“This is a party, Anna,” Sara said as she shimmied a sparkly purple skirt over her hips. “The more glitter, the better.”

And judging by the disco ball ensembles hanging in her closet, Sara’s entire life was one giant party.

“It’s about perfecting the art,” Sara continued, spraying body mist in her hair. “The art of partying and having a good time.”

I never take anything Sara says seriously, and it’s not only because she owns more sequins than you’d find in a craft store. But why not? There is an art to partying. And why would that art be any less valid?

Freshman girls pile into someone’s dorm room, trading clothes and make-up tips while getting ready. They straighten their hair and try on eight different crop tops before settling on a light pink one with a black skirt and sky-high heels. They continually ask one another if their eyes are painted too dark or their lips too red. They question every strand of hair. And when they’re ready, they play pump-up music to be fun and happy and flirty. This is the art of partying — an almost theater-like evolution of girls into The Girl.

You see The Girl around town, her hair shiny, eyes dancing, laugh carrying over the mundane, unhappy droning of a Thursday. She’s so … who is she? Why is she laughing? She’s a mysterious creature, and though she might be quite the opposite in reality, she looks like the kind of girl that’s down to get down.

People have been perfecting the art of partying for centuries. When Henry VIII would hold court he would probably invite only those who were interesting and beautiful, and all those who seemed the type that would cry into a handkerchief would be banned.

Geishas, arguably the most well-known party artists, turned it into a living. Each night they would dance and sing in order to entertain, creating a false sense of enjoyment. Most college girls aren’t trying to be geishas, nor are they trying to win the favor of a king, but the inherent need to be something more, fueled by a party environment, is the same.

And thus, an art form is born — one complete with classic go-to phrases such as, “This is my favorite song,” “I really just want to dance” and “We need more shots.” The art of partying hinges completely on the partier’s ability to be both carefree and exciting — this takes time to craft.

Have you ever seen the girl in the corner, drinking a watered-down mixed drink and sloppily talking to some guy she just met about her long list of unhappy romantic escapades? Party foul. Have you ever been the girl in the corner? Party foul. Creating a going-out persona isn’t as simple as misting your hair and putting on a glittery outfit. It takes time, preparation and dedication. Despite the C+ they got on that exam, despite the boy who didn’t call back, each week, without fail, girls gather themselves up, put their best raised heel forward and act as if their lives are going just the way they want them to.

Sometimes, the art of partying seems to take a lot more than it gives back, just like that messy relationship you’ll never get out of. What’s the point of painting on a face and acting like a wild, happy mystery girl for a night?

Perfecting the art starts by making a conscious decision to go out. You can’t have a party without partiers. This is a binding contract that you strike with your friends, your significant other or yourself that emphasizes the enjoyment of said party. Putting on a show for yourself and everyone else is crucial to this art form — acting lessons are suggested, but not required.

Those familiar with the art of partying might feel it’s effortless — it comes naturally to smile, and get dressed up, and feel “really, really happy — like, really.” Ultimately, any good piece of art should look like it takes time, but not for the artist. It should feel important and draw the viewer in, for both distinguishable and indistinguishable reasons. The Girl might not have it all together, but from the outside looking in, she’s all glitter.

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