Gorillas in the Mist

Look, Ma! I'm Dian Fossey!

Photo by Jack GouldI have tracked the young professionals to their den: the enviably appointed Corner Office, just down the street from South Coast Plaza (naturally). Here, there are many, many very large television screens, on which young professionals may variously watch hockey or the large, large face of Shaq, which looks much better now that it has facial hair on it.

I remain aloof from the tribe of several hundred for the first hour or so, allowing them to warm to my presence without getting spooked by my scent. Eventually, I attract a loud, obnoxious lady attorney who decides we are friends and follows me around for the rest of the evening. I am always very quiet and polite at these things, doing my best to blend; and every time, I seem to find an obnoxious lady attorney. Often, they say embarrassing things very loudly. Often, they are from New York. Mostly, they're awfully fun (if loud and embarrassing). And they will always buy a round or two.

All the females gathered at the Young Professionals Against Cancer mixer—all except the former Raiderette, who is sleek and leggy in a tight jacket and miniskirt—are clothed in suits. All the males—except one, who is in jeans—are clothed in suits. My new friend and guide decides that the bejeaned man is poor and looking for a rich woman. "Because he's wearing jeans?" I query. "I guarantee it!" she booms. Three men try to talk at once to the former Raiderette, crushing in closer and closer; another seven linger nonchalantly nearby. The mating rituals of the young professional are considerably more subtle than those of the red-assed baboon. And yes, "red-assed baboon" is the scientific handle.

The former Raiderette seems to be the Alpha female, somewhat akin to the Queen Bee. The other females don't seem to hate or envy her; rather, they just allow her her own sphere while they crowd closer to the bar.

Elsewhere, a friendly male of Asian descent begins to shake his tail feathers. I motion toward a young lady in a silly outfit. "I think she's a stripper," I lie, just to have something to say. "She's kind of chunky," he sniffs. "I'm not impressed." For the record, she is not at all chunky, not even a little bit.

The Grammy Awards begin on
several of the big televisions. People gather into clusters to gawk as Sugar Ray bad boy Mark McGrath scrubs his behind in an ad for Candies shoes. The consensus seems to be it isn't so bad that McGrath is scrubbing his behind. What is a shame is that he's doing it for the shoe equivalent of Sears. Sniff!

To my left, I hear a sweet-faced young woman address the man in jeans, who looks like a handsome version of Crispin Glover mixed with the handsome version of Lyle Lovett. One of the first things out of her mouth—maybe the very first—is, "Do you wanna know how stupid my ex-husband is?" I feel her pain, but she has miles to go before she realizes the last thing one wants to seem guilty of is obsession with the ex. Repeat after me: I have no history. I have no past. I am a blank slate, without issues or obsessions or the ability to make you listen to stories of my stupid ex-husband for the entire length of a three-hour date. We all learn this one the hard way, but learn it we must. Shortly after, she seems to realize what she has said was not nearly as insouciant or lighthearted as she had, perhaps, intended; she looks embarrassed and slinks away. I go to the women's room and laugh at the poor thing (but compassionately, as a Republican would!) with my new friend.

Now everyone is mesmerized by the extremely homosexual reptile shirt of 'NSync's Justin Timberlake in the "artsy" black and white dance number beaming down from the big screens. After imbibing several drinks of an alcoholic nature, the crowd begins to chatter amiably. Males and females become friendlier; their body language loosens and they smile. My work here is done. I have been accepted into the tribe, and having accomplished that, I can get back to civilization.

of course, when i'm looking for "civilization," I always try Linda's Doll Hut first. This is perhaps egregiously stupid on my part, but I'm never bothered by that. Friday's all-star show celebrated the 31st birthday of Wank and All the Madmen's Bobby Amodeo, who also books for Linda's. The show featured LA's Transmission OK, who were good and very Cake-like (especially "Jesus Drives A Lexus") but almost seemed a bit too quirky, like they were ripping off the aforementioned Cake and the Presidents of the United States of America; I would not have been surprised if they'd started to sing "Peaches." Meanwhile, some of the random rock stars standing about made fun of the singer's many effects pedals. He had really cool Mr. Kotter hair, though, and they're all bald, so maybe it was simple jealousy. Oh, and everyone was jealous of the tiny little man behind the drumset, who was, like, Carl Palmer and shit.

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