Editor's note: Burton Cole is on vacation. Here is a Classic Cole.
She asked it with a straight face: "Will you host a candle party for me?" Why this overly optimistic friend of mine even considered such a notion within the realm of possibility without proper permits from the Federal Emergency Management Association and the EPA is beyond me.
Guys do NOT host candle parties; or home decorating parties; or plastic kitchenware parties. OK, so I heard of a couple guys hosting a Tupperware party back in college. I also understand that the rehabilitation worked to moderate effect and that the Tupperware representative who put on the party for the guys was able to, after only 72 treatments, look at plastic again without breaking into hives. Bringing herself to touch plastic took longer, and she still won't take the lid off anything for fear of what's inside.
But I'm told that other than that, she's mostly re-adjusted to society again, in small doses.
This is a prime example of why guys don't host sales parties.
It is a well-documented fact - having appeared in scads of Reader's Digest and Cosmopolitan articles over the last five years that the male brain is wired differently than the female brain. Somewhere in the female brain is a group of neurons and synapses that allows them to host and attend such parties and treat them with dignity, respect and commonly accepted social behaviors.
Guys, on the other hand, are wired to say, "You want how much? For THAT!? If I even wanted posies and candles hanging in my house, I'd get 'em at Walmart. Ya got any chicken wings to go with these little mints?"
When I was a kid watching some of the parties my mom hosted, they'd play games that had nothing to do with catching, throwing, jumping, hitting or scratching. Instead, I'd see a pack of my aunts giggling and hyperventilating as they tried to do things like see who could come up with the most words using the letters in "floral arrangement."
Cluster 15 of us guys in the living room without a TV, drop pads of paper in our laps, and tell us to just play along for once and come up with as many words as we could out of, say, "North America," guess what you'd get. At the end of five minutes, 14 of us would have tied for second place with two words: "America" and "north."
The other guy, who had his laptop computer with him, would have 3,476 combinations saved to disk, including such Scrabble gems as "torchier" and "haricot."
If we're going to play games, we need something that makes sense to us - like seeing who can blow out the party candles the fastest, using only the wind created by blinking one's eye and without burning one's eyelashes. Points also will be deducted for singed eyebrows and melted contacts.
I can only think of two logical reasons male brain logic that a single guy would host a sales party: (1) to meet women; (2) to make some extra cash to go meet women.
I have no idea why a married man would host a party. If his wife is hosting a party, the married man conveniently disappears.
It's not just by his choice alone; it's his wife's will as well. She knows even if he's involved in a very important baseball playoff game on another floor of the house, eventually he will wander into the room, pick up a plastic bowl, pop the lid and say, "Did I ever tell you what we filled this with during a college party? And the lids stayed on even when we dropped it from the roof."
"Bill, NOT NOW!" the wife hisses.
"Yeah, but you should have seen ..."
Bill, who thought he was helping his wife sell more bowls with his glowing testimonial, knows he just screwed up somehow but doesn't quite understand why. The story always impressed his buddies, who couldn't wait to dig some bowls and lids out of the cupboard to conduct their own experiments.
But it's time for the game to come back on, so Bill shrugs and saunters away but, being a sensitive husband, not without trying to make amends: "The smell finally came out after soaking the bowls in Clorox and vinegar for two weeks. Except for the one we microwaved."
So don't expect to be getting invitations from me to a candle party any time soon. I think it's best that way.
---- Send party invitations to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include the menu. Ask for Burt's first novel, "Bash and the Pirate Pig," at local bookstores.