1. “jump, jive, and wail”
As of Friday 6pm I still didn’t know what to wear to the company Christmas party. I was in Joe’s car, speeding towards home, where we would all primp, tweeze, and exfoliate. Jacinda bought a massive panetonne at Walgreen’s for $3.99 which we ate while watching “Spy Kids” on Showtime. We should have been dressing, applying makeup, etc. but the panetonne was good enough to make me stop and reconsider my choice of lip gloss.
Ultimately, I wore the same dress I wore to all the weddings I attended this year, and the same shoes – black floral print with black faux alligator sandals. Oddly enough, it was seasonally appropriate. Everyone at the party was drunk enough that they thought the pink flowers on my dress were red. Celi wore these pointy heels that she called her “witchy-poo” shoes, and I lent her a bracelet. Celi was in town to surprise Nate for his birthday. She called me with the idea Tuesday night, and by Wednesday morning she had her plane ticket. So as Joe parked the car, Celi and Sebastian (my date) and I linked arms skipped to the party to check our coats and look for Celi’s man.
This year, the Christmas party was at the A. Finkl & Sons Iron Foundry. There was an entire warehouse for our use – coat check, pictures, and the smoking area were all on the first floor. Up some stairs and a vast industrial space was transformed into a dining room upholstered in red satin and draped with white lights. The place was packed, and we ran around in circles until we found Nate, slightly loopy, talking to our HR director. They kissed hello, Celi and Nate, and I went off to get myself a drink.
So the next few hours were a big blur. Not because I drank a lot but because I didn’t stop moving once. So many people to see, drink with, smoke with. Granted, I work with most of these fools but it felt kinda magical and I felt the need to socialize as the occasion demanded. Sebastian was my willing escort, prepared to withstand idle gossip about my co-workers and hang out with the smokers while I caught up with them over a Lucky Strike or five.
My boss and I found the other Flip girl at the party and bonded over our ignorance of Tagalog. I congratulated my friend Frank for actually making it out to a company gathering. I admired my friend Julie’s hot little black dress, spiced up with a bright red bag and bright red Cosmopolitan. Diana the receptionist teetered about on 6″ high platforms. I marveled at supertall Jeff and his equally supertall boyfriend Gordon. I scanned the door and looked for my crush, who did not show. Which was just as well, because he lives with somebody anyway, and their appearance might have just made me feel bad. And I was determined not to feel bad. I was determined to spread holiday cheer, as always. But thank goodness there were no sprigs of mistletoe scattered about like some pre-teen makeout party. I took pictures of people I loved and liked and didn’t like and wiggled my toes to wake up my feet, which were getting cold in my open-toed shoes.
The food was decent, but not as yummy as in years past. I wasn’t there to eat so much as to scope out my male co-workers when they get cleaned up. And let me just say that they clean up real nice. I’d like to send a special shout-out to Matt for not wearing the velour jumpsuit like he said he would do.
The end of the party was confusion, as people were trying to figure out where to go for after-party drinks. Jeremy wandered off into the night while Sebastian, Joe, Jacinda, Celi, and I returned to the car, having decided to do nothing more inspired than go home with our honeys (Celi, Jacinda, Joe, Sebastian) or alone to read magazines and chain-smoke until 3 in the morning (me). Boo hoo.
2. “a few of my favorite things”
I spent Saturday afternoon with Sebastian. We were supposed to be Christmas shopping but I didn’t get anything and Sebastian ended up buying himself stuff.
We have a date to go Christmas shopping this Saturday.
First stop was the Armani Exchange store. I had been in there once before, just to marvel at the wide selection of size 0 skirts, then cheered myself up at the lipstick bar at Nordstrom. Sebastian and I were looking for shirts for him to wear with leather pants, but I couldn’t help but get distracted muscular party boys who worked there. Finding nothing at first, we headed to the Kenneth Cole store – a mad house, full of shoppers in their 20s wielding 40% coupons and ambitious shopping agendas. The wait for the cash register was 45 minutes, so Sebastian and I said fuck it and went back to Armani Exchange to renew the shirt search. He bought a cute button-down shirt, and before I could start moaning about how I could maybe fit one of legs into a tube top, we went to the Virgin Mega-Store and listened to music. Sebastian bought CDs, among them Britney Spear’s “I’m A Slave 4 U” single and the new Aaliyah record. Then the Sony store – more madness. Shoppers, blinking lights, beeping sounds from any and every product in the place, which was a study in brushed aluminum and blue velour carpeting. It’s a lot less cheesy-looking than it sounds, I assure you. Nevertheless, it was a pleasure to leave Michigan Avenue for the relative peace of the DSW Shoe Warehouse. Sebastian bought boots, I pawed the satiny purses, and then we all went home to nap/eat/primp for the night’s activities.
