Thursday, October 14, 2010

That Does Not Sound Like A Party to Me

A couple of nights ago I got an email from my Frenemy Neighbor:
Would you and Laura like to attend a Miss America beauty party hosted by P and I? After the party for the girls, we will have an anti-aging demo and video for the Moms while the girls play. We are thinking about Sunday afternoon in two weeks. 
Oof.  Reader, do you have a policy on these parties where the hostess wants you to buy stuff?  I have heard people say they enjoy those Pampered Chef parties, for example, and I guess if a close friend had a party, I would go.  But the invites that come my way from the broader circle of my acquaintances, like people on the tennis team or Laura's classmates' moms, I just ignore.

My first thought on getting this email, after "CRAP NO," was, "How am I going to get out of this?"  This beauty product stuff is part of her multi-level marketing thing.  She and her husband have been big into it all the time we've lived here.  But go to her house and watch a video about beauty products?  All couched as some kind of mothers and daughters thing?  I would rather take a beating.

She has invited me to marketing junk before but it was always when I was genuinely out of town.  Once she invited Normal Neighbor and me to some kind of beauty "expo" she was putting on up at the clubhouse, a party that had a cover charge of five bucks.

I wouldn't kid you about something like this. 

So I was envisioning being unable to come up with an excuse and then going and being miserable.  I slumped into Matt's office, slumped into a chair, and slumped around with the slumping. 

He said, "You should not go to that.  And you do not owe her an excuse.  You do not have that kind of relationship."

Then I let it sit for a day, while I thought about what to tell her.  I didn't want to say that I had a time conflict because I feared she would change the time to accommodate me.  So I wrote back:
This isn't going to work for us.  Our weekends are so crazy this month, and it's not really my kind of thing anyway.  But thank you for thinking of me!
There, that wasn't so hard.  And there was no push back from her, I felt relieved.  And "it's not really my kind of thing" is the absolute truth.  No weasely excuses needed.  Being an adult has its moments.

Then, Laura and I were walking past a beauty supply store and she said, "P's mom took us in there with her one day while she bought a spray can of something called 'Stiff Beauty.'"

I allowed myself a single guffaw. 

Laura must have realized she had a laugh line on her hands, because later she told Matt that story.  He made a noise that was kind of like a chuckle, only it had some snorting in it.


Kelly said...

I hate those kind of parties. They always try and guilt you into buying stuff or being the next hostess.

Ash said...

Yet another reason why I love men.

Their clear thinking and acceptance of a "no thanks" blows me away.

Good for you for saying no.

I would step in front of a bus for a good friend, but you wouldn't catch me at their Pampered Chef party. I already have enough people who depend upon me to meet their financial needs, thanks.

"Stiff beauty" - snort.

Michele R said...

I was anti-Frenemy “Party” the second my eyes saw the term “Miss America”.
Hubs just brought up the other day about a wacky neighbor’s beauty party I went to a million years ago. This nutjob had bought new green washcloths that we placed on our faces, wet and warm. Next thing you know there was green water dripping on my new ivory colored sweater.
Love the marital mixing of minds.
P.S. I snorted my coffee out over how you’d rather take a beating.

Becky said...

Green washcloth runoff!

I have a feeling this is gonna be a post where the comments are better than the actual post.

Judy said...

Becky, I would just be curious to see what kind of 'goody bag' she might pull together for this one. And you know Laura would negotiate for the really good stuff for you!! :-)

janimal said...

Uggh. Sounds like the PERFECT answer.
Watch out for the "stealth" buy crap party.
I was invited for a girls night party at an acquaintance's house, I didn't know most of the women attending. Hey - nice chance to meet some new people!
The hostess neglected to mention it would be an "adult toy" party.

I'm no prude, but I felt a bit ambushed! And the oversharing.....OY!

Keely said...

I like those parties if I like the product and the person. In fact, occasionally I'm actually one of them. But the pairing with a kid's party and the watching of videos is a little over-the-top.

Jami said...

I found your blog last week after you were profiled on ohdeedoh and spent a rather late night reading your entertaining account of life in the 'burbs.

Maybe you've already answered this question, but I'm wondering if you know of any of your neighbors who read your site. Do you worry about them coming across it randomly and being offended?

In any case, I had several laugh out loud moments and could relate to many of your observations.

Jenni said...

There is nothing about that party that sounds appealing to me. Not my thing either, though if it was my close friend I'd probably go. My BFF had a sex toy party and that was fun, but mostly because it was hilarious.

Beautifully handled.

Miss Laura is developing a nice little sense of humor, isn't she? Love it.

Amy said...

Good onya--it feels nice just to be straightforward sometimes, doesn't it?

I don't really mind those things, but really only if I know the girls that'll be there and know that I'll enjoy talking with them. Folks gotta make a living and all that. But a "Miss America" party sounds pretty contrived! I appreciate when people just say, " Hey, I'm selling X, come check it out."

I think if you truly loved us, your readers, you'd godsend report back to us! :)

Amy said...

Ok I love the iphone's predictive text! That's sposed to say "go and" report back to us. Though it's a given that you're a godsend, too.

Jane said...

My secret super power is the ability to attend these parties while feeling masterfully aloof from the pressure. The way I see it, the actual shopping part isn't a social occasion; it's a business occasion.

Nice job getting out of it!

Beth said...

ZOMG, Amy, that is brilliance. I would wait on pins and needles for a post about that party.

There are so many things wrong with that party. The Miss America, the beauty video thing, the buying of the products-- you know I know about these crazy multi-level marketing products. My sis-in-law sells them, too, and if I had to hear about one more miracle energy drink, I was going to give myself a beating.

I googled Stiff Beauty because I had to know. First, do not google that term without adding a third term: "hairspray." You know what I'm saying. But then, the only place I found "Stiff Beauty Hairspray" was in a recap of a Phineas & Ferb episode. I kid you not. Here it is:

I'm kind of loving Frenemy mixing up the name of her beauty product with a fake one from Phineas and Ferb.

Beth said...

I used to go to that type of parties, but a few years ago I realized I only enjoyed perhaps 5 to 10 percent of them. Those were, as you'd imagine, the ones hosted by real friends of mine. The rest of the invitations came from friends of friends, people who got my name from someone's list, my husband's coworkers, etc.

So I made myself a FIRM policy (stiff!!) to just Never Go to Buying/Selling Parties. When I'm asked I can sound sooo sad and regretful and say "Oh, you KNOW I'd love to come, but I had to make myself a rule to never go to that kind of party. Because if I go to yours and buy all those neat things you're selling, then I can't excuse myself from those awful ones!"

Kate said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kate said...

glad you put your foot down on that one! she is a nut job. i get invited to trunk shows around here, but feel like it is a lot to ask of a friend, even a frenemy.
i am curious about what someone commented on. how is it that none of your weird neighbors know about your blog? it seems like you live in a small neighborhood.
loved the one about the gal who hasn't figured out the mommy rules yet. Idiot!

Becky said...

Stiff Beauty indeed! Now I'm wondering if Laura mixed it up with something from Phineas and Ferb. Though she's rarely seen that. Funny.

And to answer the why don't they know question, only one neighbor (Pretty Neighbor) knows about my blog. I've just never mentioned it even to neighbors who are my friends (Normal Neighbor, the K(C)athies, etc) because I wanted to keep a sort of firewall around it. And until the Ohdeedoh profile last week, you couldn't find the blog by googling my name. Now you can.

I always think I'm going to blog less about the really strange neighbors, and for a while I do, and then they give me something I can't keep to myself. I guess if Frenemy or Conspiracy Guy did find it, it would be one of those moments of the truth shall set you free. It would begin a frank discussion, that's for sure.

It's been a while since I really made it clear, about FN especially, but what we have is really a difference of culture and a difference of style, and it keeps me entertained. I don't think she is a bad person. Now the Mystery People, they are bad people. But FN has become so familiar to me that I feel a fondness for her, really.

Stephanie in Suburbia said...

Those parties make me very uncomfortable. There's a wine group I wanted to do parties for, but then I kept thinking I would have to start by asking my friends and I gave up the idea. And her trying to make it super shady by making it sound like a mother/daughter bonding thing, which makes it more uncomfortable.

Veronica said...

I always think of you as the queen of getting out of things gracefully; I am now even more in awe of Matt than ever with his mastery here! :) Seriously, though, being back at school post-baby, I am getting lots of mileage out of the line you taught me: "I don't have time for that." Works wonders.

The Stiletto Mom said...

One time a woman I barely knew, one of the moms from pre-school for Pete's sake, invited me to a "toy" party. When I said, thanks, she went on to assure me my purchases would arrive in plain brown paper in the mail so my neighbors wouldn't know what I had bought. So I said, but won't most of the neighborhood women be there? Oh yeah...that little detail.

Elizabeth-Flourish in Progress said...

I had to go back and read all of your frenemy posts. I am so jealous right now; I just don't have words. Why do YOU get to have an awesome neighbor like that and I don't?

Elle said...

I have been invited to these parties, but I rarely go. Besides the fact that I do not so much cultivate people-at-large, the fact is that I am 38 years old & do I not by now know what to spackle on my face or cram in behind my vajazzlings without going to some kind of a contrived social event?

Not to mention that what I would really like to attend is a Tupperware Party, Becky. I would like some kind of professional guidance & salesmanship attending to my food-storage requirements, as would, I suspect, many of the world.

However, one of these Stella & Dot parties I would very much like to attend. Do you have that there yet? I would love to buy a bunch of jewelry & blame it on sororal gaiety, yes!

Beth said...

First of all, Elle, you are hilarious. I love vajazzling. Brilliant.

I've just been invited to a Stella and Dot party! My good friend has become a "consultant." Or "stylist." Or whatevs. Where do you live? You could come to ours.

janimal said...

HA! I already commented once, but came back because I also suspected there would be awesome comments.

Vajazzlings = awesome

chnault said...

I merrily went to an old friend's "girlfriend get together" and walked into some popular jewelry party.

I was bored out of my mind, walked around for 45 minutes straightening out the displays as other women delighted and fawned over the merchandise.

To top it off so very large lady tried on a tiny delicate necklace and asked me if she looked too fat for it.

Elle said...

Aw, Beth, nice! I live way up north on the Delaware River. Thanks, enjoy!

gretchen said...

Oh my God. I am SO glad that I don't know Frenemy. I would have no patience for her, and yet be totally unable to stand up to her. Ugh.

Everybody here keeps having botox parties. I have NOT gone. Yet.