Shannon Kidd

Over the past 12 months, I have attended more than 20 parties and written charming reviews of the very best and most memorable. Now, before we sing “Auld Lang Syne,” one question looms large: What have we learned about throwing the perfect 10-point party? Well, let us listicle...

1. The Mercury’s holiday party demonstrated the importance of karaoke song choice. A good rule of thumb: If you’re a badass woman, singing proto metal is your birthright—have at it. However, under no circumstance should anyone sing “Cradle of Love,” ’cause c’mon, it’s a nearly five-minute song about statutory rape.

2. If you happen to be raising a badass young woman, don’t change her play dates without updating your shared Google calendar.

3. Every party at a private residence has a room designated for a giant heap of strangers’ coats under which you can hide and stroke the homeowner’s cat.

4. Fuck stevia!

5. Drink in excess early to drive home safely later. Remember, each drink will take an average of one hour to metabolize. So, if you want to make it through that 12-pack of Miller High Life and head home by 2 am, be prepared to get the party started by 2 pm. Another good rule is to disregard this advice entirely and drink responsibly, but you and I (and all your friends) know damn well that’s not going to happen.

6. No matter how good you and your closest friends think you are at music, no one wants to hear you poorly play instruments in the midst of a gathering.

7. I will literally attend any party.

8. Vegan food is the bee’s tits. Talk shit all you want, but try some tofu musubi, buffalo cauliflower, or vegan hot wings and tell me that shit isn’t bomb. People’s unfounded prejudice against vegan cuisine is every bit as obnoxious as your friend who just became vegan and is now convinced their life’s calling is to convert the rest of humankind by way of snide remarks and disturbing videos when all you want to do is play Mario Kart. And you know what? Maybe if you just eat a few vegan dishes without whining about it, your friend might lighten up on all the shade and self-righteous bullshit. So there. I just improved your friendship. Now, pay me for my emotional labor.

9. Roller skating is hard work, but absolutely worth that derby booty.

10. Multiple partial bottles of liquor equal one full bottle of liquor.

11. Juanita’s Chilipeño chips are always a good choice.

12. Kids are creepy AF and the best way to prevent them is to get a vasectomy. It’s quick, simple, and inexpensive. So, if you have a vas deferens and like to fuck folx with ovaries, you have no excuse.

13. No one actually knows the rules of UNO!

14. Goodbyes are hard as hell. So maybe throw a party to soften the blow.

15. Two words: ancient erotica.

16. If you don’t know what to bring to the party, bring weed. (Unless you’re partying with people opposed to cannabis, in which case you should consider new acquaintances, be more selective and intentional about the invitations you accept, and bring weed for yourself and whoever else made the mistake of partying with Mormons.)

17. Niggas love LaCroix.

18. Denouncing the racist, patriarchal, homophobic, transphobic, psuedo-religious, misogynoir-ridden, capitalist oligarchy is a totally normal and appropriate icebreaker (in Portland).

19. If and when in doubt of someone’s gender, I beg of you to please never assume drag queen. If you’re unsure of how to ask for someone’s preferred pronouns, Google it.

20. The expiration date on a jar of kimchi is the earliest date you should even consider eating it.

21. Beer, wine, and carbonated water are the bare minimum for calling a gathering of friends a party. I assure you, all three were served at the 1897 Bradley-Martin Ball.

22. When throwing a birthday party for a child, do consider inviting no other children. I mean, be honest with yourself: Do you really like your own kids all that much? Now, imagine if you weren’t bound by love and shared genetics.

23. Your mom probably throws a better party than you and that’s nothing to be ashamed of.

24. Sometimes, silence is best.

25. What we still haven’t and may never learn is what’s with the creepy mirror maze girl in that Justin Timberlake video.