7/27/10

The Dangers of Double-Booking

It may be shocking to hear Miss Mingle say it, but there is such a thing as too much mingling

When the invitations came in the mail, for three (count ‘em, three) cocktail parties scheduled for the same Tuesday night, I confess I had the hubris to decide to attend them all.  Dashing from one party to another seemed like fun, and besides, I had never done three in one night before.  (Also I would not have to choose, which I always have trouble doing.)  So I sent my R.S.V.P.s and mapped out my route from one location to the other.  Taxis were definitely my only hope.  It was helpful that the start times were a little staggered; two parties started at 6:00, the other at 6:30.  I figured if I left the first one at 6:30 I could get to the second by 6:50, and if I left the second one at 7:20, I could get to the third by 7:40.

The first party was a book party at Sotheby’s--ice-cold vodka, smoked salmon hors d’oeuvres in the shape of little rosebuds and an interesting literary crowd.  I really did not want to leave, but the clock was ticking.  The second party was a rooftop launch party for a new wine--with hipsters consuming fun pink drinks and Thai dumplings--and the third was a very cool art opening at a Chelsea gallery.  It was sometime during the second party I began to feel like a movie stuck on fast forward.  I found myself breaking in and out of conversations with uncustomary clumsiness; I had the ill-manner to ask one of my hostesses if there was anyone there she felt I absolutely needed to meet, since I would not have time to talk to everyone.  I handed my business card to one person who looked momentarily confused, as we had only been talking for a few minutes and he hadn’t asked for it.  “Who am I?” I shuddered inwardly.  What is this break-neck, used car-salesman style of mingling that had overtaken me?  That’s when I realized I was suffering from EMD--Excessive Mingling Disorder.

By trying to attend all three parties, I could not really “be” at any one of them.  While I was at the first one, I was thinking about the second, while I was at the second one, I was thinking about the third.  By the end of the evening, I had a dissatisfied, empty feeling (not to mention sore feet).  It was as if I had been socially window-shopping and had ended up with nothing.  Not to mention that I had the impression I had somehow been rude to all the hostesses, even though they had each promised it was perfectly fine for me to just “drop by.”

There are many people who, upon first look, seem to have an enviably jam-packed social life.  But busy-ness does not necessarily mean happiness.  It’s a mistake to think of your social life as a big tasting menu; that if you sample a little bit of everything you will be full and satisfied at the end.  I mean, going to three cocktail parties should be three times as much fun as one, right?  Wrong.  It turns out that 3 x 1 is actually 0.  This kind of surface socializing is like eating only the sauce of each course, and never enjoying the full flavors or getting any substance from the meal.  A half an hour is not enough time sink in to a party, to relax and experience the event.  And having to continually calculate and recalculate your exit strategy, travel time, etc. is no way to spend an evening.

I have decided double-booking is in general a bad idea, unless the time of the parties overlaps only slightly (e.g., cocktails from 6:00 - 800; dinner party at 7:30).  So the next time I get invited to a wedding shower and a drinks party being held at the same time, I am going to think twice.  It’s only human to want to have my cake and my cocktails too, but rather than doubling my pleasure, double-booking may just be a way of double-crossing myself.

1 comment:

  1. First off I want to say that this is a quality problem - three invitations, all to really cool stuff! I can see why Miss Mingle couldn't bear to refuse any one of them. Fortunately this kind of problem rarely crops up in Los Angeles. Even if you had that many invites, you could never, ever, manage the interminable drive between each one. In fact, many people here define themselves by where they won't go - socializing on a weekend that is. Never to Los Feliz on a Friday night, from any part of the city. It just can't be done. You might as well traverse multiple time zones all in one day. Venice Boulevard is not your friend in the summer - beach-goers from every neighborhood converge, and not in a good way. Of course you could mingle via the rolled-down window.

    If Manhattan gets an A for mingling opportunities, L. A. gets an F. Miss Mingle may indeed have to exercise restraint - she should come out here!

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