Sunday, April 20, 2008

How to turn 40: Step 7

Once upon a time, there were three little boys who eventually moved to Chicago. And they were each assigned to stay young and relatively wrinkle-free. But I took them away from all that and now they work for me. My name is FORTY*.

I have two friends in the Chicago Gay Men's Chorus who are also turning 40* in and around the end of April. And since we have pretty much the same circle of friends, we decided to pool our money and our guest lists and throw a huge threeway party (wait ... that came out wrong). So last night, we packed the cool loft space above Hamburger Mary's in Andersonville with friends and family and liquor and cake. Lots and lots of cake. (I was in charge of the cake.)

*One of us is actually 45, but the backstory was easier to write if I just said we were all 40. NoFo apologizes for any confusion this may have caused.

I was going to wear all black to the party to mourn the passing of my youth, but Richard and Michael convinced me to dress festively with them ... if for no other reason than to match the room:

I ordered three cakes, one for each of us. And Richard thought it would be fun to get 125 candles and put a 1, a 2 and a 5 on the cakes (125 = 40+40+45, for those of you struggling with the math):

As you can see, by the time they were all lit, the candles created quite a blaze. In fact, by the time the third cake was completely lit, the first cake was a pastry inferno:

And yes, that's candle wax you see pooling across the top of the cake. Soon after we took the above picture, the flames got so low that the frosting actually started to boil:

But what's a 125th birthday without boiled cake? Thankfully, our guests found it in their hearts to eat our boiled cake and not make snide comments about how old people can't be trusted with fire. So it was all good.

The party started at 7, and by 11 it was really swinging. Unfortunately, I wasn't. I'd celebrated my actual birthday with my family (including my newly minted domestic partner!) the day before and then spent Saturday morning at my cousin's wedding in the stunning Celtic-meets-Art-Nouveau beauty of Old St. Pat's Church followed by lunch with the kids at Ed Debevic's followed by shoe shopping with my mom and sister (because I was totally running out of shoes) followed by last-minute party preparations followed by the party itself followed by oh hey is it already eleven o'clock?

So home to bed I went, while the guests and the other birthday boys partied on in my absence. But I'd had my cake. And I'd eaten it without burning my tongue. And I was safely on the other side of 40, with two full weekends of celebrations under my belt documented in a seven-part autoblography.

And either I'm old or I'm tired, but I can't think of an interesting way to end this blog post. So I'm afraid you read all this way for nothing. But what do you expect? I'm 40 now. Give an old guy a break. Sheesh!

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