My 30th birthday recently rolled around and, I’ll admit I had a bit of a meltdown about it in the few days leading up to it, but it also made me think about my birthday party last year. It was the most decadent celebration to date (at my friend Andrew’s house, where the sex parties I used to go to are usually held), but this one was themed/curated around my aesthetic preferences (I specifically remember screaming something like, “no neon, for the love of God!!!!”)
I asked for something like Eyes Wide Shut meets Queen of the Damned meets Ziggy Stardust… something dark and gothy, with themes of androgyny, masks, vampires, decadence, illusion… The place was decked out in black, red, and purple themes. Balloons lined all the walls (and we had a hell of a time popping them the next day). The outdoor patio deck was complete with black and red origami bats and moss. The guests were all asked to wear masks (at least initially). We called it The Midsummer Night’s Wicked Dream. I asked my friend Luke to make a flyer for the event (yes, there was a flyer for my birthday party and some 100+ guests. I imagine reading/thinking about this years from now, and smiling…or…laughing, even) that’d incorporate those themes. So he came up with this:
My photographer extraordinaire and master of ceremonies friend, Adrian, produced a burlesque show especially for me that starred some of the most talented burlesque performers in NYC, including Darlinda Just Darlinda, Scary Ben, Stormy Leather and Deity (all of whom happen to be personal friends of mine—not sure how I ever got so lucky). The end of the show involved Stormy and Deity performing an act to The Pierces’ song Boring. It tells a tale of having everything you could possibly dream of, and being—well—bored. (The refrain goes like: “Nothing thrills us anymore/ No one kills us anymore/ Life is such a chore/When it’s … Boring.” Click away for the lyrics and full video). Now, I was told (by Adrian) that the burlesque show was also curated “for me,” so I had a sneaky suspicion that the selection of this song/act had something to do with the fact that I often appear somewhat bored and blasé at even the most marvelous events, but trust me, guys, I’m really not bored. I’m just . . . processing on the go.
In any case, that burlesque act culminated in Stormy Leather dragging me up to the stage, tying me up in some rope, bondage style, and taking me out to the back patio, at which point my friend Bryan tied me up in some more rope, which was then attached to the umbrella pole in the back, I was blindfolded, and different people would then play with me and I’d have to guess who they were.
Mind you, this guessing game was my idea. Some elements of this fantasy must have come from the Story of O. I had told Isa and Andrew, my girlfriend and boyfriend, respectively, at the time (yes, I had both) that I wanted to do this and asked them to set it up. I had sent them a LONG list of do’s and don’t, the people that could be included and those that most certainly could not be (mainly, I wanted it to be people I had played with before, so I’d have a chance of guessing who they were), what was and wasn’t ok, etc. (topping from the bottom at its best!) And so it happened, and it looked a little something like this:
I was both excited and terrified of all these things actually happening. I knew I had dreamed of them, or some of them, myself, but the actual fantasy-cum-reality was a bit mind boggling, and exhilarating all at the same time. Picasso once said that “Everything you can imagine is real.” I now think that’s probably true. All of your wildest dreams are possible, if you can just find the way to the rabbit hole, know the right people, know to ask for what you want and are the kind of person people are willing to give that to (I was never sure that I was one, but apparently I am. Or once was). “If there is anything you want, just ask for it, Old Sport,” the famous phrase from Gatsby also comes to mind. Ask… and you shall receive. And, so, I did.
My score at the guessing game turned out as good as most of my grades on college exams. I guessed 9 out of 10 right. (The remaining one was a sneaky individual who played with me by rubbing an ice cube, and a feather, against my flesh. He never touched me with his hands and the ice cube/feather repertoire wasn’t anything he had done to me before, so I had no idea it was him).
There was champagne and cupcakes and music and dancing later (and fucking on the dance floor, which is a song I like by Dirty Sanchez). There was even a nude model, whose beautiful reclining body we ate sushi off of later (compliments of Mike B. from the Fetish Tribe).
I had sex with three different people that night, I believe. (What? It was fun. I was dating all of them at the time, so they weren’t strangers. Cause, you know, that’d be wrong/gross. Insert tongue-out-face here).
I stayed over at the house went to bed cuddled up with several of my lovers, roamed the remains of my wonderland the next day in a daze, popped balloons, took down the moss and bats from the backyard and smiled like a fiend.
At the time, I was thinking, “This is my 29th birthday. Next year, I’ll be 30. How the hell am I going to top this?!” (There was really no way to top that).
But by the time my 30th birthday rolled around, it turned out I was in a completely different place in life, and had no desire to have another orgy (I haven’t even been to one since October), or anything like it, for my birthday. All I wanted to do was have a few friends over, drink and grill on my roof, and just… talk. So that was precisely what I did. And the roof at my house was quite accommodating for that, given its gorgeous views of the Manhattan skyline.
Last year, I was fully immersed in fantasy land, this year I’m focusing more on reality and I’m finding that I enjoy both immensely. It’s funny how the universe often gives you exactly what you need at exactly the right time. I want to thank everyone who made last year’s marvelous celebration possible (you all know who you are), as well as everyone who came out to chill on my roof this year. Friends that can hang with both over-the-top party girl me and low-key, introspective me are the best kind.