I’m sitting in a community coffee shop with my book, my laptop, Alisa, and lots of other people’s children. Watching the people around me, I’ve determined that cocktail parties, and really any adult social gathering, would be infinitely cooler and more fun if they ran the way small children interact when meeting each other for the first time.
Imagine, instead of sitting at the intersection of two couches in someone’s living room, trying to balance your crappy box wine in one hand and 85 cheese cubes on a dish the size of a silver dollar in the other, you were piled onto an arm chair with 3 other people. Two of you are upside down, dress/bulky sweater over your faces, another one is wandering away clutching a cup the size of their torso (possibly singing), and the last one is kind of bopping to an internal rhythm, bumping into the person next to them, who is totally cool with it.
That’s what makes the toddler cocktail party model (TCPM) so appealing. Nobody really has to care about what anyone else is doing, but everybody’s free to jump in on their fun at any time. And you can eat off the floor you’re laying on. You can stand up on the couch, trying to touch a painting, right behind your fellow partygoer who is entertaining two other attendees by drawing the coolest circles ever on their drawing tablet. Plus, if you’re bored, you can just wander away, and there’s no social repercussions. If the chair across the room looks like it should be knocked over and danced on for a moment, it’s cool. Take care of that and then come back for juice and arbitrary bumping into things.
Plus, if the conversation has left you behind, you can grab something from the other person and start a new topic. They might yell for a second and hit you, but then you’re both drawing a minute later. Now that’s commanding the party. Also, climbing is way cool.
And, to top it off, if you fall over when walking, nobody cares or questions the amount of chocolate milk you’ve drunk. Just imagine how much more fun networking would be if you could make those crucial contacts while drinking merlot from a sippy cup and doing a back bend over the arm of a comfy chair.