The Pity Party


The pity party is not just what vicious, asshole elementary schoolboys would invite you to when you were genuinely heartbroken about something — usually about how ugly you felt when those selfsame asshole boys pointed out that one mole you have and said it made you look like a freak.

Awwwwwwwwwwww,” they would mock as you felt your heart cave in on itself, your self-esteem evaporating and leaving only pure, clean-burning rage in its place.  The tears welling up in your eyes had less to do with sadness and more to do with beaming your hatred at them until their faces melted, like those Nazis at the end of the Indiana Jones movie you had to watch for your brother’s birthday.  But they think they’ve gotten to you; they think they’ve taken you down a peg.  “Let’s all have a pity party,” they would sneer.

And while that memory will always be with you as the one time you would condone sitting on someone’s back and smearing their face into pavement like butter on a bagel, you know in your heart that such is not the Pity Party.  The Pity Party is altogether something else, a glorious descent into melancholy that is something altogether yours.  No-one can take it away from you, no-one can ruin it for you, no-one can rub their fingers together and imply that they are the smallest violin in the world playing just for you.  The Pity Party is that party, the Party, the one where you can cry if you want to and in fact it’s probably mandatory.

You are the only one invited, and for many, it is scheduled annually on February the 14th.


The Pity Party is your warmest pair of sweat pants, your biggest hoodie that has those bleach stains on it but is still your favorite, though no-one can ever see you wear it.

The Pity Party is lying sideways on the couch with bags of chips strategically placed on the floor, their open tops only inches from your face at any given moment.

The Pity Party is queueing up three consecutive episodes of Grey’s Anatomy on your PVR, with no shame and a nearly-grim sense of purpose.


The Pity Party is crying no fewer than six times during those three episodes, and thinking at least once that your current or former significant other just doesn’t get how great this show is.

The Pity Party is furiously condemning Valentine’s Day as a worthless, retail, money-grubbing holiday to victimize the sentimental, and then openly weeping at that one commercial where the kid asks his mom to help him make a cake for his valentine, and she drops everything to help him with it, and then she shows him how to make it heart-shaped and they work all day together on it, and then she drives him to school with it and tells him to be careful, and then he gets out of the car and she’s all, “You forgot your cake!” and he looks back at her and she realizes it was for her the whole time.

Damned Valentine’s Day.

Most importantly, The Pity Party is recognizing at least three — and for bonus points, five — things about yourself in the Bridget Jones’ Diary scene where Renée Zellweger sings “All By Myself” while she’s hammered off her ass on red wine.  Because if nothing else, the Pity Party can never be a dry party.

The Pity Party is:

  • One large glass, usually reserved for juice, beer or Viking Horns of Plenty
  • 3 parts red wine, or whatever is left in a bottle you might have had kicking around for a while
  • 1 part clear liquor; vodka, rum or gin will serve, and this is where those little airport bottles come in particularly handy
  • One can of a sweet or citrus-y diet soft drink; lemonade, pomegranite, or even Fresca — the stuff that is generally never found in a guy’s fridge unless it was left there
  • Lemon to garnish, in slices.

To the glass, first add the wine and then the extra shot of liquor (and then extra shots of liquor, as the evening progresses).  Mix gently, and then add the soda mixer — which should be cool but not frozen cold, lest it create weirdness.  Fill the glass with the mixer as fully as possible, and to the top twist a slice of lemon before allowing it to float gently on top.


Sample freely and extensively, as it is both a beverage and a metaphor:  Heartiness fraught with poison, tempered by sweetness but finished by a slight but noticeable bitterness.  If that isn’t the perfect complement to all but those bullshit Hallmark Valentine’s Day weekends, then I’m not sure what is.

It’s your Pity Party:  Drink what you want to!  And why not share in the comments some of your own classics?

  • Tina

    I like to think of this as Ghetto Sangria.

    • Mike

      I totally agree. This is absolutely the sangria that they drink in the ghetto.

  • lo!

    Nice one, Mike.
    I’m pretty sure I’d like to drink some o’ this party in MY ghetto. 🙂

  • lo!

    Oh — and my classic? A gin&tonic. 🙂
    When I’m feeling crazy, I sometimes mix it up with some cucumber tonic. But, I’m not sure that’s exactly what you’re looking for!

    • Mike

      Actually, gin is the next in my series on stocking one’s liquor cabinet. What an absolutely sinful and destructive drink it is! It is largely credited with actually halting, and then reversing, 17th Century London’s population explosion, the drinking was killing so many people.

      Plus it’s great in tonic! I am, of course, intrigued by cucumber tonic, too… is it green and does it still feature the always-delicious quinine?

    • StPeteBeeAtch

      I’m starting to think I’m related to all of you. I have everything in the house to make a Pity Party yet since this is the first day of my vacation I just made myself a G&T. lo!, please please tell me what a cucumber tonic is and how to make one. I have gin, tonic and cucumbers. What do I do to the cucumbers?

      Mike, I have been Bridget in that opening scene, I’ve been Bridget while watching that scene, I’ve acted out that scene while watching that scene (once on NYE even)! Do I get extra points?

      I’m totally making TIna’s pull aparts this weekend, ’cause anything that is mostly cheese, bread or potatoes and garlic is life. I just made twice baked cheese/chili/garlic potatoes the other night.

      Mike, I’ll look forward to your gin post, I’m currently enjoying Bombay Sapphire. I should send you all a pic of my new grown up bar 😉

      • Mike

        We would, of course, be very proud to see how you’ve accumulated alcohol in a grown-up way — it’s just what makes being an adult fun!

        I like me some Bombay myself, and if I have to drink gin it’s going to be that or Tangueray (sic, probably).

        I am excited about writing up this particularly scurrilous drink, because its history really does make rum’s sordid story look like a Sunday School sermon.

  • Chuck

    I could drink a couple of those … hiccup hiccup lol

  • noble pig

    My pity party is watching Brady Bunch reruns. It always helps.

    • Mike

      As a boy, I would be beaten up in the schoolyard for that… but I am happy to watch Band of Brothers and cry at that one with the prison camps. It’s good catharsis.

  • kristie

    Oh Tina!! Did mike forget valentines day? Why the pity party? I’ll be your valentine. And even your description of the commercial made me emotional.

    • Tina

      Ha! Kristie, that was Mike’s article, not mine. Perhaps he thought that I would forget Valentine’s, since he surprised me with flowers and a present the day before and I stood there all mouth agape knowing that his was still a work in progress….similar to what happens on our anniversary….huh…..I am totally the guy in this relationship.

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