Who doesn’t love a birthday? Dinners, friends, presents, 15,000 Facebook well wishes. It’s the best. My girlfriends and I have always had celebratory dinners. We joke that we have stayed constant fixtures at the table every year, but the men have changed throughout the years with breakups, divorces, etc. My core group of girlfriends have been in my life from elementary school so that’s a lot of birthdays (and a lot of men between us). We probably celebrate like any gaggle of girls, getting all fapitzed (Yiddish for dolled up), picking an awesome spot to eat and sitting around the table enjoying each other…and wine…and cake…and more wine.
But, there’s this guy I know, since I’m 15 actually, and he does things just a little bit different from us. He was the featured image in my Jewishness Post, so he might look familiar. That, and he’s got a sweet little gig with the Miami Heat, where he is affectionately known as Uptown Dale. But I know him as Dale, middle name I’m not ever allowed to divulge because he’s super sensitive about it so if you know it consider yourself in the inner circle, McLean. The guy who MC’ed my brother’s Bar Mitzvah, the guy who was at my sweet 16, was not on the clock but still managed to lead the guests in some dancing, and the guy who was my bosom buddy at camp for more than a decade.
From the first year I knew him, he has always thrown a big bash to celebrate his birth, each year out doing himself. And his party was this weekend, so it made me nostalgic digging through pics. He gets annoyed and asks why I have to “go down memory lane, why can’t I just stay in this lane?” My blog, my lanes.
And I found the best chronological photo trip down memory lane ever. I know how old he is, which is MUCH older than me, but I’m pretty sure this weekend we celebrated his 30th for the millionth time. Because his birthday falls during the summer, it was always a major social event for camp staff. FYI, If you are easily annoyed by people who still talk about camp in their 30s you can go away, because I’m gonna do it a lot. If you’re a camp person, you’re a camp person. If you’re not, you get annoyed with camp people. Sorry , not sorry. That’s its own post altogether.
I don’t remember the exact order but here’s how it started…and we’re gonna play a little game of what would happen at Rachel’s party and what actually happened at Dale’s. And you will see that as the years went on, the discrepancies grow and grow and grow.
Baja Beach Club Birthday: Normal, other than most of us being underage and Dale falling asleep prostrate on the stage while surrounded by a bunch of girls serenading him with dance. Super low-key. And please don’t discuss my eyebrows, I’m aware and scarred because my mom told me they were perfect like Brooke Shield’s. And I bought it.
If it were my party back in the day, it probably would have been similar. I would have been a sweaty mess from dancing, might have walked barefoot for a brief moment in public not being able to stand another single moment in my heels, and definitely would have found a pizza window.
The Actual Bar Mitzvah: It was in a ballroom, with food and drink, the hora, a candle lighting, the whole haza magill (I know I butchered it but I’m trying to add Yiddish humor – it means the whole shebang).
I did not have a Bat Mitzvah, so I rode the coattails of my brother’s until I had my sweet sixteen. It was a win win – I got to dance, go up in the chair, make and entrance…with none of the Hebrew School work.
The Sock Hop: We donned capris, poodle skirts. And again, please ignore the brows. I got rebellious after falling for the Brooke Shield’s bullshit and got tweezer happy.
I don’t think I could ever convince anyone to don a poodle skirt for me in adulthood, ever.
The Wild Wild West: I think we paid like $40 bucks each to rent those shirts from a disgusting costume shop that smelled like body odor and bad decisions. The shirts had the same smell coincidentally.
My friends and I loved nothing more than baring midriff back in the day, so any excuse to throw on a shirt and tie it up could easily have happened at a birthday party of mine.
Pimps & Hoes: We totally debunked stereotypes of whoring it up in the name of a theme party and dressed as pimps. Pimpin ain’s easy. Take that feminism!
If it were my party, we would have just been dressed as hoes…let’s be honest. And not even as a costume.
This is one of my most favorite pictures ever. EVERRRRRRRRR.
Hyde in the Hamptons: Nobody really knew what that meant – including Dale who wore a dark snazzy suit…like he would wear in real life…but would be a faux pas in the Hamptons. I don’t think Dale has ever been to the Hamptons. But it provided good alliteration with the Miami club that hosted it, “Hyde”, so there you have it. And this one was a doozy for me. I clocked some serious napping because I don’t think it started until 10pm. I am not cool enough to start anything at 10pm, unless it’s my rem portion of sleep. I’m exhausted looking at this picture actually.
This would NEVER happen at my party. 1) Because I hate Miami 2)I’m not really a club goer 3)I doubt Hyde would ever rent out space to me because I don’t quite have the draw that Uptown Dale has.
So…as you can see there are two givens at a DaleMitzvah, there will be a theme, and you will abide by it. And this year was no exception. Ladies and Gents…Dale’s Speakeasy. He again rented space at a South Florida hot spot and went all out, password and everything. Except I don’t think he told anyone there was a password. The doorman seemed flustered since he was probably given strict instructions to ask for the password, giving you that prohibition-y feel, but nobody knew a password to give.
Jason and I totally got into the theme. Me a flapper and he a newsie. It was super fun. But we did not think about the walk from the parking garage to the passwordless speakeasy. Awkward. The cashier in the parking garage couldn’t even make eye contact with us.
As a matter of fact, everyone got into it.
And Dale pulled out all the stops, including styling us for this photo. “Rachel sit on the pool table and I’ll hold the ball.”
If I did this pose using these props with anyone else, I’d look like an asshole. But he makes it work. I also think his Gatsby-esque costume doubles as a barber shop quartet costume. Listen, even costume shops have to deal with a tough economy and downsize. It’s just smart business. When I told Dale he always seems to deviate just a little to stand out from the theme he himself chose, he gave me a very poignant response, “Because Rachel, I’m like the bride, I need to stand out from the other guests.”
But…it did NOT stop with the costumes. I’m just sitting there drinking my drink with a mustache straw, enjoying the music, catching up with camp peeps, and this goes by. Oh, and Dale pulled a Beyonce with a costume change mid-party.
It’s a cage/dress/champagne holder on wheels. And it happened.
So did a burlesque show…with fire.
Neither of these things would happen at my birthday party because I never knew the first thing existed and I don’t even know how you’d arrange for that and the only fire you’d see would be from the candles on my cake.
His cake was nothing short of amazing (even though he never serves it). I don’t think I have ever seen a cake cut, or tasted a piece at a single birthday. He’s a cake hoarder. I picture him post bday party sitting in his bed with the cake and a fork, no plates, no napkins, going to town enjoying every last morsel.
And just for that little touch, he had a car brought in to be parked out front for the occasion.
The party was not missing a thing…well except a hashtag…until I got there and was about to Instagram something and said “Dale, what’s the hashtag we’re using?” Crickets. Thank god you have me, or you would not have ended up with a perfect spin on Gatsby…#Dalesby. You’re welcome.
So that’s what goes on at a DaleMitzvah. Can’t wait to see what next year holds. Maybe you should go for a golden oldies theme, where we can dress a little older, maybe even have a walker to lean on, and it starts at 4pm early bird style. You know, so we can kind of act like ourselves and be in bed by 8pm. Just throwing it out there. And I’d like to request no paper bracelets, because you know my stance on them.
Maybe a life alert necklace instead. You know…to stay in theme.