Sunday, June 13, 2021

Life & Style

A Toast to the Host

There are those who have and those who don’t have. There are those who do and those who don’t do. At this time of year, there are those who host and those who don’t host.

Make no mistake, I don’t host. I’m always a guest and believe me, it’s better this way. For everyone.

I’ve tried to host at various times in my life and have been plagued by what can only be described as hosting fails. For example, my first dinner party was preceded by a broken water heater. Four inches of water in the basement. The meal didn’t come out well as a result, even though water in the basement had nothing to do with what I was doing in the kitchen. Nonetheless, everything was either gloppy or undercooked. My mind wasn’t focused, my heart wasn’t in it. I should have rescheduled and gotten takeout.

Then there was that time when I hosted an apartment-warming party and decided to make margaritas to go along with the Mexican feast I’d prepared. The blender exploded—yes, exploded. It took days to remove the sickening sweet smell of cheap tequila and margarita mix from my kitchen. Somehow it got behind the refrigerator. Yes, behind the refrigerator. There might still be some there, but I can’t reach that far. Oh well.

The worst was the time I hosted a dinner for my parents and my then-in laws. The company was great, the food was tasty, and the wine was a good choice. The ant invasion, however, was not expected and not wanted. A tree had been cut down the day before because it was too close to the house. Who knew a colony of ants, large and in charge like something out of a ’50s creature feature, lived in it? No one told me.

So as I sat at the table asking if anyone needed more wine or a second helping of Parisian chicken, I noticed a strange line on one of the walls. The line went from the ceiling into a cabinet and seemed to be...moving. It was, in fact, moving. Crawling. It was the ants relocating from their destroyed tree home to the inside of a cabinet. Arm hairs prickling and a scream perched on my lips, I took a deep breath, poured myself more wine, and hoped no one else would notice.

No one else noticed. As soon as everyone left I opened the cabinet to see where the ants were going. It was obvious what they wanted and not only because they were all over the box like a black cloak. Ants love them some sugar. I haven’t eaten Froot Loops since.

Just thinking about hosting a dinner is enough to give me a migraine and cause me to wonder if a rain of locusts will happen. So if you’re coming over, please know that I prefer to go out to eat. We can come back to my humble abode for drinks. If you want to stay rather than drive home, you’re more than welcome to stay. Kick off your shoes, grab a bunch of pillows, and make yourself comfy. My house is your house. You can stay and all will be well, as long as you realize that come morning, we’re going out for breakfast.

So this Thanksgiving, as during Thanksgiving each year, I’ll toast to all the hosts out there. I’ll be at my mom’s and will help cook. If she wants, I’ll set the table and pour wines and cut pies and hover around people asking if they need anything else and saying to please let me know if they do and don’t hesitate because, really, it’s no trouble at all. But I will not officially host.

On Christmas and for the rest of the year, that’s how things will roll. I’m a great guest. I’m appreciative, helpful, and know when to leave. I even do dishes. And if a parade of ants comes crawling down your wall during dinner, I’ll forever pretend that I didn’t notice.

Juliana Gribbins is a writer who believes that absurdity is the spice of life. Her book Date Expectations is winner of the 2017 Independent Press Awards, Humor Category and winner of the 2016 IPPY silver medal for humor. Write to her at Read more of her columns at

Juliana Gribbins is the Columnist for Zip06. Email Juliana at .

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