Note: This post is moderately unsafe for work, I think.
Goal for the day
Have lunch with my friend. See my Monogamous Non-Sexual Life Partner (MNSLP) Montana and his boyfriend, who are also in Philly from DC for the weekend. Eat a fancy dinner. Go to bed by ten because I fucking hate New Year’s Eve.
How the day actually went
My sister and I depart for Philadelphia
Arrive at home of excellent Philly friend, Frankie. She gives me almond croissants, purchased early that morning from the best bakery on the planet because she knows that I would walk over broken glass for those things and she is cool like that.
Lunch with my sister and Frankie. I have a pork shoulder sandwich with all kinds of crazy stuff on it,like cilantro mint pesto and neon-purple violet mustard. I drink a Pimm’s Cup and a Mummer’s Punch, because consuming various mixed drinks early in the day is always a good choice.
Check into my itsy bitsy, overpriced hotel room in Center City. I usually stay with Frankie in South Philly, but I know that privacy is crucial to achieving my dream of being asleep at 10. That’s why I paid so much for this crappy room; it’s an investment in a well-rested January 1, insurance against having to touch a stranger at midnight. Worth every penny for that peace of mind! (THIS IS CALLED FORESHADOWING.)
Basking in some unstructured time and the glow of those two drinks, I decide to go shopping around Rittenhouse Square.
I hate shopping, Rittenhouse Square, this stupid city, and myself. I cry in my room (good thing I have it!) for an hour, making sure to achieve maximum eye-swelling in the process. I use nearly a box of tissues, strewing them about the bedside as though my ladies-in-waiting will remove them for me.
Time to meet Montana and the boyfriend for pre-dinner cocktails. Crying girls are Montana’s kryptonite, a worst-case scenario that can strike without warning, leaving a vast swath of discomfort in their wake. There’s a chance I would have subjected him to my despair anyway, because life partnership has risks as well as rewards, but his boyfriend’s presence saved us all from such a fate. (I want the boyfriend to think I’m normal.)
Joy of joys, there’s a special on pomegranate sangria! I drink five (5) (cinco) (cinq) plus a beer for good measure. I feel much better!
My sister shows up with a Person of Interest who lives in Philadelphia (she’s like a sailor, keeping kissyboys in every city just in case.) I want her to marry this guy — he’s in a soccer league! he volunteers! he’s Irish! — and while I don’t think that will happen tonight, sadly, his presence is a good sign that I’ll be free to abandon her before midnight for the comfort of my hotel bed.
Someone passes around his iPhone so we can look at Christmas pictures. Don’t scroll past the sagebrush pictures, he instructs my sister. Within seconds, she gives a little shriek. I went too far, I went too far, she says, shaking her head. Moments later, I too scroll too far. I nearly break the phone in my haste to GET IT AWAY FROM ME and sit with my eyes closed for ten minutes, trying to rewind my life back to the happy Christmas pictures. Every time I look around the table, I just see naked people.
I don’t think I know what sagebrush looks like, my sister says mournfully. But I never saw any damn sagebrush. I don’t think there was any.
All the boys have left. My sister and I passive-aggressively argue about where to eat dinner. In the interest of family peace, let’s just say we agreed and then hugged. Aww.
We meet my sweet cousin Caitie (who looks JUST LIKE Katniss Everdeen) for dinner at a raucous Mexican dive in South Philly. I drink several? hundred? blood orange margaritas and eat a field’s worth of corn chips. I must have eaten other things too. Things are a bit fuzzy at this point.
I used to drink a lot in my bar days. I would stay out until sunrise, boot and rally, drink to cure hangovers (daily), wake up in cabs I couldn’t remember getting into — all of your basic pre-alcoholic behavior. Then I stopped, and started working in an office, and contained such foolishness to the occasional weekend. For the past five years or so, I very rarely have more than one or two drinks at a time. My goal is to never have another hangover again, nor to be in a bar past midnight. I mostly meet this goal. Fun Ciara hardly ever makes an appearance these days, for the good of mankind and my liver. But when she does…
I cannot wait to get back to my hotel room and play Scrabble on my iPad. I brought my fleecy socks and everything. It’s going to be awesome. Caitie-niss is even going to drive me there. I win 2012.
Montana texts me and says I should meet them for a drink. I decline. He insists. I demur. He starts using exclamation points. Come on! We’re at a piano bar, and there are other girls here! You will love it! Come!!!! And you know, life partnership has its demands as well as its privileges, so I ask Caitie to re-route.
Text from Montana. We barhopped! Meet us at this address! I figure we’re close enough, and get out of Caitie’s car.
