To me, the beginning of December through to New Year’s is the only time of year when I actually look forward to socializing. For the rest of the year, I’m about as approachable as a Gila monster, and have little interest in hosting gatherings of any kind. In the springtime, I prefer to spend my days napping in the cherry orchard and my nights paddling my swan-shaped boat about the lake, weaving a crown of wildflowers for my hair. During the summer, I’m usually pissed on frothy tropical cocktails by the early afternoon, and far too clumsy to orchestrate folded napkins and petit fours. Late fall and winter, though, I’m ready to light people’s cigars, kiss them on the cheek, and dance the night away on the balcony in the warm glow of tiki torches.
This year, I already have a couple of elaborate fish and goose soirees in the works, so, in preparation, I’ve been honing my skills with respect to Cornish game hen stuffing, crème brûlée torching, and constructing champagne glass pyramids (up to six tiers at the time of writing this!). I’ve also been practising some new parlour tricks, perfecting the Electric Slide, and reading up on the official rules for baccarat and blind man’s buff.
I’m also thinking of expanding my already-not-inconsiderable repertoire of theme parties. Winter solstice, for instance, might be a nice time to host a nouveau-bacchanal, replete with jugs of wine and a roasted wild boar or two. I’m already pricing out clavichords, and looking into finding a reliable harpist to play some Saint-Saens, and a few madrigals.
I believe that contriving a successful shebang is not unlike stocking an interesting wonder cabinet, except instead of showcasing a collection of dried orchids, jeweled eggs, and shrunken heads, you are carefully selecting and displaying a rarefied assemblage of intriguing human lifeforms: eccentrics and mystics, poetesses and misfits, flim flam men and flibbertigibbets are all more than welcome. From what I have heard about you, Dear Reader, it is clear to me that you would be an ideal addition to the guest lists! So, don’t be surprised to find your invitations in the mail, or possibly delivered to your subconscious via astral projection on ultraviolet wavelengths. You don’t need to worry about anything, all will be supplied. And you can wear whatever you like: white satin tux or sequined dress, red high heels, or boots of Spanish leather. Just don’t forget to bring your cigarette case, and your stockpile of amusing anecdotes and slick dance floor moves.
To round out the season this year, by the way, I’m already filling up a moleskine notebook with plans for a New Year’s Eve Gatsby-style wingding. It’ll be a Venetian masque-type deal, with a chamber orchestra playing gypsy jazz, and plenty of canapes and cocaine. When the other guests finally go home in their taxicabs and Ubers, you and I can sit in the solarium until sunrise, drinking Turkish coffee laced with brandy, listening to my scratchy wax records of Maria Callas singing Violetta. Please don’t disappoint me, blow off the staff party at Appleby’s, and tell me you can make it.