Celebration: Jen McCabe

Monday, 30 July 2012


: : Jen McCabe from Honey Kennedy is next up in my celebration guest posts series. I’m beginning to think my online friends know me a little bit too well, because all the guest posts I’m receiving tap into my personality ... or maybe we all have a lot in common. In any case, I love Jen’s ode to the 1920s - one of my favourite historical eras. And yes Jen, I wish we could go out to a nice dinner together! Many thanks Jen : : 

For some reason, when I think of “celebration”, I immediately think of parties in silent films from the 1920s. I love the odd kind of frantic pacing of the flappers kicking up their irreverent heels. I love the “Everyone be damned! We’re going to burn the candle at both ends—and we’re going to do it NOW” attitude. You only live once and those girls meant business! Party business--come hell or high water.

I also love the scenes of girls getting ready in those movies, it reminds me of getting ready to go out with friends in my teens and early 20s. It is such an event—a party in itself. Unending Champagne flowing, getting your stockings straight, getting your curls pinned perfectly, slipping into a glitzy beaded dress… and sometimes even altering the dress to make it a little more revealing. Scandalous!

I haven’t seen it in any films that I can recall, but a lot of girls in the 1920s had dropper bottles full of belladonna extract on their vanity that they would drop into their eyes to dilate their pupils. This was meant to make a girl somehow more alluring. Now, that’s commitment! Filling your eyes with deadly nightshade as part of your boudoir ritual? I wonder if some parties looked as though everyone was on LSD! Disturbing, but pretty amazing.


I think one reason why I immediately think of silent films is because that’s how I tend to feel at parties—like I’m watching people without taking in much sound. I’m still in my head—reading subtitles. If I’m around people I know, I can be chatty to the point of annoyance, but a room full of more strangers than friends is a little overwhelming. I always feel a little shy in those situations and then nervous that my shyness is making me seem aloof. Sometimes I relax and come out of my shell and sometimes I make a quick exit.

I prefer more intimate gatherings, like dinner parties with friends where you can meet a few new people and really have a chance to talk to them. I’m not great at chitchat and I feel embarrassed making it with strangers because I ultimately just want to really get to know people. I want to eat a good meal, drink too much wine, hear people’s stories and be hugging new and old friends in the wee hours before heading to dreamland.

I think my favorite part about parties with friends is in the morning when you decide to continue the fun by going out to brunch or having a picnic together the next day. Everyone can be a little snoozy, a little ragged, a little less chatty, but everyone is content knowing they’re surrounded by people who know them and don’t expect them to be anything more than who they are in that moment. That will always be the best feeling of all—a true celebration.


Congratulations, Hila! I wish I could take you out for a nice dinner and hear some more of your stories. xx

Photos: Images are from the movie Our Dancing Daughters. I recommend it!


Amanda M. said...

I am similarly often quite uncomfortable at parties. Also this post has made me want to see "Our Dancing Daughters" even more than I already did!

Gracia said...

As a fellow shy one when it comes to a crowd, I am enjoying these celebratory posts.

Thanks for the recommendation. I have not seen Our Dancing Daughters, Jen, but I will be sure to hunt it down at my local video store. I am slowly making my way through many great B&W films.

rooth said...

Belladonna extract in their eyes?! Okay that is commitment to beauty. As for party scenes in silent movies, I haven't ever watched them but I have seen the trailer for the Great Gatsby and that looks like one hell of a party

caferennais said...

the first photo with a girl in that beautiful dress - too gorgeous! :)

hungryandfrozen said...

Jen, this is such a great post. (Quelle not-surprise) I loe the description of that "odd frantic pacing" - it's one of the things I love about footage from that era. And I love the follow-up gathering the next day - had one recently where we all gathered, ate, lay on the floor in the sunshine, laughed too hard out of tiredness - it was almost more fun than the night before.

Debie Grace said...

I love reading the 6th paragraph. I can totally relate! :)

Hila said...

Amanda: I'm likewise at parties. And it's nice to know I'm not alone.

Gracia: I haven't seen it either, and now I really want to, so I'll be hunting down a copy too.

Rooth: I know, very dangerous commitment!

caferennais: there's something so irreverent about her too.

hungryandfrozen: I have memories like that too - lying on someone's couch the day after the party. You're right, it is better than the night before.

Debie: me too :)