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If Life is a Contest to See Who’s The Most Pamperedest Chef, You Win. I Give.

What is it about getting older that makes us feel like we need to slap a theme on something in order to make it fun?

Take, for example, renovated house reveal party my bosses are planning.  It can’t just be a classy affair with an amuse bouche or two, some tapas, and a cocktail bar — it has to have a theme. “Sangrias at Sunset” sounds simple enough, but in reality it requires coordinating the food, music, and even colors to make everything fit a predetermined Spanish vibe, even though nothing about this home in a historic downtown Fayetteville neighborhood has anything to do with Spain.

It’s undue stress, I tell you, and if they’re not careful, the end result will likely be some mishmashed medley of weak catered sangria with cheap wine, bright garish table cloths, and streaming mariachi music.

The house will be beautiful, but I wonder if anyone will see it.

Themes can be fun when they’re original, like the “Ugly Sweater Parties” from a decade ago.  But did anyone notice the mass surge of ugly sweater parties during this past holiday season?  It became the it thing to do, and suddenly the act of hunting down an ugly sweater became a chore — it no longer entailed a quick trip to the Goodwill, but an all-out hunt for the best worst sweater in town, sometimes requiring the payment of retail prices in department stores which were stocked with colorful Santa and reindeer knits designed specifically, it seemed, for parties honoring the art of the ugly sweater.

It seems like all adult social parties, once we reach a certain age, have to be designed around a theme.  Especially the social parties exclusively for women.

What is it about turning the big THREE-OH that apparently makes us lose our ability to gather with a group of women to enjoy some good drinks, sincere laughs, and stimulating conversation without the crutch of a theme?

Or worse, without guilting each other into buying something?

Every single women-only event I’ve been invited to since turning 29, with the exception of the book club and a much-loved “girls’ night out” or two with former colleagues, has been a ruse to get me to buy something I neither want nor need.  From jewelry to bags to kitchen gadgets to chip dips, my social world has turned into a support network for home-based pyramid schemes businesses.  I can no longer go to my local wine shop without feeling a twinge of guilt for not purchasing bottles from someone with a home-based wine selling business.  I can’t make my own fresh ingredient soup without thinking about the just-add-water bag of powder still sitting in the back of my drawer.  I can’t comparison shop for health products.  Test my own makeup.  Buy my own non-fugly patterned lunch bags.  I can’t even purchase inexpensive Wal-Mart brand room fresheners because they might soil the specialized plug-in warmers that cost me a 2-week grocery budget and a contract for my first-born child.

I don’t mind supporting my friends, but when I’m guilted into attending these “parties” where I’m forced to fake enthusiasm for a collapsible polka-dot thermal picnic cooler and spend $50 on powdered drink mixes that will be doomed to take up back-of-pantry real estate until we move, I’m not gonna lie — I find myself wondering how much Im supposed to spend in order to qualify my friendship.

I say this not to insult those who earn a living supporting these companies or those who genuinely enjoy the products and purchase on a regular basis.

I say this because I’m concerned about the fact that these are the only gatherings that seem to exist after a certain age — these, and baby showers.  And I’m sorry, but unless they involve Kahlua and stroller races, I’m really not going to get excited about them.

Why can we not get together simply for the sake of getting together?  Why can we not gather at a friend’s home and cook a collective meal?  Talk about the books we’ve read?  Watch the latest Nicholas Sparks film and outwardly ridicule the main characters while secretly wishing we were them?

Why does there always have to be a premise?

The next time you attend one of these themed gatherings, ask yourself if you’re having fun.

And if you think that you are, ask yourself if you really are, or if you’re just faking it.

Because there’s something that happens as we get older and more domestic.  Something bad.

Somehow somewhere along the line, we start telling ourselves that it’s okay to fake it.

That fun isn’t fun unless it’s forced.

That we can’t really laugh, because our laugh is too loud.

Our jokes are too crude.

And our meatballs must suck because there are still some left on the tray.

We leave feeling inadequate.  Ridiculed.  Or the coolest member of a club we never wanted to join.

And when I think about it, I realize that I have no energy for pretense.  There are too many fun things to do.  Fantastic people to meet.  Wonders to experience.

So maybe it’s the domestiphobe in me, but I really don’t think I want to do this anymore.  This faking it thing.

So I think that I’ll stop.

Because really, if my laugh is too loud, then I’ll stop getting invited.

And I’ll have more time for the people and things that make me laugh for real.

Everybody wins.

What about you? Think you have a little domestiphobia in you?


