I like to think of myself as a pretty smart chick. I’m pretty realistic, and pretty quick-witted. So when my best friend of my whole life asks me to attend a party for her fellow civil service employees, I figured, why not? Open bar, close to home, me and my B fri getting a little toasty on a Saturday night. Nothing but good times, like the good ole days. And it was fun, and a times it was a little too much like the good old days. At other times, it was an epic drunken black comedy.
Part of the problem is that I tend to hold members of civil service and military in a higher regard than the average civilian. It is probably because my Dad was a NYC Fireman and he was always a gentleman and a great guy, so I stupidly assume they all are. The truth is they are human just like everyone else.
So we arrive at this party and are welcomed by members of her unit. Everyone is friendly and polite. There are a few families there with small children, so it looks pretty innocent and non threatening. There are hundreds of people and she introduces me to tons of people. The drinks are flowing and we are having a genuinely good time. At some point, I totally forgot that my friend is going through a divorce and is a very fragile being. Add alcohol to that and her newly minted ex husband showing up at the party because he is in the same field and we have a recipe for a shit show. They give each other a half-hearted wave and things seem a little awkward, but otherwise fine.
I never noticed that the ratio of men to women at this party was like one girl to every thirty guys. I didn’t pay much attention to it, I am not single and I was not on the prowl. It got a little later, people got a little drunker and the families disappeared. The venue actually ran out of several types of alcohol by seven pm and the party didn’t end until 11. This is where things start to go to hell.
The same “gentlemen” that we had been in the company of since we got their underwent some sort of transformation. They are talking to each other, about me, right in front of me as if I am either deaf or stupid. Realizing I am neither, they tell me that I remind them of someone they grew up with, don’t worry, she was a supermodel so it’s a compliment.
Are these guys serious? First of all, I am 5 foot 2, I am so flat chested that I have three belly buttons and on my best day, I probably resemble a cross between Sandra Bullock and Tine Fey, meaning I am not as hot as Sandra Bullock, but not as geeky cute as Tina Fey. At any rate, that line of bullshit ain’t gonna work on me. When I point out that I am too short and too flat, they both squat down to my height and say “no worries, you’re a short super model”. I laugh it off because I am amused at the amount of malarkey these guys are pushing for a shot at getting laid that isn’t even there. I was asked a hundred times in a hundred different ways if I am happily married ( I always wear my wedding band and these guys all noticed it.) Some just pointed to my ring and asked me what my “story” was. One guy said that if we were seventeen, we would be outside f
Then, as if on cue, my girlfriend is in the corner making a drunk scene over her ex husband talking to a woman in front of her. What fucking planet am I on? Then it gets worse. She is escorted out by two guys who are in her husband’s unit. They are telling her the woman means nothing, her husband is a dick, but he would never do that. . She is making something out of nothing. So I ask them why aren’t they telling her the truth, that it is none of her business anymore who he talks to. That you can’t tell your husband that you want a divorce and then be mad that he is pursuing other women. Sure it can sting a little bit, that’s normal. You cannot make a scene in front of all of your co-workers and be out of control. They turned on me like a pack of wolves! They told me I wasn’t a good friend. That I am not going through a divorce so I don’t know how she feels. Blah, blah. blah. I don’t have to be going through a divorce to know that you can’t have your cake and eat it too. I know you should never act like that in front of people you work with and I know that my friend needs an extra helping of self-respect and that I would never have given an ex-husband, boyfriend or whatever the satisfaction of seeing me that upset over them. She accuses these guys of covering for her husband and allowing him to get away with the girl. She insists that they are on his side and that she has to go back into the party and confront him. This goes on and on for about two hours. Her ex-husband left, and she didn’t even know it. She sobs that things should be like that Bruno Mars song, that he should’ve brought her flowers and held her hand. His partner replies “Well, there is your first problem. You were listening to Bruno Mars when ya should’ve been listening to Depeche Mode. Then we wouldn’t be in this mess”
Her former captain leans in and says he has never seen her like this. I said this is exactly what it was like when her and her husband were dating. This is how every Saturday night ended for us fourteen years ago when they were just getting to know each other. It should be very obvious to everyone here why they are no longer together and it became painfully obvious to me that I should have remembered that babysitting my drunk friend who repeatedly makes bad decisions is a major buzz kill. Being a married mother of three, girls night out ala 2002 are few and far between. I put a lot of effort in to achieving just the right amount of buzz and maintaining it for the duration of the evening. My dear friend walked in and shit all over my lunch.
So I dry her tears and tell her to drink plenty of water. Take a Tylenol before bed and call me in the morning. I will tell her what happened and who she owes an apology to. For her sake, I hope she doesn’t have to work with any of these guys in the very near future. She sure doesn’t make it an easier on herself, being one of the few women in a man’s world. Luckily, a lot of them are going through similar things or have done so in the past. Hopefully, she is in good company.