One of the perks of marriage is having a second set of eyes and ears at parties. Attending as a couple is not only more fun, it's a surer way to know what's going on.
Because my husband and I can count on one hand the number of parties we attend annually, squeezing the most out of every occasion is a big deal. Upon arriving at a friend's house, we generally get the lay of the land, and then split up to work more of the room.
This approach is more practical than nosy. Because most of our friends work full-time jobs and have children - as we do - we rarely get an opportunity (aside from those chirpy family newsletters at Christmas) to find out what they're doing. So, by both of us circulating, my husband and I can put everything together later during the drive home.
I leave "How's the job?" questions to Richard, because guys are more comfortable with that as an opener. I prefer, at least with women friends, to dive right in with "How are you feeling about the move?" By the time we compare notes, my husband is annoyed with me for not knowing what advanced degree the woman earned, and I'm disappointed that he forgot to ask about the guy's ailing father.
Both my husband and I are insatiable students of human nature, so parties send us practically into overload. It's not that we live for gossip, it's just that we are passionate seekers after the grail of human motivation: What makes people do the things they do?
Few couples can resist a little post-party speculation. My husband and I rest secure in the knowledge that our lives are too dull to provoke gossip. Yeah, right.
E-mail the Homefront at firstname.lastname@example.org.