Party conversation

A friend is visiting from California this week. She told me yesterday that it’s great to be back in NY – she prefers our intellectual climate. It seems that topics of conversation in L.A. tend to be very different, and she has been growing weary of people at social gatherings starting out a conversaation by asking her: “Which one, Jennifer or Angelina?”

For those of you who cannot decode this mysterious question, it refers to which gal one would like a certain top movie star to end up with, in a romantic sense. Apparently you must be on either one side or the other on this issue. It’s kind of like that other question about the war in Iraq, with the difference that people take the Jennifer/Angelina question far more seriously.

Of course there are at least two issues that would come to my mind, were I to be confronted by such a conversational opener: (1) Is this really a good way to assess new people in your life? (2) Why is this question even any of our business?

But somehow, over the course of the day, the New Yorker in me has started worrying this question, trying to tie it in with my own world view. And I have caught myself continuing the conversation in my head, with an answer that goes roughly like this:

“I would say neither one of those. Most likely Johnny. This would leave Vanessa heartbroken back in Paris, but she’d salve her wounds by stealing away with Nicolas. Feeling snubbed, Carla would make a play for Angelina, but would somehow end up with Jennifer instead. Meanwhile Angelina, feeling literary, would secretly start seeing Salmon. Not to be outdone, Miley would begin to date Kazuo. This would encourage Woody to call up Natalie – not realizing that the film he’d just seen her in was from 1994.

Natalie, of course, would have scooped them all by dating Noam, but she would leave him for Benicio. Unfortunately for her, Benicio would soon leave her for Javier, while Sean and Josh would shock everyone by eloping, which makes perfect sense when you think about it.

All of this would inspire Anne to finally go back to Ellen. But Ellen, in a stunning turn of events, would suddenly opt for Brad, who would leave Johnny, which is ok, because Johnny would end up in a happy and satisfied ménage à trois with Geoffrey and Orlando, and they would all three be adopted by Tilda.”

That might just be the closest I can come to L.A. party conversation. Of course, the person who’d asked the question would probably have fled in alarm and confusion around the time I got to Nicolas and Carla. Which would probably be for the best.

3 thoughts on “Party conversation”

  1. Ken, next time before I visit California I need you to give a party conversation course for me.
    That would save me from being too straight, too German and too rude and saying things like, you bore me beyond belief or just from running away. Honestly in spite this is totally against my education, I already did both.
    But then again, I am German and as everybody knows, if we laugh we prefer to laugh in the basement. Thank god our house has even a second basement – so even people very serious people like me without any kind of humour can feel secure. 🙂

  2. Maybe the course should be called:

    “How to cope with any kind of party conversation using Ken’s Jane Austen variations”


  3. Ach du SCHEI$$E. Sorry for the expletive.

    Dagmar. Have you seen this:,1518,616770,00.html
    (brief Engish explanation below)

    I have to admit experiencing a certain snottiness in being over here, a European, with weekly journals that surpass words with 6th grader difficulty status. “DerSpiegel”, for example. Now they report on their web edition that – ommagawd – Carla Bruni isn’t going to be in London because she can’t compete with Michel!

    Oh the shame!

    And somehow, Ken knew this was coming! First the innocent party post, then the Marilyn/Obama probe…

    He knew, Dagmar! He knew.

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