HEY GUYS GUESS WHAT? I WENT TO MY FIRST FRENCH HOUSE PARTY … and then slept through most of it. Because it was being held at my house.
Friday night. I’m in my black sequined dress, my host family’s daughter/my host-sister from another mister was in a cute pink polkadotted romper that I would double-dog dare anyone to wear in America. I’m going to the Latin Quarter (rue Mouffetard—read A Moveable Feast, yo) to go to some bars with my friends. And I thought Anaïs said she and her friends were going to a party and did I want to come with my friends? (I should note that the host parents are away for another week or so).
I’m an idiot, so I said no merci, I have plans. Well then, did I think my friends would want to come to the party after? And I’m a huge idiot, so I said no. I knew we would be out late (the Metro closes at 1) and I live kind of removed from everyone else so we would have to leave the bars after like an hour to make it to wherever this mysterious French party was.
And sheesh, you’d think I would have picked up on something when two friends (my first-ever bises and who would then become my first-ever male bises…the most awkward—if that is even possible—of all of my horrible French cheek kissing attempts because I was sitting cross-legged on the couch with my laptop on my lap while he stood over me, kill me now especially when I said my name was Alissa and he just said ‘Enchanté’ and walked away so once again I don’t even know the name of the person I kissed!) came over with potato chips and frozen pizza and wine. And you’d really think I’d notice when they pulled out this huge cylindrical glass jar (one more suitable as a vase) and dumping red wine and lemonade in it.
But nooooooooooo, silly me, I just thought they were doing some crazy French pre-gaming and I was already running late and had to peace out before they finished dumping the second bottle of red wine into the vase.
Joke was on me when I tipsily (but safely!) stumbled back home at 2 in the morning after having banana beer (yes, I typed that right, and it was 20% banana juice), only to hear music coming out of the apartment building (French after party? I stupidly wondered as I clomped up the stairs) and then went inside to hear lots of French voices mixed in with the Black Keys’ “Lonely Boy” and the sound of about twenty French shoes hitting the wooden floor.
This wasn’t their French after-party. This was their party party. But it was my French after-party—because apparently I can go to those now.
This was a big occasion. This wasn’t just the first French party I went to. It was the first house party I had ever been to that was hosted in my place of (temporary) residence.
Yes, I wasn’t at all involved in the actual planning and inviting and decorating. Yes, I didn’t even know it was actually happening until hours (probably, because I don’t even know when it started) after it started happening. And yes, I only knew one name and three familiar faces in the entire loft area.
But goddamnit, I’m just going to go ahead and say that it was my first house party because I’ve never thrown that large of a party at any of the houses I’ve ever lived in (yes, Mom, I’m not just saying that).
I understood more of the music than the conversation. Anaïs had created a playlist specifically for that party and it had a lot of English-language songs like “Lonely Boy,” The Kinks’ “You Really Got Me,” The Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction,” The Clash’s “London Calling” and a couple of ‘50s-ish swing and ‘60s-ish Motown. And even better, these twenty-something French bobos (hipsters) were actually legitimately dancing to them (and, as with “Satisfaction” kind of singing along to them in an adorable French way!). I wish I had had the courage (or the alcohol-courage) to jump on the makeshift dance floor so I could dance to music I actually have on my iPod and can sing along to. When was the last time that happened at Skrillex Land, USA?
But my shyness (which was mostly comprised of my inability to feel confident engaging in French small talk with the few French people I know, let alone French strangers) was very evident. I only talked to the daughter and her friend, the second person I’d ever cheek-kissed, though I did exchange words (literally only words) with the bises boy (when I told him I was from Philadelphia and he just said “EAGLES!” and then walked away shortly after) and some other boy who told me, in stilted English, that he would light my fire with his lighter if I were a smoker. I should add that this was not as random or creepy as it sounds, since I was talking with second bises girl about how I felt like I needed to get more into the smoking scene in Paris to meet actual Parisians (jk Mom).
But after an hour of alternating between talking with second bises girl about French music festivals and the higher education system in Paris and seeming really engrossed in my plastic cup of red wine and/or my phone, I’d had enough. My second wind had only lasted for so long and I went downstairs to try to sleep. After I put my favorite go-to-sleep album (and not because it’s so boring), The Cure’s Bloodflowers, I was out after the first two songs—and when I woke up at 5 a.m., it was because the music had turned off and people started clapping!
Dancing until 5 a.m.! I sure know how to throw a French house party! NOOOOOT.