Welcome to part 2 of our How to Be Better at Parties series. Yesterday we took you through a detailed tour of how not to suck at throwing a party; but today hits to the real crucial topic of bad NYC etiquette that spreads across our borough like crappy 10 year old Brooklyn jokes still spread across the normcore internet. Like yesterday’s guide, you might find some of these tips laughable — congrats to you! You are a functional human being who can interpret social cues. But you know you have friends you want to send this post too, the ones who show up empty handed, the ones who think hijacking your party playlist with their personal sludge rock mixtape is a good idea, the ones who vomit anywhere, ever. Send this to them with hopes of better party etiquette to come.
As mentioned yesterday, if you’re an anti-Facebook, privacy hawk, ObamaZuckerbergazalea-facist conspiracy theorist, congrats! I look forward to the time when we can trust you to stop the apocalypse when Facebook messenger becomes sentient and starts murdering us all from our pockets. No one caaaaaarreeeees. Like it or hate it, Facebook is the way people invite people to things now. Not having it now is like not reading the Village Voice in the 1980s to find out what’s going on because you hate ink smudges.
Even if you have to set up a dummy account you check just to see what’s going on, do it. You can make your profile picture a wreath made out of middle fingers if you want. If you’re not on Facebook, people are going to forget about you and they’re certainly going to forget to invite you to things. Facebook has become a clearinghouse of everything you need to know about the party: where is it, what to bring, whether there are any last-minute changes (“ALERT: Due to safety reasons, the steamabilly retro burlesque revue has been moved from atop the Cheap Storage building to the back party room of Dave and Busters”).
If trend pieces are to be believed, the youngs of urban American are now as flaky as Frozen promotional croissants. And yeah, it’s probably true, no one wants to commit any more, and that’s fine, we get it, we do it too. But! Thou shalt not commit the mortal sin of partying: RSVPing yes when you have no intention of making it. This is most important for parties that require resource investment: dinners, special cocktails, entertainment. You get a pass or two, but RSVPing in the positive and then being negative on the showing up is a way to brew up a big stew of disappointment.
I have even come around in the “maybe” RSVP: once seen as an annoying indicator of failure to commit, now I see it as a way of bookmarking the event. It’s like saying “hey I might actually make this! But for the time being I want to stay updated on your goings on.” There is no shame in just saying no to event invites too.
The party says it starts at 9pm and if you show up at 9pm you are a borderline sociopath, possibly the kind of person who lines up for your assigned airline seat 30 minutes before boarding. The party does not actually start at 9. The party probably starts at 930-10ish. Ish! The 9 pm is the time the host set for knowing people run on New York Time and will not be there until later. If you show up at 9 you are risking seeing them in a bathrobe with toothbrush in hand.
NEVER SHOW UP EMPTY HANDED!
This, dear partygoer, is the ultimate New York City party sin. It is punishable by banishment to the Party Phantom Zone, a nether region of suburban strip mall Irish pubs, America’s Got Talent finale parties and red solo cup rum and cokes consumed on Pier 1 furniture.
There may be some party in a penthouse in the Time Warner Center where the champagne flows through a diamond tap attached to a stuffed whooping crane, there may be some rich lunatics party you’ll attend at a concert hall where beer is included and molly drops from the ceiling like confetti on New Year’s. You are probably not going to this party. We’re all broke, we’re all low on time, and no one has the resources to provide booze for you. Not bringing something — be it booze, beer, homemade vegan queso, a Hefty bag full of drugs to share — undercuts the very social contract of parties: no one can afford to stock their own party, so we crowdsource.
Bring whatever you want to drink; odds are it will get put in to the mix of everything at the party and you can still shop freely among the fridge/cooler offerings. At the very least, stop by the bodega and get a single 40 oz for you to sip on all night. That’s like $2 for protection from the dreaded Party Phantom Zone.
Under no circumstances are you allowed to vomit. Vomiting is for college sophomores who did power hour with shots of Southern Comfort on an empty stomach. You are not that, you are a professional New York City drunkard who is not some tourist in the world of alcoholic delights.
That said, things happen, mistakes get made, Fireball shots are forced upon you for some reason, and maybe you have to do the ol boot-and-rally. You must find a receptacle. Hardwire this into your brain now so that you’re crashing drunk cerebral operating system will still register it. Acceptable receptacles are the following, in order from best to least best: Toilet, trash can, sink, bucket, barren patch of roof, large kitchen bowl, in the bushes in front of the apartment. If your splat hits barren floor, thou art banish’d.
Don’t hijack the music
In most well-thrown parties, hijacking the music is a major no no. Unless you have made specific arrangements or had a discussion with the host, treat the playlist like you treat the stinky bum on the subway: no touching. Nothing can single-handedly kill a party vibe faster than some chud suddenly switching over a crushing playlist of Run the Jewels songs to a throwback song by the Promise Ring you think is really going to turn the party up at 3 am (this is a real thing that happened at my party). Just trust in the party DJ; if it’s a dumpy playlist full of Steely Dan or some shit, talk to the host first and make your case for how you can turn the beat around.
Go gently into that good night
If you leave during the heat of the party, don’t make a big deal of it! You could unwittingly be the stopper that uncorks the whole drain of the party. Just grab your stuff and go without a whole production.
Be ready to rescue
DO make a big deal of it if people are looking to be rescued. If the party is lame and you can see it in the sad-eyed stares of your fellow partygoers, be a good exit partner. Ask if anyone wants to take the train/split a cab/generally run screaming away from boredom.
Ghosting, also known in ethnophobic terms as the Irish Exit, the French Leave, the Denmark Dip Out (ok I made that last one up), is perfectly acceptable! Parties are too big, goodbyes are too long (see Don’t Make a Big Deal of It, above). However: you should at least say goodbye to the host. Wend your way through the crowd, make a quick thank you, and then boom, ghost like Swayze. If you can’t find them, shoot a quick text on your way out.
The exception to this saying-goodbye-to-the-host rule is if you’re leaving to try to smash. The rules of smash supersede all other party etiquette. Smash it, girl, we’ll catch up tomorrow.
Crashing on the couch
OD’d on the party and need to crash? Why, thanks! I take that as a compliment, because it seems like you enjoyed our party verily.The two rules of couch crashing are as follows:
1) Ask! Maybe my mom is coming over at 10 a.m. for temperance Bible brunch book club, maybe we just promised the couch to someone else already.
2) Should your mouth be sealed shut with whiskey rot or your legs too wobbly with Jell-O shots to move and you can’t get off the couch, but still have to rush out in the morning, leaving a note of thanks in the morning is a nice way to show your appreciation.
3) If you crashed for the night, congrats! You just volunteered yourself for cleanup duty! Start collecting those empty beer cans and earn your keep. Hey maybe you even want to go get bagels for everyone that’d be pretty great.
Did we miss any tips? Tell us in the comments!
Follow Tim on Twitter to see real-live party etiquette being enforced this weekend: @timdonnelly.