8/31/2009 11:37:00 pm

Picnic Food Party Fear

Posted by Tom French |

Chances are if you know me you'll know that I have all these dumb phobias about dumb things. Like hair dressers, foreign coffee shops and parties.

Parties are bad because you have figure out the appropriate dress code (casual, smart-casual, semi-formal, formal, dress-up), the appropriate gift policy and the appropriate time of arrival.

On Saturday I had to go to an engagement party afternoon tea picnic. That caused me particular stress because while you can usually figure out what to wear to an engagement party (smart-casual) if it's in a park, that's a little bit harder. Were it a barbecue, you'd know you could probably go casual. But afternoon tea? Not so sure.

Then there was the problem that the invitation told us to bring some food to share. Now this always scares me. This scares me worse than clothes and gifts. Firstly I can't cook. I can't bake cupcakes, I can't make sandwiches, and I don't do scones and jam. Second, what do people eat for afternoon tea anyway? I never have afternoon tea or if I do it looks remarkably like last night's dinner.

So I ended up going to the shops wandering the isles, feeling stressed and imagining everyone laughing at me when I turn up with the wrong thing. I ended up opting for Doritos and salsa. I stressed a bit about the fact that you can't serve Doritos at a party straight out of a packet and I did have a bowl. Plus no one who's worried about their image eats corn chips for afternoon tea, it's just not done. But I decided that corn chips were better than muesli bars, which was my other supermarket option.

As I drove to the party I continued to worry about the Doritos and how they weren't cupcakes (probably the ultimate afternoon-tea party food). When I arrived I had decided to leave my food in the car, wander over to the party, and then if the table looked like it needed some Doritos and dip I'd say "Oh, I forgot get my food out of the car" and the go and get it. This cunning plan would save me the public scorn from providing inferior food.

In the end the table was well stocked with food, even Doritos, so I just quietly slipped into the party in the hopes that no one would notice that I didn't contribute anything. I never went back to the car for the Doritos. I thought by that stage that the embarrassment of having to put food on the table late would be worse than having brought no food at all, especially when I was pretty sure no one noticed that I was stingy.

The upside to all this however, was that I could take the Doritos to the Church picnic the next day, so I did and they got squashed by a ball. Success!

It's hard going to parties sometimes.

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