I had sex with your dog on your 17th century Persian rug.
So I probably wasn’t the best guest. Hell, I probably wasn’t even a good guest, but in my defense I didn’t want to be there in the first place. It was a clash of the social classes at its highest level. It was man vs. man. Dog eat dog. It was…the dreaded Texas society cocktail party. The virtual who’s who of the Country Club set and I was invited. Well, I wasn’t really invited so much as drug along. Yes, I think that would probably be a much better way to describe it. You see, my in-laws are very respected members of the community. And they should be, they are very respectful. They are the proud members of a very high brow Country Club. And no I’m not telling you which one. And at the time of this particular cocktail party my brother in-law was also trying to become a member.
Joining this prestigious club isn’t as easy as one might think. You would think a legacy would get right in. I mean that’s how it should be right? It’s not like my brother in-law has a hunch on his back and likes to swing from bell towers. He’s well dressed, well paid, and has a wife that doesn’t cuss in public. Well at least I’ve never heard her do it. He should have been a shoo-in. That, however, was not the case. You see the whole Country Club social system is very political. It wasn’t a matter of IF my brother in-law was going to get in. It was more a matter of WHEN my brother in-law was going to get in. Because of this fact my brother in-law had to attend just about every single function he could to make himself seen. Why they made us go along with them is beyond me. I would think that Poptart’s and my presence would be more of a hindrance than a helper, but okee-dokey!
It was Christmas 2004 and I was with my in-laws in Austin visiting Poptart’s aunt for the Holidays. We were all having a nice relaxing time when we heard the news.
“When we get back home this afternoon we all have a cocktail party to go to,” my mother-in-law informed us. She’s sneaky like that. She doesn’t like to give advance notice. On anything. You may wake up one morning and she’ll announce, “Oh, you are to be hung by the neck till you are dead, dead, dead today at 2 pm. Don’t be late.” Meanwhile you are standing there completely shocked. Thinking to yourself, But I don’t even remember getting into trouble. Did I even have a trial? What did I do? She does this so you have a much harder time trying to weasel your way out of things. It’s pretty brilliant really. The downside being, you’re never prepared clothes wise. Poptart and I were living in San Diego at the time and were used to dressing very causally. We didn’t bring any clothes for a cocktail party, because we didn’t know about any cocktail party. There’s the rub.
Poptart, his brother, and I sat in the guest bedroom upstairs, trying to figure out different ways to get out of the dreaded cocktail party that had just been sprung on us.
“We could all take ex-lax and claim food poisoning,” I suggested.
“Why is ex-lax always your answer?” Poptart asked me. “Can’t you come up with something a little less violent?” He had a point. This wasn’t the first time I had threatened to use laxatives to get out of one of his family parties.
“What? Like you have a better idea,” I told him.
“I think it will be fun,” my sister in-law chimed in. Great, she’s not going to be of any help to us. The three of us sat there for at least a half hour trying our hardest to come up with something plausible to get out of the party and we all came up with nothing. We were going to go to this thing whether we liked it or not.
Back at Poptart’s house, and having not been told about the party, I did my best to look presentable. I picked through the tiny pile of clean clothes I had left and came out with a pair of dark black jeans, a black tank top and a lime green off the shoulder sweater. I wore my black Harley Davidson boots, which are actually pretty nice as long as I made sure to keep both feet firmly planted on the floor to hide the big Harley Davidson logo that resides on the soles of the ass kicking boots.
Poptart and I drove to the party with his parents and my brother and sister in-law took their own car. We pulled up to this giant house that screamed, “I’m rich, Bitches!!!!” As we walked up to the front door I could already feel my heart pounding in my chest. I knew it wouldn’t be long before I started to break out into my Society aversion rash. We entered the house and were immediately met by my brother and sister in-law. Yes! People I know! There is nothing I like more than walking into a party and running into people I know. We weren’t standing there for longer than a couple of minutes when a server came up to us and asked us what we would like to drink. Wow, servers and everything. He took our drink orders and came right back with our drinks. Then another server came by and dropped off hors d’oeuvres. Then another one walked by with more drinks. Something about the servers was tugging at the base of my brain. Call me Liberal, but…
“Did you notice all the help is black?” I asked my husband.
“Yes. But now is not the time…” Poptart tried to scold me in a hushed tone.
“And all the guests are white…” I continued.
“Babe, please. What do you want me to say? Can we please just talk about this later?” Poptart said under his breath.
I shrugged and proceeded to finish my drink while searching for a white server. Sure enough, as soon as my ice clinked in the glass, here came another black server to get me a refill. But before he could reach me I took off like a jackrabbit for the bar. He came after me but I was too quick for him and tapped the top of the bar while giving him a look that said, “Tag!”
