I have guy friends who do not enjoy entertaining, in the sense of having a dinner party. Football, beer, chips and dip are fine, but the idea of opening their house to a large group of people is anything but fun. I, however, absolutely enjoy having people over; the more people, the more eclectic the group, the more unique the food, the better! I love preparing my favorites foods for others to enjoy, sampling delectable delights they have created, and talking about the world. In fact, I will make up a reason for a party, especially during the summer when I can get the smoker going. I am ridiculously proud of my pulled pork.
As with other endeavors, I have three rules for any guy to turn what might be a dreary evening into great time with friends.
Rule one, likely the most important; “Do not pass this off on your wife.” Be engaged and help plan and prepare the meal. Get in there and chop, dice, drain, fry, boil, SMOKE, and strain. Rachel and I enjoy cooking together quite a bit. This is just one more way to spend some quality time listening to music, talking and doing something productive.
Related to this first rule, but not really a rule in its own right is that you do not have to provide all of the eats, but preparing the main dish is a good idea. Selecting and telling your guests what you are preparing for the main dish, can also set the tone for “theme” dinners, in which everyone brings something related to a particular theme or type of food. Easy examples include Mexican or Italian. However, by doing this I have found that I really enjoy Indian cuisine, in particular, some vegetarian dishes created by Holly and Kori.
The second real rule is to invite people with whom you know you enjoy spending time AND some NEW people. Make new friends. If there is a couple, with whom you have been casual acquaintances, maybe friends of friends, invite them. For me, this rule has a “sub-rule” also. We have been accused of “collecting people”. I like to invite an eclectic group of people to foster lively discussions. In my house, no topic is off-limits. I love to talk about politics, history, religion, child rearing, education, fishing, cars, gadgets, fashion, food, movies… Some may be wary of this idea, as they are afraid of conflict. However, in my house all ideas are welcome and all minds must be open. People are always welcome to self-exclude if this may offend their delicate sensibilities, or otherwise challenge their narrow-minded view of the world.
The third rule is to RELAX and enjoy your friends. Do this as often as you can. Talk with both your guy friends, and their significant others. Do not segregate into men and women, at least not on purpose. As the conversation flows, you may find that different people drop in and out, this may relate to gender, age, interests and professions.
One more thing… If you guests have children, make sure they know it is ok to bring them along. We even allow our children to each invite a friend to add to the fun. One of the boys, a skilled martial artist, even provides the entertainment sometimes. To sum it up, eat, drink, be merry and worry about the mess later… it will be there in the morning.
Written by: Terry Sorensen