Friday, August 14, 2009

Snapshots from Rehoboth

And by “snapshots” I mean “verbal descriptions of memorable moments” and not “photographs” because while I did manage to “bring my camera” I never was quite able to remember to “use it” to “take pictures” of “things I wanted to remember from my vacation.” Which makes me kind of “lazy.” But I'm also “resourceful” because I “stole some pictures from total strangers' Facebook albums” so I could show you some “snapshots of my vacation.”

Which brings us full-circle in only one paragraph. I must be some kind of god.

Anyway, the vacation was pretty fantastic, notwithstanding the fact that the domestic partner couldn’t come with me. But let's not think about that. Instead, let's take a look though my fauxto (HA! I just made that up!) album together:

The beach house
We were invited to spend a long weekend with our friends Mark and David in their beach house. Which is pretty much all they told us. So I pictured the four/three of us spending four days lounging on the beach and cooking simple meals and maybe playing board games or reading quietly. But their definition of beach house is far more fabulous than mine; their beach house is actually two houses with enough bedrooms and fold-out couches to sleep about 20. And they sell shares in the house to their friends, who come to Rehoboth with them in various groups every weekend. I believe at our peak we had 12 people—12 interesting, educated, endlessly friendly people—wandering through the house looking for other friendly people to sit and chat with. So there was a built-in cocktail party going on any time we wanted one. Which was pretty much always.

Rehoboth is a charming little beach town in southern Delaware. It's so charming, in fact, that it looks like Disney designed it as one of its themed resort properties. Which—before you throw rocks at me and brand me a Philistine—you must understand is high praise in my world. Disney's Imagineers are masters at creating detailed ambiance, and I get a little happy feeling inside whenever I'm surrounded by rambling porches and beadboard wainscoting. Which I think is actually Reheboth's town slogan. Anyway, Rehoboth is the go-to weekend getaway spot for all the happenin' DC gays. Which means everyone there—at least on the weekends—is all smart and connected and policy-wonky. Which is like intellectual porn to me. But even on the weekdays when all the gays are slaving away in DC to pay for their next weekend of adventures, the town is still full of history and character. As my new friend Albert emailed me this week about the beach house: "You've got Tallulah Bankhead shacking up with a Dupont heiress across the street, Alexander Haig retiring just up the street, and Kathie Lee Gifford's parents living in some pink mansion downtown ... Rehoboth is a fun little place, isn't it?"

And that's not the half of it. As I was winging my way home on Monday night, I stumbled across this little tidbit in a New Yorker article about the bikini: “The first known bathing-beauty competition (not counting the ones on Minoan cave walls) took place in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, in 1880. One of the judges was Thomas Edison. First prize, which went to a young woman named Myrtle Meriwether: a trousseau.” I bet Alexander Haig never won a trousseau.

The gay beach
It was about four doors from the beach house. So it was freakishly easy to be a beach bum with the gays ... then pee in a civilized toilet with a sink ... then be a beach bum with the gays ... then grab an electrically refrigerated bottle of Gatorade ... then be a beach bum with the gays. Which we did. A lot. Unfortunately, it's been a long time since I've been near an ocean. And apparently in that time the Atlantic has developed the power to sink the Titanic. And to scrub SPF 70 off my body without me even noticing. Because all my beach bummery resulted in a very burned tummy by the time I went home. No word on why the ocean spared the rest of me from the heartbreak of sunburn, though.

I packed my running shoes and my running shorts and my running sunglasses and my running watch and my running watch charger with the full intention of completely blowing off running on our trip. But we actually went running. Mark and David and I ran about 7.5 miles on Saturday afternoon through downtown Rehoboth, some gorgeous tree-canopied neighborhoods and scenic Cape Henlopen State Park, which gave us great views of Delaware's famous WWII submarine watchtowers. Originally built to help triangulate the location of enemy submarines, they now stand sentinel over little more than the tides of the Atlantic seaboard. And they look fabulously grumpy—kind of like Lou Grant on the verge of bursting into song—in this picture I stole off the Internet:

The parties
The boys of Rehoboth like their theme parties. And they take them seriously. We were invited to a pop-icons-themed party on Saturday night, but we didn't start thinking about costumes until Saturday morning. But more on that later.

We got to the party that night to find a huge red carpet running down the driveway. (And you doubted me about the "seriously" in the paragraph above.) The red carpet took us to a stage at the back of the house, where we were blinded by Klieg lights and introduced to the cheering guests by a gargantuan Wynonna Judd:

Here is our handsome host John, backed by a few party-pooper guests who clearly have no respect for themed parties. Or pop icons. Or probably even the sanctity of marriage:

Here are some guests who do have respect for the sanctity of marriage. You can tell by their delicate bone structure and the way they don't waste makeup:

Batman and Robin were there, too. I'm including this picture solely to show you the depth and breadth of costume ideas people came up with for the party:

Here is my handsome beach-house host Mark with his handsome friend Peter. Mark is giving you a sneak preview of our group costume. Peter can see Sarah Palin from his house.

