November 20, 2006

For Fred

Champagne is not my friend. Neither is white wine but on Fred's birthday I was drinking champagne (cava if truth be know) and that's when I learned that white and bubbly are not adjetives my body is happy with unless it pertains to bathing. The trouble is that when I'm out socially, I drink white wines because an evening of red wine horribly stains my teeth and lips. And no one wants to talk to the girl whose mouth is bleeding. So I drink white instead of my preferred red unless there is food involved. And in Ireland, food is only involved at the end of the evening, on the way home, when the munchies have taken over every logic cell in the body and convinced you that deep fried chicken with a serving of French fries bigger than your head is a really good idea just before bed.

So I drink white wine, which helps not in the least with that last problem, but it saves scrubbing the old pearlies upon return home. The thing about white is, for a red drinker, the lack of flavor. I have a few favorites in the white realm, but mostly I consume them in the summer and/or with shellfish. But at a party, the choice of white wines available is usually not of the highest quality. I'm just as guilty of this, why serve the good stuff when drinking for volume is the agenda? so the big problem with white is that it lacks a distinct flavor, which makes it quite innocuous and therefore much easier to drink than red. Which means I drink more of it than I realize, because it's like sipping on water.

So there I was, at Fred's birthday party a few weeks ago, sipping champagne, glass after glass, not realizing how much I was consuming. I figured that out the following morning, when I remembered walking home from the party in my socks because my new boots, at 4" high, were a poor choice for a woman who could not find a taxi for love nor money.

Anyway, there I was, at Fred's birthday, with the usual crew: Joe (my date), Rob, Bunny, Tracey, John, and Mark From Georgia. It was Fred's 40th, so his partner Fergal threw him a bash and a half. Honestly, if they have another party, I'll crash if I'm not invited. Fergal knows how to host an event.

As we walked to the front door, we stopped to admire The Gift. Now, it has to be said, when Rob had his housewarming party, the friends threw in together and bought him a chandelier he had his eye on but couldn't afford after all the renovation. I, being a chandelier lover, was incredibly impressed and jealous. But when we arrived at F+F's, it almost overtook me. Fergal bought him a Vespa. Need I detail the amount of jealousy coursing thru me? It's a good thing birthday Vespas don't come in lime green or pumpkin orange, because it would have been a stolen birthday Vespa. Excuse me while I pout a bit.

Ok, I'm better now. Upon entering the house, a uniformed doorman took our coats and showed us into the living area, where the bar was located. A momentary panic ensued in me when I heard Fred speaking French to some other guests. Joe said it was going to be a posh party but I hadn't anticipated foreign languages and hired help. I left my manners behind in a different handbag. We wished him well and headed to the bar. And what a bar it was. Behind the bar was an incredibly hot Brazilian bartender who, as Fergal whispered to me on the way in, was straight and single. To say the night took an interesting turn is rather mildly understating things because I have two groups of men that always seem to be interested in me (and thank god for them!): British and any form of Latin/Hispanic/Spanish. Brazilian? Fits neatly in that category.

So we sauntered up to the bar, me doing my utmost to smolder sensuously and ordered my first champagne. I believe my logic was, sensuous women don't drink beer and I don't drink martinis, so the only choice left was champagne. Yeah. Moving right along... I believe that was the moment we realized that Fergal had spent the equivilant of the gross national product of a small industrialized country on booze. A full bar of liquor, the good stuff, not the generic house vodkas, an entire American refridgerator full of bottle beer, the house refridgerator stocked with white wine and champagne. The Vespa was probably cheaper than the bar bill. So of course we did our best to deplete the supplies for them. Only being good friends really; the Beer fridge was rented and they would have no place to store food after stuffing their fridge with the leftover beer. I consider it a goodwill gesture.

More people arrived, none of whom we knew, the music took over, laughter ringing thru the room, bartender flirting with me, gay men resisting stabbing me with cocktail toothpicks. We managed to convince Anna, the canape waitress to start every tray with our group, which she duly honored. And then it was time for the audio visual portion of the evening. (Fred is a tech-head, so it had to happen) Fred and Fergal have been together for 14 years, a feat of which I cannot imagine, and Fergal compiled a little 'This is your life' slide show. The audio portion was the laughter and the 'aaahhhh'-ing of the guests. I was stuck in the hall and couldn't see, but everyone said it was a great show. And then the DJ took over and the party resumed. At this point, Joe and I were talking in the kitchen and I witnessed something truly horrible. Many of the guests brought wine as gifts and left them in the kitchen. Other guests, for whom the bar was clearly inadequate, were opening said gifts and helping themselves. And this is where my inner Super Hero springs forth. I sifted thru all the bottles and stashed the expensive wines in the cupboards. That's my idea of heroism. Sad, isn't it? And the worst part is, I don't know that I told them about it, so I'd imagine morning coffee, and subsequent meals for that matter, were a bit comical. 'Would you like coffee or tea? Or perhaps a nice Barolo?'.

There was shameful dancing, probably instigated by me. I distinctly remember trying to teach both Rob and Tracey how to dance and proclaiming them both 'hopeless followers'. In a partner dancing way, not a 'general human condition' way. There was much stroking of my boots (new sexy knee high boots with lots of straps and buckles. A boot fetishists dream essentially), mostly by Rob, who I believe would actually marry them if only such a union were to be allowed and came with gifts.

The Brazilian went home with another girl at the party after I took exception to what amounted to his working rather than paying attention to me. She had to be talked into hooking up with him since she didn't find him attractive and was advised to keep that sentiment quiet unless she wanted 10 gay men flailing handbags about her head. She lives in London, so unfortunately, details could not be obtained relating to her night of passion. I believe the sentiment of the group was, what good is 'taking one for the team' if you don't share with the team?

Bunny, as the only sensible member of the party, left early (Flying out early the next morning, what a lame excuse) and the last time I remember was somewhere around 1:30. I have no idea what time I actually left, probably close to 4 and I was one of the first less-than-sensible guests to leave. I walked home under the dark but distinctly blue sky, trying to hail every cab that drove past. And one guarda car, who I'm disappointed to report, barely glanced at me. About 20 minutes into the 40 minute walk home, I stopped to take off the boots because my feet were killing me. 4" wedges are meant to be seen in, not used. Don't know what I was thinking. So I walked the rest of the way in my stocking feet, which told me that it had rained during the night and was quite cold outside. Those are now socks for the trash. Maybe I'll put them in a box, wrap them very nicely and give them to F+F for Christmas. Talisman of good parties to come.

As I told the boys that Monday, you know it was a good party when the straight girls and the gay boys start making out like teen agers, and neither of them is in drag.

Thanks for the party guys! My birthday is in April.

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