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Angie Kern

OH CRAP! I was planning a themed weekend when you visit…..Must hide all things Scooby Doo! LOL not really….Just the typical wine, chocolate, and hanging out on the porch!


Now. I’m pretty sure a Scooby Doo theme constitutes a unique and interesting theme, and therefore is perfectly allowable — and even encouraged. ;)

Solitary Diner

You have just made me really, really appreciative of my friends, who never host theme parties and never sell anything when we get together. (Except for the sex toy party…which…um….well…heh….)


Ha! Those are fun, as long as people are willing to laugh. I went to one once where everyone just seemed uncomfortable. I felt terrible for the hostess. But yeah… these parties aren’t that bad, but it’s bad when it seems like I get asked to attend one every other week and I feel like I can’t say ‘no.’ You’re lucky you don’t live in a military town — seems like this is what every spouse does for a living!


I think I am totally domestic, but I hate themes, I hate selling parties, and I hate fake. So I don’t think any of those things are synonymous with domesticity. But it could be why I have no friends…


Hmm. I don’t think you have to do these things in order to be domestic, but you have to be domestic in order to do these things.

And if you don’t have “real life” friends, it’s because you’ve been busy raising 8 kids – definitely not due to an un-friend-worthy personality. That’s why us online friends are so great… less maintenance. :)


Thumbs up to your friends however I am confused,,,,you say

” I say this not to insult those who earn a living supporting these companies or those who genuinely enjoy the products and purchase on a regular basis.”

But you took the time to write in strike though “pyramid scheme”.There for putting a negative light on everyone in the industry as being part of something shady. Why did you feel that you needed that there instead of just referring to it as a home business?

Network marketing is far superior to retail marketing in countless ways as the articles and videos on my site explain.. Yes there are probably more “bad” opportunity’s out there than good but that doesn’t mean network marketing as a business model is inherently a “scam” You just have to be careful about the company you choose the products and the compensation type that they offer. .


Because it IS a pyramid scheme, and that is exactly the thing I don’t like about most of them. For example. When I’m guilted into attending one of these parties, I have to sit through all of the hooplah of the sales person not only trying to get me to buy the products, but several instances of her trying to convince me to host my own party and sign on under her as a minion. Her ultimate goal is for me to sign on with the company as a consultant, where I’d have to share my income with her and her superiors.

It’s different than a friend of mine who decided to start an Etsy shop to sell handmade hair ribbons for toddlers. When I go to her house to buy something, that’s all it is — me going to her house to buy something. No pressure. Just her and her business.

So while those pyramid scheme business may be great for some people (hence the note that I don’t want to offend anyone), they’re just not for me (hence the snarky crossed out text).

And for the record, I *never* used the word “scam.” There’s a big difference between “scam” and “scheme.” You used “scam” on your own. ;)


“And for the record, I *never* used the word “scam.” There’s a big difference between “scam” and “scheme.” You used “scam” on your own. ;)”

Yes you did by the very definition a pyramid scheme is a scam.

Pyramid Scheme

A pyramid scheme can be defined as an illegal and fraudulent money-making scheme that is based on a non-sustainable business model that involves the exchange of money primarily for enrolling other people into the scheme without a legitimate product or service being delivered. Eventually the number of new recruits fails to sustain the payment structure and the scheme collapses with most people losing the money they paid in.

Legitimate Network marketing

The concept behind network marketing is a distribution model that allows a company to sell their products directly to the consumer. Choosing to use a word of mouth approach (networking) instead of advertising through traditional streams (eg media). Therefore instead of paying the media for advertising, network marketing companies are structured to reward distributors through commission in return for selling their products and finding new customers. Therefore the main focus of a network marketing company is product distribution. not everybody wants to be a sales person and therefore choose to recruit more distributors into their organisation as a means to build their referral base. Not only does this create a group of loyal customers, it also allows you to leverage the efforts of others to create a
residual stream of income

The company i represent require no investment and has no overhead. as long as you are a monthly customer of their products or services Your given a *** free website*** in which to offer there products and you are given commission not only off products you sell but the products that everyone in your group sells. There for

**** there is no way for anyone to “lose” money **** and hence its not a scheme or a scam.

I would rather have one percent of 100 people’s efforts than 100 percent of my own.” John D. Rockefeller

.Car dealerships and retail stores and basically every other type of product riven store out there have people selling for them paying their employees a fraction of the pay they deserve. Look at all retail sales an people that make crafts and sell them at home . The minute they stop working and stop selling they stop making money.

