Thursday, March 27, 2014

Birthday Weekend 2014

Okay, it's over.

Months of planning finally came to fruition this weekend, and it was so worth it. Whatever frustrations I was feeling before completely melted away once we were all together in the hotel room. It was one of the biggest birthday weekends yet, but the group has become surprisingly cohesive. One of my biggest stresses in the past has been the tendency for cliques to form when you get groups larger than 20 people together, but this year I think we've finally gotten to the point where all of my different groups of friends have become friends with each other too. They're all comfortable enough with each other at this point that we can spend time together without awkwardness, without drama, united by one goal.

But I digress.

This birthday weekend was honestly probably my most mature and grown up birthday weekend to date. After about six years of this, we're really starting to get the hang of it, and this year we were able to avoid making some of our stupidest decisions.

Birthday Friday, the night usually reserved for the downtown Mankato pre-party shit show, was spent staying in. Travis and Bethie came to town, and Bethie cooked for us. 

This girl is pretty much always impressing me, but she stepped it up this weekend. She made us the most amazing stuffed shells, like with a homemade tomato sauce and everything. She was all, "It's nothing, I used canned tomatoes." and I was all, " zested a f%#!ing lemon, gurl." I suspect there was sorcery involved too.

We spent the remainder of the night doing spa treatments, talking about life, drinking clearance holiday booze from the Walgreens across the street (peppermint martinis ftw), and watching Veronica Mars. Basically, if you asked me what my perfect Friday night would be, it would be this night exactly. Creepy Instagramed selfies and all.

"Texas Chainsaw Massacre XXI: Leatherface Throws a Real Housewives of Orange County Premiere Party"
The next morning, a group of us went up to the cities early to catch a matinee of the Veronica Mars movie. 

It was almost too much for me. 

I'd been watching the trailer for this movie multiple times a day for months, building myself up to near hysteria by the time I was sitting down in the theater with my popcorn and Diet Coke in my shaking hands. It didn't disappoint. It made me laugh, it made me gasp, it made me cry. Like seriously cry. At one point I was actually weeping with happiness. Travis looked over at me with my shoulders shaking and tears streaming down my cheeks, shook his head, and asked, "Seriously? What the f%#! is wrong with you?"

Back off. I'm emoting.
After the movie, we met up with the rest of the group at the hotel.

We reminisced, we talked about life, laughed our asses off, and we took an alarming number of Jello shots. The perfect calm before the storm.

As we do every year, we started the night with go-go boys at The Brass Rail. 

They were out of control this year...and so were my friends. We were sitting on a big circular couch with a table in the middle, and one of the dancers basically crawled from lap to lap collecting all of our monies. We later found out that he wasn't even working that night. He just happened to be in the bar, and he decided to take his clothes off and make some money while he was there.

I suppose...if you love what you do...

I'd love to share some of the hundreds of photos that were taken of everyone, but I feel like the "I'm getting a lapdance" face is not always a flattering one, and the "where do I put my hands during this" conundrum makes for some awkward pictures. So I'm not going to do that to my friends. 

Now I, on the other hand, have no shame.

This photo, from this year is a bit troubling. In this moment I'm realizing that I'm about to have a "Kirsten Dunst in Spiderman" moment, which has been a dream of mine for some time now. 

And this is the face I decided to celebrate with...

Not cute, Chris.

Also, uncross your legs fool, he's trying to give you a lap dance, give him a lap to work with. Don't make this harder than it needs to be.

Then there was last year's dancer, a behemoth man, who surprised me by picking me up like I was a tiny little waif of a gay.

Where exactly is one to put his hands when being carried about a bar in the arms of tanned, gorgeous, muscley dancer?

Yeah, shove it in your pocket...that'll look natural.

Or this guy.


This one seems appropriate...a line was crossed.

Once we were all sufficiently covered in someone else's sweat, we moved to the next bar. It seems that the consensus among the gay community is that The Gay 90's is over. And it is true, it does feel like a gay bar made for straight people, and we're little more than zoo animals for sloppy bachelorettes and middle aged divorcees looking to go crazy, but I love it still. I'm certain there's a level of nostalgia to it. I started going when I was 18 and just coming out of the closet, and I feel like I grew into the proud gay man I am today partially because of our weekly Sunday night road trips for 18+ nights.

That, and it's fun to try to shock the straight boys in the bar off of the men's room that plays porn on big screens on all of the walls.

"Wait, where are we going? Is this the...why are we going in the bathroom? Are you supposed to go in that door? Where are we? What in the HELL IS THIS PLACE?!"

These hourly trips away from the dancefloor to go do shots with the boys are probably my favorite parts of the night. I love the ladies in the group, but trying to hang out with twenty four people can get a bit overwhelming. It's nice to split the group in half, and then convince them all to buy me booze. 

It's also significantly quieter in there, so a real conversation is possible. A few of the boys tried to have a heart to heart with me this year, but it's really just not the place. I end up spending the entirety of the conversation with my sexy (droopy sloppy) eyes trained on a TV screen behind them, nodding every now and then to pretend I'm still listening.

What they're saying:

"Chris, I just want to thank you for including me in this. I'm having so much fun, and I just want you to know that you're an amazing person, and you're an amazing friend, and I hope that you're having an amaaaaaaazing night!"

What's happening in my mind:

Then all of a sudden we're hugging, we're crying (because when I don't know what's going on, my default is hysterical tears), and I'm reaching my hand out expecting to pull it back with another drink in it.

At 1:15, I looked around at my group of laughing, dancing, joyful friends and made the realization, "Nothing good is going to happen after this moment right now." I needed to get these people, back to the hotel, fed, and tucked into bed before they all had one more drink, and the night went to shit.

I almost succeeded. 

We ended up going back to the hotel in three groups. My group walked back. I always look forward to a good walk after a long night of drinking. Another group decided to move on to another bar while there was still time...and someone ended up puking in the street because of it (like I said, nothing good happens after 1:15). The third group thought it was too cold, and they grabbed a cab to go back in. They beat us back, and that's when the incident happened.

I'm not really sure of the details, because everyone who was there was pretty fuzzy on their retellings the next morning, but I walked up to the door of my hotel room to a shouting match between one of my friends and the head of security. 

I have never taken charge of a situation harder than I did that night. 

I shoved my friend back into the hotel room, and I turned on my charm. Now I'd been drinking...a lot, so I can't be sure what the conversation actually sounded like, but I was pretty sure I gave one of the most convincing, impassioned, and well articulated speeches this head of security and hotel manager had ever heard. 

In reality it was probably something like this...

Whatever I said, it worked.

It was an amazing weekend, and I'm so grateful for all of my friends who made the trip to help me celebrate. Each year I feel like, "This is the best it's gonna get." and every year you bitches prove me wrong. I love you all. 

I can't wait for next year!

Oh, and btw, like half of you left your Birthday Weekend Soundtracks in the hotel.

Real nice, folks...real f%#!ing nice...

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