It's soirée season. And there's nothing more boring than hearing about someone's illness, political gripes, or children. These are fucking dull subjects. Avoid them.
I say this after having attended an exhausting round of Christmas parties during the last two weeks. There's another one tonight. I shall let you know how it turns out.
As you know, I came of age in a vastly different time and place--and it wasn't that long ago. When I was a young man I was expected to attend holiday parties. And I did.
Do you have a party trick? I do. In London at Christmas and New Year's Eve gatherings our well-connected neighbour-hostess required of her attendees some kind of party trick: a joke, magic trick, amusing anecdote, quotation, etc.
It was regarded as a gift, the least one could do in return for her generosity. For my part I chose to present the John Donne poem 'A Hymn to Christ, At the Author's Last Going Into Germany', my recitation of which rarely failed to amuse fellow guests. I had memorised the poem at school for reasons lost to me now. More on this later.
Not having a family to speak of, I'm unclear as to how modern people celebrate holiday family gatherings these days. But for you, I recommend being as interesting as possible. And, work on the art of having a conversation!