I have to make it known that I will no longer be attending dinners that include nine or more people. I can’t take it anymore. This weekend, I went to a birthday party that included 30 people for dinner. Well, I didn’t eat dinner with all of those people. I ate with about six of them. The rest of them were so far down the table that we weren’t together. I said hello and it ended there. The only thing we had in common at this dinner is that we were at the same table and couldn’t eat for 2.5 hours because there were 30 people to serve. Enough. No more. My anxiety can’t take it.
This is not a gender specific issue. It could be true that girls do this more for birthdays, but in my experience, girls can only stomach about three friends before there’s a life long grudge involved. Boys do this crap on golf trips and bachelor parties. Big steak dinners after a day of drinking at 10 pm is never going to go well unless you’re a tiger. I’m about to go on a golf trip in a few weeks. I know there will be a dinner that will inevitably suck. Can’t wait to not eat for hours while I sit there in a drunken sweat.
The wait staff must dream about these things during their weekly night terrors. Bills get split and tabs are wrong and one schmuck throws a fit because he didn’t have the three dollar mashed potatoes appearing on his bill. You’d like to ball up a twenty and shove it in his eye socket so he’ll shut up. Even when I’m eating alone, my least favorite part of the meal is the time between when the server puts down your check and then comes back to get it. Where are you going? A twenty-second transaction takes twenty minutes. Add thirty people into this transaction and it becomes my Waterloo.
Nobody remembers these dinners as “great.” You remember them if they were awful, which most are. You remember the time your buddy finished face-first in his plate. You remember them when the clam chowder had you sitting on a cork on the way home. But nobody remembers, “that great meal we had with thirty of our friends at La Happy Con Carnitas.” Don’t translate that, it’s nonsense.
I had a great time at the “dinner” with thirty last weekend. My point is that the dinner part got in the way. Why were we eating? I had a ball drinking a few pops and bullshitting with people I genuinely enjoy being around. The fact that I also had to shove food in my face and then pay for it became an annoyance. I would prefer eating a prison baloney sandwich in the parking lot and then having drinks with my buddies for three hours than eat anything else with them for who knows how long these things are going to take.
In fact, from now on, my strategy going into these monstrosities will be to eat beforehand. This may offend people because they want me to be as miserable as they are at this thing they created. I won’t care. Either get over your offense or never invite me again. Win Win.