Monday, April 03, 2006

Dinah Shore 2006

Early Friday afternoon, I left Lance with the kids and drove to Palm Springs with two new friends for a bachelorette party. Prior to this weekend I have been to two bachelorette parties, including my own. Most of my close friends who are married live on the East Coast, and if there is such an event, I usually can't fork over the cash to fly across the country for it. So I'm a bit of a bachelorette party virgin.

Anyway. There were 7 girls in all, two of whom I would consider "close acquaintances", two of whom are "new friends" and two that I had only met once or twice before. No one that I felt completely comfortable with. In case you haven't been reading my blog for very long, I should tell you this kind of situation is my absolute worst social nightmare. (Well, okay, no. The worst nightmare would be to go away for the weekend with 6 acquaintances, but there's no way in HELL I would ever agree to that, so. So.) I admit to being fairly nervous about the whole thing.

On the other hand, it was an opportunity to go away--for a whole weekend!--without the kids, and an opportunity to leave my husband in charge for 2.5 days, something he's never done before. Not to mention, Palm Springs is in the desert, and thus warmer than L.A., and have I mentioned? I live for warm weather. Sitting by the pool in 80 degree weather is my idea of heaven, and worth whatever social anxiety I might have.

(Also, the bride-to-be, one of the women I'm terming a "new friend", is marrying a very good friend of ours, and once they marry, she, along with her husband, will be my kids' guardians. Lance is the best man. I couldn't really get out of it, even if I was desperate to.)

The traffic was hell getting to Palm Springs, as one might expect on a California highway on a Friday afternoon, and we got a later start than we intended, so we didn't end up arriving at the hotel until 5:30 or so. The other women were already there, on the patio, having cocktails.

One of the things which worked in my favor was that this bunch of women came from all different parts of the bride's life. In other words, it wasn't 5 college friends and me, or 5 work friends and me. Two college friends, two post-college friends, the sister of the groom and the sister's best friend, who had come to know the bride that way. This meant there was no telling of old stories that only I wouldn't remember, no reminiscing about other friends who only I never knew. In fact, although at least 3 of the women there knew the bride and each other much better than I did, I was the only one, besides the bride, who had actually met everyone.

We quickly got settled in our rooms and headed out to the patio, where we guzzled our first cocktails of the evening and I tried to get the lay of the land. I ended up sitting between the two women I barely knew, and one of them was smoking, which made me a little uncomfortable. But one glass of champagne later things seemed to settle down a bit. Also, one woman, A., who I drove there with, has one of those loud, accepting, all-inclusive personalities, and having her there definitely eased everybody's transition from nervous attendee to happy-go-lucky partier. (Wouldn't it be great to be that person? Who can make anyone feel at home, and make everybody laugh? Sometimes funny people intimidate me, because I feel like they are judging me for not being funny, but A. just wanted to make sure we all had a great time, and so we did.)

A little while into our patio-fest, A. and I got up to try the ladies' room. As we walked inside, she turned to me and whispered, "Is it me, or are there a lot of lesbians here?"

Maybe you don't know this about me, but I am pretty oblivious. Just ask her. I tend to not notice anything that isn't right in my line of sight, or otherwise important for me to take note of. So I hadn't, in fact, noticed any lesbians. Or, at least, if I saw a bunch of women, I didn't take notice of the fact that they might be lesbians.

"Oh, A., I am the wrong person to ask. I never notice things like that."

"Okay, well look around now, and tell me what you think when we go back."

We continued on to the ladies room, and I began to look around the lobby and inside bar of the hotel. She was right: almost ALL the patrons were women, some of them obviously lesbians (either because they were sitting on each other's lap, or they were dressed in very typically "butch" attire), some of them who might or might not be.

Here is where I say: I hope you all know that I have absolutely nothing against lesbians. It just is worth mentioning when you find yourself in a very large hotel and that's all you see. Not the norm, know what I'm saying?

In any event, by the time we got in the cab to go to dinner, everyone else had noticed, too, so we asked the cabbie about it. We were right. This past weekend was Dinah Shore weekend in Palm Springs, which claims to be the biggest lesbian event in the world. According to the cabbie, at least 150,000 lesbians had descended on the town for the weekend. Also according to the cabbie, Palm Springs is 40% gay, which is maybe why they held the event there. Apparently there is also a gay party every year, equally as large.

The rest of the weekend, wherever we went (except the very straight cheesy dance club we went to Saturday night) there were lesbians everywhere. This was hilarious. (Again, not making fun of lesbians here.) The thing is, it's very funny to see so many lesbians, so openly out, everywhere you go. Especially when you are celebrating a bachelorette party. I felt very square, and very straight. Especially since the bride was often wearing t-shirts that said "I love D" or "the future Mrs. D"--oh, and also, a cheesy veil. Sometimes I wished we could tag along with one of the lesbian groups, because you could tell that they were having an incredibly good time.

Instead, we went out for dinner the first night, then came back and hung out in the bride's room, where my several (but not too many) cocktails allowed me to crack some jokes that had the room doubled over. By the end of Friday night, I think everyone's nerves were settled, as it was obvious that we would all get along fine.

Saturday was spent by the pool--I laid there basically all day, as various members of our party came and went, leaving for spa treatments or to go hiking, etc. Around 11am, I heard one of the kids in the pool tell her friend that her name was Rowan, and a few hours later Brooke Shields showed up to claim her. They actually stayed at the pool all afternoon, and I was by terms impressed and frightened by how well Rowan behaved. Not one meltdown in the 6 hours that she was at the pool. By my calculations, Rowan is maybe 2.5, and she was not wearing diapers, did not take a nap, and had a vocabulary that rivals Isaac's. Really the most astonishing thing was how well behaved she was. I admit to feeling a bit insecure in my own parenting skills just watching her. Fortunately, 3 of the other women in our party are mothers of 2 to 3 year olds, and all of them agreed that Rowan's behavior was unusual. We decided that she MUST be at least 3, if not 3.5, not matter what the celebrity mags tell us. Oh, Brooke is very pregnant, too, which I did not know. (It's nice here, under this rock, where I live. You should try it.)

Late afternoon, the sister of the groom (who was the only other woman to forego the spa in favor of the pool) convinced me to drink a double shot of tequila, and the night was on.

We had cocktails, including a lingerie shower and "newlywed" type game where we asked the bride embarrassing questions, headed off to dinner at a local steak club, and then to possibly the cheesiest nightclub in all of America. (I am astounded to discover they have no website). Had I been there for real, and by that I mean if I had been there in any other capacity than a bachelorette party, it would have been horrifying. As it was, it couldn't have been more perfect. At one point the bride got up on stage with the band to sing "Like a Virgin" (yes, it was an 80's cover band. I know, perfect!)

Sometime around 3am, we stumbled home and into bed. What remained of Sunday after we slept in, packed up and checked out consisted of more laying by the pool in the 80 degree weather, trying to detox, and catching up on all the gossip in the tabloids. No celebrity sightings Sunday, and we headed home around 2:30.

I am tired, and sunburned, and happy. My family was thrilled to see me upon my return, my husband has new appreciation for all that I do, and I feel proud of myself for not allowing the social anxiety to affect my weekend.


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