But back to our group costume. We spent a great deal of time brainstorming a fun pop-icon theme. We even visited a CD shop to look for pop-music ideas. And when we finally realized that as gay men we all owned the mandatory black swimsuit (duh), we knew we could convincingly re-create the Single Ladies video if we all just bought matching black tank tops and cheap big-girl shoes. And it took only one trip to Walmart ... and Payless ... and Marshalls ... and Peebles to find five pair of sturdy shoes in freakishly large sizes. Add an authentic re-creation of that weird Beyoncé robo-glove and it's uncanny how much we look like the women in the video:

Without even knowing we'd have a stage and a sound system and lights and even an emcee, I'd volunteered to pull some of the choreography off the video and teach it to the girls. I mean Ladies. I figured we'd be performing in the corner of a crowded living room, the way I picture Barbara Walters getting her start in "the business," as some of the insiders call it. But when I saw our stage and our lights and our red carpet, I was very thankful we'd invested so much time and money building our costumes and rehearsing our number. To my knowledge, there is no footage of our Grammy-winning performance at the party. But some of the boys in the house did manage to capture one of our final dress rehearsals, which I am showing you here against the advice of every voice in my head. In our defense, what we lack in ability to stay in formation we totally make up for in enthusiasm and just plain fabulousness. Of course, sturdy shoes can do a lot for a girl's professionalism. And we look like we have the oldest professionalism in the world:

Apparently this video is working or not working with complete randomness on people's computers. I apologize, but I'm so not smart enough to help you make it work on your computer if it's not already. Because it's not working on mine. But that's the gamble you take when you read blogs written by technological morons. NoFo regrets the inconvenience.

That's the name of the big Rehoboth dance bar. It's in the basement of a former church. (Get it?) And it's the only bar of the three we went to all weekend that charged a cover. Except for us single ladies! We were told at the party that we'd get in free if we wore our outfits. And "wore our outfits" seems to have meant "showed up" because we all had our cargo shorts and boy shoes on by the time we got to the bar and they waved us right in.

But! When we got there, the DJ played an extended Single Ladies dance mix and the owner/promoter literally pulled my cargo shorts and tank top off of me and pushed me up on the go-go box with David, the only other one of us too slow to get away when the song started. So we danced like the 40-something go-go boys we are on a big dancefloor box while the people below us actually stuck money in our little black Speedos. I have never held my stomach in that tight for that long, but it was totally worth it because I made three dollars! I bet Barbara Walters never made three dollars dancing in a little black Speedo.

The people
So my paralyzing shyness and I are not always so good at meeting people. But I'm getting better. Much better, in fact. And! I found the perfect way to overcome this barrier: Be introduced by a massive drag queen as the only person in apparently the whole state visiting from Chicago right before you dance in an exact replica of a Single Ladies outfit on a stage at a huge gay costume party in Delaware. Seriously. I have never in my life felt so popular from the moment we got off the stage. For the next 48 hours we couldn't go anywhere without strangers yelling Chicago! at me and people running up to us to shake our hands and introduce themselves and tell us how fabulous we were. I should really find a way to patent this proven social anxiety disorder therapy and sell it on the Internets. Before Barbara Walters does.

The return trip
We drove back to DC on Monday so David could go back to work and Mark and I could grab lunch with my friend Doug and then race through the National Gallery before he dropped me off at Dulles for my 4:55 flight. My 4:55 flight that never came. Because of weather in stupid Chicago. Who the hell ever goes to Chicago? And the weather kept us at Dulles for a full five hours, which obviously screwed up a lot of people's connecting flights. So the passengers who had planned to fly through Chicago dutifully lined up to try to find alternative bookings ... when the world's biggest douchebag decided that Weather Delays Are Unacceptable and I Have To Get To Work Tomorrow and What Are You Going To Do About MY Needs? In fact, he was so adamant that his problems were far more important than everyone else's that he came back to harass the gate agent about it a whopping seven times—once for 45 minutes while the rest of the passengers stood patiently in a gargantuan line behind him. And when he started swearing at the poor agent on his fifth visit (I was bored with my New Yorkers by this time so The Real Douchebag of Gate B48 had my full attention), I might have whipped out my camera phone and branded him a douche on Facebook for all eternity. Which I have a feeling is not the first time. And now I might be doing it again on my blog:

I am so ashamed of my actions. But I told the gate agent what I'd done right before we finally boarded our plane and he very professionally cocked his eyebrows and cracked a tiny smile and said nothing incriminating and I'm pretty sure he's not judging me harshly.

I hate to end this story on a negative note, so I'll leave you with one more picture of me and the Ladies. It's uncanny how much we look like the originals. And you just know Barbara Walters couldn't pull this look off. At least not as well as Alexander Haig.

No comments: