Mastering the party: How to pretend your way into social acceptance

Sometimes relatives call and like to bludgeon you with questions in a first-degree murder-style investigation, reminding you that through all the time you’ve spent here at UC Berkeley and all the lack of accomplishment that crushingly defines you, you still have to achieve glowing grades while maintaining a stable social life. They say college is the best four years of your life! Which begs the question: Who is this collective “they,” and how are they able to make such stigmatizing statements? You should be out making friends and attending parties. But partying, like anything else, requires a lot of practice to perfect — so here are some pointers on party etiquette for you to observe when that exclusively invitational moment arrives.

Style of dress

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Know your setting. You wouldn’t wear your tuxedo to a house party, not even if its themed – you can’t dry clean some things out of fabrics — and you wouldn’t show up to a dinner party in your ever-tasteful “Stanfurd” tank top. Be aware of the subtleties of looking formal, semiformal, casual and sitting-at-home-sweatpants-homeless, because each appearance requires specifically curated elements of well-thought-out apparel within them.

Cutlery arrangement 

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You might not even be attending the type of highbrow party that requires you to pay special attention to your cutlery alignment, but we still feel as though there’s something important about arranging your spoons, forks and knives, even if you’re just at a casual dinner party. This is what makes the dinner go from a kid-cuisine-proletariat-status to curled-mustache-on-upper-lip-bourgeoisie. The best method for proper utensil placement is to forget placement completely — it’s all in the attitude. Simply place your utensils in any order you see fit and proclaim they’re in the right order. If you are questioned about the odd state you’ve placed them in, this is good. It successfully makes you the more educated than the peasant-like inquirer. Flip your silverware; turn the tables.

Conversation topics 

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We know they — again who is this omnipotent “they”? — like to tell you to avoid speaking about politics, money and religion. But throw caution to the wind — another thing that “they” like to say — and talk about all of that. Sure, it’ll probably make for some controversy, but nothing brings people together in bipartisan debate more than divisive topics. If you can somehow bring up fiscal policy and how it relates to modern religious beliefs, you’re a superstar. Though you may never be invited back to a dinner party, you’re a hero in our eyes.

Parties can be fun! All you have to do is completely fabricate your personality traits to the point where you’re intensely loved by all those around you. We know you’re generally told to be yourself, but it’s probably best to be someone who is universally loved and appears to be beyond reproach for anything — so this might involve you not being you. Whatever happens, just remember to place your utensils anywhere you wish and do your best to stand along your unreasonably opinionated words. As “they” say, now you’re the life of the party!

Image Sources: Richard CaseySteven Depolo, Michael Randall, Elin B, under Creative Commons

Contact Uday Suresh at [email protected].