Chachkas in Purgatory – From Guest Blogger janethgrt

Here’s the first of two guest blogs this week, this from faithful reader janethgrt.  (The second from my cousin Sara Fryd will run on Friday.) 


Perceived purgatories, it seems, aren’t limited to Greek Diners and deserted streets.




The Second Essential Scary Truth


My version of purgatory occurs in nice middle and working class homes all over America. I’m talking about hostess theme parties geared towards selling you things you neither need nor want. Card-stamping? Candles? Pricy and bizarre kitchen gadgets? Skincare?  I’ve been there and done all of them. I seem to have missed Tupperware and sex toy parties, but most people I know fall somewhere between not quite that boring and not quite that risqué.


Now, as far as purgatories go, these little gatherings are not all that bad. It’s just that they are all exactly the same. You don’t attend out of a burning desire for a twenty- dollar-little-wooden-stick-that-pushes-dough-into-mini-tartlet-trays, but to show support for your co-worker or friend. For me it’s always a matter of wanting to spare a friend feeling badly if no one comes. It’s a conscious choice, knowing I am going to put myself into that place and time. Inevitably, more people show up and I kick myself for getting suckered into another of these parties. A case in point was my first hostess party: candles. My friend had just gotten divorced and she was trying to rally her spirits with an all-girls event. I arrived early, intending to help set up, buy some unscented tapers, and make an appropriately timely exit. So many people came that I got parked in and had to sneeze my way through three hours of honeydew, mulberry, and fresh linen fragrance samplers.


The first phase of these events usually kicks off with wine – of which I am a big fan. I’ve learned to bring my own bottle because it’s just a crapshoot for what will be served. The one exception was the foodie party, which happily devolved into a wine fest. After about two hours we achieved a coup and the company representative co-host gave up trying to engage us with her wares. Ironically, she probably had landmark sales because by the end of the night I decided that among other things, I really DID need a twenty-dollar-little-wooden-stick-that-pushes-dough-into-mini-tartlet-trays.


Next comes the parade of items. It’s comparable to an office birthday party, where everyone passes around some trinket, gives the obligatory “oohs” and “aahs” and prays it all ends quickly. Being socially oriented, we play nice. There is always someone who throws out a comment like, “You know, wow, just the other day I was thinking how great it would be to have…” This is a pivotal moment: will the hostess move things along or will she waste time going into banal details about item X? It’s like when a lecturer asks an exhausted audience “Does anyone have any more questions?” and some dolt or blow-hard who likes the sound of their own voice pipes ups. This is when I start looking for more wine. Lots more wine.


The end of the night inevitably centers on buying things. No matter how much you dress it up as an evening of female bonding, this is the underlying theme of hostess parties. The rep makes the sales and your friend gets a percentage. So I usually spend the last half-hour or so trying to calculate how much money is appropriate to spend. Nothing crazy, but you have to buy something, right? And to be honest, occasionally there are things I truly do want to buy.


Will I go again to another hostess party? Probably. Hopefully not too soon, but I’m sure there’s another one somewhere in my future. I’m holding out for the hybrid version of sex toys AND Tupperware.



If you have ever attended a sex toy and tupperware party, please e-mail the story to – SexyPrime: A Blog By Susan Crain Bakos. I know she’d love to hear all about it.


Keep sending in those guest blogs!  You send them in and they will be posted.  You have my word.  






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