Thursday, November 20, 2008

No Offense, We Just Aren't Interested.

For the past 5 or 6 years I have been receiving an abundance of invitations to fake purse parties, jewelry parties, houseware parties, Tupperware parties and beauty product parties. I can see how a lot of women might like these parties because they combine 2 things that EVERY woman loves: parties and shopping. And I can see how women might also love them because they are trendy, they apparently act as an excuse to have a girls' night out (or “GNO” as it’s sometimes referred to) and they offer product discounts to the women who host them.

I have to admit that I’ve had a lot of fun at the few parties I’ve attended, but that’s because I got to spend time chatting, laughing, eating and drinking with friends and family. The presentation of the products by the consultant and the passing around of the catalog was the dullest part of the party. The products were not a fun factor. They were a party foul. The things that made this party fun were things that could’ve been done at a regular party, at a restaurant, at a bar or even on a random Tuesday night in my basement.

The last thing I want to do is offend anyone. Really. I’m just wondering what the appeal is with these parties. I’ve talked to a lot of women and, honestly, very few have told me that they genuinely enjoy them. Frankly, I am overjoyed to find out that I am NOT alone after all. That’s right, just like me, women all over the world are running out of excuses for these things.

A party, by definition, is supposed to be fun, right? So you must wonder why I’m complaining about going to a party. Well, the way I see it, having a product party (or whatever the umbrella term may be) is kind of like adding nuts to brownies or chocolate chip cookies – there’s NO NEED for it. Brownies, chocolate chip cookies and parties are all PERFECT just the way they are. Just like I don’t want to eat a brownie or chocolate chip cookie with nuts in it, I don’t want to go to a product party.

And here’s why…

The Pressure to Buy Something We Don’t Want or Need
When people attend one of these parties, they ALWAYS feel pressured to purchase something. How can you NOT feel pressured? During the presentation of the products, the consultant goes on and on about how much the hostess gets for “free.” And since women are so great at “feeling bad” and pretending to be nice, many of them, unfortunately, end up purchasing the cheapest item in the catalog: a $4.00 uni-tasker that is going to sit in their kitchen drawer and collect dust for the next 20 years. And I’m sorry, but adding a “No obligation to buy!” stamp to the invitation/evite doesn’t make this feeling go away. Trust me, we all feel guilty leaving the party empty handed. So WHY are we doing this to each other?

The Products are Overrated and Overpriced
Like many other women, I love buying new things for my home and my closet. At home, I’m constantly rearranging things and I love purchasing new clothes so that I can try out new looks. So I must love to shop, right? No, I don’t. Shopping is not a hobby for me. It’s a chore. When I go shopping I am usually on a mission and that’s why 95% of the time I choose to go shopping by myself. I have found that when I shop with other people, I sometimes get stuck going into stores that I’m not interested in or I feel pressured to limit my time in the fitting room. It’s one thing if I have the time to do some leisure shopping, but the mall is not really the place I want to be when I have free time. It’s generally a place I go when I’m on a mission. Since I don’t seem to enjoy the shopping experience, one might think that these “parties” present an ideal situation for me; I won’t have to wait in line or fight the crowds at the mall. But, like most people, I like what I like. And most of the products I’ve seen in these catalogs do not suit my style or my needs. On the rare occasion that I do find something I like, it’s usually something I can find elsewhere at a cheaper price and it’s definitely not something I “need.”

I Don’t Need an Excuse for a GNO
I have found that if you openly complain about attending an upcoming product party, one of two things will occur: women will either agree with you completely (usually in a whisper because they feel bad about admitting it) or they will ask you why you’re complaining about having “an excuse to get together with the girls.” Since when do we need excuses to get together? What we really need are excuses to avoid purchasing hideous overpriced jewelry and fake handbags that look FAKE. Seriously, if getting together means attending more of these parties, then, ladies, it won’t be long before we start AVOIDING getting together. Let’s not allow this to happen. Please.

Just to reiterate, I don’t mean to offend anyone who hosts or attends these parties. I’m sure a lot of women genuinely love them. I am merely expressing an opinion that seems to be a lot more common than we think. I can probably guarantee that once people read this post, I will never receive another invitation again (or maybe someone with a sense of humor will make sure that I’m on EVERY invitation list from here on out). But it really shouldn’t surprise anyone that I despise these parties. I hate Sex and the City, I prefer shopping by myself, I am SO over designer handbags, I love beer, I avoid holding babies, I prefer cheap costume jewelry that I don’t have to worry about losing, I hate talking on the phone, I don’t sip cosmopolitans, I love meat (especially burgers), I don’t wear lipstick, I avoid choosing pink, I’ve never had my eyebrows done (although I could probably use it), I don’t drink tea, I don’t care about ever owning a pair of Manolo Blahniks, I’m not a very good cook and I got my first and only pedicure on my wedding day. You can't judge a woman because she's a woman. I may not be a “girly girl,” but I do love spending time with my girlfriends. I guess my idea of a GNO is just a little different than most other girls.

So, I’m planning on hosting my own product party very soon and I hope you’ll join me. I am going to take YOU into J. Crew and Anthropologie and present their products and have you buy some stuff that you may or may not want so that I can get 10% off of MY purchase. Hope to see you there!


Big G said...

Pretty funny... What's the male equivalent of this? Fantasy Football drafts? Card games? It's got to be something much more horrible though. Any thoughts?

I'm having a Rock Band party but you can't come because you stink at it...

Anonymous said...

Where do you stand on the sex toy party?

MJ said...

I'm having trouble thinking of a male version of this. Are there guys out there that participate in fantasy football even though they hate it? I feel like that invitation list is limited to the same small group every year. Cards might actually be similar...that could be a general invite list with a lot more people. And I can see how some guys might want to go just to hang out but have no interest in sitting down at the table, sucking and losing a bunch of money. Actually the more I think about it, guys definitely seem to create more "excuses to hang out" probably because of 2 ridiculous reasons that I don't agree with: #1 They feel that they need a reason to give to their spouses/wives and #2 because guys are so fearful of being perceived as "gay" that they're probably afraid of asking a group of guys to come over for no reason at all.

Funny...just had the sex toy party conversation last night. I've never received an invitation for one but let's just say I wouldn't need an excuse for that one.

JC said...

I don't think its possible to have a male equivalent, because frankly men just don't care. I don't mean that as a slam either. I just think guys are simple when it comes to this stuff if they invited to something they either want to go and they go or they don't want to go and they don't go. They would never feel any guilt about not buying anything, they would just go and have a good time.

MJ said...

Agreed. I do think there's a population of dudes out there that would be psyched to never have to play cards ever again...but the difference is they will never admit it.

Matt said...

It all boils down to the fact that the world would be better off if it were all men. Thankfully now that we have the first pregnant "man" we are on our way to repopulating the species. You ladies have one foot on the edge and another on the banana peel.

Anonymous said...

Well done Matt. Enjoy the couch.