serving, no stress and no worrying if people didn’t like fish, were vegetarian or gluten-free. As I sat at the end of the table and tucked into a particularly tasty mozzarella ball while watching my guests engrossed in conversation (where they could actually hear each other), my high regard for dinner parties returned.