I was having a rough patch in crashing some events. It started with Comic-Con. Organizers refused to give me a press pass because something I wrote on the Reader website last year bothered them. I pleaded my case but to no avail. I ended up finding a way to sneak in without paying and used the technique on all three days.
Around the same time, I found out that Jewel was doing a fundraiser for a child-abuse charity called Promises2Kids. The private concert was to be held at a big house in La Jolla and I got the okay to go. Then the PR firm said that former mayor Susan Golding was involved in the charity and that she “hated the Reader” and didn’t want me there. Again, I pleaded my case. When I write about charities, I explained, I show them in a good light. Golding was unswayed, but they had already emailed me the address. I figured I’d drive up and crash but then figured it wasn’t worth putting on dress clothes if security would be hard to get by.
As I was lamenting all this, a coworker told me about her daughter throwing a party for her son Robert, who was turning 25.
Amanda, who was throwing the party at her house, told me, “We tried to think of all different themes we could have. We decided on ‘ABC.’” I thought she was jumping on the Michael Jackson thing until she said that it stood for “anything but clothes.”
So, instead of wearing a black tie in La Jolla, it was a black Hefty trash bag in Clairemont. I wore black flip-flops and a black pair of boxer shorts underneath. When I parked a block away, I waited for the family walking their dog to go by.
As I walked into the backyard, I could see a crowd playing beer pong. A few people looked at me and my outfit and went back to doing what they were doing.
I said to a woman, “Great. You’re wearing the same trash bag as me. There’s always someone wearing the same outfit.” Although, she had been a lot more creative with her bag. She had made straps — it looked like a dress.
A guy showed up in a burlap sack with corresponding tie. He said, “I still have a lot of it left over in the car, if anyone else wants to make themselves a tie.” He went on to tell me he couldn’t decide what to wear and just walked the aisle of Home Depot.
A few women wore shower caps and shower curtains, which was a cute look. A woman designed a nice outfit for her husband and made herself a fancy dress from curtains they were going to get rid of. Her dress was really long and had a Middle-Eastern look.
A few guys were wearing bathing suits with no shirts. I heard one of them say, “I just didn’t have time to prepare anything. Sorry.”
I went over to the patio to check out the food. They had a wide variety of stuff, including fresh fruit, pizza, and lots of chips and snacks. When I grabbed a few Red Vines, a woman nearby said, “I just realized, I blew an outfit opportunity: creating something entirely edible.”
As I turned around with my piece of pizza, I noticed a stripper pole next to the back deck. Of course, it was only a matter of 30 minutes (and a few beers) before guys were swinging on it, acting goofy.
Robert was wearing a cowboy hat made of beer boxes along with shorts that he somehow made from the cases. I saw him talk to a woman covered in beer coasters.
A guy had covered his body in stickers. A woman told him, “I’d love to be there when you have to peel those things off. It’ll be like you’re waxing yourself.”
The music was blastin’, and everyone was having a good time. When women showed up, it was like a fashion show.
A lady wore an outfit made of tree leaves…creative and revealing. Someone asked where her husband was. I said, “They couldn’t find a leaf big enough for his crotch area.”
I noticed a beer bong going. And, one of the parents at the party was trying out the ice luge. As one guy poured the alcohol, I heard another say, “I can’t believe we’re doing shots with you guys. This is cool.”
Robert’s dad was wearing a big beer-mug hat, and he told me about ordering it online.
His future son-in-law ordered a Styrofoam cooler and cut it up to make his outfit. The part around his body was snug. He’d cut a huge hole in the lid — that was his hat. When everyone started dancing on the patio, he started joking around and pretending to do a strip tease. He was a bit drunk but was being funny and entertaining. Amanda, from over on the back deck, yelled sarcastically, “Stay away, ladies. He’s mine.”
The only outfit that beat the cooler was the guy who wore a huge plastic trash can. He’d made suspenders to hold it up. After an hour, I saw him holding onto the can with one hand. Two hours into the party, he had taken it off.
I sat down with a few cookies. When I looked up, I was surrounded by guys dancing and grinding into me. I felt like a piece of meat!
The party had kegs, coolers filled with all kinds of alcohol, and coolers with soft drinks. I started the evening off with a Coke Zero and a lemonade, but I ran into two women who had been at parties I’d written about years earlier. And as their men brought them drinks, someone was handing me margaritas. Pretty soon I was hammered.
But I never made it onto the stripper pole.