You can take the Girl out of the Midwest…

So, last night I went to an engagement party for one of my co-workers and her fiance. Before reading any further, it might be helpful to you to take this brief quiz.

A. You are invited to a co-worker’s engagement party. You

  1. Decide not to go, even though you’ve RSVP’d that you will be there because you’ll be damned if you’re ever going to play that stupid “pass the toilet paper through your legs and over your shoulder” game. As far as you’re concerned, toilet paper belongs in trees and in bathrooms and not wrapped around you and your co-worker’s fiance. Then you feel guilty for assuming the party will be stupid and go anyway.
  2. Look forward to it eagerly because the food will be great and the conversation will be scintilating.
  3. Give the appearance that you’re not going, but when you get there, become the life of the party.

B. The invitation to the engagement party says the event is at 6 p.m. That means

  1. You should be there by 6, and the window for your arrival is between 5:40 and 6:00.
  2. You should not arrive until 6, and the window for your arrival is between 6:00 and 6:20.
  3. You should leave your house between 6 and 6:15, even if you live forty minutes away.

C. Appropriate party chat includes

  1. Any jokes that start “A Methodist minister, a Catholic Priest, and an Assembly of God pastor…”, “A Priest, a Minister, and a Rabbi…”, or “A Baptist gets shipwrecked…”
  2. The wonderful food, the beautiful home, and how long one’s been married.
  3. How ludicrous it is that George Bush is going to get elected to another four years when clearly he is evil and stupid personified and is leading us to Hell.

D. You leave when

  1. It gets dark, or as soon after it gets dark as you can, unless you are planning to stay until dawn, in which case, bring on the booze!
  2. Only once you’re certain that staying any longer would be rude.
  3. Late into the night.

If you answered “1” to all of these questions, you are most certainly from the midwest. If you answered “2” to all of these questions, you are a Southerner, and if you answered “3,” you are from someplace out East.

So, you can imagine that trying to plan any party that brings those three different cultures together is difficult. I arrived at ten til, figuring that would put me squarely in the middle of guest arrival. No, I was the first person there.

The second person there? My co-worker from Indiana, whose husband had made her stop to get coffee, lest they be there at twenty til.

It was a nice party and there were no corny games. I left before nine, because the good looking neighbor had come over earlier to say that he didn’t have any evening plans, and I told him I’d bring over some beer if I got home early enough.

However, as the Professor and Miss J. can attest, if I’m home on my couch at 9 o’clock, I’m probably in bed by 9:30. Plus, we only had one beer. And one is not some.

2 thoughts on “You can take the Girl out of the Midwest…

  1. So, what does it mean if I answered 1, 2, 2, (well it would be 3, if it was not a shower)? Am I becoming a southerner after only 2 years, or am I just a bad midwesterner?
    Okay, I used to arrive early, as all good midwesterners should. But then, I lived in Germany for a short time and where it is just as rude to be early as late. And, I came to conclude that obsessive punctuality was a mark of capitalism’s near complete success at making efficiency appear to be an innate human value. Nothing about human relations is efficient. So why should I try so hard to be accurate and timely rather than concerned about attending to relationships?

  2. Clearly, once you start worrying more about attending to relationships rather than punctuality, you’ve moved out of being primarily identified by your region and into being identified by your profession: public intellectual.

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