It’s a real scream: The case for a dinner party club on campus

By Andrea Johnson

Rings gong; sips brandy; clears throat.

I may be alone here—I often am—but when I picture grown-up Andrea, she’s hosting a dinner party. I see it so clearly.

There is a group of vibrantly, glamorously dressed men and women. They have an air of mystery about them, which is accentuated by Gothic furniture and dark wallpapers. They sit down to sup. On the menu? Monkey’s brain soup which, though common in Cantonese cuisine, is not often found in Washington D.C.

I jest, I jest. See how entertaining I’d be as a dinner party hostess?

Of course you don’t! Because, though references to “Clue,” the 1985 movie based on the board game, are common among the girls I went to elementary school with, they are not often found among anyone else (‘tis a lonely life).

I’ve performed poorly the central point of dinner parties: lively, interesting, accessible conversation for all (communism really was just a red herring). And movies, though common fodder for conversation, usually make for a boring topic at best, and an annoyingly repetitive one at worst.

So then the question is not who killed the cook, but how to throw a good dinner party, where and with what.

It’s an important question—and make no mistake—because dinner parties are adulthood crystalized. They require a room of one’s own, the skills necessary to prepare monkey’s brain soup (though I suppose a Curry would do, with peppers roasted over the f-flames, flames, on the side of my face), the money to pair said curry with a nice Chianti and the maturity to manage the conversation—someone, after all, has to stop Mrs. Peacock’s screaming!

As things stand, if I threw a dinner party tonight, I’d have no idea what I was doing there or what the place was about—but I would be determined to enjoy myself. It’s much like college in that way. I’m very intrigued by the idea and oh, wouldn’t it be fun to have a club for that?

Yes. And I will tell you how I did it—sorry, would do it.

The Socratic Seminar at Suppertime Club would meet on dark and stormy nights as per strange, unsigned invitations. Tragic back-stories would be checked at the door. Cocktails in the library—yes, I assure you the brandy hasn’t been poisoned—followed by dinner.

If we were interrupted by a singing telegram, well, there’s a revolver in the cupboard—only who has the key again? And if J. Edgar Hoover happened to call—I said if, if!

Anyway, I do hope you’ll take my suggestion straight to the heart. Because when it comes to dinner parties, they require a certain finesse. One plus one plus two plus one doesn’t always equal six, you know.

But after a few SSSC meetings, we’d be so adept at preparing delicacies and delicately preparing conversations that we’d have people screaming, “Let us in, let us in!” Though I suppose that’s only one way it may happen.

 

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