by Foster Kamer
This year’s ______ holiday party was shocking, groundbreaking. It was-dare it be said-a gamechanging affair. Why? Food. Yes. Food. There was food there. Like, good food. Because whenever you go to a holiday party and get wasted, what do you want? Food! And what always happens? Either A) there’s no food, or, B) the food is passed around on trays and you have to elbow your way through packs of people or position yourself by the kitchen entrance in order to accost the servers who emerge from it to get the little mini-eggrolls and then after that whatever other horrid mini-thing (and what the fuck is a mini-egg roll? Like, really. People need to stop making unnecessary mini-things. Just make the big-sized things smaller) comes out of the kitchen that is greasy and typically not so great, but whatever, it’s free food, you’re gonna eat it because you’re trashed and hungry.
The party was at this two-story wine bar place on Division Street which is down by Canal Street-which an employee, ______, told me that he pronounces as “C-ANAL” street, which was funny-in the fairly smelly part of Chinatown, as opposed to the really smelly part of Chinatown, or just the kinda smelly part of Chinatown where you get pretty good dim sum. There are these surprising places down there like that, and this was one of them.
When you walk in, there were two tables full of the food. Beautiful food! And lots of people and a nice person standing around checking names off of a list, but that was really for semantics, because company owner ______ was sitting at the bar and basically saw everyone come through the door, so if, say, infamous terrible publicist ______ came through the door, he wouldn’t have made it in, because someone would’ve told him to leave or ______ would’ve punched him in the face. But back to the food.
After talking to lots of people I learned that, in the past, the presence of food at ______Holiday Parties were most frequently just more of the same mini-foodstuffs every other holiday party has, if at all. ______, who owns websites and kept various editors and chief honcho ______ from killing each other for a bunch of years, was in shock at the presence of actual food. If I knew there was going to be food, I wouldn’t have eaten before. Can you believe this? We’ve NEVER had food at these things. Why didn’t you put it on the invite? he asked ______, who is in charge of business things and dealing with people. I did, ______ told him. Did you read it? I don’t know if ______read it but I did and I kinda remember there being something about food but it certainly wasn’t any kind of SPOILER ALERT-type notice, you know?
Anyway, the one problem with eating all this great looking food-there was a cheese plate, but also, pumpkin risotto and risotto balls and these (OBLIGATORY) mini-meatballs and actual pieces of steak and breads with pricey-looking olive oil and asparagus with some kind of wonderful eggy thing on it and a green bean and radish salad which was DELISH-was that A) both floors were really crowded and B) there was really nowhere to sit. These were fairly tight, economical quarters. You had to squeeze through people to get anywhere. Now, it wasn’t impossible to get somewhere-certainly, by 10:30, this was much easier to do-but you definitely had to get your squeeze on to get to the bar. And then you had to find a place to put down your smallish-plate and smallish fork and eat. So, that part was kind of torture, but in the end, if you’re shameless and drunk and hungry, you don’t give a fig about tact and just kind of get down on some food. Especially when they bring out dessert, you’re just like, panna cotta? I’m in. And you are, because you’ve had lots of wine.
In fact, that was another funny thing! To get the “dark stuff,” i.e. hard booze, you had to ask the bar for it, but the glasses of wine were put out for easy taking, effectively making the pricey booze harder to reach. Like the well-measured size of the space: economical! Maybe even thrifty.
Nobody, to my knowledge, puked, but there were lots of tall people. ______ was walking around in a suit looking really tall. Do you have any idea how many tall people work there these days? Between ______, ______, ______, ______, and ______, who’s kinda taller than I remember, those guys could probably play a decent game of pickup! Not like Rucker Park-pickup, but you know, like, Equinox Gym pickup, if Equinox had basketball courts. [Both The Awl and ______ have had Equinox advertise with them so I feel okay with using their name and also it’s apt.] Funny that none of the tall people work at ______, which is run by a bunch of short guys who clearly masturbated too much as youths, thus stunting their growth.
Eventually the party thinned out but for the most part conversation was nice and casual and I’m sure lots of people met for the first time. Those ______ ladies are wonderful! Their honcho ______ was probably itching to go home to her RSS feed and ______ is very nice and ______ was dancing with her manfriend or whatever they call guys on ______ these days, and he was nice too. I think I saw ______, and ______ was there. Who else? ______, and her former longtime boyfriend ______-but you know that already-and the lady biz honcho ______ was there putting the fear of God into people like me, but not, because she was nice, too. ______ was drinking the entire time with his ladyfriend who was drinking too, and they both managed to position themselves comfortably the entire time, which was impressive.
The only “down” moment came when I was talking to a freelance design writer who told me he felt like an imposter here in “the face of all this ______ success,” considering I.D. closed this week, and basically, design writing is screwed and over. And he’s correct. To an extent.
I mean, what do you think of when you hear the words ______ Holiday Party? If it was a bunch of people popping bottles of Veuve and showering foamy champers in all directions, maniacally laughing about all the awesome ways they’ve survived all the people in media who’re totally screwed out of jobs-checkbook journalism and posting by the fistful and getting anonymous email-based tips up quickly and videos of ______ not really having sex-while doing blow by the tablespoonful arm-in-arm? Well. It wasn’t that. But you know what it was? Modest and nice. For being in the face of “all this ______ success,” you wouldn’t know is was anything more than any other holiday party, unless you were eating. But you had to make an effort. And if you did, you didn’t go home hungry. It was a pretty nice time.
After the party last night, I had a dream. In my dream, my friends and I all signed up for the I.D.F. While there was definitely the creeping feeling that you could be killed at any moment, for the most part, being in the I.D.F. kinda felt just like being on Jersey Shore.