TakePart's Guide to Breaking Cocktail Party Ice

Nov 19, 2010· 2 MIN READ
Following the lead of Wilt Chamberlain, Adam vacated his native Philadelphia for Los Angeles following decades of acclaim and short shorts. He firmly believes that, when it comes to the opportunity for change, we’re on the goal line with bases loaded and no fouls to give. He also finds inspiration in mixed sports metaphors.
Got something to say? You&39;d better make it good. (Photo: Allison Leach/Getty)

Let’s face it: talking to people’s a drag.

At parties, especially, where talking is expected and usually required, a conversation can go from polite to inescapable as fast as you can say, “This chive dip’s a little warm.”

Being the social action butterflies that we are, TakePart staffers culled the media-sphere to provide you, our socially obligated audience, with the most worthwhile conversation kick-starters from this past week’s headlines.

Whether you need an emergency redirect from mind-erasing topics like the art of paint drying, or just want to seem a tad smarter, our short list of subjects will ensure an effortless night out for you and yours.

From yachts to yerts, soirees to shindigs, your social engagement is a guaranteed success when you’re the most interesting person in the room.

The Topic: Careers

The Ice-Breaker: “You’re an actor? Have you ever played an exterminator?”

The Gist: Overwhelmed by bed bugs, New York City is casting exterminators to play the part of hero to its infested denizens.

The odd job opportunity has become especially popular among actors, who have taken the stage in the Big Apple’s war against the creepy crawlers. With their lives already steeped in drama, the thespians can hide their heebie-jeebies and comfort victims while eradicating the city's sleepover scourge.

Actors who find bed bugs uninspiring can always join the flea circus.

The Topic: Sexuality

The Ice-Breaker: “Nice to meet you, Laura. By the way, did you know that women whose names end in ‘A’ have more sexual partners than those who don’t?”

The Gist: A survey conducted by a French online dating site, Smartdate, found that women with a first name ending in ‘A’ have more lifetime sexual partners than those with any other letter.

Reasons are sketchy in the unscientific study, but it could either be that the alphabet has a sex-crazed star, or that more French mamans and papas are giving their daughters ethnically diverse namesakes, which tend to end in ‘A.’

The latter explanation makes sense, but the former makes for a better story.

The Topic: Pets

The Ice-Breaker: “I love dogs, too. But would you give up everything to save a breed from going extinct?”

The Gist: A Korean geneticist, Ha Ji-Hong, poured everything he had, including all his family’s assets and farmland, into rescuing his country’s beloved breed, the shaggy-haired sapsaree.

Decades of colonial rule, war, poverty, and disease left just eight of the pooches in all of Korea by the mid-1980s. But with a ton of determination and some advances in DNA technology, Ji-Hong was able to turn the imperiled pup’s population around. There are now more than 1,200 sapsarees living with families across South Korea.

For all the good dogs do us, it's nice to know someone's out there throwing them a bone.

The Topic: Diet

The Ice-Breaker: “Is it me, or are these bacon-wrapped scallops relaxing?”

The Gist: A new study from McGill University found that just the sight of red meat makes men less aggressive. Contrary to the common perception that T-bones turn males into meatheads, the research concludes that a plate of fleshy food prompts memories of comfy family gatherings, calming the savage beast.

By that math, the sight of a turducken is likely to induce an immediate food coma.