Is there an art to it? Apparently, it was thought so during the eleventh century by one al-Khatib al-Baghdadi, an Islamic scholar who back then compiled a humorous survey of stories involving uninvited guests: the very existence of it suggests that it was something of a social sport back in the day to get onesself fed at an event one was not invited to. A book by Emily Selove and recently poublished by Syracuse University Press translates some of these stories under the title "The Art of Party-Crashing in Medieval Iraq", and a small selection was printed in a recent Harpers magazine, which I subscribe to. My two favorites of the small sampling excerpted in Harpers, follow.
The people who most deserve to be slapped are those who come to eat without being invited, and the people who most deserve to be slapped twice are those who, when the host of the party says, "Sit here," reply, "no! I'm going to sit over there!" And the people who most deserve to be slapped three times are those who, when invited to eat, say to the owner of the house, "Call your wife in here to eat with us!"
That last bit is a bit of a jolt, isn't it? Even though I've lived in the Middle East, the pictures in my mind of the "people" referred to were a mixed group until the other was forced on me. And the other story I liked:
Once al-Ma'mun heard of ten heretics among the peoiple of Basta and commanded that they be brought to him. They were being gathered together when a party crasher caught sight of the group and said, "What could they possibly be gathered for except a feast!" He slipped into their midst and the guard herded them to a boat on the river. "A pleasure cruise!", the party crasher said and got on the boat with the rest. Turned out to be a prison boat.
Any great party crashing stories out there?
The only parties I've ever crashed have been on election eves. It's not hard to figure out where the parties are going to be, and it's fun to jockey back and forth between the various candidates in tight races. In the places I've lived, the Republicans typically serve better food and drink, but the democrats stay up later and have more fun.
Best party crashing I've ever been party to: friends were leaving for an assignment in London, and other good friends of their's threw the goodbye party. Those friends lived across the street from the comedian Gallagher (the watermelon smashing guy). Back in those days everyone had a computer with a printer with that extra wide paper where the sheets were all connected. GOODBYE JOHN AND ANNABELLE was printed on one and strung over the garage--the invitation instructed invitees to just look for this huge banner. Gallagher saw this, and having nothing else to do that night he took the sign off of Julie and Terry's and hung it on his own house and hung out in the driveway to redirect foot traffic. He literally stole a party, something that was not known to the hosts until they finally ventured outside to look for guests when none had shown up well past the appointed hour.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov