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What does it mean when someone asks, “Do you party?”

You immediately know, right? You probably also picture the sort of person who would ask you. So: What does that person mean?

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I contend that the unsolicited question “do you party?” is more ambiguous—liable to mean wildly different things according to the context in which it was asked—than you may have assumed.

Most of my peers, here in the “the media biz” in “the big city,” would probably take it to mean, “do you do cocaine?” Maybe for some people—squarer people or, like, baby boomers?—it means “marijuana.”

Ok, now, let’s think about one specific situation. Maybe this situation happened, recently, to someone you know, or maybe it didn’t, that doesn’t matter.

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Let’s say you are part of an American heterosexual romantic couple, and you are both between, say, 26-36-years-old, and you are traveling together in a foreign city. Let’s say you’re the male member of the couple. And you are at a bar or a nightclub—a pretty lively spot—on a Thursday or Friday night, and, by happenstance, you meet another American heterosexual romantic couple, both perhaps just a bit older than you, but not by much. And you four are basically the only Americans in the bar or nightclub, and you strike up a conversation, and you begin drinking together, and getting to know one another.

And then at one point, your female partner leaves, to go to the bathroom or have a smoke or buy another round, and you (the male member of the couple) find yourself talking to the male member of the other couple, one-on-one. And he is a bit older than you, as I said, probably on the other side of 40. And he asks you some perfectly normal questions, about how long you and your partner have known each other, and how you met, and so on, and he talks a little about when he met his wife (they’re married), and then he says, seemingly apropos of nothing: “Do you party?”

Reader, what does he mean?

Well?


Alex Pareene is the Editor-in-Chief of Gawker.

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