A Party Expert Tries To Take Her Own Advice

HowToSurviveWorkParties_Slide1_MaddyIllustrated by Madelyn Somers.
It’s been over two weeks since the Emmy Awards, and I’m still recovering from all the parties. I live in Hollywood, and like every year, the Emmys are prime-time for networking. A couple of weeks ago, I compiled a list of party-going tips, and now that the fetes are over, I wanted to look back and see how well I followed my own advice.
RSVP on time, and say "thank you."
I had this one crossed off the list immediately. I did forget the parking pass for party #5, however, which created a little mess and made me appear high-maintenance. Oops. (I prefer to be high-maintenance in private only.)
Show up and smile.
I showed up to four out of seven parties, and, believe me, that was significant progress. If I'm being 100% honest, though, I had the wrong night down on my calendar for party #4, which had me missing my favorite event of award season, since I had committed to spending the night with my kids. We stayed in and ordered Chinese take-out — not a bad trade-off, it turned out. When I did manage to show up to parties, though, I had the smiling part down pat.
HowToSurviveWorkParties_Slide2_MaddyIllustrated by Madelyn Somers.
Dress the part.
This year, I finally had the system figured out. I was comfortable at all the parties I attended, and I even repeated part of an outfit by wearing the same leather pants twice. Fashion faux pas? Perhaps. Was I comfortable? Definitely. More importantly, my Emmy dress was easy and Spanx-free. My feet were fine and only sported two band-aids. Dressing the part was a breeze — but, admittedly, it's taken me a couple of years to get to this point.
Eat before you drink.
Like remembering to smile, this one's easy for me. I never forget to eat. Plus, having a light lunch before the awards has become a regular ritual. I always order room service while getting dressed — nothing that might lead me to feel bloated.
If you want to drink, do it moderately.
Success here, too: I can report that for the first time ever, I didn’t see any people making fools of themselves by overdoing it with the free booze. Or, maybe I just didn’t stay late enough to witness the table dancing. Either way: success.
Don’t job-hunt.
I only found myself doing what I call the “linger stance” one night, and I snapped myself out of it quickly. I made the rounds, reminding myself to mingle and move on if the person's whose attention I wanted was occupied. Even though going back didn't work — its impossible to find people as the night goes on and the room gets more crowded — I never ended up standing around and looking desperate for conversation.
Balance the banter.
While I didn’t get on my soapbox, I wouldn’t say I was very successful with this tip. By the fifth night of parties, I was completely talked out and exhausted.
HowToSurviveWorkParties_Slide3_MaddyIllustrated by Madelyn Somers.
Don’t bring a random date.
I chose the perfect companion: my boyfriend. He’s even better at managing these tips than I am, and he looked like a Brooklyn James Bond in his tux, to boot. Moreover, he's got the gift of the gab — and he stayed by my side all night.
Make the rounds.
I followed this tip so diligently, I was dizzy. At some point in every party, though, I ended up huddled in the corner with the same group: my "Veeples.” Our quarterbacks were Veep’s creator, Armando Iannucci, and star, Julia Louis Dreyfus. We only won one Emmy that night, but it was a big one (Best Actress in a Comedy), which made this the third year in a row for the most talented lady on TV.
Say "thank you" and make a graceful exit.
I didn’t trip. My dress didn’t get ripped or torn. And, no one spilled on me. So, I’ll call my exit a success.
All things considered, I fared much better this year. I followed my own party-survival skills, and I actually survived. I mean, sure, I've had two years to learn from past flubs, so I’d be running out of excuses if anything had gone seriously wrong. While I'm not sure I’ll ever master every single tip — turns out they’re much easier to write than to put into practice — I think I'm doing ok. Every party is different and has its own set of challenges. Sometimes, the best parts of work parties are the simple, unexpected ones — like bringing friends together and laughing at ourselves.

More from Work & Money


R29 Original Series