We walked into the Foundation Room (which is next to the Diamond Club, where Joe used to take me before he dumped my ass...again). This area of the Showboat is considered the House of Blues and reflects the image of that chain of party places. The entryway was empty and we wandered right into the main room where I immediately ran into Michelle and Mike Ray, who I worked with at the Studio Six. Michelle went to school with Lance and her hubby Mike was DJing the event. We hugged and quickly caught up and then Lance and I made our way to the bar to start tanking up on the free booze! As we waited, I scanned the room looking to see if I knew anybody else and Lance was trying to recognize his former classmates. Of course, I was filing away catty remarks to say about the people there but withholding them until later, I didn't know which ones were Lance's friends and didn't want to make a faux pas.
We got our drinks and then the evening began. Lance started reuniting with friends and others and I was the dutiful arm candy. Michelle came over and took some pictures of us and we kept drinking to fortify ourselves for the night of revelry. I was introduced to everyone and quickly forgot them, by now I was in a fog of too much of...well...too much. I took in my surroundings, looking at the decor (very nice and eclectic) and the spread. They had a nice buffet but I wasn't all that hungry. Besides, it's hard to look good chomping on food when my job was to "S & M" (stand and model). Sitting on the couches in front of the bar were the "jocks", a group of guys who still kept their looks and shape, looking tanned and wearing the standard white button-down shirts to show off said tan. The women were circulating like sharks through the crowd, homing in on old friends and every once in a while you'd hear screams of "Oh my God!" and other surprised greetings as people recognized each other around us. There was one pretentious gentleman with a yellow bow tie (which he made sure to untie later just to point out it was an actual bow tie and not a clip on). He took my attention for a while, and I his. Even with the wedding ring on his finger, I could tell there was something a little light in his loafers. Things were going well, I was enjoying myself and so was Lance and then I met...her. Yes, the bane of my existence for the rest of the night. The one who, on first sight, I knew would be trouble. Yes, hot cats and cool chicks, I met...
THE HOMECOMING QUEEN!
This nicely turned out chick comes over, squealing in recognition of Lance (he squealed in return) and they hugged, kissed and did the usual "you look GREAT" party patter and then I was introduced. She was the former homecoming queen and I thought she looked nice, she's obviously kept her figure and had on a nice dress and good hair (compliments to the stylist) but I could tell she had been hitting the wine for a while before we got there. As a bartender, you learn to quickly size up the crowd and I knew I should stay away from this one but I was having a good time and thought, since she doesn't know me, I had nothing to worry about. I should have trusted my instincts.
After a quick bathroom break and then back to the bar, Lance was whisked away to yet another group of friends and I stood there, watching the people and doing my usual game of making up lives for those around me. I was deep in thought when, suddenly, I felt cold liquid all over my left side, the side that was leaning on the bar. I was shocked and looked over, thinking maybe the bartender accidentally spilled something. There was no one behind the bar where I was standing. I then feel an arm on my shoulders and look to my right and there she is...
THE HOMECOMING QUEEN!
Only this time, she's completely drunk and has an empty wine glass in her left hand. The empty glass in the hand attached to the arm that was around my shoulder. The empty glass that drained all over my neck, jacket, shirt, arm...everywhere. She had come up behind me during my pensive moment and tried to be chummy but instead, she showered me with a glass of white wine. Luckily, it was white wine so the stain factor was not an issue but...and this was the worst part...the wine was bad.
Class is now in session: Open bars present a unique opportunity for bar owners. Although it depends on the bar, as a rule most bars don't sell that much wine. And once you open a bottle to give that rare wine-drinking customer a glass or two, you usually don't serve another glass for quite a while. This is a problem because, unlike other liquors, wine spoils over time. It spoils to the point where it can actually undergo a chemical transition and turn into a very nice vinegar. It happens.
This is where opportunity knocks. When there's an open bar, all the open bottles of wine are used in order to get rid of the old stock. Drunken high school reunion people are not usually connoisseurs of wine and wouldn't really know the difference.
But I do.
And not because I am a some sort of a Paul Masson or Inglenook or Sutter Home, I am a bartender and salad eater. I know vinegar when I smell it and I had white wine vinegar all over my left side. It stunk to high heaven! Lance had come over by now and then the brouhaha ensued, the apologies (on her part), the gracious acceptance (on my part) and then the heartfelt apologies (on her part) and the continued magnanimous acceptance (on my part) and then the annoying and continuing drunken apologies (on her part) and the continuing gracious and magnanimous acceptance (on my part). It just got to be too much. I finally told her that, as a bartender, I have been thrown-up on (Club Tru story!) so a little spilled wine is no problem. Her friends finally herded her away and I ran to the bathroom to pat down and try to salvage my dignity and sense of smell.
Once that was over, Lance and I made our way through the crowd, saying hi here and there and watching the people make damned fools of themselves, laughing when yet ANOTHER chick fell on the dance floor. It seems these housewives can't hold their liquor, wear heels and dance at the same time or maybe there was a pothole on the dance floor that tripped them up but all during the event you'd see another girl fall on her ass. At one point, Lance took over the dance floor, dancing in the middle of a group of girls as the screamed in delight! I stood by, dutifully beaming at my date like Nancy Reagan zombie-staring at her beloved Ronnie.
During a break, Lance and I were sitting on a banquette chatting with his friends and making fun of the people around us. By now, I was feeling no pain and let loose with the tongue. We were laughing and having a great time when we noticed this chick walking around without shoes.
People, this is DISGUSTING. You DO NOT walk around a nightclub without shoes on, EVER! It's dirty. It's gauche. It's dangerous. It's Just. Not. Done.
And here she was, doing it. Right in front of us.
So we went off. Lance called her over and chatted her up and we tore into her, being way cruel and not caring. But then she hit us with the line of the night. When Lance asked where her shoes were, she replied, "With my backpack!"
Why the hell did you bring a BACKPACK to a nightclub?! We busted out laughing, dismissed her and went on the dance floor where we danced the last of the event away, it was over shortly afterward.
We still wanted to party so we decided to go to Boogie Nights at Resorts. It's a weekend party in one of their ballrooms that has a seventies theme and plays music from the sixties, seventies and eighties. I had heard it was a blast and I have friends that work there. I contacted them and got us on the list and we wandered over to Resorts from the Showboat, stopping quickly at Le Grand Fromage to see Lucy, who I haven't seen in a while.
Once in Boogie Nights, we got our drinks from my friend Ike, who was wearing this big Afro wig (silly), and my friend Yomira (Ike's girlfriend) seated us in the VIP section in one of the booths. I looked around at the cheap decor and the interesting mix of people and marveled at the concept, envying the fact that such a simple idea was so successful! Lance remarked about the mixed crowd, both young and old dancing together and having a ball. The vibe of the place is amazing, everyone is there to have fun and it was palpable in the room. We sipped our drinks and then decided that the music was too good and went up to the dance floor and danced the rest of the night away!
One quick mention: Not one person cared that two guys were dancing together. I love my city!!!
Inevitably, the night had to end and ours was no different. Lance had to open the Continental in the morning so we hailed a taxi and made out in the back on the ride to his home. I finally got home and literally passed out on the couch until Helene woke me up and put me in the bedroom to sleep off the very long, very fun, day.