The move to the suburbs has gone swimmingly. Sure, I was left with a few scratches when a wayward bird violated the territorial integrity of the garage and unilaterally voided our nonaggression treaty. And yes, a lively discussion with the nice, thick man in the garbage truck about the precise definition of "recyclable" concluded with the ejection of a vat of medical waste onto the front lawn. But by and large, we're happy here. There are closets, plural. I can see a tree.
Now that we're settled, then, it's on me to learn how to do good-neighbor-type stuff. So the arrival of Skinnygirl's latest how-to clip, the grammatically overengineered "How to Throw the Perfect Movie Night In," couldn't be more timely. Forget making enthusiastic small talk about the weather or keeping the lawn neatly mowed (mown? I'm new to this) - suburbia isn't about to throw its arms open wide until I prove my socialite bona fides by hosting a rockin' movie night for the local gals.
I'd been doing it all wrong. Before watching the clip, I assumed that hosting a movie night involved, in no particular order of import, selecting a movie, screening it and shooing my guests streetward. But according to video hostess Jessica - a hardened veteran of such klatches, as foretold by her sneering introductory volley of "everyone loves a good movie and everyone needs an escape from the stress of the daily grind now and then, right?" - my approach, attitude and execution were all contrary to the cause. It's not about the movie, see. It's about lo-cal vino, throw pillows and gift bags.
Imagine my embarrassment. To begin with, by holding my movie nights on Wednesday afternoon, I failed the scheduling part of the assignment. Apparently it's Friday night or bust, because guests are "so excited to end the week with friends, but in a more low-key way." Too, I exposed myself as an inconsiderate dummyhead by failing to take into account my guests' cinematic tastes. As Jessica notes, "[The movie choice] should be based on what will be a hit with everyone you've invited." Great. Unless I excommunicate that hoity-toity bitch Ilyse, that means no Ernest for the rest of us.
I blew the opening-act component of movie night by failing to purchase old-school movie tickets to reward the winner of my pre-film trivia contest (per Jessica, those tickets can and should be redeemed for cash and/or family heirlooms). I even messed up the menu, due to my artery-congealing decision to serve buttered popcorn. Shame on me! I should've popped it with olive oil and served it with berries ("for those awesome antioxidants, right?").
As for parting gifts, sending my guests home empty-handed was a faux pas on par with wearing white pants to a holiday party or licking the hummus dish clean. A thanks-for-coming present, Jessica sternly instructs me, ensures that guests will "remember the night with fond memories of their girlfriends - but remind them that a lady always drinks responsibly." Jessica sometimes goes off-script.
In conclusion, I learned a lot from "How to Throw the Perfect Movie Night In." I feel better prepared for whatever social hurdles the fake real housewives on Bellgrove Drive might ask me to clear. And what do you know, the delightful Norwegian coming-of-age dramedy Turn Me On, Dammit (Få peg må, for faen) is out today on DVD. I can almost taste the pita crisps!