The funny thing is, I didn’t realize I was freaking out until the night where my Never-Say-No-to-Champagne Policy was pushed into uncharted territory and the result was, well, a *tad* unlike what one might expect from a 30-year-old woman.
Since that night I’ve been making concerted efforts to:
A) Not go out as much – saves me money and embarrassment!
B) Keep the drinking of the drinkies (drinkie: delicious alcoholic beverage) to four or less per sitting (sitting: dancing and/or flailing my arms like a bird).
C) Only allow four drinkie limit on weekends so I have ample time to recover for work.
Good plan, right? Hey, I can exercise self control. Even when faced with what I was faced with last Friday night…
I was getting over a sinus infection that I’d been working through all week. When Yves-Marie sent out an email to me and several other coworkers plus our new friend, Rachel, reminding everyone she had a babysitter for her 5 year old and therefore we were going out, I happily replied, “Put me down as tentative!” I would *finger quotes* see how I feel *end finger quotes* Friday afternoon, get in my PJs, conveniently fall asleep on the couch watching reruns of the Real Housewives of Orange County, then around 8 text her that I just woke up and am too tired and have lots of fun without me.
Instead, Yves-Marie called me and informed me I WOULD be coming and I would also be PLANNING the whole dang thing because she didn’t know the city well. (Ugh, Suburbanites…) “Must Be Diverse” was her one caveat. She also reminded me Rachel is a full-time student and can’t spend a lot of money.
Sooooo a place that’s not 100% white and sells cheap drinks. Got it (if “cheap” means around $10 -- can’t do much better than that). I told everyone to meet at my place at 7:30 and we’d go to Marvin, then when it got so crowded we all developed claustrophobia we could go to Policy for dancing or Local 16 to enjoy the rooftop or whatever else we decided. I figured I would buy a round to help out Rachel, and everyone would probably be very tired by midnight and then we’d all go home and I could get back to my bed and humidifier.
I wore my fat jeans (after three wears I can pull them off without unbuttoning them -- makes me feel so skinny!), work flats, and a tank top with little rosettes sewn around the neckline. I could not muster up the energy to try to look cute, so I went for casual chic. It’d work for the outdoor space at Marvin, especially since it would be so crowded no one would be able to see what I was wearing.
The girls showed up at 8:30, about one minute before I was going to text “Whoops, fell asleep, y’all have fun without me!” No one had eaten and I hadn’t made reservations. (Ugh, Suburbanites! Why didn’t they tell me they wanted dinner!) We walked to Marvin to see if we could even get a table, but Susan – who Yves-Marie commented was dressed like Nancy Reagan and she took it as a compliment – was not having it. Something about weird food? I don’t know. It was my only idea. So we wandered until suddenly Yves-Marie became wildly excited about a restaurant I’d seen a hundred times but never set foot in – Jin. “This is what I’ve imagined a night out on the city would be like!” she squealed.
Jin has a little Buddha in the window, so you’d think it’s Asian. We walked in and it looked like a high-end club in LA. We sat down at an empty table on a platform near the front, right in the window with the Buddha. The menu offered jerk chicken and plantains. It was the most fusion restaurant I'd ever seen (website describes it as "Asian Caribbean Soul Lounge"). We settled in and ordered our food, and then we noticed that Rachel, Susan, and I were the only white people in there. Diversity? Check.
As we chattered and ate at our little end of the restaurant, we began to feel as if we were the only people in there. You know, you’re having such a good time you just forget other people are around you? I did notice this one guy walking around, maybe a manager, I thought. When he walked by our table I complimented him on his orange pocket square (quite the fashion statement, worn with a baby blue suit, wouldn’t you agree?).
A few minutes later our server came over, leaned in close to me, and said, “The owner would like to send over drinks, what would you like?”
“Wow! Uhhh…” And here is my problem. I never know what to order when put on the spot. If I don’t have a menu in front of me with pre-mixed drinks, I order “something yummy with rum” and then order a “Rum Yummy” for the rest of the night. It’s only ticked off one bartender to date. So all I could come up with was, “Another mojito?”
