Ringing in the New Year All Wrong

By c r i s, Flickr Creative Commons

As you may remember from a previous post, I was supposed to be spending New Year’s Eve in Austin, Texas in a cute little ensemble that cost $19.99. Those plans went awry a few weeks back. The boys couldn’t get their acts together — though they blame me for the death of our little trip — and so little by little it slipped through our fingers. I was left with a dress and no plans.

I really hate New Year’s Eve. I made this clear last year when I called into The Colin McEnroe Show to rail about it. It’s one of those things that never live up to expectations. Unless you’ve resigned yourself to staying in and drinking wine on your couch, things never go as planned, and they’re usually not fun. Case in point: My cousin went out in Hartford and spent the night running into fist-fight after fist-fight on the streets and in the bars. In her words, “It was a shitshow.”

My night involved physical violence of a different sort.

Though we didn’t make it to Austin, I still had dinner with Dave and Pat, my erstwhile traveling companions. They stopped at my Nana’s house and picked me up before heading to Plan B (“Plan B is my Plan A” as Dave says, even though he’s talking about a different Plan B) in Glastonbury. I was surly from the get-go. I’d spent the day shopping for my best friend’s upcoming baby-shower. That, in itself, wasn’t bad but I spent a lot of time trying to match up the stuff on the registry to the stuff on the shelves…and that kind of made me want to stab myself in the eyes. Then I stopped by the Parma Restaurant on its last night, where my mother introduced me to a lot of people who claim to remember me, but whom I don’t remember. More to the point, I had a persistently scratchy throat. I felt like I was getting sick for days, only I never actually got sick. Despite my churlishness, I put my dress on over some leggings and a long-sleeved t-shirt, and headed out to dinner.

We got out of the car in the parking lot at the unfortunately named Eric Town Square, and while they were busy picking on me for being grumpy Pat said, “And she’s dressed kind of slutty tonight.”

And so it began…

This story will no doubt horrify some of the more puritanical minded among you. You’ll wonder how I could put up with their nonsense. The truth is, this is just how it goes. This is our dynamic, and fighting it would be a waste of my time.

We’d barely sat down in this family-friendly restaurant before Pat was touching me inappropriately (or at least it would be inappropriate if I weren’t so used to it). Dave, for whatever reason, decided that because I was wearing a dress — which is, in all fairness, a rare sight — I was obviously not wearing underwear (or was wearing crotchless underwear, depending on his wild mood swings). None of this made any sense, but I soon discovered that they’d already been drinking at Rookie’s during the Notre Dame football game and by being sober I was handicapped in the evening’s banter-boxing match.

Our server — who was very nice and so I’ll call her Erin for our purposes — had no idea what she was getting into. Dave suggested we kick off the night with a shot, which I agreed to for a couple reasons: 1) I have a strict “liquor before beer” rule and if I don’t follow it, things end badly 2) I thought if I drank something strong enough, I could kill/numb the scratching in my throat. Since Plan B is known for it’s bourbon selection, Dave usurped the drink menu and privately pointed to a mystery Bourbon on the menu and asked Erin for three.

Pat started objecting. He wanted reassurance that it wasn’t 101 proof, and both Dave and Erin gave him their word. I almost never bother fighting these battles. I know it’s a waste of my energy and that I will, no doubt, need to save it for a much larger war. This particular evening, I needed to save my energy for fighting Pat’s roaming hands, which kept trying to pull up my dress to prove Dave’s underwear theory. (How did this become my life?) I’m sure the little girl at the table across the aisle from us was traumatized. If not by the inappropriate touching than by my violent response, which included some punching and scratching.

While Erin was off getting our shots of Bourbon, Pat was trying to convince Dave that Bourbon is for sipping and we should be doing a “real shot.” I just kept examining my menu and concentrated on keeping my legs tightly crossed and fortified against roving bands of marauding hands.  As you might expect, once we had actually done our shots of what turned out to be 103 proof Fighting Cock, things only got worse… but on the bright side, my sore throat went away. (Dave suggested some other disgusting “home remedies” that I won’t repeat here.)

We took a break from the sexual harassment to eat our food, and discuss the business of getting famous. You see, Pat had an idea for a TV show, but he can’t string together a sentence to save his life. So he came to me — and we need Dave as a consultant of sorts. So instead of arguing over our failed trip, or how slutty I looked, we started arguing about the direction of the TV show. I’m sure that anyone listening would have presumed we were depraved Hollywood-types.

Somewhere mid-meal, when Erin came back to see if we needed more beverages, the guys momentarily scared her away. Pat was, as usual, trying to break down the fortress walls. I told her my delightful dinner companions said I was looking slutty that evening to which she kindly said, “I don’t see any cleavage.” I said, “THANK YOU!” And then Dave dropped the bomb: “She’s not wearing any underwear.” Poor Erin walked away, but not before Pat could ask her to bring us another round. Perhaps not the best idea anyone has ever had. (Don’t worry, we tipped her generously.) A middle-aged woman across from us was, well, disgusted.

Funnily enough, much of the dinner was spent trying to convince me to ditch my plans for the rest of the evening and go with them for the night. In what I consider to be one of my better moments of judgement, I told them no.

Instead, after surviving one final assault in the parking-lot, I headed to Bolton…Yes, Bolton: Party Capitol of Connecticut.

I joined the Asian Persuasion, Gay Guru, Dr. Gold, and some other people — who we haven’t given fake names — for a party. We rang in the New Year by watching Anderson Cooper laugh uncomfortably at Kathy Griffin, who apparently doesn’t know how important silence can be to comedic timing. And this, folks, is how I spent my New Year’s Eve instead of listening to awesome, live, local music in Austin. What a way to kick off 2011!

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