by Geoffrey Stanton
Let's face it, theme parties can be pretty hit-or-miss. If I had a dollar for every time I've gone home with a sore face from fake-grinning my way through an incredibly awkward murder-mystery-dinner-party or some other such nonsense, I'd be flush enough to hire someone else to ghostwrite this article for me. Alas, while I wait patiently for Congress to sign my Mandatory Reimbursement for Failed Theme Parties Bill into law, my only immediate recourse is to do my damnedest to educate the world about how to make their theme parties a resounding success. With that in mind, let me introduce you to an old favorite: The Rubik's Cube Party.
It's probably safe to assume that anyone reading this is at least familiar with the Rubik's Cube--otherwise, chances are you're too young to be partying. The basic idea of the Rubik's Cube party is as follows: guests show up in an outfit that features one item corresponding to each color on a Rubik's Cube (red, white, blue, yellow, green, and orange). As the night goes on, partiers mingle and swap articles of clothing with the other guests. The goal is to leave in an outfit that's all one color--if you do, you have solved the Rubik's Cube. And if you happen to leave with the sexy coed who's wearing your favorite red shirt, so much the better.
Why it Works
1. It's easy on the guests. The greatest threat to a theme party is that the host will be much more invested in the theme than his or her guests. They expect elaborate costumes or a commitment to historical accuracy when all the partygoers want is to get tipsy and chat up some cute singles. The genius of the Rubik's Cube party is that it costs so little to participate--just get dressed up in a fun, silly or sexy outfit made out of clothes you either already own or can easily borrow.
2. It's easy on the host. The best part of a Rubik's Cube party is how laughably easy it is to go balls-to-the-wall with themed decorations. Forget about staying up all night painting glow-in-the-dark fairies or researching period-appropriate cocktails: just roll out to CVS, buy a pack of square colored paper, and tape that shit to the walls. If you're providing drinks you'll be pleased to learn that Solo, the Cadillac of plasticware, makes its hallmark cold cups in every color of the cube. Hell, you could even put out a bowl of assorted-color condoms if you're feeling saucy. And if you're really ambitious, you can even make several batches of Jello-shots in various colors and arrange them like a Rubik's Cube on a tray. These little touches are great for the party atmosphere because they're easy for the host to pull off, and they really help reinforce the theme.
3. It's fun and social. At the end of the day, people go to parties to have a good time and make connections. A Rubik's Cube party is all about mingling, but in a way that's fun and laid back. More often than not, ice-breaker games are just awkward and tiresome for all parties. Personally, I can think of precious few things I find less enjoyable than trying to make a good first impression on a pretty girl while I have an index card stuck to my forehead and she's dropping hints that I am, in fact, Eleanor Roosevelt. Wouldn't you rather just stroll up to a person of your choice, compliment them on their outfit and then winkingly ask them to take a piece of it off? I sure as hell would. The best part of this game is that it can be a fun ice-breaker not once but twice: if you never got to make solid plans with that cutie you swapped shirts with by the punch bowl, just go find them the next day and offer to trade back. Then maybe you get to laughing about what a crazy party that was last night... Anyway, just remember to invite ol' Geoff to your wedding, killer. Plus one, of course.
Like what you've read so far, but still think there's something missing? Here are a few ideas for ways to add a little extra spice to the theme.
1. Photo Booth. People are probably going to be proud of the outfits they've put together, and will want to remember them before they start swapping. Maybe have a labeled area set up right inside the door with a blank wall and some soft light, where people can showcase their style and snap a few pics for posterity. If you really want to go overboard, you could even have a photographer at the ready to immortalize everyone's look.
2. Prizes Galore. Like it or not, some people love to win. If you want to add a little extra incentive to the swap, buy a bag of fun little prizes for anyone who manages to solve their cube. Be careful not to place too much emphasis on winning, though--chances are, most people will just want to show up and have fun.
3. Stop Light. If you want to make your party a little more adult, consider adding this fun twist: instead of going for any solid color, have willing guests solve their cube according to their relationship status. Green means single and looking, yellow implies casually involved or not really looking, and red signifies a committed relationship. This has the added effect of helping people discern if other guests are looking for love or just trying to make new friends.