I often am invited to parties where a gate code is required. As I stood outside the gates to the million-dollar homes inside San Elijo Hills, I remembered that Lynn had given me her cell phone number. I called her for the code, got in, and found my way to the house. It was a gathering hosted by a woman named Joni who is a clothing rep. She organizes these parties and invites a few hundred people over to sell them brand-name clothing at reduced prices. When I told a friend about this, he said, "Think of all the women you'll meet there." I said, "You think the women are going there to meet guys? It's going to be like a shark feeding frenzy." I was right. A girl who looked like Denise Richards and worked for the sales team introduced herself. She asked me if I'd like a glass of wine. When she came back with the white wine, she asked me my waist size and if there were specific jeans I was looking for. I told her that I was just looking around.

She left me to my wine and went to help a few female browsers. I'd arrived late in the afternoon and was told that the sales party was more crowded earlier. When I found Lynn, she confirmed this. I met a few of Lynn's friends out by the swimming pool. By their banter, they sounded a lot like the cast ofSex and the City .

Lynn told me that she thought Joni owned more than 40 houses and that she wasn't sure why Joni does these clothing sales because they seem like a lot of work. Someone said, "That's how rich people get rich. They make money in all kinds of ways."

I finished my wine and told Lynn that I was going to look for a pair of jeans. The Denise Richards girl offered to help me. When I asked her about herself, she said that she's a former UCLA student who recently moved back to San Diego. She said, "I'm Mormon, and my parents went to BYU. I think they wanted me to go there, too." I told her that my friend moved to Salt Lake City for work and that when I went to visit him I noticed that all of the restaurants there offered "fry sauce" with french fries. "Yeah," she laughed, "it's a mixture of ketchup and mayo. It's all the rage there."

She told me that if she decides to go back to school, she's thinking of becoming a lawyer.

I saw an attractive woman in her 50s looking at pants, while the man she was with waited by the front door. My cell phone rang and I went outside to take the call. The guy by the door was agitated and told the woman, "I'll be waiting at the car!" When I finished my call, I noticed that the woman was still browsing. I said to her, "I can't find anything here that's slimming on me. Everything I try on makes my ass look big." She looked at me as if I were nuts.

I grabbed another glass of wine and went back outside to talk with Lynn, but she was getting ready to leave.

She introduced me to Joni, who ran these clothing parties. As she was giving me a tour of her huge house, one of the young girls that was helping her out was getting ready to leave. Joni said, "Pick yourself out an outfit for helping me out today." The girl ran down the hall thrilled.

Lynn told me that she met Joni at a coffee shop and that Joni had been married to a Steelers player. Lynn also told me that a kerosene lamp explosion had killed her husband and son and left Joni with burn scars.

When Joni and I did talk, we were interrupted so many times that I got confused by her life story. She told me that she was a cheerleader at Ohio State and that her husband was killed by a drunk driver that hit him head-on after a 48-mile police chase. When I asked her if he was a football player for the Steelers, she said he was a baseball player.

I met her current boyfriend, a tall, blonde guy who lives next door. I was told they met through church. When we were interrupted again (she had to take care of some business), I told her that I'd look around a little more.

Someone at the party pulled me aside and said, "Were you talking to Joni? She can be real nice. But I don't understand her. These clothes aren't so cheap. These aren't great deals she is giving us. I was thinking I'd leave here with bags and bags of clothes. Well, I'd probably buy more if I just went to the outlet stores."

Joni found me again and grabbed my hands. I looked down and noticed that her hands were scarred from the burns. She said, "Eric doesn't want to get me a ring until we find a graft of skin for my hands." Joni then went over to help someone who was looking at jewelry. I wanted to ask her about skin grafts. I wondered if finding a skin graft was difficult. Money didn't seem to be an issue.

Someone asked me if I wanted another glass of wine, but I asked for a bottled water. I saw a few guys in a back room. One said, "This is where the real party is." I saw a few bowls of chips and pretzels. One guy said to me, "I think they met when he was still married to someone else. What if he's just into her for the money? I mean, I think she bought him the house he lives in next door. That's weird."

I said, "Hey, women have done that to men for ages. Look at Anna Nicole Smith marrying that old guy. Or any of Donald Trump's wives. But, Joni is a smart woman, and they both look happy to me. Why speculate as to why they're happy?"

Crash your party? Call 619-235-3000 x421 and leave an invitation for·Josh Board.

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