We're sitting on a red leather sofa in the lobby of the New York Athletic Club. My dad's wearing a blue and white pinstripe dress shirt, gold cufflinks and a salmon-colored tie. I'm wearing a navy blue cocktail dress so tight it gives the illusion I've got a great ass and the same pair of nude heels I wore to my sister's wedding.
I've just told him about a memoir I'm working on. "Am I going to be in it?" he asks, fear filling his eyes, undoubtedly picturing the actual, unfiltered truth of my childhood, and not loving the idea of it being published for the world to see.
"Of course," I say.
"Then can my name be 'Tom'?"
"Sure, dad. You can be my dad named 'Tom' in the memoir. I'm sure no one will put two and two together."
Just then a flood of old men in power suits enter the lobby and head straight for the elevators. "Looks like some Cedar Hill men," my dad says. Cedar Hill is the private high school my dad attended. Tonight the school is hosting a cocktail party that he's been talking about for months. He's excited to see old friends, but mostly excited to find me a husband. My dad's hell-bent on finding me a man, and if he were a Cedar Hill man, his heart would pretty much explode. Basically, this night is the closest I'll ever come to having a debutante ball.
"I thought you wanted to set me up with these guys?" I ask, looking skeptically at the group of AARP members huddled by the elevators. "My age limit is 40."
"There will be younger alumni, trust me," he says as he gets up and adjusts his tie, eyeing the crowd for familiar faces.
After we check our coats -- and I sheepishly check my visibly decaying $2 backpack from goodwill -- we shuffle into the elevator with a bunch of old men in suits. Disclaimer: there are a lot of old men in suits in this story. To help you keep them straight, I'll refer to them all as "old men in suits."
The elevator is a million years old, like the rest of the building, and it painfully creaks its way up to the fourth floor. "They've updated this building a lot," my dad says, "just not the elevators apparently." Every old man in the elevator laughs. This is my dad's demographic. He's already killing it. Best wing man ever.
Finally the death trap makes it to our floor and we exit to find a long table covered in name tags. My dad walks quickly up to the table. "Beauchamp," he says to whoever might be listening nearby. The man doesn't waste time. "Yes, sir," the polite woman behind the table says, hurrying to hand us our name tags. I pin mine to my jacket, silently seething that I have to put a tiny hole in my Ann Taylor blazer meant to disguise me as an actual adult.
"I was going to tell them you were my fourth wife and really freak them out," my dad says.
"That would have been hilarious," I say.
The asshole doesn't fall far from the tree.
Just as we're about to enter the lavish, Titantic-esque ballroom where the event is held, we're approached by my father's high school Latin teacher, a tiny old gray man in a suit. "Tom!" he says, only he uses my dad's actual name, unaware of his alias.
"Brother Wentz!" They shake hands. My dad introduces me. I'm somewhat amazed my dad's Latin teacher looks this good. I'm terrible at math, but I assume that someone who taught my dad when he was a teenager must at least be a few centuries old, but Brother Wentz doesn't look a day over 80. "If all else fails...," I think to myself.
Brother Wentz tells us a little bit about the alumni who will be honored this evening. One was a teacher and Marine officer who was killed in Vietnam, and the other is a general manager at Sheraton Hotels.
After we part ways with Brother Wentz, we head straight to the bar. I stopped drinking this past January, and almost immediately regret this decision when I see the crowd. There are about nine people there so far, and the mean age is around 432 years old.
"Gin and tonic," Tom orders.
"Seltzer," I say with sadness in my eyes. The bartender looks confused but pours it for me anyway.
"Lime?" he asks as if a lime wedge makes this whole situation better.
Huge floor-to-ceiling windows line the back wall, facing out toward a beautiful view of Central Park. Squinting at the scenery, my eyes can barely make out the trees because it's so bright. I remind myself to get out more, because this doesn't seem normal.
We set up shop at a cocktail table in the middle of the room, right next to the assorted meats and cheeses, because that's how we roll. My dad hits up the apps and gets us a nice assortment before we scope out my options. While my father is a heterosexual, happily married man, tonight, by the way he is eyeing them up, every young man in the room must assume he wants to sleep with them.
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