How to Survive a Mandatory Dinner Party


Standing in my bathroom, I was starring back at true unhinged incompetence in the mirror. Namely, it had been twenty minutes, but I was still struggling with my tie. I was tying and lashing, hoping for the best; I was like the idiot billionaire attempting to rig up the new sailboat he impulsively bought. Sadly, I had no one to blame except my irresponsibly reckless self; had I not thrown away all my clip-on ties when I was twelve, I could have avoided this mess.

It was five o’clock on a Saturday afternoon and I was neither drunk nor pants-less—truly, this was a new low. Most weeks I’d either be pouring alcohol into my facehole and publicly ridiculing strangers or loafing on my couch with a bucket of chicken, flaunting my terrible physique, and effectively informing the world that real clothes had never been in the day’s agenda. Today, though, I was being subjected to a dinner party. Said party, from how it had been explained to me, was basically an entire event that discouraged rampant boozing, mercilessly deriding strangers, and showing off my god-awful body. Unquestionably, this dinner party owed me a Saturday.

With my tie tied in some shoddy square-knot offshoot, I arrived at the house with a sober frown pasted across my face. Inside, everyone else cheerfully mingled as if they were blissfully unaware that there was an entire world out there filled with hockey fights and all-you-can-eat tacos. I understood that the host’s intentions were noble and that he had coerced me into coming tonight so that I could “network” and “get out of my welfare rut,” but so far I was absolutely miserable. Truly, it didn’t help when ten minutes later he said that the appetizers were ready and, instead of the Bagel-Bite or mini-corn-dog spread I’d been expecting, he trotted out that bullshit veggie and cottage cheese platter.

From there, dinner encountered some delays and one guest kept taking these as her cue to tell another non-economical yarn about the “crazy” characters from her office. No one objected; everyone else was content passively nodding and periodically emitting a contrived chuckle. I sat back with my drink, not wanting any part of that un-amusing prattle storm. It was then that I decided then that whiskey would be the only companion I’d need tonight.

I tossed back tumbler after tumbler of companionship but this dinner party did nothing except drag on through countless inane stories, albeit with an occasional bout of one-upping peppered in. Dinner was no better. There wasn’t a TV in the dining room, I was seated next to some old guy who smelled like pea soup, and I was served some unpalatable, un-American rubbish that my horizon will never expand to encompass. Frankly, dinner was no more than an exercise in choking down awful food and chasing it with whiskey.

As the meal began to wrap up, that mousy broad with the office stories declared that we would play Cranium next. This was my breaking point. If a life of affluence meant having to get together on a monthly basis to boast about salaries, eat hot-garbage-y food, and politely tolerate each others’ social shortcomings, well, then count me out. With that I downed the rest of my drink and promptly threw up.

Like a misting garden hose, the puke gently rained down on the other guests and the long table. There would be no Cranium. There would be no networking. There would be no more dinner party invitations for Justin. Cleansed, I had punctuated this party and had been baptized back into the world that I’d forsaken by coming tonight. “Yeah, sorry,” I said with an insincere grin. “It must have been the saffron in whatever you made; it definitely wasn’t the fourteen whiskies I drank, though.”

Shocked at my brazen barfing, the room sat stunned as I scampered out the door, eager to get home and get my pants off.

Justin Gawel is an adult baby from Michigan whose articles appear on and most weeks. Look for more of his writing, his BroBible archive, and his updates at or follow him @justingawel on Twitter.