The Post 50 Dinner Party

There are two ways to have dinner with friends. One is to go out, the other… stay in. As I’ve grown older, I’ve come to prefer, more often than not, an evening at home — mine or someone else’s — to dinner in a restaurant. I enjoy the relaxed, easy feeling of not being hustled along by a waiter, not becoming a victim of sticker shock at the prices on the menu and the inevitable vague disappointment in the food. At home, you talk with everyone, whereas in a restaurant, if you have more than six people at the table, you probably won’t. I love having a home-cooked meal when I haven’t prepared it — it’s such a treat for me, and since many of my friends are really wonderful cooks, that makes it even nicer! But whether it’s a sit-down dinner, pot-luck or take-out, dining in is my favorite.

We had just this type of evening a few nights ago, when we were invited to watch the Stanley Cup finals at the home of some good friends. I’m no hockey fan, but it was a great night anyway. As we sat there, four couples who have known each other for 15+ years, I started to make a mental note of the variety of topics we were covering over the course of the night. I know there are lots of younger people — say, 20 and under — who wonder what exactly is so interesting that adults can sit around and talk about for hours on end. A lot, it turns out.
dinner party with friends, 50 plus friends, evening at friends houses, sharing conversation with friends, midlife, empty nest, baby boomer, huffington post

The next day I made a list, and here is what we covered:

Our children, other people’s children, car accidents, insurance companies, more about our children, our children in India, college graduation, President Obama and our support of, hopes for, and frustration with him, the dire budget situation in California, property taxes, college tuition, college admissions, college sports, community college.

Sounds like a lot, right?

We also covered our parents, parents’ illnesses, parents’ marriages — second, third and so on — siblings, siblings’ spouses, traveling with siblings, whether we like our siblings, whether they like us, traveling in France, cancer, cancer treatment, causes of cancer, randomness of cancer, traveling in London, airfare, taxis versus subways in New York City (taxis won hands-down), destination weddings, welcome bags for out-of-town guests at destination weddings, who is engaged, who is in love (circling back to our kids again — of course).

A few more glasses of wine, a little more scotch, appetizers…

Cooking, recipes, the price of shrimp, biking, hockey, tennis, the French Open (why don’t they televise the doubles?), the stock market, the housing market, the housing market in Park City, Bar Mitzvahs, Facebook, email and wrong email addresses, the Huffington Post, our book group book, The Newlyweds by Nell Freudenberger ( a great read, by the way), jacuzzis, gardening, Great Danes, pets, the neighbor’s huge party down the street, front yard fountains.

Moving along. We weren’t done yet.

There was the smart phone app Key Ring (it’s pretty great), bald heads, hair color, vaginal whitening (a “huh?” moment), vaginal tightening (don’t ask), dermatology, curmudgeons, being drunk in Shanghai, Hangover II, (we started to watch it) Bradley Cooper and how hot he is (very), wine, scotch, how good dinner was, how amazing dessert was (a peach crumble with home-grown peaches), artwalks, basketball, fake boobs and real boobs, smoking pot (back in the day).

Then one of the men fell asleep and his wife took him home. I didn’t want to watch Hangover II,(though Bradley Cooper is really hot), so we went home, bellies full and very happy. There’s nothing like a dinner at home — mine or someone else’s.

What a great evening.

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12 Responses to The Post 50 Dinner Party
  1. Jenn
    October 1, 2012 | 7:58 am

    This sounds exactly like my kind of evening. And yes–there is so much to talk about–even at little get togethers we have with our friends (which by the way do NOT occur often enough) we find there is always so much to talk about!! I loved your post–thanks for blogging along for the Kick off of BlogFEST 2012!
    Jenn recently posted..Kicking off BlogFEST 2012!! Party Time!!My Profile

  2. Daphne Steinberg
    October 1, 2012 | 1:13 pm

    Be it ever so humble, Sharon, there’s no place like home. I love having meals at home, with or without guests. Your post made me think of dinners my husband and I have hosted here and the many, many wonderful conversations we’ve had and the friendships we’ve developed over those meals. A delightful post. Congratulations and if you’re anywhere near Alexandria, VA, you’re invited! Cheers!
    Daphne Steinberg recently posted..Welcome to the party!My Profile

    • Sharon Greenthal
      October 1, 2012 | 1:19 pm

      Thanks Daphne! If I ever get out your way, I will look you up!

  3. Magical Mystical Mimi
    October 1, 2012 | 3:12 pm

    What a wonderful evening.. And um, vaginal whitening??? What the hell is that?? Does this involve bleach because bleach and the va-jay jay don’t mix.. I need to know the story behind this! :) – Great post!
    Magical Mystical Mimi recently posted..NO CAKE? WHAT THE HELL??My Profile

  4. Sylvie Branch
    October 1, 2012 | 5:08 pm

    Exactly – conversations with friends is the best part of a party – I love how you wrote what you covered.

    Parties are my fluffy unicorn –

  5. Susan Dusterhoft
    October 1, 2012 | 7:43 pm

    Holy moly! What a list of conversational topics! You must of been at it for hours!

  6. Jo
    October 1, 2012 | 8:05 pm

    The list of topics sounds like almost every get together I have attended for the last 10 years or so. I drink very little these days but I can still talk up a storm!

    Love this and I love your stay in and entertain or be entertained ideas as well. That is always my preference.
    Jo recently posted..LIFE OF THE PARTYMy Profile

  7. Corinne Rodrigues
    October 2, 2012 | 8:20 am

    That’s a lot of topics to cover in one evening! But seriously, there’s nothing like a great evening at home with friends.
    Corinne Rodrigues recently posted..What Keeps Me Awake At NightMy Profile

  8. Journey of Life
    October 2, 2012 | 6:53 pm

    Talking about our kids can always fill up the evening :-) Now … what did I talk about with my friends before kids? I wonder … boys! :-)
    Journey of Life recently posted..Journey to the Philae TempleMy Profile

  9. [...] turn, is one of the reasons we kept at it. Our favorite writing of Sharon’s might be her reflection on a dinner party, where she captures the meandering conversation of old friends over a lovely meal and a glass or [...]

  10. Sarah@afterhood
    January 10, 2013 | 12:49 pm

    This is a lovely post, and really makes the point of how networked our lives and experiences become, with friends we’ve had forever. You can cover so much informational territory over dinner, but it is even better than that, because when you share that with friends you do it with an openness and appreciation that is difficult to match. (Arrived here via Grown & Flown, btw…)
    Sarah@afterhood recently posted..The Tree is a MemoryMy Profile

    • Sharon Greenthal
      January 10, 2013 | 2:26 pm

      Hi Sarah, thanks for stopping by – I’m glad you enjoyed the post!

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