From time to time, Baby Jane Hudson appears here with her question and answer column, But You Are In That Chair: Baby Janeâ€™s Advice For the Confused, Depressed and Clueless. The summer season is upon us and many are preparing for the usual round of seven weddings, 14 barbecues and the odd key party. To help you prepare, Baby Jane takes time to answer some of your most pressing social etiquette questions. She has time since she’s not shaving her armpits this year and also is refusing to return books to the library. Also, she’s been banned from the beach.
Dear Baby Jane,
I am appalled! My friend is getting married for the third time and had the gall to register for wedding gifts. The first time around I bought her the expensive mixer she wanted. The second time around I said, “Well, everyone makes a mistake,” and went all in for several place settings of the china she wanted for “entertaining.” Now I’m on the hook for another gift? Can I decline? Should I just put $20 in an envelope and call it good? Even more horrifying – she’s going for the white princess wedding gown. I told her I think she should go with a demure, cream-colored suit.
Providence, Rhode Island
Who died and made you Queen of Weddings? You will get your friend a gift, dammit. I don’t care if she’s on her way to nine husbands, you should get her a gift for every single one of ’em. After all, you’re obviously kind of a bitch and probably don’t have that many friends. Do you really want to piss her off? Now, the kind of gift is up for debate. A bottle of Mount Gay Rum? That would be great! A handful of painkillers, siphoned off of other friends’ stashes when you visit their bathrooms during dinner parties? Wonderful, especially if tied with a bow from that old box of chocolate-covered cherries in the attic. See? Get creative? Don’t do the registry – that is so boring. As for the dress, only lesbians where suits to their weddings. Lesbians and women over 70. Not that I would wear a suit. I’d wear a pinafore, of course.
Dear Baby Jane,
I am the absolute worst at making small talk at parties! I dread it. Last year at a barbecue I asked a woman what she did for a living and she said, “I’m an accountant,” and I said, “Well,” and then stared at her for at least 30 seconds trying to come up with something clever to say. I still have nightmares about that one. I meet someone and my mind goes blank or I blurt out the worst thing possible, like, “Don’t you wish we could have a Popsicle right now?” or “Remember the TV show Sigmund The Sea Monster?” HELP!
Tongue-Tied & Twisted
Dear Tongue Twisted,
I read your letter nine times and I’m failing to see what the problem is. Popsicles? Brilliant! Sigmund the Sea Monster? I have it on VHS! It sounds to me like you’re a conversational genius who is underappreciated. However, since this is supposed to be a column in which I “help people,” I’ve come up sure-fire conversation starters for you that always work for me.
1. Hey, did you see that green thing in the bathroom wastebasket? What do you suppose that is?
2. Do you know who I am?
3. Do you like me?
4. What do you think of my make-up/hair/fashion?
5. Are you drunk? I am.
6. Do you want to French kiss me in the broom closet?
7. Do you really think your job matters in the overall scheme of the Universe?
8. Have you ever touched a hippo’s snout?
9. Flowers: plastic or silk?
10. Do you want to get high?
Dear Baby Jane,
My sister is getting married this summer. I am the older sister but I’m not married yet, something I hear about constantly. Although she doesn’t know it, I’ve been dating one of my sister’s old boyfriends and things are getting more serious. I want to bring him to the wedding as my date rather than spend the evening alone, fielding questions about my status. Is this OK? I think it is because she’s marrying someone else and the old boyfriend says she was a drag – there is no chemistry between them!
Things get complicated when it comes to sisters. If you show up with her old boyfriend there are bound to be hurt feelings… so I say go for it! Sometimes a sister, particularly an uppity one who thinks she’s so great just because she’s getting married or has a hit movie or has a million dollars, needs that needle of a reminder that’s she’s no better than you are. In fact, this boyfriend likes you better! Maybe you don’t have such an irritating voice, maybe you give good blow jobs, how do I know? Love is a strange and fickle thing. Anyway, show up with the boyfriend, invest in a knock-out dress and don’t play second fiddle to that twit.
Dear Baby Jane,
Every summer my corporation has a big barbecue and every summer I end up getting drunk and doing something embarrassing – throwing up in the potato salad bowl, stabbing myself with Jarts, pulling down my pants… It’s terrible. But everyone else thinks it’s a riot. Politically, I have to go to the event – not going would be as good as quitting my job – but I can only endure it if I’m drunk. But I’m tired of being the joke. What are your tips for enduring a social situation without the aid of booze?
Dear Liquored Up,
I’ve never been to a party without getting drunk before, during and after. Why else do people have parties? That being said, you could switch to pills. But if your mind is made up that you’re going to be the good little boy or girl, fine. I would say bring something to bite down on, like a rag or a stick, so that when people start talking about things like T-ball and yard sales and saving up to redo the kitchen, you can clamp down on something and keep yourself from reaching for the booze. Alternately, you could come to the party very hungover instead of drunk – you’d be unable to look at alcohol for at least the first hour or two, you would not be able to say much or move and could basically occupy space without the danger of actually saying or doing anything. My other suggestion would be to come in a chicken or gorilla suit – you’re hilarious and you can’t actually get a drink up to your mouth because of your giant, fake head.
Dear Baby Jane,
It’s summer and I’m ready to party, meet some ladies and get my humpty-hump on. Do you know what that is? It’s S-E-X. What are some great places to meet ladies this summer and get my hands on their rumps?
Salt Lake City, Utah
Dear Horn Dog,
There has always been a plethora of rumps in Hollywood, so I suggest starting there. Drive out in a brown van with tiny, tinted windows in the back and make your debut. You may end up in a movie or humping a would-be actress! As for places to party in general… I like any party where there is plenty of shrubbery. I’m usually sitting in there singing to myself, not having S-E-X but I’ve seen many people partake of sex in shrubs and it seems like an OK thing to do. Also, I like parties on boats. If you don’t like the people you’re with, you can stare out at the water and imagine killing yourself or you can tell everyone you just saw a merman and they will leave you alone. The best part about a party on a boat is when you’re the one going “below deck” with the attractive guy in the captain’s hat, gold necklace and no shirt.
Baby Jane Recommends
Every year I’m looking for a good cause to support or an organization I can really get behind. For the right organization, I’ll even dig up a jam jar of money from the backyard. In 2011 I’m throwing my weight behind the Snack Food Association (SFA). Businesses in SFA include, but are not limited to, manufacturers of potato chips, tortilla chips, cereal snacks, pretzels, popcorn, cheese snacks, snack crackers, meat snacks, pork rinds, snack nuts, party mix, corn snacks, pellet snacks, fruit snacks, snack bars, granola, snack cakes, cookies and various other snacks. I love my pellet snacks! Gimme pellets! It’s been my lifelong dream to eat much like a gerbil in a glass cage.
And snacks have been under attack lately. So I find my membership to be a real statement. Why, in just a few days I’ll be leaving my house for the first time in three months to attend the SFA Acrylamide Conference. I’m going to learn a lot and I’m really going to drink a lot but, most importantly, I heard the snacks between sessions are killer.
And I can’t even talk about SNAXPO 2012 without getting giddy and short of breath. Support the SFA!!