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The Tentacle


October 17, 2003

The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same

Bethany Stevenson

The Tupperware Party has reached a coming of age. When I was but a babe in arms, my mother's counterparts would dress in their polyester skirts and meet prim and proper to ooh and aah over orange and green Tupperware.

If I am not mistaken, at that time the Tupperware Company was the only national company holding home sales parties.

Since my coming of age, home sales parties have been for anything and everything, and once in a while Tupperware is mentioned. There are candles, books (children's and adult's), educational toys, Christmas decorations and trinkets, baskets, scrapbooks, jewelry, home decor, rubber stamps, cookware (as in pots), dishware (as in plates and glasses), and cooking utensils (not Tupperware).

My close friends and I seem to stay interested in the same parties for the same amount of time. When our children were toddlers, we all had the parties for educational toys and kids' books.

As they got a little older, we were all interested in learning to cook a little better, with a little more zip and pizzazz, so we were into the cooking utensil shows.

Then we tried to make our homes look nicer for our children and husbands as we got a little more stable financially. So it was candles, home decor and baskets.

Now, we all have turned another corner in our lives, as have the "Tupperware Parties" themselves. Almost all the parties of the past were focused on helping us women to be better at our roles: mother, wife, housekeeper, cook, home decorator, keeper of the home.

But a new party has entered our group that has us focused on our selves, "Do-it-yourself Spa kits." Take yourself away from the stress and cares of the world in the luxury of your own home.

Selfish? Maybe, but, after examining ourselves, this group of women has come to realize that for the past 12 or so years they have devoted every thought and deed to their family. A half-hour of home spa treatment couldn't be considered turning to the side of evil.

However, the whole focus of our party circle, which used to be "Do your kids have this educational game?" now focus on "Have you tried the foot massage gel?" The fickleness of women is amazing and I do not mind laughing at myself in that aspect.

Instead of the polyester skirts of our mothers, we put little rags on our heads to pull our hair back. We appear in public with no makeup: imagine the possibility, even the guts it takes to do that. And at some of these parties, we even roll up our pants legs and soak our feet in warm water.

But the joy, the pleasure and the laughter we experience more than makes up for it.

I never though I could ever be so vain as to want, desire, even crave lotions, creams, and muds so as to perfect my skin. But the home sales parties have done their trick. I WANT, I DESIRE, I NEED. At least until our little group finds the next new home sales party.

And so the Tupperware Party has grown up, reached a coming of age, reached my inner child and reached my checkbook.

Ironically, as these parties have come of age, and a new generation of women are participating: women who are living on the "other side" of that barrier that came down in the 70's, these women are still the same.

We aren't wearing polyester, we aren't buying orange and green Tupperware, but we are women who enjoy getting out with just the girls, eating junk food, and ohhing and ahhing over green and orange jars of body butter.

As much as we desire to be different from those on the "flip side," we are so much the same. Does that "Mom's curse thing" work on parties, too?!



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