It's been a couple of weeks since I decided to host my first-ever dinner party and already, I'm behind schedule.
All I have managed to do so far is set a date -- Saturday, March 6, 2010. I don't have a guest list and I certainly haven't gotten around to planning a menu.
Granted, I have been soliciting advice about the menu from none other than Martha Stewart, Giulia Melucci, and chef Sara Jenkins. Not to mention my friends and family. It seems everyone has an opinion about what I should serve, but I still can't decide.
The truth is that I can always come up with something to serve -- even if I take Martha Stewart's advice and order in. But the one thing I can't do without is guests.
Aside from Giulia Melucci and her new beau, nobody has agreed to come.
Then again, I haven't formally invited anyone. I made the mistake of e-mailing the date to a few folks asking if they might theoretically be available for the night of the 6th.
The response was lukewarm at best. People seemed downright disinterested. I thought friends would be vying for a spot at the table, not fabricating excuses.
"I'm a freelancer, so it's hard to commit," said my friend Ken.
"I've got co-op duty that night," said Dori.
"Who is going to babysit?" asked Kathryn.
Another friend just rescheduled her Belated Chinese New Year's party for the same night, which is sure to siphon off some potential guests.
"I feel dissed," I told Avo last night. "I finally get around to throwing a dinner party and nobody wants to come."
"People are busy with their own lives. Plus, it’s easy to ignore an e-mail invitation," he said. "You've got to go the whole nine yards and send out snail mail invites. Maybe even hire a calligrapher. Then people know you're serious about this."
Not sure about the calligrapher, but he's right about the handwritten invitations. In the age of Evite, nothing gets people's attention as quickly as an invitation sent via the good old U.S. mail.
"With a cocktail party, you just invite a bunch of people and see who shows up," said Avo. "There are no RSVPs. A dinner party is much more problematic."
You're telling me! So I went out and bought fancy letterpress invitations and addressed them myself. Maybe that extra effort will make all the difference.
"You have to invite a last minute mystery guest who changes the whole equation," said Avo. "Don't tell me about it."
What does he think this is? An Agatha Christie dinner party? I think we'll have enough mystery without this added element of intrigue -- especially since at the moment all of the guests are a mystery!