Over Chinese New Year, my friend asked why is it that in all the 19 years we’ve known each other, we’ve never once visited each other’s homes during the festive season. I’ve been to her house for birthday and Christmas dinners but Chinese New Year was never in the books. I told her that since I’m still living with my parents, it’s technically my parents house and to invite my friends over during Chinese New Year means my parents would be obliged to give them red packets as it’s tradition. She accepted my answer.
Frankly speaking I rarely invite anyone to my house simply because I don’t want to. Not because my house is in a dire state, in fact my house is generally clean and neat as my mother is a stickler for cleanliness (although my bedroom is another story altogether). I just hate having people over because I think it’s more trouble than it’s worth. If anyone were to come to my place, even for a few seconds, it would get me into a frenzy.
First I’d have to clean my house, or at least clean up the mess that is my bedroom. I have to hide the dirty laundry and the underwear somewhere. Then I have to make my bed, sweep up the stray hair and make some space so that people can actually stand somewhere on the floor.
Then I have to make sure there’s enough food and drink for my guests. Some may say not to bother because between friends there is no need for such courtesy but I think that the very LEAST one has to do as a host is to make sure your guest gets what he can, whether he wants it or not. When people are over, I make sure they have a drink each, and something to munch on whether they like it or not. My friend once remarked that I’m a fantastic host because I’d ask every other minute if she wanted something else, another drink, a bite to eat, perhaps a foot massage?
Of course, the most annoying thing about having guests over is that I have to put a bra on.
The last time I had people over was my birthday celebration 8 years ago. It was a success because people enjoyed themselves. While I was glad that everyone showed up, I was even more glad when it ended. Firstly people got lost trying to find their way to my apartment. I had to stand over the railing and yell down directions. Then I had to make sure there was space for everyone. Throughout the party I ran around making sure people were eating. By the time everyone was full, I was too tired to do anything but just wilt by the wall. I’m pretty sure everyone could take care of themselves at a house party and there was no pool for anyone to accidentally drown in. But to me, the perfect party was making sure everyone had what they needed.
Just last week we gathered at a friend’s house for potluck. Friend had recently moved into her newly renovated flat and she opened it up for our annual gathering. Just before the day, she apologised to us that the house was small so people may have to sit on the floor. That she just moved in and she didn’t have enough utensils. While everyone generously said it was okay, the Emily Gilmore in me privately frowned because I felt that if your house weren’t ready, you shouldn’t ask people over. Luckily she was just being modest because her house was beautifully kept and she made extra effort to get disposable cutlery and stuff and bought extra food to feed us even though it was supposed to be a potluck party.
So it’s been 8 years since I’ve had people come to my house because it’s a lot more work than I wish on anyone. It’s not that I think people are troublesome, actually well I do, but my point is I’m anal that way because that’s what I expect of a good hostess. Perhaps one day I may forget how tiresome it is and invite people to my place again. But until then, my bras will hang wherever they will.