A Casserole Party is Earnest and Ironic Both

My friend had a casserole party on Saturday night. The idea was that everybody (or actually every two people) brought a casserole, we tasted them all, and voted on our favorites. The winners got prizes. Frank and I--Team Awesome Fantastico--tied for second place, which I was pretty proud of, and for which I received my very own copy of Josie and the Pussycats.

As we were milling around arranging our casseroles, another friend commented that we were finally at that age where almost everyone is coupled off. I'm not entirely sure if that was fair since the rules of the casserole competition specified a team effort (she was one of the single folks but she came with her roommate who was also single, so anyone watching them arrive might've mistook them for a couple) but it was kind of amazing that so many of the party's attendees were committed/engaged/married.

I guess that realization is a complete cliché. I just didn't think me and my friends would end up being so cliché. I'm not exactly sure how that happened. I thought that we would continue to go through the same cycles of coupling and uncoupling we’d gone through since college, where at any given time there’d be a pretty equal number of single and not-single people. I realize that just cause someone's getting married that doesn't mean they'll stay married, and if cliché is to be believed, we'll go through another round of breakups/divorces in five or ten years. Somehow, though, we’ve come to a point where 95% of us are in some kind of monogamous relationship.

The whole point of the party was a sort of tongue-in-cheek appropriation of fifties suburbia, and yet there we were all coupled off like good fifties suburban late-twenty-somethings in earnest.

It's funny, I wonder how much of the whole faux nostalgia thing is a way to ease into getting older and more boring. I realized that I spent an hour talking to a friend about the cooking websites we like. Adam, the host of the party and also a very fancy lawyer, was telling me how he and his fiancée mostly like to stay home and watch Buffy DVDs, even they are both fancy lawyers that could afford to go out to fashionable nightspots all the time. I told stories about my cats.

I guess it's nice that nobody's interested in spending tons of money at some cheesy bar, because I'm lame and I hate those places, and also I don't really have that kind of cash. Certainly I'm happy that my friends are happy: that lots of them have found people they love, that they have hobbies and interests and can cook well and choose nice wines and buy attractive furniture and generally live lives much more comfortable than those we had when we first graduated from college.

On the other hand, it's odd to have reached some point of acceptance. We longer feel compelled to say like "Oh but I'm still cool, I still go out and have wild times." I suppose that's what being a grownup is. Being happy to do what you like to do, without having to feel like a dork for it. I'm not ashamed to admit that the party was honestly fun, not just making fun of old timey values fun. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go pour myself a glass of wine and watch Josie and the Pussycats.