Friday, July 15, 2016

1959 … The cocktail party, a NY City “must”

In 1959 my husband was launching his free lance photography business. We lived in New York City and attended many a cocktail party. We'd bought into the myth that you had to be part of the “scene” if you wanted to succeed.

What a sham those evenings were. The people attending the parties were much more interested in being seen than in actually listening to what was said. Dick and I soon learned that the best way to survive those events was with a sense of humor. This came to the fore one Spring evening when we were at a posh, and very large, cocktail party on Central Park West.

We were part of a very dull conversation with an aspiring actress who kept looking around the room to see who she could impress. I decided to spark it up a bit and I told her that I was 6 months pregnant and really concerned about the upcoming birth. That did seem to get some attention so I went on to say that many of the children in my immediate family had been born with six digits on each foot and I was worried it would happen to us. Without batting an eye Dick chimed in with “but we’re not really worried, since most of the children on my side of the family have had just four toes on each foot, so it should even out.”

It was all that Dick and I could do to keep a straight face, but it didn’t really matter. The would-be actress wasn’t listening anyway. She dismissed us with a wave of her hand and melted into the crowd.

Ah, yes…the cocktail party…an American institution.


Blogger joared said...

That's hilarious! I've had a couple interesting experience along that line when I injected an outrageous statement into what I was saying that didn't even draw an eye blink from my husband. Another involved a writing exchange with a different person whose response clearly revealed they had merely skimmed what I wrote, at best. Given that they had pressed me to write in the first place I quickly decided I would cease writing at all and I did.

2:36 AM  
Blogger Marie Smith said...

Lol. At least you both could have a bit of fun.

I am not a party person and my least favourite type of party is cocktail. I would die a million deaths at a party like that one. I envy your sense of humour.

4:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh gosh, I wonder how many people survived these parties?

One time, coming from the toilet in the downstairs at one party, I spotted the aquarium and began looking at the fish, the most interesting thing all night. Next thing I know the host (my husbands CO) was downstairs with me....then his wife showed up. Apparently both had been keeping an eye on my whereabouts. Sometimes it's best not be noticed.

8:34 AM  
Blogger Arkansas Patti said...

Now weren't you the rascals?? What a fun way to liven up a boring party with your own inside joke. I have been guilty of pretending at those functions also.

12:29 PM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

I could never be a socialite. I would stand in the corner and glower.

2:22 PM  
Blogger troutbirder said...

No kidding! Its probably why I've always preferred trout streams...:)

6:39 PM  
Blogger KGMom said...

Sounds very much like the world depicted in "Mad Men."

7:35 PM  
Blogger possum said...

Oh, that was good...
The cocktail party is still alive and functioning as a place to make connections here and in many other places as well. One of my friends 'from the rooms' has to go to a lot of these events because his wife is in real estate... so he just used to get smashed for something to do. Now, with a couple years sobriety, he hates these things and struggles with having to be there and be sociable. He is amazed at the garbage he hears and things he sees as often the only sober person in the room.
I must share your story with him.

7:14 AM  
Blogger joared said...

I think that's hilarious & perfect conversation for some of those affairs and with some people.

1:12 AM  
Blogger Beatrice P. Boyd said...

There are still parties today where the conversation is just as banal, I am sure. You and Dick did have a fun conversation going.

3:29 AM  

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