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Women these days are given so few opportunities to take time out for themselves. Instead of hosting an afternoon tea, celebrate your friends as women by throwing an elegant themed party featuring the ultimate feminine pursuit, laundry! Nothing else says "I'm a woman!" quite like scrubbing the filth from your loved ones' unmentionables.
Preplanning is everything. Set the tone for your sudsy soiree by creating bold, intriguing invitations. Start with the finest dark, crisp, quality stationary and hand letter each invitation with a bleach pen. Iron to perfection. Gently suggest that your guests should dress festively in feminine attire, perhaps pale linen garden party dresses.
Hire a well known washboard band far in advance, avoiding possible scheduling conflicts with weddings, graduations, and hillbilly funerals. Assure their familiarity with classics such as Don Henley's "Dirty Laundry."
Set the stage with impeccable decorating. String clothesline whimsically throughout your home, pinning up random adorable items with those weird old-time clothespins that look like miniature armless people. Decorate the table, perhaps an eye-catching centerpiece of widowed socks anchoring the color scheme expressed on the line. Multihued socks really speak, but not in a puppety way, when structured in spiky shapes with wire and tucked neatly into simple craft store floral foam.
Make all the scrumptious food for your laundry party before the big day. A simple hors d' oeuvre medley of mini meatballs marinara, barbecued ribs, and tiny blueberry pies promises hours of stain removal fun later. A hearty, rich, deep red wine works well with these selections. We recommend a 2004 old vine zinfandel by Hausfrau Cellars of California. Don't forget the club soda.
Food presentation can be simple but striking. Let the mood be carefree. Don't bother with traditional cutlery or linens. Your gracious guests, if they did as they were told, are already wearing linen! Spring-loaded clothespins make charming utensils. The meatballs and ribs can be cleverly served in gaily colored laundry baskets.
Once that zinfandel is flowing freely, let the party games begin! Our personal favorites are "Red Wine Toss" and "Drag Queen" in which guests are dragged by their opponents across the freshly mown grass and then challenged to remove the grass stains from their dresses. Our attendees laughed for weeks after playing "Ride the Unbalanced Load", the domestic equivalent of the mechanical bull. Our more genteel attendees entertained themselves with cans of silly starch.
Before your gracious guests depart, present them with thoughtful party favors in festive bleach bottle baskets to encourage pampering well beyond the enchantment of your party. Include wee boxes of laundromat detergent, stain removal wipes and sticks, and soften the look with a smart dryer-sheet bow. Days later they will reminisce fondly as they scrub on what's left of their party dresses in the serenity of their own laundry rooms.
© 2007 Christiana Tosatto
OTHER HW ARTICLES BY CHRISTIANA TOSATTO
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Christiana is a freelance writer and burned out mother of four preteen children in various stages of puberty. Her work has appeared in Delaware Beach Life and is pending publication in Christian Science Monitor and Byline magazine. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.