Throwing a party can be, for some people, a real drag. They create for themselves a whirl of faux stress, brought on by popping open a can of Pringles and procuring a five-pound bag of ice from 7-Eleven. Whew, exhausting!
But it is the guests who suffer most.
We've all been invited to some friend's sad excuse of a shindig; where the fluorescents in every room shone as brightly as a day at the beach, the television blared an episode of Celebrity Rehab, and the only drink mixers were Coke and tap water.
But before you do as I would and unfriend them from Facebook, pass on these tips on how to do it right -- which I picked up from some of Fort Lauderdale's most fabulous drag queens:
Nobody gives better party than a man in a dress, and at Lips Restaurant in Fort Lauderdale, the "gals" serve dishes named after icons of the drag world ("The World Famous Divine" is a $27 filet mignon; the "Nicolette" is a slow-roasted, Caribbean dry-rubbed chicken for $16) and perform for you as well. Within the dining room that oozes glamour, inspiration sticks like glitter.
Here's what I learned from "the girls":
1. Choose a theme.
Every night -- except Monday as it is closed -- Lips offers up a different theme. Bingo. Divas. Gospel. For your party, why not try out a "Muppets" motif? Scatter yellow feathers around your home as if Big Bird had just traipsed through; serve frog-leg appetizers and roast a pig on a spit in the backyard; play "My Rubber Duckie" on a never-ending loop. Not your thing? Go international with a Parisian theme. Rent a poodle or two, download some Edith Piaf, serve escargot and French fries, encourage your guests to smoke, and treat them all with disrespect. Voila!
2. Go big with the décor.
Outside of Lips stand two enormous tubes of lipstick, thus avoiding any confusion with a biker bar. The entrance to your party should immediately convey to your guests what they're in for. Nothing hints that inside a pitiful plastic tray of grocery-store-prepared crudités awaits you more than balloons helplessly flailing about tied to a mailbox.
3. Get matchy-matchy with the food.
If it's Halloween, serve finger sandwiches. If it's a Roaring '20s feel, fill your tub with Tanqueray. Want the Woodstock vibe? Stuffed mushrooms and brownies usually do the trick. One of Lips' busiest performers, Twat LaRouge, offered suggestions for nibbles she prefers for a boudoir cocktail party, saying, "I would serve something tangy, something salty, and something sweet, because that's just how Twat rolls." She added, "I would serve my famous spicy salsa for those who came for a smack in the face. Then, for those with a hankering for some sugar, I'd serve them my tasty chow-chow."
That chow-chow recipe, coming up!