Saturday, January 9, 2010

party crashers

I have never,to my knowledge, crashed a party. I mean, I may have lied about who I was or why I was there but, ultimately, they unhooked the rope and stantion and allowed me inside. I am not sure what the term is for an univited guest who gains access via trickery or bribery,though I would say enthusiastic could apply if the motive is not burglary.
 Before he had the connections to score an invite, my future husband was very adept at gaining access to parties and clubs with a strict guest list that did not contain his name.
 In the beginning, when he was an assistant, and I an unemployed aging ingenue, we would hear about the parties that we really wanted to attend. We would get dressed and go to the party, hoping either someone he knew was standing at the door at the same time and brought us inside with them, or that he could talk his way in. Sometimes he dropped names of people who he knew would be on the list.Sometimes, he tried to talk me up as a rising star, but the person with the clipboard would usually give me the once over and look at him like " that all you got?". On one occasion he gave a guy an expensive cigar.Another time the bouncer got a handshake full of money.At the Sundance Film Festival he waited in a bathroom stall for an hour while the venue switched from one party he had attended to another swankier party that he hadn't been invited to.He casually left the bathroom and walked into the second party totally undetected. The best part was that there were several other guys in the bathroom doing the same thing,like a lurid scene from an early  homosexual movie.
He wasn't always spot on. Once he tried to say that we had already been inside  the club and got locked out by accident.That door person took the time to tell us why his lie wouldn't work. He said that first of all, I was wearing a red dress, and he certainly would have remembered it if we had gone through the front door in the last hour.Second, he said that we would have received a hand stamp when we paid the cover charge that also would have validated his story. My future husband stared at him, absorbing this constructive criticism and then said " thank you very much", and we left. He didn't try that trick again but a more devious version of it. If we approached a club with a long line, and he didn't want to wait, he would ask me if I had my migraine medication. I usually did because at that point the headaches were coming sporadically. I would take out the bottle, and he would rush us up to the front with  me by the arm.He would speak in a low hushed tone and say " excuse me, but my girlfriend really needs to get inside and take her medication." I would look appropriately pained, and buckle a little  at the knees.They would wave us in. Minutes later we would be having a cocktail and the vicodin would be snugly tucked in my purse for next headache/infiltration.
Will karma get us for the deception? Possibly, but we didn't really harm anyone specifically.All of the events were exclusive public offerings that exluded us initially,but then included us without much of an effort. I won't say that I enjoyed the process of lying to gain access to free food and drink, but it was a lot more fun than standing in line for most of the evening.
I have been on the receiving end of a crashed party as well  and was less than thrilled that people had spotted our mandatory valet parking and ingratiated themselves into my house. Some of the univited  were coming up to me, the birthday girl, and saying very pointedly " Hi (MY NAME),Happy Birthday,(MY NAME), thanks for having me." I had no idea who they were and I suppose their interaction was designed to protect them from the inevitable "who the fuck is that" moment.If they are seen schmoozing with the hostess the chances of getting ousted are much less likely.
I suppose I  understand the party crasher, but I experienced it on a whole new level a few weekends back.
A friend of mine had a party for her three year old.She invited twenty or so people and had a very casual afternoon hang out  in her backyard.She had a bouncer and grilled some chicken.It was very intimate and loose. About an hour into the party, she came over to our group and asked very discreetly if any of us knew the guy sitting at the picnic table with his daughter. Their yard isn't more than four or five hundred square feet in total, so blending in isn't an option. The guy in question was having some food while his daughter,who was about seven, stood next to him,waiting.
We all looked over at once, and none of us knew him.He looked really familiar to me but I never placed him, even now. The hostess sent in her tough as nails friend to find out who he was and why he was at her party. After some conversation, it was determined that, despite initally claiming that his wife had given him the wrong address,he had knowingly crashed the party. He never came out and said it, but it became evident by his total lack of embarrassment or even an  "Oh my goodness, I am so sorry...My wife told me it was on this block and when I saw the balloons I just assumed.."
He gave us nothing. He was treated with respect, and was invited to stay and eat so his daughter could play on the jumper, but he declined and then drifted out, leaving us all extremely unsettled. He appeared to be able to afford food, so it didn't feel like a situation where someone was  just trying to get something to eat. He also seemed a little out of it, which could happen to a parent for any reason, but I couldn't shake the feeling that he just did this sort of thing when he ran out of ideas. It made me queasy to think that the girl, who is fully aware at age seven, is being taken to parties with complete strangers while her father mooches what he can and pretends like he was invited.She must look around and see that she knows no one, and then watches as the inevitable " who are you" conversation happens, followed by a hasty exit.  I realize that her situation could be much different and that he could be prostituting her or worse, but I can only imagine the subtle psychological damage that is done by knowingly subjecting your kid to that kind of instability.  Seven is the age when they are learning about truth and lies and character and all of the things that give us morality and a sense of belonging to a greater good.
I guess I look at my own kids, who haven't yet had to survive anything but their mother's temper, their peers and a few close calls with bodily injury, and wonder when they will have to shake hands with the Big Bad World. I suppose the seven year old crasher will be a savvy street smart kid by the time she reaches her teens.With this economy, she will be the girl who talks my pansy ass kids out of their lunch money when they all end up at the local public school in a few years. I realize that my generation has a reputation for coddling their offspring.We probably do, which may create a generation of cream puffs, but I guess I figure that childhood is short and they can catch up to their tougher classmates later on.
 I think that it is our responsibility as parents to try not to fuck our kids up with our own shit. I plan on arming mine with truth and information and a little dash of fear so they don't trade their life to a pedophile for a Hershey bar. I will encourage them to see the "popular" kids as merely human, and to find a passion that will always take precendence over ditching Algebra to go on klepto spree or smoke an American Spirit in the bathroom.
But it isn't my life.It is theirs, and so are the choices they make. I remember two girls in my sixth grade class being sent home from a overnight trip for stealing a lipstick from a drugstore in Bakersfield. One of the same girls showed up high at school in seventh grade and told her teacher that she had been adbucted by a guy in a van and forced to smoke marijuana,then dropped off at school in time to make second period(wow, what a courteous abductor).Luckily they didn't believe one word of the story or it would have been mighty unpleasant for some poor van driving shmuck parked down at the beach minding his own business.
I hope my children make better choices than most kids do, but I suppose that the lumps and bumps are inevitable. I suppose they will have to make awful choices that they won't tell me about. I suppose they will be exposed to all sorts of heinous shit by their peers. I wish I could help filter out the bullshit, but I guess they won't ever learn or grow if I don't let them get a little dirty. I will impress upon them the consequences of taking unecessary risks with their bodies or their sweet little souls, and that I will never abandon them because of my principles.
So back to Crasher Dad,who still haunts me all these weeks later. I hope he was simply at the wrong house. I mean who in their right mind who seek out a kids party to crash? Isn't it commonly accepted that the constant birthday parties are one of the more annoying aspects of child rearing? We are facing five in the next two weeks- an embarrassment of bouncers, redundant gifts and partially hydrogenated oil dressed as birthday cake. Personally I'd rather hide in a bathroom stall.It is much quieter.

1 comment:

  1. I need to shower after that one.
    That dude is creepy and the post is the shit!