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The Housewife Dictionary: "Checkbook Party"

Checkbook Party: A party given for the sole purpose of selling a product. A la Tupperware. Or Partylite (candles), or designer jeans…or, well just about anything.

The phrase was coined by my loving husband, who when I announced he would be on his own with the kids for a Friday night a few months ago- asked where I was going. When I told him it was a ‘candle party thing’…he said ’oh, no another Checkbook Party’- and the phrase was coined in my house from that moment on...

It is sad really, because first you get the Evite, phone call or written invitation and you are excited. ‘Wow, someone wants me to come to their party!’….and then you read the fine print. This is not any regular let’s-get-together-and-drink party. Nope this is a party with a purpose. You are not going to be a guest at this party- You will be a CUSTOMER. Ah-ha! Now you know why you were invited..it is not your clever witty party jokes, or that you can bring a mean spinach dip…..no folks, you were invited because you have a checkbook. You were invited because every person the hostess knows was invited. The hostess was not selective- she asked everyone and anyone she knew (I was once invited by a neighbor I had never seen in person). But who cares right? It is a PARTY. So you put it on your calendar-why not?

The party itself looks remarkably like a real party- there is food, drinks and sometimes music. But strangely no men in site. Even the husband of the hostess is hiding in a room upstairs- or sent to the movies with the kids. Nope, no husbands, and no kids…but there ARE apple martinis. You decide to stay. You chat awkwardly with the strange collection of women: The hostess’s hair dresser, hostess’s sister, the hostess’s babysitter, mom’s from school and a few people who don’t even know the hostess but were brought along for moral support.

And then the unavoidable happens; the presentation begins. You look to the door and think ‘is there anyway I can get out of here?” Then you remember the hostess taking your purse and putting it in the guest room with the others. You are now a party hostage. You refill your martini and then sit down with the group and look up to the party presenter. OC Party presenters are like cheerleaders who have been to one too many Tony Robbins seminars. They are always ‘thrilled’ to be there and seem to smile continually. They show the candle/purse/cooking products like pros- with a silly story/joke/anecdote for each product. They always have a sale or a special on something. You listen and firmly plant your feet in thinking ‘ keep trying lady- but there is no way in heck I am buying’. And yet, inevitably by the end of the ‘show’ and after 2 or 3 martinis…there you are breaking out your checkbook. You never realized how essential candles are to your life. You absolutely MUST have that giant candle thing holder- even though you will never be able to actually light the candles with kids in the house without risk of burning the whole house down. You really really need those candles or lotion or fake designer purse or whatever. You decide to banish all other lighting EXCEPT candles in your home. You will now do everything by candle light. As you write your check you think to yourself 'this kind of party is a great idea': Cocktails, passive shopping and meeting new people…..will you go to the next Checkbook Party? YES! You bet! Well if you can read the invitation by candlelight.


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