One of the many things I love about Italy is that the cocktail party is non-existent. Italians can't fathom the concept of mingling. All my life I've loathed cocktail parties, and I've never been good at mingling, so I'll gravitate to someone I know, latch onto them for dear life, and ignore everyone else. Moving around the room and making small talk with people I barely know I find ludicrous. Even worse is being faced with a roomful of strangers and having to either come up with lame ice breaker conversation or else respond to lame ice breaker conversation like, "How do you know the host?" or worse, "What do you do?" It's an art form I never mastered. Just as bad is the cocktail party where you know everyone superficially and move around the room having brief conversations with people until you both run out of things to say, and then your eyes start to wander while you try to figure out how to detach yourself without seeming rude. "Um, I think I'll just go over there and grab me another of those miniature brie and pate tacos."