It’s that time of year again. The time when we celebrate a person, who in the words of The Backstreet Boys, is Larger Than Life.
Yep! My old friend, Dale throws a soirée every year that is like the highlight of my summer. Every year it is in a different area code and comes with a different set of rules for the dress code. Sometimes you are told you need to be in full costume and sometimes it’s just a color request. Regardless, I do what he says and force my husband to do the same because this invite is like one of the last shreds of true coolness I have and I’m hanging on to that shit for dear life.
This year we had to wear gold. You guys. I was literally in a sweat looking for gold clothing. I went into stores someone my age should never EVER go into to try and score something gold. I went into to Forever 21, for the love of god. And Express. And others where all they sold were crop tops. You know what I don’t wear? Crop tops. It was more stressful than closing on my house.
The only gold I could find wasn’t gold at all, it was Marigold and I didn’t even end up wearing it because I had a friend save me at the last minute.
This year, the party was on a Sunday, during the day, which is MUCH more my speed and required no nap or afternoon coffee to gear up for a late night. The last time this happened was at Bagatelle in South Beach where I found myself doing the lambada with a robot at like noon. YOLO.
But you guys, this year was my favorite I think in terms of timing and location. It was at 2pm at American Social smack in the middle of Las Olas. I’m 41 and am tired from drowning in children, laundry and writing deadlines so this was PERFECT! What craziness can happen at 2pm on a Sunday?
You could enter a party where the host has a Birdseye view of the front door which then elicits a Price is Right-esque screamfest where he yells your name as you make your way down to the reserved VIP area.
RACHELLLLLLLLLLLLL!!! COME ON DOWN!!!!!!
Holy Shit!! What did I just win?!?!? Am I in the Showcase Showdown? I bid ONE DOLLAR!!
What I won was a paper bracelet. A bright yellow one like when I was in college drinking $3 beer. Seriously, you know it’s going to be a party when they are making it rain paper bracelets.
Dale channeling Bob Barker (or I guess now Drew Carey) just kept happening over and over again. The excitement was palpable. I also quickly learned a new rule of etiquette for parties. If you are in a restaurant/bar for a party like this, you do not sit IN the booth. You sit ON it. It’s apparently a thing to not sit in seats anymore and I almost committed social suicide before Dale schooled me. So now you are in the know if you weren’t already. You’re welcome.
There we were perched like little parakeets on our booth tops and that’s when the magic started. Sparklers, loud music, and ALL the fanfare. This was like an every-15 minute occurrence, like the Disney performance in front of the castle at the Magic Kingdom. But replace Mickey and the spandex-clad dancers with Dale.
Also, instead of walking in the front doors, more than one person danced into the party almost presenting themselves to Dale, like Coming to America Style and I felt immediate regret and wondered if I dropped the ball. Was I supposed to do that? What a missed opportunity. I guess there’s always next year. I’ll start practicing choreo now.
The entire back wall was decorated with balloons spelling out Sundale Fundale, and all I could think was how in god’s name did those get in here? They were HUGE individual letters. Was there a caravan? Were they delivered via helicopter? Did somebody rent a sprinter van or a clown car? So many questions. If there were any downside to the new style of booth sitting I learned, it was being smacked in the face with a giant gold “E’. Like every time the fan blew. Not annoying at all.
And as much as I engage in self-deprecating humor about my age and mom life, I realized how everything comes full circle and I was EXACTLY where I was supposed to be. Perched on a boothtop right in front of the DJ booth, next to a friend with whom I used to do almost exactly this under different circumstances a lifetime ago.
And I also got to hang with my guy sans our children. I love to dance and can’t contain myself the moment I hear anything with a beat. He hates anything about dancing. But he indulges me and even smiles. He’s a keeper for sure.
Not to mention being flanked by two men who I spent almost every weekend with in my late teen-early 20ish years (give or take). My most favorite DJ ever (on the right – no they really broke the mold with this one) and my most favorite MC (Uptown Dale/Dale the Host and any other pseudonyms I might not be aware of, be patient with me…I just learned about booth perching.) who was responsible for MANY late nights, bootie dancing contests and getting me home in one piece. It’s a trifecta dreams are made of.
My biggest regret of the day is related to the fantastic Dale faces on a stick. Those were handed out too and I was literally having visions of all of the wonderful instagram posts I was going to create at home. My kids would hold them, I would put it in between Jason and I in bed, maybe a cameo at Target. So many possibilities. Until Jason and I stopped for an early dinner and I left it on the table. So now someone at El Camino is very confused as to why there was a stick with a random black man’s face on the table. I hope he ended up in a good home and I will always remember the one time we had together.
Dale, I don’t know how you manage to do this every year and still have so many tricks up your sleeve. Until next year, my friend!
Love you forever and ever!