3. “get into the groove”
I was late meeting Sarah, Jan, and Rob (Jan’s boyfriend) at the Empty Bottle because, fool that I am, I took public transportation to the Empty Bottle. Yes, it’s cheap, but it was co-old Saturday night and even though I was broke I probably should have splurged on a cab anyway. But if I had, I would have missed the tacky teenagers on the Belmont Avenue bus, and the pretentious hipster couple on the Western bus.
a. Belmont bus
“Oh my god, I had 8 tequila shots last night.”
“Hey, do you wanna know how many I can drink before I puke?”
“Did you see what Melissa was wearing? I don’t think it was real Tommy Hilfiger.”
b. Western bus
“Yeah, so my jazz professor like, RUNS, jazz night at the Empty Bottle.”
“He’s, like, one of the top five jazz people in the country.”
“Yeah, like in the scene. He would have come tonight but he had to fly to Germany after the final.”
I was far too cold to mock these children, so I kept my hands in my coat pockets and tried not to cry too much in the blustery wind so my mascara wouldn’t run. I was glad to get to the bar and warm myself up. Sarah parked close enough that we kept our coats in our car thus freeing our hands to smoke and drink more. It was crowded, and The Gossip were playing, so we hung out by the pool table and chatted. I had to take a moment to make fun of somebody’s outfit (“Hey, Fred Durst called – he wants his chain wallet back”) because, well, I’m catty and I like making my friends laugh. When we went to the bar to get drinks, I passed Har Mar Superstar standing in the crowd, drinking with some friends. Up close, he looked like a pasty Ron Jeremy. The night’s featured performer looked like he could be a porno stunt double. I hardly knew what to make of this, so I got a gimlet and thought.
Har Mar’s set was *outstanding*. Dressed in a choir robe, he stripped down to a sequined tuxedo jacket, blue Jockey undershorts, chaps, and sneakers for such songs as “Baby, Do You Like My Clothes?” and a raucous cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Sir Duke”. He almost covered Fiona Apple’s “Criminal”. He could breakdance, singing while executing a perfect headstand in his underwear. After each song he’d say “Give it up, I’m awesome!” or “Wasn’t that the fucking best?” And the thing is, he totally was. For that brief hour, he ruled my world. He was R. Kelly with a sense of humor, the heir to the throne of blue eyed soul left empty when Dusty Springfield passed away. Okay, maybe I’m getting carried away here but his shit was the jam. I was screaming and singing and dancing and sweating. I was right next to the Gossip’s singer, a tiny pudgy girl with short black hair and a small knit purse over her shoulder. She started dancing with me and it was fun. She hugged me at the end of the show. Sweat was pouring down her face and neck.
“I’ve had my eye on you all night!”
I knew I looked good, so I wasn’t even that surprised. I was flattered — a indie rock demi-celebrity thought I was cute. And why shouldn’t she? I told Sarah and Jan, who promptly swooned. I was glad for the recognition, even if she was probably half-drunk and I don’t go for girls. After the show, we waited for the bar to empty before heading out. We compared our souvenirs (we all got the same pink Har Mar Superstar pink t-shirt) and made plans to drive to Underdog in Wicker park for a late night snack. Sarah and I arrived at Underdog, and waited for Jan and Rob. While we waited, we watched drunk girls run around the area in too-tight jeans and cheap shoes. When one of these girls slipped and fell on her ass in the middle of Damen Avenue, I looked at Sarah and smirked “See? That’s why I don’t buy my shoes at Rainbow.” Sarah guffawed, and then Jan appeared from inside the restaurant to pull us in.
I want to give a shoutout to the Eskimos
I want to give a shoutout to the submarines
I want to give a shoutout to the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines…
(Ol’ Dirty Bastard)
Love as Laughter – I’m A Bee; Kylie Minogue – Love At First Sight; Har Mar Superstar – Girl, Do You Like My Clothes?; Ol’ Dirty Bastard feat. Kelis – Got Your Money