Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Conversation starters...or stoppers, depending on your crowd

Have you ever been to a party and had absolutely nothing to say? Everyone else has all this seemingly indispensible knowledge on mutual funds and gall bladder surgery and Indonesian politics that they're sharing with glossy self-assurance, and there you are wondering how many shrimp you can eat without being piggy. This scenario pretty much describes every party I've ever been to. With that in mind, here are some helpful facts to kick-start -- or bring to a screeching halt -- any conversation:

Instead of toilet paper, the Romans used sponges on sticks. I learned this in a class called "Sport and Daily Life in Ancient Rome" and it's perhaps my favorite piece of knowledge ever. It's best, however, to save it for after dinner or when you're waiting outside the rest room.

French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau liked to be spanked.I swear I read this in The Confessions, but I'm not one hundred percent sure. But go with it anyway, because seriously, who's going to check? Okay, they're going to check but the party'll be long over by then. Seriously, you're safe.

Casanova ended his life as a librarian. Now that's cool! And it's true because it was in A.J. Jacobs' book The Know-It All...which he cribbed from the Encyclopedia Brittanica. His book is much smaller, though, so if you're going to steal facts, steal them from him. There's much less lifting.

Opossums have 13 nipples. The perfect place to unveil that one? Yup. A strip club.

My husband once bought coffee for David Sedaris. This is completely true, and you can use this story as your own. Embellish it. Spiff it up. Add a car chase. The choice is yours!

Ten percent of all humans ever born are alive at this very moment. If you're enjoying the party, add "and the best ones are all right here." If the party blows, add "Too bad the dinosaurs aren't here to thin the herd."

I hope this improves your partygoing future!

No comments: