Hosting 101

A gentleman has his eyes on all those present; he is tender toward the bashful, gentle toward the distant, and merciful toward the absent.
Lawrence G. Lovasik
A few days ago, a clip from The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon caught some attention because of how he and Nicole Kidman first met. Several years ago, Nicole Kidman (certified by People Magazine as one of the 10 most beautiful people in the world) was interested in meeting Mr. Fallon, so she had a friend set them up. When she got to his apartment, he had no idea what to do or what to say, and not knowing it was that she was interested in him, proceeded to play videogames.

Watch the hilarious disaster below. 

He tried to excuse his behavior by stating he didn’t know this was a “date.” Others online dismiss it as the “awkward Geeky” Guy, and find it adorable. Me? I’m just am glad that Keth Urban came along and showed Ms. Kidman that #NotAllMen prefer Video Games to Ladies. Because even if he didn’t know it was a date, she was his guest and the very least you can offer a guest is your attention.

And I can bet he is not alone. I had previously mentioned the importance of having your home properly set up, but how do you handle visitors, be it romantic, professional, or simply amicable guests. So with that in mind, let’s deal with the basics of Hosting.

Hosting is not having a couple of college friends over to drink beer, eat chips and day old pizza, and play video games. There is nothing wrong with this, but this is definitely not hosting. Hosting is about creating a proper impression on your guest. So let’s break this down.

I think mentioning that sweatpants, stained tshirts, trucker caps, or flipflops is not proper attire to greet should be obvious. Consider how you would dress up if you were meeting them outside; now take it down a bit. It’s that simple.

Unless this is a dinner party, food should be kept light. If your skills in the kitchen are lacking, sure, pull out the cheese and crackers. Just remember that cheese is for mice and crackers are for parrots, so… consider brushing up on your kitchen skills.

You don’t need to go full blown restaurant style hors d'oeuvres, but making some kind of appetizers should be fine. Look up some simple recipe in YouTube, especially something you could “improvise” in front of your guest. This way it doesn’t look like you planed it out.

Sprezzatura, my friend.

Let me make something clear here, I am not saying you should have a fully stocked bar, or that you should be a trained mixologist. What I am saying is have options. Not everyone drinks scotch (Hey, I have learned to respect everyone, no matter their taste in poisons), not everyone drinks beer, and not everyone is a fan of wine. Some people don’t even drink spirits at all. Don’t force your own tastes on your guests, they are your guests after all. 

Be able to mix up something simple like a Mojito or a Martini if you really want to show off. Maybe have some Sangria premade in the fridge “just because.” I think that having some good coffee and the proper equipment to make it is a must, but then again I openly admit being a coffee addict.

Try to have the proper glassware for each spirit you might serve. Red Solo Cups are fine for frat boys, but you are no longer in a frat or are a boy. Cheap glasses are always better than expensive plastic cups.

Do you know what is the most important item of entertainment in your entire home? YOU. Everything else should blend in the background and frame you as it’s your obligation to entertain your guest. They came over to see a movie? No. They came so YOU could share a movie with them. Same goes for music, and even Video Games. I would even advise against these things, except for music. The visit should be about conversation and enjoying each other’s company. Music should be used to set a mode, not to dominate it.

Special Note on the Video Games: Unless the guest brings over a game, DO NOT TURN ON YOUR GAME SYSTEM. Be an Urban, not a Fallon.