RSS Feed
Oct 7

Billy no-mates

Posted on Sunday, October 7, 2007 in Uncategorized

What to do at a party when you’re on your own and you don’t know any other sinner in the place.

(Image robbed from Clone Industries)

Not saying that you yourself are a billy-no-mates type of person, but you most likely will find yourself in this situation at some time or other, if you already haven’t. 

I was invited to an engagement party (no, apparently it’s not just an American thing…) by a bloke I know who’s son was the condemned.  I went last night, alone as a result of my poor babysitter-finding skills.  The whole extended family was there, and seeing as it was a local gig, you’d think odds were I’d see at least one other person I’d know, but not in this case.

I went straight to the bar, as you do.  Pint in hand, I went through my options.

1.  Find the one person I do know and stick to him like a fly on poo.

2.  Stand very very still and admire the ceiling until someone comes over and asks me who the hell I am.

3.  Stand by the door and pretend I’m waiting staff.

4.  Sit outside in the smoking area where all the cool people are.

5.  Stand by the bar and occasionally wave at wall paintings in the hope that people will think I’m popular but too cool to actually talk to anyone.

6.  Ply alcohol into myself to ward off the self-consciousness.  (Not an option seeing as I had to drive home, sadly.)

7.  Search for an empty chair and ask it’s nearby occupants if it’s ok to sit with them.

I tried option one, but sadly this man was the most sought-after person there, being the Godfather.  Option 4 tided me over until I realised that out of maybe 80 people, only 5 of them were smokers, two of them were BMW driving golfer types, the remaining three were hardened grannies who were looking for medals for all the hardships they’d suffered.

Options 2 and 3 were unsuccessful as I’d decided to wear high heels and stood at over 6 foot tall in a crowd of exceptionally short people.   There’s only so much ‘Ma, who’s she?’ you can overhear without getting overheated paranoia syndrome.

Option 7 was my last resort, and very limited.  I scanned the crowd for some younger heads, to find that the only youthful table was occupied by tangoed fake blondes with serious overhang issues who’s conversation (I had to evesdrop a little of course..) was limited to knock-off handbags and boring Ibiza anecdotes.  In the end, I targeted a big momma with a load of children hovering around her like midges.  She had a free chair opposite, so I went for it.  I chose my approach carefully, and decided that honesty was the best policy- ‘Hi, I’m a saddo who doesn’t know anyone here… can I sit with you?’ worked a charm.  She even offered me a highly coveted plate of sandwiches and made small talk until I managed a sneaky escape.

The moral of the story perhaps, is that you have to be born with the ability to attract people with your mysterious aloofness.  The far easier approach is honesty, which happily (depending on how pathetic your story is) is great for breaking the ice.

Bring on the comments

  1. doc says:

    i always pick a person at random and just start schmoozing – within a half hour, usually, i know (or know of) everyone at the event and am helping out in the kitchen.

    i tend to make a good first impression – charming smile, acceptable appearance, willingness to listen – and so when i leave everyone is chatting about that nice Frank Johnson, and how come you haven’t invited him beofre, and is he single?

    it works a treat. so much so that no one ever thinks to suspect me when their prescription bottle contents are light, or their purses are missing the odd amount of cash or they can’t recall where they parked their BMW..

    HIGHLY recommend this approach…

  2. Grandad says:

    I had an identical experience last year. The only option was 2, as there was no bar [only waitresses with trays], no chairs, no smoking area, the people who had invited me were too busy circulating and everyone else had come in groups.

    So I stood and admired the ceiling, and everyone gravitated to the other end of the room. I moved to the other end of the room and everyone promptly migrated to where I had been [I had washed and changed before going, incidentally].

    Suddenly, I was introduced to one of the Big Cheeses, and became the centre of attention for the entire room.

    I preferred watching the ceiling.

  3. Grannymar says:

    Walk up to someone and say ‘Hi, I have only come back from the moon or wherever, can you remind of where we met before.

    Works everytime.

  4. Daz says:

    Trust me, I’m a fucking expert on aloofness. I’ve learned to overcome it with three things:

    1) Flit from person to person (think a hummingbird flying about the gaff) and exchange words with them. Try to find some defining or easily memorable thing about them and remember it. Then you can come back later in the night, and know an ice-breaker.

    2) The less efort route: Find the biggest alco in the room and challenge them to the Great Sambuca Challenge. Last man standing wins.
    You’re either a legend or in Vincent’s getting your stomach pumped.
    Either way, people know who you are.

    3) The classic cheesy line: Take a lump of ice, throw it on the ground, and start smashing it. If someone asks you what you are doing, say ‘breaking the ice’.
    If they don’t accidentally break their neck from slipping on it, that is.

  5. Daz says:

    And Doc, the word ‘schmooze’ sounds like a kind of disease that leaves you with a cheerily explosive colon, so you may want to avoid that word.

  6. Baino says:

    Hahah . . . thanks guys for the hot tips! I’m the ply myself with alcohol type. People feel sorry for me when I fall over – great way to get sympathy and meet people. They keep coming back to see if you’re alright.

    Daz, did we do the challenge? Was I the one that ended up at St Vincents?

  7. doc says:

    Daz –

    hah! you’ll want to thank Grandad for that: I used to think I was just chatting people up until he gave a damned schmooze award.

    All in all I much prefer the SHIT award…

  8. K8 says:

    See it’s easy for you Doc, you must be a people person. If I try to schmooze, I end up getting nervous at the last second and saying something horribly strange like… “Wow, your eyes are the same colour as my dog’s bed!” I am CRAP at smalltalk.

    Daddyo… I had fun with no.2 also. The ceiling of this particular pub was very pretty indeed. I knew I hadn’t a chance though as this was a family affair, and families tend to be quite slow at breaking the circle.

    Grannymar, see that would work for you. I can’t pull that sortof thing off at all. The flashing ‘LONER’ light over my head distracts people from my humour. Also I discovered that not a lot of people in the South Wicklow area HAVE a sense of humour.

    Daz… isn’t ‘schmooze’ the noise that the stomach pumping machine makes when it’s doing it’s thing?!? I would’ve loved to challenge a standoff, but sadly I had to drive. Anyway I was itching to get back into the car to listen to the new Foo Fighters album I just got.

    Baino, I get the feeling that some day we’ll ALL be doing the challenge!

Leave a Reply