I seem to be missing some important social skills. I don't know how or why I failed to acquire them, but it seems that I did. I guess I'll just blame my mom - everything is always the mother's fault anyway, right? I do remember being taught lots of things. How to act in a nice restaurant, for example. "Respect your elders." I still think that's an important one to teach kids. I remember hearing tongue-in-cheek comments about children being seen and not heard. I was always a goody-two-shoes, though. My parents seldom had to reprimand me for anything, which left them ill-prepared to handle my sassy middle sister when she came along. But, that's a whole other story.
What I seem to be lacking is some sort of skill that involves being "nice" under all circumstances. I do remember my mother telling me one time that when I'm bored, I should probably try a little harder not to let it show on my face. I do try to keep that in mind when I'm in meetings sometimes. I have a short attention span and get bored easily.
Years ago, I was invited to a Pampered Chef party. I had never been to one and am not opposed to kitchen gadgets, so I went. I did not fit in. AT ALL. The other women there (and this was before I was a mom) seemed so much more . . . I don't know, wholesome than I am, I guess? I looked around the room and could have sworn that no one in that room did basic human stuff like, you know, pooping. Or eating Dorito's or cussing or occasionally blowing their nose with toilet paper instead of Kleenex. I don't think those beautifully accessorized ladies did any of these things. I was seated next to a woman who was thumbing through the catalog. I'd overheard her telling another attendee that she is a teacher.
"What grade do you teach?" I asked her.
"Seventh," she responded.
I said something like, "Oh wow, that must be a challenge. All I did at that age was slam doors."
She looked at me with a slightly puzzled expression and said, "No, they're wonderful. All of my students are such a blessing to me."
Well, alrighty then. From that point on, I've only ordered Pampered Chef stuff from catalogs. By the way, if you cook with garlic at all, this peely/slicy thing will change your life. That's a tip from me to you. I didn't suffer through that party for nothing, mes amis!
I've learned that I seem to be too snarky and too cynical to sit in a room full of nice ladies and try to buy stuff. I have a friend who used to sell Arbonne and I have to say that I did enjoy that party because my friend is kind of a smart ass as well.
I did find one exception to the "I'm too low-brow to hang out with nice people" rule. Smut parties. A neighbor invited me to a Pure Romance party and it wasn't stuffy at all. This may have something to do with the volume of alcohol that was served. Awkward, yes. Stuffy, no.
So, knowing what I know about my questionable social skills, it was with some sense of trepidation that I accepted an invitation to a friend's Premier Designs jewelry party last weekend. But, I had nothing going on that night and really wanted to see my friend, who is easily one of my favorite people. I hadn't seen her in a while. Her driveway was flooded, so she held the party at the home of a friend. I thought the party would consist of just looking at jewelry and then deciding if you wanted to buy something, but it was a bit more formal than that. The jewelry lady had us all sit down and gave each of us a name tag. After introductions, she then launched into a fashion show. I have to give the lady credit - she was very chipper and very energetic. It's not her fault that I'm so bad at these things. When you saw a jewelry item that you liked, you were supposed to shout "Love it!" The person with the most items on her wish list would later win a prize (the prize turned out to be a purse-sized packet of Kleenex.).
There was a lot of "isn't this darling, girls?" and "how cute is this?" The jewelry lady certainly knew her stuff. She would whip out a necklace and then re-arrange it in five seconds flat. All of a sudden the back would become the front and off you go. I felt like she could probably show me eight different things I could make out of a bobby pin.
There were a couple of jewelry items that I might consider wearing, but I was unable to muster a "love it!" As you know, I am very fair-skinned and large or chunky jewelry easily overwhelms me. I tend to choose simple jewelry like hoops or a necklace with a smallish pendant on it (where the back does not, at any time, become the front). Oh, and here's the other thing about Premier Designs. It's a Christian company (the brochure notes that the company was founded on Biblical principles) and therefore no alcohol is served at the parties. That's all fine and well, but if you want me to spend $39 on a simple pair of hoop earrings, copious amounts of alcohol is just about the only way that such a thing is going to happen.
"I don't think I fit in with your church friends," I whispered to my friend.
"Oh, they aren't that churchy," she assured me. And indeed. They all seemed very nice. I'm guessing this is the last time she I get invited to a jewelry party, though!