July 1999
s m u g
by Daniel Westreich

Note: We are currently seeking solicitations for Mysterydates: Field reports from places most people don't go - like CONS, boat shows, livestock auctions, large public niche events. If you have something in your area you'd like to write about, please write the editor at leslie@smug.com

Tupperware and Machismo in Seattle

I woke up on Superbowl Sunday to a Seattle I barely recognized: the sun was shining. Mindful of the fickleness of Pacific Northwest Weather (tm), I hurried downstairs and made the call. "Hey, is Andrea there?" (pause)

[Sleepy] "Heylo?"

"Hey, Andrea, this is Daniel. Let's go throw some frisbee."

"Well, actually, I just woke up and I've got some stuff to do this morning, yadda. But I'm going to this Tupperware party later -- you wanna come?"

"Uh. Sure." What did I just agree to?

"Cool, I'll come by around 3."

The phone finds its way back to the receiver. A Tupperware party? I go walking anyway, and ten minutes later it is hailing.

The weather swings drastically at least three more times before Andrea picks me up. We walk the six blocks to the party, chatting about the scamming potential there. Andrea is a particular friend in this regard, as we both in the market for Jewish women; the likelihood is that at least one of us will have a chance with any given girl. The party is at the home of a lesbian friend of Andrea's, however, and so the odds stack heavily in her favor for this particular outing.

We arrive at a lovely, understated house, with a lovely porch set back from the street behind a lush wall of green, and are greeted at the door by the hostess, Angela, who graciously takes our coats. We enter the dining room, where a lovely display of vegetables, dips, other guests, teas, and desserts are assembled. We mill around the tastefully decorated living room, murmuring politely to each other. I feel as if I were at a...Tupperware party. And me without my knitting.

Andrea and I claim two seats on the big couch in the designated Tupperware party room, where none other than our own Tupperware Lady is chatting with another woman. I have not seen another man yet: I wonder if I will be the designated Speaker for the Y Chromosome this afternoon.

I briefly consider trying not to meet the Tupperware Lady, then realize that this is impossible, and dive in headlong: her name is Dawn and she's bright and cheerful and friendly. Professionally so. I like her, though: she's comforting, a comforting archetype. The way that, despite my best male-feminist intentions, Donna Reed is a little comforting.

After fifteen more minutes of milling around, we gather in the living room, and arrange ourselves in an oval, with the Tupperware at the top. There are no other men in the room, and I'm beginning to feel self-conscious. We went around the room, doing the youth-group introduction-and-relevant-fact thing. Dawn first: she is a mother of two, and is just thrilled to pieces to be here today.

Then comes the free stuff: first, Dawn passes around a grab bag of tiny little Tupperware toys, from which I choose the luggage tag. Then begins the Tupperbucks game, in which we earn Tupperbucks for various accomplishments and questions answered; the mad Tupperbucks go to those who will most propagandize Tupperware itself. At the end of the day, Dawn tells us, we will be able to use our Tupperbucks in an auction for gift bags: the capitalist in me is suddenly very involved in the day's proceedings. I earn TB$100 for having walked to the party, and Andrea earns TB$200 for having brought a guest. I also earn, in this first round, TB$500 because I am a Tupperware virgin. There's no time like your first, apparently.

We start looking at the Tupperware itself. Dawn leads us through an imagined house, stopping in each room to pitch the Tupperware that might help organize it. The kitchen, of course, is our first stop. She talks about her own kitchen, where she uses Tupperware to keep cereal and snack foods fresh for months at a time, and to organize the otherwise cramped and poorly designed space. "My kitchen was obviously designed by a MAN!" she announces at one point. I laugh until I almost cry, and embarassed she explains that she usually speaks to groups of all women.

We move on through the house, where there are myriad other uses for the ubiquitous Tupperware. The tone of the guests is a little strained, but initially, we all seem to have just enough ironic distance on the affair that we don't feel silly marveling, oohing and ahhing even, over the latest, non burping Tupperware.

Dawn breaks us down. She is a marvel, however, of genuine, irony-free enthusiasm over merchandise she has no doubt seen and praised upwards of several hundred times. I start imagining the hundred different ways I could organize my food closet with Tupperware, the cereals I could keep fresher, the salad I could make in bulk and keep fresh all week:

"Andrea, this is really weird. Andrea?"

"Yeah... do you think I should buy these stackable spice containers?"

Dawn gives good theater, and knows her timing: two more rounds of Tupperbucks punctuate the Tupperware demonstrations. The last round ends with the two thousand Tupperbuck question: "Who wants to schedule a Tupperware party for the future?" One woman is interested: she hauls in a crazy TB$2000, and is way ahead of the bidding war for the mystery prizes.

Fortunately, she holds on to her Tupperbucks until next time, so Andrea and I are free to bid fearlessly on the prizes. We illegally pool our dough, and slap it all down on a mystery prize bag, which turns out to contain a flat piece of freezer storage Tupperware, pink topped, appropriate for storing flat, pink things.

Andrea orders her piece of Tupperware, and we retreat, raving about the gorgeousness of one of the co-hosts all the way home. I walk into the house, grab a beer, and nurse my masculinity in front of the third quarter of the Superbowl.

Andrea never got a date with the co-host we thought was cute. Dawn continues to show Tupperware in the Puget Sound area. The Tupperware we won is currently storing bacon in my freezer.


in the junk drawer

feature car
ac/dc gun
compulsion vise
posedown cheese
and such
and such
blab fan

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