Over the past few years, I have been conducting a rigorous scientific experiment at various social gatherings. To answer your question, yes it was difficult. Especially towards the end when my (so called) friends stopped inviting me back to their social gatherings. No one respects science these days.
Anyway, in the name of science, I completed my burdensome task, and I am ready to present my findings regarding the paradox surrounding snack placement at a party.
First, I should define what I mean by “party.” A party is a social gathering involving 4 or more people, some form of entertainment, and at least two snack items.
Here are some examples of things that are “parties:”
- A group of 10 friends playing Monopoly while eating pigs-in-a-blanket and falafel.
- A gathering of 7 guys eating pizza and wings, drinking beer, and watching Gossip Girl
Here are some examples of things that are NOT “parties:”
- Three dudes playing Monopoly with no snacks (thanks Frank, that was a really great night…)
- One guy sitting alone in his parents’ basement, eating Cheetos, and playing Runescape.
Now that we’re clear on the definition of “party,” we can move forward.
I present three axioms:
1) It is the goal of everyone at the party to be as close as possible to the snacks
2) It is the goal of everyone at the party to remain clean
3) It is the goal of everyone at the party to be invited back
Satisfying each goal, individually is easily accomplished in the following ways:
1) Go near the snacks
2) Don’t go near people who are near the snacks
3) Don’t talk with your mouth full, don’t sniff the snacks, always remember to thank the host, don’t conduct scientific experiments at the party, be friendly, remain clothed, etc.
The closer one gets to a group of people near the snacks, the more one is worried about getting dirty. And the more one is worried about getting dirty, the less they focus on “social norms,” thus decreasing the likelihood that they will be invited back. I know what you’re thinking, but you’re wrong. Wearing an apron to the party is not the correct solution. Also, please note that clothing beneath an apron is considered a social norm.
Herein lies the paradox: It is impossible to satisfy all three goals at once. Satisfying the first and second are easy. But also accomplishing the third presents some challenges.
Some of my solutions (and their downfalls) have included:
- Standing offset from the chip bowl away from the attendees of the party, furiously looking around to prevent getting dirty. Unfortunately this resulted in people thinking I was weird.
- Holding the snacks in the corner of the room and eating them while staring at the party guests and smiling. Again, people consider this strange.
- Sitting right in the middle of the action near the snacks and trying to socialize while wearing a rain poncho. The plastic made it hard to hear the conversation.
To this day, I have not found an effective solution to this issue, and unfortunately, after my incident with the apron (which I thought was an effective solution both in allowing conversation and avoiding staining my clothes), I have not been able to conduct any more experiments.
Please let me know if you are having any gatherings soon. I would love to test out some of my new theories (and aprons).