Friday night, my friend and I crashed a gay holiday party. No, not 'gay' as in happy (though it was); and certainly not 'gay' as in 'lame' (I take serious issue with that word usage, by the way); it was 'gay' as in 40 fabulous homosexual men drinking fabulous cocktails in an extremely fabulous house, looking...well, fabulous.
Technically speaking, we weren't crashing, because we were invited. But it felt like crashing to me almost immediately -- mainly because my outfit was from Marshall's and in total (shoes and home hair dye included) probably cost less than what other partygoers spent on tailoring their designer jeans.
I had known some of these men for years. We'd met working out (because according to cliches and actual fact, these guys love the gym) long before I was a totally out of touch mom...you know, back when I was a totally out of touch single chick.
This fact however, did not stop me from feeling completely out of place among the lively buzz of cheek-kissing and animated conversations.
My friend (also female, also straight) knew more faces than I did and consequently spent much of the first part of the night introducing me to various collared shirts and wool sweaters. By the time we were dashing for the two heated trolleys parked on the tree-lined street, primed to taxi us into a nearby park adorned in Christmas lights, I am fairly certain we'd been pegged as the token lesbians.
Don't get me wrong. I had a ball. It was probably some of the most holiday fun I've seen in ages. I was generally forgiven for my thrift shop winter coat and bad dye job (at least to my face) and spent the evening laughing until my face hurt.
I also got to partake in some serious real-estate voyeurism and basked in the beauty of a bronze pasta arm set against a stone backsplash, a kitchen sink large enough to bathe a ten-year-old, sleek refurbished hardwood floors, tall ceilings lined in gorgeous crown moulding, stained glass and Tudor windows, pristine glass-encased walk-in showers, and the sort of breathtaking oversized sofa I have only seen in magazines and television. I found myself wondering how quickly it would take my one-year-old to destroy this seemingly untouched perfection. When I joked with our host about moving in, his face turned white at the mere thought of a toddler invading his palace. I quickly assured him it would just be me.
Because my lesbian-lover was driving, I decided to also bask in the impressive assortment of cocktails available. I sampled the cranberry and lime infused vodka, the rumchata, a dirty martini (garnished with blue cheese stuffed olives), a half glass of champagne, two pulls off a bottle that tasted like cinnamon and lighter fluid, and two Bud Lights on the bus--because I think that's what lesbians drink and I didn't want to disappoint anyone.
I wasn't really drunk, but eventually feeling self-confident enough to finally eat something (dinner was passed on earlier in the night in favor of applying mascara and giving bedtime instructions to my FIL who was manning the ship for the night). I giggled merrily as I hovered over the dining room table, fawning over an array of cheeses and cheese dips -- and a couple of broccoli florets to save face -- laughing at the fact that my friend and I (now found binging on party food) had met our host when he started taking our spin classes a little over a year ago.
Shortly after that act of debauchery, it was time to part ways with this untouchable fantasy world and return to my modest home and my sweatpants and my insatiable infant. I wasn't feeling too buzzed and felt confident we weren't looking at another Mommy Has a Hangover situation.
When I woke the next morning, I felt a little headachy, but nothing a couple glasses of water couldn't take care of. The morning progressed and soon I found myself at another party: a two-year-old's birthday party at Build-a-Bear in the mall. It was pretty much the same type of event as the trolley party. Just replace the trolley with a brightly lit mall, the cocktails with tea, coffee, and juice, and the well-dressed partygoers with screaming babies, unrulely toddlers, and small children.
By the middle of the party, I was starting to feel the first pangs of nausea. The nausea followed me home and then to work. I pulled myself together just enough to handle almost five hours of patient care, but couldn't muster the energy to sweet talk one of my last patients into a full treatment (this is typically my specialty) and uncharacteristically allowed her to bail after only 15 minutes.
When I arrived home, it was late and dark and I wondered if I shouldn't try to eat something, since I had yet again blown through more than one mealtime.
That proved to be a terrible plan.
The rest of my night and into the early morning, I was darting back and forth between the bathroom and my bed, alternating between shivering under a pile of blankets and kicking sweaty sheets back. I also had the pleasure of expelling my dinner out both ends...not to put to fine a point on it.
Convinced I was probably being struck down by a deadly virus, I decided to call in some parenting backup (i.e. the hubs) and quarantine myself from the baby until I could get to a medical professional who would verify my impending death.
At one point, I found myself seated on the toilet, hovering over a trash can, pumping breast milk and blowing my nose. When the hubs popped his head in and asked if I needed anything my first thought was that I needed him to wipe the present image of me from his memory completely. What I actually said was 'sexy,' waving a hand dramatically in front of myself, then I let my head collapse back down into the trash can.
Amazingly, I managed to live through the night. There were points where I prayed for death, but luckily it never came.
Things are better now. I have managed a couple of meals, some laundry, and even a visit with Santa and my inlaws. Whatever was responsible for my brush with death by way of GI complications seems to have passed and I am beyond grateful for my returning health.
I may not be fabulous enough to hang strong with an army of gay men or have enough stamina to fully function at a two-year-old's birthday while battling the beginnings of a stomach bug, but I lived through this weekend ... and that's good enough.