In keeping with my newfound role as a Victorian social butterfly, I recently attended a dinner party. I’d ‘met’ the hostess (a brilliant nonfiction writer) online, so really it was a blind date with six people in a particularly beautiful area of town known as Oak Bay. Here’s a little tour of a few of my favourite sights…
Now I know this will come as a shock (to none of you)—I’m not actually very socially skilled. I’m prone to letting whatever passes through my brain flow like a waterfall from my mouth without filtering for impurities. I more often than not choose clothing that invariably turns out to be inappropriate. If I wear jeans, that guarantees the other women will be swishing about in ball gowns. If I go for my version of formalwear, then I know there’ll be a round of beach volleyball followed by clam digging.
This time I may have gotten it right. I sat in a supremely lush garden (even by Victoria standards) sipping wine, watching the sun slip away, chatting easily with wonderful folks about the ins and outs of this great town, and being complimented on my shoes. I devoured a delicious meal of homemade Korean delights and berries from the garden worked into a summer tart, and for once I didn’t conduct a smiley conversation with a giant piece of something green in my teeth.
And, miraculously, I didn’t say too many weird things. Why, I could have quit right then and there and made my way home with my social self esteem relatively intact. But little did I know what was to come next: a triumph of such epic proportions that Victorians far and wide will now be vying for me to grace their soirées.
As the digestifs were being poured, it was announced that we’d be playing some sort of game. While I’m as gamy as the next gal, I feared for my fragile performance as a desirable guest. I was already up with the shoes and perhaps there was nowhere to go but down. My hostess called it Famous People. Each of us had to write the names of seven well known people on slips of paper, toss them in a bowl, then rapid fire identity clues with the person seated next to us, getting as many right as possible in 60 seconds. It was all I could do to contain my excitement.
See, another little known fact about me is that I once made an appearance on a show called Quiz Kids, which propelled me to local infamy. Not only for standing in full view of a television camera and aggressively digging rust-coloured velour gauchos from the depths of my 10 year-old arse, but also for being the only kid who knew the answer to, “What was the name of Rhoda’s mother on the hit show Rhoda?” Ida Morgernstern, of course.
Well, naturally, I slayed them. CHAUCER! ANGELA MERKEL! ANNETTE BENING! CHARLES DARWIN! Never mind that I was screaming top lung at people I’d just met as if a gold medal hung in the balance. In the end, I was the clear winner and I reigned supreme as the the queen of useless knowledge that can be accessed within seconds.
Ah yes, today Oak Bay, tomorrow Buckingham Palace. I might be perched on a baroque velvet chaise in a pair of denim overalls with a piece of oily spinach dangling from my chin, but by jove, I’ll be the life of the party. MARGARET THATCHER! HENRY THE EIGHTH! ELTON JOHN!