Monday, June 04, 2007
I had a unique experience last Saturday night. At least, it was unique for me. The night started off innocently enough. Katie, Sharon, and Katie's friend, Frank, met me for dinner at Planet Thailand in the 'Burg, then the three of us (Frank left) ventured to a pub on Bedford for an apres dinner beer. Sharon got all froo froo and ordered Scotch.
Connected to the pub by an open door was a separate room with a stage, where a guy in pointy shoes and a maroon v-neck played the acoustic guitar. A few feet away, his middle-aged partner banged the drums with a fur-tipped stick in his left hand and what looked like a container of Advil in his right hand. Weird, but somehow it worked. We enjoyed the music, but there was no air conditioning in this part of the bar, so after ten sweaty minutes we couldn't take it anymore and decided to call it a night.
I trudged back to my building, and once there, found my favorite doorman, Ayodele, holding the elevator for me with three people waiting inside. When I walked in, I thanked them all for waiting, and quickly noticed a scantily clad dark-haired woman standing to the right of the door. She wore a white miniskirt that barely reached below her bummy bum, coupled with a tight black t-shirt that accentuated her, uh, substantial front features. How to put this? She looked like an off-duty stripper. A smiling, friendly, approachable, so-you're-saying-there's-a-chance stripper. When I saw her, I was positively giddy. Given that I typically share my elevator rides with fifty year-old couples and their leg humping poodles, this was a significant improvement. The doors closed and Ayo, myself, Sexy Hot, Sexy Hot's friend (whose cuteness was, sadly, eclipsed by Sexy Hot's aura), and another doorman, who wasn't working that night, rode up the elevator together.
"Where are you going," I asked Ayo, who usually doesn't take elevator rides when he's supposed to be working.
"Ohh mon, dare's a partee on da terd flor."
"Really? Wow. And you're all going?"
"Oh yeah, yeah," he said, as the rest of them concurred.
"Well, I guess my invitation must still be in the mail. I never got it."
(Raucous laughter ensued at this witty quip from yours truly. Okay, it wasn't raucous, but everybody laughed, including, most notably, Sexy Hot.)
"Man, you should come. There's a lot of fun people there." This from the off-duty doorman. I don't remember his name but he was wearing a blue Mets cap with the bill flipped up, so let's call him "Mets Guy."
"Oh, I don't know.... I wasn't invited, and I won't know anyone," I responded to Mets Guy. Sometimes I am Eeyore incarnate, folks. Thing is, I can be a little self-conscious in crowds, so I'm not really one to wade into social gatherings where I don't know anyone at all. Not unless it's absolutely necessary. Much like Rain Man, I need a social buffer. Accordingly, I rarely crash parties, and on those few occasions where I have, I've never gone solo. It's always been with two or three friends. But when we got to the third floor, and Sexy Hot said "C'mon you should come," beckoning me with a wave of the hand and a come hither look that I won't soon forget, Eeyore ran off to play with Tigger, and I forgot all about his sorry ass.
"Alright," said I, my grin as wide as a billboard. Really, how could I say no?
My spontaneity reaped instant rewards as we exited the elevator and I watched Sexy Hot turn and slink down the hallway, all bare legs and high heels. Then, looking up, I saw this gaping, oval hole in the back of her shirt. She was so exposed, I could count every one of her perfect little vertebrae, which, I noted, snaked down oh-so-nicely to the top half of a tattoo on her lower back. Sigh. Shake head. Rinse well. Repeat.
We arrived at Party Central, and I could hear the music pumping hard through the closed door. Sexy Hot pushed it open and, resisting the urge to do the "What Is Love" Chris Kattan dance, I followed her and the rest of the crew inside, where I saw bout 20 people in various stages of drink and dance. They were a mix of young, silicone club chicks and dudes in the proverbial untucked shirts and jeans, though, remarkably, I only saw one set of stripes on this night. Solid navy blue was the preferred color for those gents who weren't wearing ironic t-shirts. On the whole, it seemed like a friendly crowd. Even though I didn't know a soul there except the doormen, I didn't get the "What the fuck are you doing here?" vibe you sometimes get with strangers. So that was nice.
