It's my birthday! I'm 35. I don't generally fuss over my age and encroaching decrepitude, but I must admit: it hurt a little to type that number. My husband took me to Menton and Drink as a combination birthday/Christmas/wedding anniversary gift. (That's one good thing about packing all your big life events into one month: Outrageously expensive celebrations become more justifiable.) I'll write about that experience later, but today I'm sharing a story that, despite us being together for a decade, I had somehow never told Jay until Saturday night.
For a brief period in the early 2000s, my life would have made an excellent a secondhand-embarrassment-inducing HBO coming-of-age series. My college roommates lived in New York and I'd fly down on the Delta shuttle on Friday nights for weekends with them. This was shortly after 9/11 and standing at the gate watching 100 girls dressed for a night out in NYC taking off their boots and jewelry never got any less surreal. (They used to frisk us at security and then again before we got on the plane.)
My friend T had a "worldly" older boyfriend (you know, worldly to 23-year-old me. Just a blowhard jackass to 35-year-old me.) who took her to burlesque shows. T being the kind of girl who can talk a dog off a meat wagon, she promptly became besties with the performers. She was friends with one in particular and we would go see her perform when I was in town.
On one such night, it was about 2am and I was uttering the words, "I probably shouldn't have had that seventh martini" (Not real martinis. Probably cosmos or something. Oy.) when T passed out on my shoulder. That was our cue to leave, so I got her legs under her, swept our stuff off the table and into my bag, threw T into a taxi, and tried to stay conscious enough to ensure that our taxi driver didn't take us on the Drunk Girls Tour of New York before bringing us home.
Then there was dragging T up the stairs, figuring out which key went in which lock, and announcing to the door that this was probably not a good way to be living my life, followed by getting T undressed, getting myself undressed, and passing out on the couch.
In the morning, over a half gallon of orange juice, I opened my purse to make sure I hadn't drunk-dialed anyone. A pile of crumpled, damp one dollar bills exploded out. I was confused because I thought we'd given the dancers all of our cash, so I started to count it. About halfway through I put my head down on the floor and started to laugh because this was clearly not my money.
I woke T up by dropping the wet money on her (because that seemed totally reasonable at the time) and saying, "Why do I have $40 worth of ones in my purse?" She had told the guys standing next to us that they could leave their money on our table. Yes: I had stolen their stripper money. I had an attack of conscience and said, "I can't keep this! You need to give it to Anna the next time you see her."
T was like, "Well, she'd probably feel a little weird about me just handing her a pile of cash. I'll give it to all the dancers the next time I see them."
"Okay. Because, really, stealing from frat boys, okay, whatever, but stealing from our professionally naked friends: not cool."
Well, that was the gist of the conversation anyway. In case you're wondering, T and I both have daughters now. They will never, ever hear that story. Nor will they be allowed out of the house until they're 30.