The Dreaded Dinner Party: Which Opinions to Reconsider Voicing Unless You Plan to Stand Your Ground


I hate talking about anything remotely controversial with anyone I’m related to or anyone I don’t know well. Maybe it’s because I’m stubborn or because I have a tendency to argue passionately with anyone who disagrees with me. But, at the same time, I jump at the chance to argue and debate with friends or classmates. It’s most likely the setting of the conversations. Non-best friend get togethers usually involve sitting around a table, chowing down in the midst of debates (and there’s usually drinking involved in some way) where as friendly debacles occur in casual and comfortable settings with people you can act more loosely around without the fear of being condemned. And that brings us to the crux of this post: the Dreaded Dinner Party.

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The Dreaded Dinner Party is rarely held by friends you’re comfortable with because if it was, there would be no need to include ‘Dreaded’ in it’s title. Usually it’s family members or neighbors or even coworkers. People who you see enough that it wouldn’t be strange to spend time in their house but who you wouldn’t spill every detail to. The Dreaded Dinner Party begins as any other meal would, with polite small talk while everyone plays catch-up. And then, as the meal progresses and the minutes pass, the conversation begins to transition into a debate. Opinions are tossed around without consideration as to how their listeners may react and differing views clash.

Here are a few topics common during the “Not So Happy Hour” of the Dreaded Dinner Party: politics, racism, sexuality or anything of the LGBT+ variety, sex (slut shaming, sex education, etc.), sex in the media, the media in general, foreign affairs, religion (especially when religious views are not unanimous among the group), drugs, immigration, the American education system, economics, terrorism, poverty or class in general, abortions, etc.


Personally, I find nothing wrong with healthy debates about any of the topics mentioned above and I believe these topics do need to be talked about in a mature environment. I’m not saying intellectual discussions can’t be had at dinners parties, I mainly saying that opening up to discussions about these “controversial” topics is also opening up to the possibility of a level of awkwardness if someone in the group shares an unpopular opinion. The dinner party Obinze attends is a prime example. He arrives, has pleasant conversation, eats some of his dinner and proceeds to have a very levelheaded conversation that includes a woman named Alexa who has opinions that both I and the others at the dinner party disagree with. These opinions jumpstart an interesting discussion on racism and America that leaves Obinze feeling uncomfortable and alienated.

I can usually see the reasoning behind opinions I disagree with but that doesn’t stop me from firing back. And because of that, I do feel certain topics can initiate heated debates that can spiral out of control if people aren’t smart with what they say (or if they drink a bit too much). Because of this, I am among many that fear the Dreaded Dinner Party.

That’s it for now.


One Reason I Am Ready To Fight The American School System (Educate Your Children On Sex!!!)


I have very strong opinions about sex. I think it’s ridiculous that sex is so censored in the media and that parents freak out if their kids are within a ten foot radius of anything even remotely sexual. I think kids need to learn about sex-it’s one of the most important things they can learn about-because if they don’t, they could hurt themselves and other people. To quote Obinze’s mother in Americanah, “An act is done by two people, but if there are any consequences, one person carries it alone.” (87).

My parents don’t really like to talk about sex. My dad makes jokes about it (and because he’s a dad, you know they’re bad jokes) and my mom cringes like the topic of sex is a physical monster that’s going to jump out and bite her if she even thinks about it. Because if this, sex was never a topic brushed upon in my household. I had to learn about it through a combination of media, the lesson in eighth grade that could barely be called a sex-ed, and a very close family friend whom I cannot thank enough. But what would have happened if I had never learned about sex, in any way, shape or form? The answer can be found everywhere and there are a variety of answers. To sum them all up: probably bad things.


When Obinze’s mother first pulls Ifemelu aside and begins talking about sex, I was a bit taken aback. And then I started cheering. Not because the boyfriend’s mom wanted to know when they started having sex. I cheered because she’s looking out for her son in every way possible (and parenting is another topic I’m very opinionated on) as well as making sure they’re being smart because judging from Ifemelu’s reaction to someone being that open about sex, there wasn’t a lot of sex education involved in her childhood. And, in the following chapters, we witness that firsthand as Ifemelu and Obinze have sex and don’t use protection, resulting in a pregnancy scare. Fortunately, that provides more quotes on sex from Obinze’s mother, specifically, “You should never ever let the boy be in charge of your own protection. If he does not want to use it, then he does not care enough about you and you should not be there.” (118).

Side note: I love that she is forcing them to take responsibility of their actions and basically tells Obinze that if he does get Ifemelu pregnant, it’s not going to just go away. Also, she focuses on STDs and pregnancy when referring to consequences.

That’s it for now.