When it comes to parties there are two particular types of judgments that try to break into my mind. There are those that feel sorry for me because they believe alcohol has robbed me of my ability to have fun. Then there are those that believe I am just boring, and that alcohol has robbed me of my sense of joy.
It’s not the alcohol.
I earn most of my income through writing about poker. I am very fortunate that this job takes me all over the world. For example, I am currently writing this on my way back home after a trip to Venice.
Each poker tournament has a VIP Players Party and as a member of the team I am always invited to attend.
I always decline.
The thought of attending mortifies me in the same way it would mortify some of the guests to spend a Saturday night on the couch reading a good book. You see I have created a story that parties are full of people who consume too much alcohol.
What an assumption.
You see when people consume alcohol there is a myth that it transforms people into happier, more inspiring and funnier people. It even has magical properties that turn boring, shy people into outgoing personable people.
But the people who drink propagate those myths. It’s a lie. A lie that allows them to drink. It’s the excuse that every drinker craves. It keeps the score heavily on the side of the drinker. It allows people to drink poison and be ok with it.
People who drink alcohol at parties degenerate into my worst nightmare. There are many reasons for going to a party but you can boil them down into four different categories: To meet new people, to talk to people, to dance and to drink alcohol.
When you drink…is that who you are?
Of course it isn’t.
So why would I want to meet that side of you. It’s not you. You don’t even know what you are doing. What benefit do I get from meeting that side of you? I want to meet the real you, and to do that I need your full attention.
Why would I talk to you?
You can barely speak. When you do manage to spit out your sentences (mainly all over my face) you must worry that I didn’t hear you because you repeat them…again…. and again…and again.
Your opinion doesn’t waiver. You get angry very easily. You are full of judgment. But most of all you just talk absolute shite. The same old shite over and over again like a bad Thompson Twins track with a broken needle.
Why would I want to dance with you?
Now this is an interesting one.
Hold your hands up if you worry about what other people think about you when you dance?
My hand is up.
My wife told me to close my eyes and just dance. Forget that there were people in the room and just go where my body takes me. I loved it.
What do you think I did when I opened my eyes?
I saw people.
They all looked at me.
My legs turned to stone.
I danced all night and never moved more than an inch.
And those arms.
I never know what to do with those arms.
But drunken people don’t have a problem dancing. They don’t have a problem dancing naked. They don’t see the people because alcohol has robbed them of that basic function. They don’t care. They just move.
So all I need to do to dance at a party is to drink?
Well not exactly.
Instead, why not try something a little different?
Why not shake that story like a bag of salt and vinegar crisps. The one that you have told yourself about everyone looking at you.
Make a choice to just dance. Or get off the dance floor and do something else. Once you remove the ego, then dancing can be fun. Fun makes you smile. Smiles bring joy.
So I went to the Venice VIP Players Party.
I danced and I talked to people. In one stroke of irony I was telling a player about my dream of helping the world see the illusion that alcohol creates.
“That’s very honourable and so inspiring,” said the young man as he picked up a bottle of Belvedere vodka that was bigger than me and poured it down his neck.
I left after a few hours.
As I walked alongside the Grand Canal with my wife at my side I was content. I had danced, had conversation with interesting and fun people, and I had left before the bells chimed 9pm and everyone turned into complete and utter twats.
Photo Courtesy of WPT