Friends, I have spent a lot of time in gay bars all across this city and our great nation — New Orleans, Tampa, Fort Lauderdale, San Antonio, Boston, San Francisco (oh jesus that one was bad), Denver, etc., etc.. I have stuffed money into the socks of naked dancing men. I have casually conversed with my boss in the flickering light of the porn movies playing on multiple screens. I have karaoked. I have politely, and with a straight face, ordered a drink called a “fistfuck.” It had lots of whipped cream. I’ve had my breasts manhandled quite inappropriately, because certain gay men think that’s an okay thing to do. (And because my breasts are awesome.) I even made out with a gay man once, in a bathroom stall in a filthy bar at the dark end of Bourbon Street. And you know, I’ve enjoyed it all. I roll with it. I wish the ladies’ facilities were a bit more moderne in some of these establishments, but as I like to say, a beer’s a beer and lots of my friends are queer so that’s why I’m here*.
The street to which Montana has directed me is actually a dark, narrow alley. Nothing appears to be a commercial establishment. Halfway down, hooded figures are gathered near a door, wreathed in mist. It could be a bar, or a death trap. I put on my city walk and stomp on down. There’s no way I’m spending midnight shivering alone on a street corner; terrible karma. As I reach the shadowy figures — turns out they’re just dudes smoking — a door opens, emitting a blast of music and warmth. Everyone I see in this brief glimpse is a fat man with no shirt on.
I text Montana. Did you bring me to a leather bar???? Come get me.
He did. He does.
It’s jockstrap night. There’s a kind of dungeon in the basement where some people are licking other people’s boots. A large man in a tiny rubber suit wanders around, alone. Montans’a boyfriend shows me where the nearest ladies room is as soon as I arrive. (This is the most chivalrous thing it’s possible to do for a woman in a gay bar.) I have a long chat with a muscular man who wants to be called Baby Bear. He asks me to slap his ass. I do. There are, of course, no other girls there. Montana and I have a very intense conversation about elementary school standardized test scores. His boyfriend and I mourn the old Pop Stop at 17th and P, where I used to study in college (1993!) and drink iced mochas until my eyeballs jittered. (There were no laptops! Can you imagine?) I hug a couple of hairy strangers at midnight, and drink seven? teen? Yuengling, which in Philly are called simply “lagers.” Knowing this improves my self-esteem. A lovely time is had by all.
2 a.m. (whaaaaat?)
There isn’t a cab to be had, so I start walking home. This is a great decision, because I have no idea where I am or where I’m going, I’m totally hammered, and my phone is about to die. Luckily, everyone else in Philadelphia seems to be in the same predicament. Drunk people in Philadelphia seem drunker than drunk people in other cities, somehow. I like that about them. Also, is there a non-slut-shaming way to say that all of the women were dressed like whores? Because they were, but I myself was wearing a(n accidentally — see 4:30 p.m. above) very short skirt and vivid purple tights, so I like that about them, too. The whores, I mean.
Back in my hotel room, I congratulate myself on sobering up by walking home. Brushing aside the sodden tissues from my earlier crying jag, I slip into bed still wearing my tights because I’m no longer agile enough to take them off. I call my sister, or so she tells me later.
I wake up. Why? Oh, that’s right, so I can puke all over the bathroom like some sort of fraternity pledge who’s been hazed. My purple tights do not lend dignity to this occasion.
I wake up with a blinding headache and mop up vomit with the hotel bath towels. Am I really ready for parenthood?
In the shower, I discover that there is no conditioner, only shampoo+conditioner, which is a vile substance that should be banned. This is my number one pet peeve when traveling, but I am too poisoned for tantrums. I just comb some lotion through my hair listlessly. My whole body hurts.
This hotel room looks like Hunter Thompson died in it. I stuff every awful thing I can into plastic bags and leave a $40 tip.
Mummer’s Parade! Because nothing says “soothing hangover remedy” like freezing your ass off at a parade. We get a great spot, right next to the speakers, because of course. I sip diet Coke and pray feebly for death.
House parties with warm rooms and amazing food and my sister’s Person of Interest (or as I like to call him, my brother-in-law.) People start talking about rent, and I begin to ponder moving to Philly. Maybe I will live after all.
Couch, pajamas, Sons of Anarchy on Netflix, happy.
They say how you spend New Year’s Eve is how you’ll spend the year. That means that either I will spend the year overeating, trying not to stare at half-naked gay men, vomiting, and suffering in the cold, OR that I will spend it surrounded by people I love and having random adventures that are completely unexpected. And I mean, everyone pukes once in a while, so I choose option B.
*I have never said this, but will begin to do so immediately.