Tomorrow night I’m meeting up with five total strangers. In my apartment. And I’m cooking them a multiple-course dinner.
This is a fact that has been slow on me to dawn, even though the date has been set in my Moleskine for over a month. I remember writing it in: “7.30 p.m. Dinner at Mine”. Back in those heady days of denial I wasn’t anticipating it to actually happen. Four weeks ago, when I hit send on my electronic invitations, I was an expectant mother simply enjoying eating for two and abusing my belly’s size to always nab a seat on the bus; reality didn’t apply for me. Now I’m in the delivery room being offered an epidural, asking my birthing coach would she mind just pulling the car around, because I think I’ll do this another time, if it’s all the same to everybody else.
My dinner party baby is already crowning and there’s nothing I can do about it.
It was a cold and drizzly January afternoon when I saw a Facebook friend-of-a-friend post about about a sort of scheme that had launched in London, one that involved eating food and meeting new people. And I mean, HI WHAT’S YOUR NAME MY NAME’S LAURA I LIKE YOUR SHOES WHAT DO YOU DREAM ABOUT? Eating food and meeting new people are My All Time Favourite Things Ever.
(This is not news.)
Example: Last month, when I went to see my genius friend Alma walk the stage to signal her departure from graduate school in Milan, I was buzzing for days afterwards. Not because she graduated top of her class and I got to say, yeah- she’s my friend, but because afterwards we had a whopping six-course meal at the fanciest of Milanese restaurants with the entire graduating class.
I got to ask this bloke about his life over the grilled aubergine and courgette, and that lady about her job as we had the pesto pasta. I got to move my chair round to discuss what it means when you’ve spent your childhood moving from place to place with this keynote speaker over tiramisu and discover the meaning to the word faitheist from that professor when she poured my coffee.
Last weekend I got an email from my super fun friend Marina that said simply, Dinner at mine, Monday, 8 p.m. Will be bunch of lesbian vegetarians you’ll love. I put on my plaid shirt and off I went, not a care in the world, no further explanation necessary, and three days later I was in the front row of the play one of these acquaintances had directed, and that’s why making new friends is the bestest.
Last Friday I spent the night at the pub with six guys who I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve met before, and the reason I do the book club and the volunteering is because there’s always a new face, a new story. When my brother’s fella emailed me to e-introduce his friend who, apparently, I just had to meet, I went for drinks enthusiastically and talktalktalked with fizzing excitement the whole goddamn time.
Disclaimer: I don’t like people who don’t understand the concept of spirit animals, though.
This supper-club-thing I saw on Facebook was like all of those strangers-to-mates situations I’ve just listed but with all. the. foods. We know how I feel about the foods. So I signed up.
It was this supper club who threw the Valentine’s Dinner I went to earlier this year, the one where I was late and ripped my trousers and said “blow job” in the first thirty seconds I was there. That was a nice introduction to it all.
Then, in March, I was invited to my first private dinner where, of course, I was late again because I got lost, and met five lovely people to whom I said “vagina” in the first thirty seconds of meeting them. That was also nice.
Now it’s my turn to host a dinner, as per the rules of the game, and so I carefully selected my guests- including my previous host- and sent a message that said: I have no idea what I’ll cook, but they’ll be lots of red wine and plenty of candles, so at least we’ll look pretty and seem funny.
But that was aaaaaaages ago, and now the time is here, and I’ve got to menu plan, and cater for a gluten-free one, and clean the house. I've definitely got to buy more loo roll, and get some fresh flowers in. I can't forget to leave enough time to caramalise the onions, and soak the lasagna sheets, and shit- is it three egg whites or four that go in the chocolate avocado mousse? What digestif should I get? Should I serve salad as a separate course? I DON'T THINK I'VE GOT SIX MATCHING PLATES.
New plan: tomorrow night I’m having five strangers over to my apartment TO GET WASTED.
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