When you get the opportunity to drink sugary, vaguely-alcoholic beverages and paint with a former "Bachelorette" star, the only appropriate answer is, "YES. WHEN? WE'RE IN." So that's how we found ourselves at Painting Lounge's Chelsea Studio two weeks ago, alongside Andi Dorfman.
We showed up after a 15-minute walk dripping sweat, hoping our carefully picked-out outfits were cute enough to mingle with a Bachelorette and her best friends ... and other media types. We identified the entrance to the "lounge" by a cluster of shiny Mylar Palm Breeze balloons. Bingo.
Inside, we found an immaculate Andi, clad in white jeans and a long-sleeved blouse despite the warmth of the room. Only a former Bachelorette could have the self-assurance to wear white jeans to a painting class. We were already intimidated, and still sweating profusely.
Luckily, Andi didn't seem to notice our unkempt appearances -- or at least she was too much of a Georgia peach to comment on them. We sat down, untangled the equipment our podcast producer had handed us earlier that day, and got down to the business of asking questions and shoving the portable microphone in her face so she could answer them.
"So, what's the deal with all the Palm Breeze?" Emma asked. Andi explained how much she wanted to have a housewarming party that was warm, but not in her house, and involved canned sparkling alcohol spritzers. We couldn't wait to get tipsy. (Being tipsy makes you a better artist, right?)
Andi told us about her upcoming breakup-themed book, a "tongue-in-cheek diary of [her] breakup," which apparently will contain some "zingers" about her relationship with Josh Murray. She also seemed willing to laugh at herself a little bit: "My dad’s seen me make out on TV. I have no shame left." (Fair enough, girl.)
“I dated 26 dudes on national television, I got engaged after eight weeks, and yes it was love and I will never deny that, but at the end of the day I have to sit back and kind of chuckle at it," she told us. "Like, oh my God, I dated on reality television."
Mission accomplished, we bundled away our aged microphone and cracked open cans of Palm Breeze, ready to relax with some stiff drinks and casual artistic activity while unobtrusively working our way into Andi's inner circle.
Then the class began.
Suddenly, both of us regressed to a very specific place: junior year AP classes. Our Type A, teacher's pet personalities, so long suppressed by adulthood, sprang back full force. Claire clutched her brush so tightly her hand spasmed, and utterly neglected to get tipsy on the 4.5 percent ABV of the ruby red citrus Palm Breeze she'd scored. We became obsessed with painting inside the lines, to the point of desperation. Emma has been berating herself over her lack of ability to paint in a straight line ever since. We're fairly certain even the laid-back instructor could sense our anxiety levels rising. "Don't worry if your painting doesn't look just like mine," he repeated several times, glancing meaningfully toward the two of us as we suppressed panic attacks.
Andi and her friends may have been somewhere in the room, but our worlds had narrowed to the small bubble containing our canvases. We later confirmed that they were, indeed, sitting directly behind us. But nothing matters when you have a self-imposed task at hand.
Apparently, meanwhile, Andi was having a little more fun with her lipstick painting.
When the class finally, finally ended, we put down our brushes in exhausted relief. Sure, we'd gotten so far behind we'd missed a few steps. Sure, the Senior Web Editor of OK! Magazine, who made the error of picking the seat next to us, found herself forced to assure us that our paintings did come out nicely. But looking around the room, one thing was clear: We were better at blindly following instructions than just about anyone else there. Our inner high school nerds took modest satisfaction in this victory.
Over at the cool kids' table, the mood was more upbeat. Andi and her friends flaunted creatively altered lipstick art and makeup unmarred by sweat rivulets even after hours of arduous painting. We grabbed a selfie with Andi, and bundled ourselves out the door as she and her friends kept the party going. We'd flown close enough to the sun for one night.
To hear our full interview with Andi Dorfman, listen to HuffPost's "Bachelor" podcast, "Here To Make Friends." (Skip to 29:00.)
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