1. RSVP promptly.
Unless it's a Facebook invitation. If it's a Facebook invitation, wait a few days to be cool. And if you can't go, don't actually say "Not Attending," you jerk. And DEFINITELY don't say "Maybe Attending," unless you really hate the person who invited you. Just don't reply. It's Facebook. Whatever.
2. Do your hosts the courtesy of showing up late. No one wants to entertain you for a half hour before anyone else arrives.
3. On the way to the party, pick up a gift for your host. Wine is always a classy choice.
4. As soon as you enter the wine store, immediately get terribly self-conscious and start feeling guilty even if you are legally of age and not doing anything wrong. Be 100% certain that everyone in here (one weird couple leisurely browsing the Italian Zinfandels and an incredibly ancient man who seems to be charge of the store) can tell that you don't know anything about wine.
5. Read the labels in an attempt to seem like you aren't just looking for the cheapest bottle you can find. At least you know red is cooler to get than white. But what KIND of red? What if the cool wine to get is Cabernet and you bring Merlot? Or vice versa? Are both of those even reds? You knew you should've watched Sideways with your mom that time.
6. F*ck it. You're bringing beer.
7. Should you get fancy craft beer, or the cheap stuff? They're both sort of cool in their own way. But you're not sure you're cool enough to pull off ironically bringing really cheap beer. Although, does it look like you're trying too hard if you bring something called Cat's Head Rabbit Pale Toasted Oatmeal Stout Early-June Seasonal?
8. No. Bring the nice beer. Stop being so cheap.
9. Make sure your host sees what you've brought without making too big a deal out of it. This is harder than it sounds. You will probably end up going "I brought beeeeer!" in a goofy singsong voice, for some reason. Try to forgive yourself.
10. Put your beer in the fridge. Keep it in the bodega bag so no one sees how fancy it is, out of a mixture of both shame and greed.
11. When you go to get another fancy beer, imagine everyone looking at you suspiciously and defensively say, "I brought these, I paid for them with my OWN MONEY." Realize they weren't looking at you suspiciously at all before, but they certainly are now.
12. Mingle. Talk about TV shows.
13. Somehow your expensive beers are gone even though you've only had two, and the only thing that's left is warm Rolling Rock. Feel angry, then feel kind of weird about taking one of the cheap beers, but try very hard to convince yourself that you're definitely entitled to at least 8 Rolling Rocks, since you brought, and didn't get to drink, their equivalent monetary value. That's the rule, right?
14. The unspoken second part of the rule is that after you drink three beers you will not care about being polite anymore and will drink whatever the hell you want.
15. Always say goodbye to your host at the end of the night.
Unless you don't feel like it.