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Dear Gail: Are Dinner Parties As Extinct As Dinosaurs?

Comedian Gail Forrest shares her thoughts on the lost art of the dinner party and the rules around men’s footwear.

Are Dinner Parties As Extinct As Dinosaurs?

Dear Gail,
My parents threw dinner parties all the time as far back as I can remember and so did my friends’ parents. We also always had company over for drinks and food. Now I’ve noticed that nobody’s having dinner parties. Or none to which I have been invited. Have you thrown any dinner parties lately? Can a guy have a dinner party?  

Rex W.

Dear Rex:
I remember dinner parties growing up. My mother would set the table with her fancy schmancy china, sterling silver, and a lacy white table cloth. Women wore high heels, tailored dresses, and carried pocketbooks. The men were in button down shirts with cufflinks and tie shoes. They all smoked and sipped scotch on the rocks. FYI, I haven’t seen a cufflink or pocketbook since and the clothes are all in resale stores in LA and New York probably still smelling of Camels, Lucky Strikes or Marlboros.

Rex, don’t worry; it’s fab for a guy to have a dinner party. Live it up, kiddo. Lately I have met men who love to cook exotic meals of all nationalities. They have expensive espresso machines and other fancy devices about which I know nothing but am impressed.   

Truthfully I’m a one salad at a time from Trader Joe’s type of eater. Marginally healthy but easy to dump on a plate. To add insult to personal disclosure I have no idea how to even set a table. The knife, fork, spoon, and napkin confuse me. God forbid a soup spoon is needed because then I get a headache and start to itch. Why does this proper placement matter anyway? Martha Stewart, if you want to remain the queen of table settings develop a utensil GPS.  

I would love to be invited to a dinner party, as it gets scary when you walk into Trader Joe’s and the employees know you so well one of them hands you the Harvest salad. I desperately need another option, so when you make out your guest list put me on it!  Please.

Feet Don’t Fail Me Now  

Dear Gail,
Who decides what’s manly and what’s not? I went to order a pair of these new slip into shoes in sea foam green and my daughter went nuts. “EWWWW Dad, those look like they’re Mom’s. Promise you won’t wear them in front of me or my friends.”  Is this fair?  Women get colors and men have a choice of black or brown. Should I buy the shoes or male supplements?
Shoeless in Milwaukee

Dear Shoeless:
First of all, buy the shoes ASAP. You are obviously hipper than your daughter and way more fashion forward. Anything goes, baby. Your daughter seems stuck in 1985 when men wore Cole Haan loafers or top siders. Admittedly I still like both but they are no longer de rigueur. In fact lately I have not seen a male in anything other than running / athletic shoes. Should we thank Michael Jordan and Phil Knight for making feet fun? There are so many brands now it makes my head explode. And when did they become more expensive than a car?

Shoeless in Milwaukee, I recommend color and comfort for spring. If you can just slip into those sea foam green babies nothing should stop you. 

There is, however, one criterion when it comes to men’s feet and most of you have not gotten the memo or refuse to adhere to it. The pedicure! Yes, women look at more than your shoes and I look judgmentally at both. The first time you see a man barefoot is as critical as elsewhere. Really. I once dated this smart, handsome, successful guy until the big reveal…Howard Hughes toe nails. I think I blacked out for a few seconds. All was not lost, however, as I masterminded the great foot offensive of 2002 and he cut them. 

I say forget your daughter’s edict. And be home wearing the shoes when her friends come over.  

Need advice? Gail wants to hear from you. Send your letters, questions, and quandaries to: newsletter@weareageist.com

See medical disclaimer below. ↓


  1. Thanks for the insider’s tip on foot maintenance.

    I immediately checked my toenails and was reminded that I am out of potato chip dip.

  2. What Don C said.

    My parents threw a lot of outdoor “patio parties”, ,basically the same as dinner parties, but with less food and more alcohol consumption. Sometimes there were mosquitoes.

  3. Dinner parties were always chic and sound like they should have another big Moment soon. For real cooks, they were never out of style. I am Italian-American, and food is in our DNA, so we cook it and serve it to others often.

  4. You dont need a ‘comeback’ to have friends over for dinner. Have what you love to eat, enjoy time with your favorite people. Relax. Old rules dont apply anymore. Food from Trader Joe’s is perfectly acceptable today. Just have fun.

    • I am a Trader Joe’s junkie. It’s cheaper and not as many aisles. I was recently in a chain grocery store and was paralyzed with fear and where to go first and why. It’s a little traumatizing for me to have friends over for anything other than drinks because I don’t cook anymore. I love to be invited however! Yep no rules apply


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The ideas expressed here are solely the opinions of the author and are not researched or verified by AGEIST LLC, or anyone associated with AGEIST LLC. This material should not be construed as medical advice or recommendation, it is for informational use only. We encourage all readers to discuss with your qualified practitioners the relevance of the application of any of these ideas to your life. The recommendations contained herein are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. You should always consult your physician or other qualified health provider before starting any new treatment or stopping any treatment that has been prescribed for you by your physician or other qualified health provider. Please call your doctor or 911 immediately if you think you may have a medical or psychiatric emergency.

Gail Forresthttp://www.gailforrest.com
Gail Forrest is a comedy writer and stand up comic. She studied at Second City in Chicago and has performed at Pretty Funny Women and Flappers in LA, as well as Second City to name a few. She has a published book Gonepausal on Amazon about women in midlife and is working on a new book which includes men and promises to be just as funny with even more insights on aging.


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