In this excerpt from her new essay collection, Well, This Is Exhausting, Sophia Benoit — who will be joining the Bustle team as a sex and relationships advice columnist — reveals how to prepare for, attend, and exit a party.
How To Be The Life Of The Party In 28 Easy Steps
Being beloved has always been a goal of mine, and I’ve even achieved it at one or two gatherings. It’s rare, mostly because my bedtime is midnight at the latest, and because I find social interaction excruciating after the two-hour mark. But with maximal effort, it is possible to be the star of the shindig, the queen of the clambake, the belle of the banquet, the nonesuch of the night out:
- If you can start in early childhood to cultivate a personality that others like and are drawn to, that would be ideal.
- I’m not saying one need remove body hair to become the life of the party, but if you’re going to, start three weeks before the event so that by the time your get-together arrives, you’re in a maintenance zone rather than a demolition project.
- Four hours before leaving your house, start Getting Amped. If you’re going to make it past ninety minutes of socializing and still be Fun to Talk To, you need either a massive dose of adrenaline or artificial stimulants. If drugs/alcohol is not your thing, that’s totally fine, but I don’t know what to tell you. Fake it?
- While getting ready, have a bomb-ass playlist going. You want songs that make you feel like dancing, f*cking, or singing along.
- Carve out an hour to get dressed. While the act of putting on clothes takes forty-two seconds, standing in front of a mirror pinching and cinching various body parts, trying on different bra styles to see which one makes your boobs look least weird, and loathing every outfit you’ve ever owned takes fifty-nine minutes and sixteen seconds, minimum.
- Finish your pregame drink, pee one last time, make sure you have your ID and gum, deodorant. Call an Uber.
- Panic, cancel the Uber, and go and change your clothes again.
- Take a shot; force yourself to pee even though your friend’s house is like twenty-five minutes away; call an Uber.
- Question why you’re even going to this event. Who do I know who is going? Why am I sweating so much? Have I ever spoken to a person where they have enjoyed it? Isn’t that just so f*cking cocky of me, to think that people like me enough to want to be around me?
- The moment that your Uber driver starts to slow down, shout, “Here’s fine!” even if you have no idea where “here” is or if it is actually “fine” or even “in the vicinity of your drop-off location.”
- Okay, well... you’re here. You might as well go inside.
- The buzzer is broken? Text your friend to come let you in. Is everyone else such good friends that they know the door code? How did they get inside? No one is answering your texts. Is it desperate to call? Oh. Okay, someone has answered. They’re coming out to get you.
- Let out a very high-pitched “Hey there!” Spend the next three minutes playing it back to yourself.
- Pull. It. Together. Give ’em the ol’ razzle-dazzle. (Do not utter the phrase “give ’em the ol’ razzle-dazzle.”)
- Assess who the hottest person in the room is. The hottest person in the room isn’t always the literally best-looking person. It’s the person whose cues everyone else is following. Pretend this person is an ex and that you are here to devastate them with your blithe nonchalance. Stop hoovering up pizza bagels and start dazzling.
- Get a drink. You need something to do with your hands. If you have a purse/keys/phone/etc., put that down somewhere in a careless manner that suggests that you don’t give a sh*t about what happens tonight! Wooo!
- Turn to anyone who is not talking to another person, and ask them a question. Everyone likes getting asked about themselves. Make sure you don’t get stuck with one person.
- Make excuses with person number one and move. Go refill your drink in the kitchen, then join in the discussion about the Lindbergh baby† in the living room.
- Be hilarious.
- Make the dog like you the most of any of the guests. This could unlock the whole thing.
- Circle around the hottest person at the party, occasionally throwing in the quippiest, funniest lines that make everyone roar with laughter. Get a little close to being “too dark” and then pull back and be effervescent again!!!
- Bring up a funny joke from forty-five minutes ago: “Hahaha, remember Mona at the fridge trying to open the beer?”
- Everyone loves you. They’re like, “Oh my God, you’re so funny!!!!” and “I love you!!”
- You make the mistake of going to the bathroom. You look in the mirror and start thinking about how your world really only exists in the bathroom. This is the most alive you’ve ever felt, here in this bathroom and, oh God, you’re really drunk, huh? Sh*t.
- The party tone has shifted. Everyone is sitting down now. Perhaps you were the linchpin holding the party atmosphere together. Are you supposed to stick around for the maudlin, waterlogged end of the party? Are we all gonna watch Step Brothers on Blu-ray?
- Don’t say goodbye to anyone. Wait until the focus is on something not-you (everyone trying to get the TV to work, a new person who just arrived with an edible arrangement) and slip out the door.
- Stand in the wet grass while your eyes adjust to the dark. It’s so nice and quiet out here. And you were the life of the party.
† He definitely killed his kid, didn’t he?
Excerpted from the original essay as it appears in Well, This Is Exhausting by Sophia Benoit, on sale July 13 from Gallery Books.