Sunday, December 8, 2013

Arbitrary rules for holiday parties

My co-worker A was considering buying a Christmas sweater last week. She called me over to look at a couple of sweaters online, one with reindeer and the other with--well, also reindeer, but smaller.
Dramatized here.
We got to talking about the sense in buying an item of clothing that you can only really wear for about six weeks out of the year: immediately after Thanksgiving up until December 26. Even if the sweater isn't explicitly Christmas themed--snowflakes, for example, instead of Santa Claus or a Christmas tree--it's really only suitable for the Christmas season.

This is holiday party arbitrary rule number 1.

Warming up to the topic, we discussed the context in which one would wear a Christmas sweater. You can wear a Christmas sweater to a holiday party, but you can only wear it to more than one holiday party in a season if the parties aren't frequented by the same people. For example, you can wear it to the office party and then to your family's home for Christmas dinner, but you can't wear it to the office party and then wear it again to a bar get-together with some folks from work, because the same group of people will see you in it. Arbitrary rule number 2.

"No pictures! They'll be up on Facebook!" Matt cuts in at this point.

"And you can't wear the same party outfit to the same party two years in a row," I said, stating arbitrary rule number 3. "You need to wait at least three years between parties to wear the outfit again."

I guess at this point, Matt just couldn't handle any more feminine nonsense. He stood up and said, "I love how you just make up this arbitrary rules, but you say them with such an air of authority and confidence, as if they were real, actual things that people do!"

And we all had a good laugh.

BUT--allow me to describe my wardrobe saga of the holiday season thus far, since I went to three parties this week and will be hosting another one tomorrow. I wore my 2012 Holiday Tea dress at the President's Party last Thursday. I'm going to wear my 2012 President's Party dress to the Holiday Tea on Monday. I wore my 2012 Valentine's Day dress to Thanksgiving 2013. I'm going to wear yesterday's post-Hanukkah party outfit to Valentine's Day 2014, and 2009's Christmas Day outfit to 2013 Christmas Day because it's time again.
Choose, unless you wish to stay here for evermore,
To help you in your choice, we give you these clues four:
First, however slyly the poison tries to hide
You will always find some on nettle wine's left side...

I'm never going to wear last Friday night's party outfit to another party again, because I didn't realize I was going to be the most casually dressed person there, BF. 

I know to some, these rules and distinctions seem arbitrary. Lots of things women have to do probably seem arbitrary to men. Hell, they seem arbitrary to me sometimes! But that doesn't make them any less real. And it doesn't mean that other women aren't watching to make sure you follow the rules. "The Simpsons" did a whole episode about it, so you know it's true.

That's arbitrary rule number 4.

And it's the most important rule of all.

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