Trendysomething in SoMo
Faux pas fest in the Heights: How not to be the life of the party
I’m in the throes of planning a birthday blowout. I was born on Friday the Thirteenth, so it’s logical that I would put together an especially devious night of mayhem. This year: “How Steven Got His Groove Back” at Scott Gertner’s Skybar, just down the Boulevard. There are a few standard policies for planning a birthday party: Ironic premise, velvet rope busting and after-hours skyline views. The story I’m about to tell goes against all of these rules.
Last week, a sweet former neighbor invited me to her soon-to-be- three-year-old’s birthday party. I’d met the little tyke before, and I can honestly say that I’ve never seen a more picture-perfect toddler. And although the Saturday a.m. party time made me somewhat wary, I was eager to celebrate my friend’s son so that when he becomes an illustrious Gap Kids model, I can say, “I knew him when...” and use his valuable connections to break into the world of haute couture.
Besides the early kick-off, the only other glitch was that the party was hosted in a home in the Heights. While I love this area like everyone else for its sense of community and independent vibe, venturing anywhere NoBB (North of Buffalo Bayou) is such a task that I am always tempted to just stay in SoMo, where alcohol is a lot more legal. Schlepping to the Heights makes me feel like I’m in another Texas city — granola enough to be Austin and so far north that I can almost see Dallas. Needless to say, I arrange for a friend give me a lift.
During the everlasting sojourn, we discuss how we’re at a turning point in our social lives. Having just attended a baby shower two weeks ago, and now going to a child’s birthday party, I realize that I’m witnessing true adult life cycle events (and the accompanying parties). It was not so long ago that I had a cache of typical responses to learning that a friend was expecting:
“Oh my god, what are you going to do?”
“I’m sending a mass text to all of my friends with parents on the board at Planned Parenthood.”
“Don’t forget your frequent aborsh punchcard.”
I wish I could say, “We are all going to get pregnant together” was my mantra, but that would require really expensive surgery, and I don’t want to steal Lifetime Television’s thunder.
Regardless of past lingo, I soon find myself walking into a living room replete with bumbling rugrats and their eager parents. I see people waving “hello” in the corner of my eye as I dart to the Bloody Mary station in the kitchen. While most party guests might bring decorations, gifts or perhaps a trifle, I brought bunches of organic celery to ensure that the Worcestershire and Tabasco are properly diffused in my cocktail.
“Don’t you think it’s a little early to be drinking?” chirps a helpful soccer mom.
Realizing that I’ve made an instant anti-bestie, I choose a thoughtful response.
“I’m not here to make friends.”
Sometimes these things slip out. Sometimes it’s also important to clarify that you’re not here to make friends.
But sometimes friends just find you, as I soon learn. A bit later in the party, I find myself standing in the loo and am suddenly interrupted by a tapping on the bathroom window beside the toilet. I turn my head to witness a precocious three-year-old intently watching my bodily functions. My reaction consists of a very complicated eyebrow furrow and a disturbed stare that communicates a mix of, “Who do you think you are?” and “I’m not so old that I don’t remember doing that same thing.” I return to the party to find Monsters, Inc. playing for the third consecutive loop, hoping not to run into the peeping toddler. Sticking to my New Years resolution of having no more than five drinks before noon, I coerce myself into small talk with an approachable mother.
“Do you have kids?” she inevitably asks.
As I begin to conjure the expectedly witty response, an odd child jolts across the room and stops to hug my leg, squealing “Daddy!”
Observing that the child is of a far different coloring than myself, the mother gushes, “Oh, you adopted? How inspiring!”
What I mean to say is, “You must be mistaken,” but instead what comes out is, “Each day is a blessing.”
Basking in the righteous glory of feigning adoption, I’m taken off-guard by a disgruntled parent marching towards me.
“My son tells me that he caught you touching yourself in the bathroom!”
Parents cock their heads to watch the sexual predator’s next move, but my denial is preempted by the mother from the kitchen exclaiming, “Get your hands off of my child!” as she hastily retrieves the toddler hugging my leg. As she pries off her child, she glares into the depth of my eyes.
"What kind of monster — wait. Is that... a hickey on your neck?"
I glance at a mirror across the room to learn that, yes, I have a mysterious purple badge adorning my jugular. Apparently I made a friend the night before.
I had intentions of staying longer (and earning another Bloody Mary), but I determine that I really don’t have the correct audience for a “Master of My Domain” quip, and I'm really at a loss in trying to explain my hickey hiccup. I grab my friend and a party favor bag of Pop Rocks and make for the door.
Sitting in the passenger’s seat as we cruise down Studemont, I can’t help but admire the picturesque vision of Victorian homes and boutiques housed in cottages. Perhaps when I’m older, and have a family of my own, I will return to the Heights. For now, the only place I'll be moving on up to is Skybar. And trust me — I'll be there to make friends.