We had a gathering at our house tonight to celebrate Christmas and our birthdays. We invited a couple of new friends who had never been to our house. I introduced one man to my brother, and he said, “Which one of you two is the oldest?”

This is a very slippery slope to start down. One of us is obviously older. If it’s the female, then she’ll take it as a compliment and you’re in the clear. But you only have a 50-50 chance of it being the female. If you’re wrong, then you’d better duck and cover, because as they say, hell hath no fury like a woman you’ve just insulted about her age.

This is an easy mistake not to make. Just don’t ask such a stupid question. Ask, “Where did you grow up?” or “What do you do for a living?”

But enough about this, I need to talk about my cake. You know that hideous cake I made yesterday – the coconut one. Oh my sweet goodness was it tasty. It was so moist and just perfectly doused with coconut. Not one pinch too much or too little. I decorated it with turquoise icing and wrote, “Happy Birthday to Me and Scott.” My husband and I have very close birthdays.

Even with a ring of turquoise icing and writing on top, the caked remained ugly as a wall-eyed kangaroo, but it had a massive trustworthiness about it that invited you to partake of a little nibble out of pure curiosity. Once sampled, people were taking big old slices. I’m very happy it turned out tasty.

One fun thing about parties is that people drink a lot and loosen up and get silly. I didn’t drink too much because every time I poured a glass of wine I’d set it down and it would disappear. I probably went through two bottles of wine and didn’t get a buzz. I didn’t get much food for the same reason.

But some of my girlfriends were drinking enough for me. The things that come out of their mouths! They talk about other women’s boobs – about them sagging, or being perky, or showing too much cleavage, or having no cleavage to show. Boobs really are a good conversation piece for women at parties. I wonder if men talk about any part of their anatomy at parties. “Hey, John, how’s it hangin’?” “Well, it was hangin’ to the left but lately it’s a little more center, ha ha.” “Did you see that guy in the black pants? He looks like he’s got a dishtowel in there. What’s up with that?” “It’s not real.” “How can you tell?” “I just know these things. Trust me, it’s not real.”

Somehow I don’t think guys do that, but who knows.

Well, I’m pretty worn out. Parties, even small gatherings, are a lot of work. All that cleaning and vacuuming so people can grind crackers and grapes into your carpet, spill red wine on your kitchen floor, and shatter your favorite glass into a radius a half a mile wide so everyone has to stand still while you get the broom and spend the rest of the night sweeping up all the tiny slivers. In fact, sometimes I wonder why I love having parties, but I know I had this one because of that Christmas song that goes something like, “We need a little Christmas, right this very minute…” In this stagnant, downturned economy when everyone is just hunkering down and riding out the storm, I wanted the people I love and make me happy around me. I got a good dose of seasonal kindness and a whole bunch of hugs because people decide they’re leaving and give you a hug, and then they get distracted and a half-hour later they’re still there trying to go home so you get another hug. Hugs are good for the soul, and I’m happy as an otter in the water I’m going to bed now and dream of sugarplums.