“Girl,” the server said, “the owner is giving you drinks. Get the good stuff!”
“What would that be?” I wondered.
“Champagne!” she said. Oh, well duh! Champagne it was, all around. One glass couldn’t hurt.
But then a bartender came over with this:
Not a problem, I thought. It’ll be split up between four of us, not even two glasses each.
The owner – who was the pocket square guy – came over to introduce himself. We thanked him and talked for a while, and I noticed the place was filling up with people. But let me tell you, these people were dressed to the NINES. I’m talkin’ 5-inch stilettos, hair done beautifully, tight little designer dresses, blingy blingy galore. We convinced Susan to take off her black cardigan to reveal a ruffled white top with pinstripe skirt, and Rachel also shed her cardigan to reveal a floral tank top. Come to think about it, I brought a cardigan too. The only person dressed appropriately was Yves-Marie, in a purple satin top with black pants and heels. (Ugh, a Suburbanite outdid me in the fashion department? Note to self: ALWAYS look cute.)
The owner had to take care of something, but asked if he could get us anything before he left.
“Ooh ooh! I know! I know! You should get your DJ to do a Nate Dogg tribute!” I said, jumping up and down and clapping my hands.
RIP Nate Dogg
“You know Nate Dogg?” the owner asked.
“Of course! I lived through the East Coast/West Coast War of the 90s!” Ohhhhh no. I was drunk on attention, which is possibly worse than drunk on drinkies. So, when “Next Episode” came over the speakers, followed by “Regulate” (to which I remembered most of the words), I danced like I thought I was a rapper, but probably looked more like Busta Rhymes than Jay-Z.
In my Nate Dogg haze I didn’t realize just how packed the club had gotten. Or that Yves-Marie was staring at me like I was crazy.
“Yooooou are going to get your ass kicked,” she warned me. I looked behind me and saw a sofa full of ladies who were not dancing a fool as I was and who did not look altogether amused with me.
Susan was cowering on our sofa, so to divert attention away from myself I pulled her up and tried to get her to dance in the window with me and wave people in. Worked like a charm! With our awesome dance moves we convinced many a boy into Jin that night. Curious that none of them came to speak to us, but I didn’t think about it too much.
Soon the champagne was gone and I figured we’d go on home. Before I could suggest it, a bartender brought over a bucket of ice, two carafes of juice, and a BOTTLE OF VODKA. Then he mixed drinks for us. At our table. A personal bartender.
I realized that I was nearing my four-drink limit, so I sipped slowly. I also felt bad that we were getting all this attention so I offered a drink to a girl sitting nearby us. She didn’t acknowledge me. Then a couple of girls stepped up on the platform, which was fine because we had plenty of room, and this big, mean lookin’ guy came out of nowhere and blocked them!
“Do we have a bodyguard?” Rachel asked me. It sure looked that way! And would explain why none of those guys had come to see us. Hmm. Okay.
About that time Rachel and I decided to take a bathroom break. We descended into the crowd and pushed our way to the back to stand in the bathroom line. A couple of guys in line smiled at us and tried to start up a conversation. The girl standing behind them was not as friendly.
“I love your dress!” I blurted out. She cracked a smile and said thank you. (I knew this would work for two reasons: 1) The language of fashion is universal and 2) Every woman wants male attention on her.) The guys turned to look at her, and then a stall opened. I got in and out faster than I ever have, and then Rachel and I quickly made our way back to the front of the club.
We stayed until that bottle of vodka was almost gone (don’t look at me, I stuck to my plan) and used our VIP treatment for good when we noticed a girl hobbling in her heels and told our bouncer to let her up on the platform with us so she could sit on our sofa.
I still don’t fully understand what happened that night, but everyone was pleased with my mad girls-night-out planning skillz. Yves-Marie thinks I have magic hair, but I think complimenting a man on his pocket square can go a long way. Not sure how many pocket squares I’ll see in Austin when I meet my girls B and Lauren there for my big 3-0, but I’m sure I’ll figure something out!