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Awkward Party

By H.G. Miller

I don’t know how I end up in these situations.

We started out at a housewarming party for one of my new co-workers. I was excited to be invited, because I wanted to establish some street cred with the people at my new agency.

As it is, these things rarely work out as planned, and after only an hour of false camaraderie, my friend drags me away to another social function he’s heard about. There’s a rumor of free whisky, so I don’t complain much. I bid adieu to my fellow workers and we fight through the evening gridlock to a quaint apartment complex in Santa Monica.

Unfortunately, we were woefully misinformed as to the guest list at this particular soirée.

The party is being held at the neighbor’s house of my friend’s friend (got that?) and while there is some whisky, there are probably only three people old enough to legally drink it, and so I spend most of the night feeling like a fiend for ogling the group of 19-year-old sorority girls the neighbor’s roommate has invited.

While in the world of Cinemax, a party such as this is only the beginning of a wonderful adventure for the wily workingman such as myself, in reality we are immediately spotted as frauds and shunned away from the action to the barren landscape of the kitchenette.

It all seems quite odd. These were the girls I had such crushes on in college, and now I watch them playing drinking games as if it were a poorly edited documentary on MTV.

Luckily, the neighbor is female, fairly attractive and of uncertain marital status, so I decide to cut my losses and strike up a conversation with her.

I take stock of the evidence in front of me and decide to show her that I am a socially aware individual who appreciates all types of humanity.

“So, your roommate’s gay, huh?”

She immediately gasps. “What! No, he’s not.”

“He’s not?” I react with a more reserved expression of shock. “Are you sure?”

“What makes you think he’s gay?” she asks.

Having lost my chance to be the sensitive, understanding type, I proceed to give her a list of the more obvious factors – the pink shirt, the plentitude of young female friends, his unparalleled vocation with the fondue set.

However, she remains unconvinced.

“So, he’s fashionable and has girls as friends. Don’t you have any girls as friends?”

“Yeah, but I don’t tell them they look fabulous.”

“You just complimented me on my shoes matching my shirt,” she says.

I let out a heavy sigh. All is lost now. My only hope is that she digs brutal honesty.

“Look. That’s like the only thing I know about girls,” I say. “Your shoes always match some other part of your clothing. So, I find that part, compliment you, and hope you find me charming enough to take to bed.”

She considers this.

“That’s not a very good plan.”

“I am aware of that.”

“Does it ever work?” she asks.

“Quite rarely.”

“I would imagine never.”

“You have a very good imagination,” I concede.

The two of us stand silent for a moment. She rattles the ice at the bottom of her glass, clears her throat and exits the kitchenette without even offering me a token salutation.

Meanwhile, the girls in the other room giggle when some guy out of an Abercrombie & Fitch catalogue belches, and I am left to ponder what may have been had I decided to ask about the painting on the wall instead of her roommate’s sexual preference.