I hadn't seen so much T and A since I was in Vegas.
And that's highly appropriate because last night's Christmas party was a cast of characters from the liquor and gaming world (I'm talking casinos, folks, not D and D). At least that's what I could piece together based on the clues I'd been provided by my friend, X5, and the awards I saw lining the walls of the tricked out home well north of town.
X5 had invited me to this soiree, saying it would feature open bar and tons and tons of delicious food. Never one to turn down a tasty morsel or a good party, I decided to tag along to meet new people and soak up an interesting scene.
The guests had lined the neighborhood with Jaguars, BMWs, Corvettes and every other kind of flashy car you could imagine. I took it as a sign that I was in for some interesting people watching once inside.
We made it through the door and the host greeted us with open arms (X5 did not know this generous gentleman - she was a friend of a friend of the host's daughter, making me a friend of a friend of a friend...), and he directed a young 20-something blonde in a tight, black, lacy mini dress to swiftly take our coats and put them in a den-cum-coat closet.
Another party guest quickly briefed us on the particulars of the party. Upstairs: Open bar, company chefs preparing fillet, scallops and crab cakes in the expansive, marble-everywhere kitchen and a dining room filled with every dessert imaginable. Downstairs: open bar, live band, cold appetizers, and wine and cigars in the wine cellar.
We cruised toward the throng of people and I noticed I was woefully overdressed - as in, every inch of my flesh was covered, especially when my wrap sweater was around me. Everywhere I turned, I noticed overly tanned bodies with overly plump chests heaving out of underly covered dresses and plunging tops. The women glittered head to toe in diamonds, crystals and sequins. Their beautifully sculpted and shellacked nails looked like talons, ready to claw their way through the crowd while hot stepping on four and five-inch heels.
You can only imagine my disappointment in knowing almost every hot pair of shoes I own was out for repair.
Before arriving at the party, I was a bit concerned that my hair style of the evening (something that involves hot rollers, teasing and hair spray - I affectionately call it Big Texas) would be out of place that evening, and I was relieved after scanning the room and noticing other big, frosty 'dos that rivaled any of Dolly Parton's wigs.
The men - they were mostly older - like cigar smoking and, "Come here little girl, and sit on my lap" older. Slicked back hair, sport coats and a diamond pinkie ring here and there.
It was not my normal scene.
I had a few nice conversations with some of the folks there, but I mostly stared in amazement at the crowd and basked in the sense that I felt like I was in a movie entitled, "Classy, Preppy, Smart Girl Goes To A Christmas Party With Larry Flynt's Friends."
After several (and I mean several) Maker's-and-Cokes, X5 and I decided to hightail it back to the comfort of Hamilton County.
Who knew the City felt safer than the 'burbs?
The car sailed in the direction of Jeff Ruby's latest invention - Bootsy's Produced by Jeff Ruby. While crossing Walnut, X5 told me, "This place will never survive because you have to actually go in the bar to know whether it's busy or not, and people in Cincinnati want to already know that kind of thing before they get there."
I didn't really get the logic, but it all made sense after ascending the stairs - the crowd was full of a bunch of people trying to look important.
It turns out there are still some places where conspicuous consumption is alive and well, despite the economic crisis.
Men in suits everywhere, women in tight tops and more plunging necklines. I felt like giving some of them directions to the party in the 'burbs. The circular bar ringed a collection of bartenders in satiny, Vegas-like mini dresses. The ladies slinging booze behind the bar were quick with a pour, which I was grateful for after receiving my very dirty gin martini.
We cruised through the room before making our way to the patio - a painted, wrought iron creation clinging to the front exterior of the now purple and yellow building. After nearly hugging a heat lamp for a good 20 minutes (another girl on the patio almost attempted to pole dance on the heat lamp until management asked her to get off the furniture), X5 and I made our way back inside to join some friends in the casbah-themed VIP room.
The bottle service we enjoyed included a pair of bottles of Grey Goose and unusual, pie wedge-shaped pitchers of cranberry and orange juice and Red Bull.
We sipped on a couple cocktails courtesy of the gentlemen hosting the special get-together behind the velvet rope, and then we decided to make our way home.
I wrapped up the evening thinking a multitude of things, but first and foremost, gratitude for the moral compass, intelligence and modesty that tends to steer the direction of my life.