Network marketing allows you to build sustainable monthly product sales and commissions so if you have a strong enough team you can stop selling product yourself yet continue to receive residual income


But Eugene, I don’t know what it is specifically that you do, nor was I writing specifically about what you do. I was using the word scheme with the intended definiton of “A large-scale systematic plan or arrangement for attaining some particular object or putting a particular idea into effect.” Sure, it has negative connotations, but I was using the negativity within the context of this post as the idea that if I’m going to support my friends, I’d rather ALL of my money go to them and their business — not to the higher ups. And also that I’m just plain sick of getting invited to socialize when it involves me buying things I don’t want.

So. I’m not arguing your point. I own Scentsy and Pampered Chef and some jewelry product I can’t remember the name of. I am not boycotting home based businesses. I’m sorry that I hit a nerve!


I like themes, but not selling parties. My themes are for stuff like NYE and Oscar, both are “bring out the bling”, but I even so, I stress on the invite to go into your closets to find those items of clothing that you would never wear again, ’cause you don’t have the occasion to do so and had to buy it for one event or another. I also really promote raiding other people’s closets and/or the thrift stores, getting creative, etc. I would never have a “theme” that meant folks had to go out and buy something. I’m more about let’s see what might be fun and CHEAP, usually meaning repurposed or recycled ;) Even for Halloween I don’t usually buy anything, except for a cheap dollar store accessory~

As for the selling parties, they usually go away once you are older than 35 or so, it seems to be the “thing for the newly marrieds to the newly parents to the new home owners”, etc. At least that was my experience. Although living in your community, that may be ever evolving or revolving, with the transient nature of military life.


“Eugene, I don’t know what it is specifically that you do, nor was I writing specifically about what you do.”

Sorry i have been following your blog for a while now and thought you had been to my website before it may help to understand myself and your friends and “why” you keep getting invited to these parties.

In a nutshell I started my own marketing company to promote a company that offers a free home business opportunity to anyone who buys one of their products on a monthly basis and to show people how to be paid to be a customer and escape the Matrix ( the traditional 9-5 & retail sales world)

I basically do what your friends do without the home parties. I have used what writing skills I have and my experience in the sales and marketing fields to try to educate people that relying on the traditional 9-5 world for income or trying to do something similar traditional retail sales is similar to choosing to sending a letter via regular post office when you have the persons email address. It still works but is slow inefficient and in some cases never actually reaches the destination.

“I am not boycotting home based businesses. I’m sorry that I hit a nerve!”

It not that i thought you were boycotting anything more that you were were using an incorrect term referring to Legitimate network marketing like that is the same as referring to apple or any big company in that way ( in the corporate world the top make more than the bottom to.)

What i don’t get is why you haven’t joined them? You say its because its “not for you” yet you have alot of dreams and thoughts of stuff you want to do maybe your friend are not trying to sell you stuff but show you an opportunity in which to achieve your goals of being a world travelling food blog writer.

To put it in a perspective you can understand say Chile town hot sauce called you up and said if you buy one bottle of our sauce a month for $10 we will give you a free website and pay you commission on every bottle you sell. Also we will also pay you a $2 commission on any bottle your team sells. Every customer will get the exact same offer and a free website as long as they buy 1 bottle a month.

I know you like that sauce so you go and tell two friends and they in return tell two people you don’t know about the sauce. So 2+4= 6 bottles a month your getting paid for 2×6=$12 so now your making a $2 profit every month you by the hot sauces,

Your friends also get 6 people on their team making you even more profit and now they have the sauce for free and are in profit as well. Thanks to yo the company is selling more sauce and you and your friends are now making a profit being their customer. Everyone wins.

Think anyone will give up a free bottle of sauce and profit every month? no so you also have stable sales every month unlike traditional retail. Of course this example is with my companies pay structure an may not apply to your friends companies but I hope you get the idea on why people find it so appealing.

lets jump forward an say now 100 people on your team are getting it for free and just to make the math easy we will say that 100x$12 that’s an extra $1200 a month Soon after on a beach in Spain and all you had to do with it was get 2 new monthly customers =buying sauce and teach them how to teach people to get their sauce for free.

Anyway i hope you understand a bit better and wont get so frustrated and will understand why your friends hold so many parties and why your use of that term “hit a nerve”


Sorry when i said “is with my companies pay structure” I didn’t mean “my company” It should have read the company that I represent as an independent distributor


I laughed at the comment about baby showers….holy cow have I been to a lot of them. I’m great at games, but the minute you ask for advice for the new mom, all I’ve got is “get that baby a passport.” Suggestion for the shower hostess: less chicken salad and more deep fried oreos.


That is the BEST baby advice I’ve ever heard. Period.

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