“I’ll have gin and tonic,” I told the bartender.
“Didn’t anyone come by to help you ma’am?” the bartender asked me.
“I did,” the server chimed in. “Ma’am if you want something from the bar please just ask and I will be more than happy to get it for you.”
“Yes, but why have someone else serve me when I can serve myself?” They looked at me like I was crazy, but I felt better. Maybe I just wanted to separate myself from the Country Club crowd in the other room. Either way, it felt nice to have a conversation with someone where I didn’t have to pretend to care about the stock market or the election. But eventually Joe the bartender got busy and I had to leave him alone.
I went back to where my husband and brother and sister in-law were standing because let’s be honest, there is safety in numbers. As the four of us stood in the hall I kept trying to get glimpses into the kitchen to see if I could find just one white employee to make myself feel somehow better about this entire party. But to my chagrin there was not one cracker in the kitchen. Then out of nowhere this woman came up to us and she was larger than life. I can’t remember her name. It may have been Muffy, or Kitty, or Carol. I don’t really know. But she was the owner of the house and hostess of the party. Muffy/Kitty/Carol proceeded to tell us about her other home in Aspen, and confided in us that owning two homes is almost more trouble than it’s worth. I felt bad for Muffy/Kitty/Carol. I felt so bad for her that I wanted to hug her. Really tight. Around the throat. Until she shut the fuck up about how hard it is to be rich. But instead, I tried to listen to my internal parole officer and did my best to tune her out. Hers were not problems with which I could empathize. I really didn’t care about her woes. I had woes of my own. I was twenty eight thousand dollars in debt with my mother’s medical bills at the time and I just didn’t have any give-a-shits left in the tank for someone like her.
That being said, Muffy/Kitty/Carol was the perfect hostess. She must have read every etiquette book and taken every class. She asked each and every one of us about ourselves one at a time while focusing all of her attention on our answers like they were the most interesting things she had ever heard. “Yes, I just escaped from a mental institution and I had sex with your dog on your 17th century Persian rug. I hope you don’t mind.”
“Oh wow dear that is so interesting. How was my dog? She can be quite the little bitch you know ruff, ruff.”
As she was making her way around the group and was getting closer to me, I was hoping with my entire being she would be pulled away for some sort of cocktail napkin disaster.
“Oh, I’ll get to you.” she said, as she looked my way.
“That’s okay, I don’t do anything,’ I replied.
“Now Stacy, that’s just not true,” my mother in-law laughed nervously as she tried to cover for my obvious rudeness. “Stacy does everything.”
And it was true. I had five jobs. But I didn’t want this lady to know that. We didn’t have any money, my husband was in school full time, and that wasn’t something I exactly wanted to advertise. I was the office manager at a successful acupuncture clinic during the weekdays. I worked at my girlfriend’s Art Gallery sometimes on the weekends when I wasn’t babysitting for her sister. I made jewelry at night and my girlfriend Jen and I were talking about starting up a catering business in San Diego. But did I want to tell all this to Muffy/Kitty/Carol? No. I didn’t want her to look at me with those big eyes pretending to hang on to my every word when I knew she couldn’t give a shit.
After Muffy/Kitty/Carol left us, we went into the dining room to load up our plates and did our best to hob-knob with the Country Club types. We ate their food and drank their booze and by the time we left I somehow felt a little dirty for it. As Poptart and I sat in the back of his dad’s car on the drive home I just couldn’t help it, I finally said what had been bothering me all night long.
“Out of the entire city of Houston, there is not one white waiter? Not even one?”
My mother-in-law said, “Well…”
My father-in-law sort of laughed.
Poptart pinched the bridge of his nose and said, “Jee-zus.”
I never did get an answer.
My brother in-law did get into the club. And now that I live in Texas I do go to club events. I don’t hate it as much as I used to. I have now perfected the look on my face that makes them think I actually care about what they’re saying. It’s really easy, actually. You just open your eyes really wide, nod your head, and say things like, “You don’t say.” Another trick I learned is to say, “Nice to see you again,” anytime somebody I don’t recognize says hello to me. I just say that to everybody. That way if you’ve already met them, but you don’t remember them, you’re safe. If you say “Nice to meet you,” you might end up with a “Yes, we’ve met before. Three separate times.” That’s not good. That’s happened to me before. People don’t like it when you don’t remember meeting them. What can I say? All Texans look alike after awhile. Also no cussing or fighting. Those are big no-no’s. If you stick to these simple rules, you too can fit in at the Country Club. Just make sure you’re not around when they drop off the bill. Because no amount of prep work can prepare you for that bomb. Good luck, and may the Dallas Underbite be with you.
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