Sexy Hot grabbed my wrist and led me behind the bar to share a shot of Patron. After pouring our shots, she sprinkled some cinnamon on my hand. I don't do tequila shots too often, but I told Sexy Hot that I thought the proper accessory was salt, not cinnamon. "No, trust me, this is good," she said. So I trusted. (Seriously, I would have snorted the cinnamon if she asked me to.) We clinked, we drank, and I felt the hot burn slide down my throat, hit bottom, and mix with the two beers I'd had earlier in the evening. Two checks on the Saturday night drink trifecta: hard liquor and beer.
Having shared a shot with me, Sexy Hot asked for my name, which I gave her. I then asked for hers and she told me it was "Aphrodite." Immediately, my stripper/pro index shot up two clicks, right through orange and well into red. But I nodded politely, as though "Aphrodite" were a name that I hear every day. To my credit, I resisted the temptation to say something inane like "Well, heh heh, you definitely look like an Aphrodite, heh heh." Then Sexy Hot walked me over to the sangria bowl and poured us two plastic cups full. It was pretty good sangria, so I stuck with it the rest of the night. Drink trifecta complete: wine, hard liquor, beer. Cue in Sunday's train wreck hangover, seven hours and counting.
After a few sips of sangria together, Sexy Hot must have felt she was done making New Guy feel welcome, so she left to mingle with her friends. We didn't cross paths for the rest of the evening, but hey, it was fun while it lasted. When she left, my stripper/pro index clicked back to an innocent green.
With Sexy Hot gone, along with 75% of my interest in the party, I strolled around the apartment looking for some chat. I saw hints of a Mexican theme, hanging ruffled streamers and disco balls colored an optimistic yellow, blue, green, and pink; the words "F I E S T A" stuck above the bathroom door; and the final touch: a multicolored donkey pinata hung from the ceiling in the back of the room. Donkey swayed back and forth to the music, doing a last, lonely death waltz, as he awaited his inevitable fate. To the left of Donkey were a set of stairs, which led up to an overhead loft. Underneath the stairs, Hector, a professional DJ and the owner of the apartment, studiously manipulated an array of complicated equipment that looked like it came straight from a studio. There were sliders and keys and mixers and speakers and synthesizers and turntables and other DJ shit that I can't even describe. In the middle of it all stood this color computer screen the size of a small plasma t.v., where Hector stored his playlists and arranged the music. Above his equipment, there were framed gold and platinum records of certain artists he'd helped in some capacity, including Toni Braxton and some rapper whose name I didn't recognize. Hector was totally cool and a very gracious host.
I asked one of the doormen about the Mexican theme and learned that I had crashed a birthday party for Hector's girlfriend, who was not Mexican. At about 1:30, Hector turned the music down, and they brought out a large cake with lit candles for Hector's girlfriend who's name escapes me. (I'm pretty bad with names.) I think it was something like "Naisturn." Anyway, we all sang "Happy Birthday" to Naisturn, and then we cheered and clapped at the end. It was a bit surreal applauding for a stranger who I'd just met an hour ago and whose name I didn't know. At that moment, I remember thinking "This is bizarre. What the hell am I doing here?"
A few minutes later, they blindfolded Naisturn and put a small wooden bat in her hand. She took a few half-hearted swings at the pinata but couldn't hit it square. I personally think she subconsciously didn't want to hurt the donkey. That's what happens when it's there for you. Frustrated, she handed the bat to one of her girlfriends, a butchy-looking hardass in a white tanktop, who, earlier in the evening, I'd seen drinking Patron straight from the bottle. Classy broad. Butchy took one hard swing at the pinata and decapitated it. As the stash of candy fell to the floor, Butchy patted herself on the back for an assassination job well done. To be fair to Naisturn, Butchy wasn't wearing a blindfold when she took her vicious swing at pobrecito asino.
By 2:30 a.m., I'd had my fill of watching Sexy Hot and her silicone friends dance and strut around the room in their minis and heels. With the unfortunate recognition that I had to work the next day, I thanked Hector for his hospitality and took my leave upstairs. I can't tell you how sweet it was not to have to ride the subway, flag a cab, or walk a mile to get home. All I had to do was walk down the hall, push a button for my floor, and there I was, mi casa, within seconds. Building parties are fun!
One of the doormen told me that Hector likes to throw a sweet bash during Halloween. I told him to tell me when it happens, so I can crash that one too. I just have to see Sexy Hot in her debaucherous costume.