Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Lawyer Prom

Last weekend Bump, Lumpyhead and I ran into one of Bump's former colleagues. She was having dinner with her husband and two daughters. Like Bump, she's now a stay-home parent.

Even though he's not a lawyer, before Bump became a stay-home dad he worked for a law firm. It was a rather small firm in DC, but the main office in Chicago was pretty large. I attended the holiday parties and sometimes firm happy hours, and knew Bump's colleagues pretty well.

One spring, the firm threw a party in Chicago, and the DC employees and their significant others were invited to an evening of dinner and dancing. It was instantly dubbed the Lawyer Prom.

Bump and I visited Chicago the summer before Lawyer Prom just for fun; we saw some sights, ate a fancy dinner, and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. By the time the Lawyer Prom rolled around, our friend Buttmunch had moved to the city, so we were able to spend some time with him and his lovely wife while there on the firm's dime. Score.

The Lawyer Prom was held at the Shedd Aquarium, and Bump and I disagreed about whether we had been there during our previous visit. Bump was pretty sure we had been there, I was certain we had not.

The night of the event, we were running a little late (not shocking), and Bump was hot and cranky because he was wearing a velvet jacket and sweating like a farm animal (the Lawyer Prom was formal). We'd spent the few hours before Lawyer Prom drinking beer and playing Trapped with Buttmunch, so I had the start of beer buzz going.

We told the cabbie our destination, and he dropped us off on the steps of the lovely building. On the way there, I predicted we would find all the DC people huddled in a corner, talking to each other and not mingling with the Chicago people who vastly outnumbered them.

We walked in and were greeted by two lovely women, standing in front of a table of arranged placecards. "Should we pick up our table assignments?" I asked them.

"No," they said cheerfully, "grab some champagne and go on upstairs for hors d'oeuvres, you can pick up your name cards on the way down."

So we climbed the steps toward the exhibits, and I gloated about being right. We hadn't been to this place before.

We worked our way around the upstairs exhibits, refilling our champagne flutes and nibbling the passed hors d'oeuvres. When we reached the end of the exhibit space, we still hadn't seen the crowd of DC people. It was almost time to be seated.

When we spied the exhibit of Sue the dinosaur ("Ooh, look! I just heard about this on NPR!") Bump started to get suspicious. He pointed out that for an aquarium, this place really didn't have very many exhibits featuring, you know, fish.

After 45 minutes, four glasses of champagne, many little bites from waiter-guided trays, and no sea creatures in sight, Bump and I figured out we were in the Field Museum. The cabbie had delivered us to the wrong party.

We made a beeline across the plaza to the real Lawyer Prom - the black-tie event to which we had actually been invited - and I laughed the whole way. Bump was completely and totally mortified.

We walked into the Shedd Aquarium and immediately saw both fish and several people we knew, who yelled, "Where the hell have you two been?"

"Um. . . ."

The other party? The one we crashed? Had better food.

The Chicago attorneys? The ones we met were boring and sullen and male. Their wives were vapid and complained about how the Chicago holiday party didn't include spouses. We couldn't wait to get away from our assigned table and huddle with the other DC people.

The lesson? If you're a biracial couple in formalwear, you can crash a Chicago party without anyone noticing you don't belong there. And the first party might just be better.

7 comments:

E :) said...

Love it!

Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah said...

I wonder if we could just go around in formals in December and see how much free food and wine we can score.

Maybe it wouldn't work here, but we could always go to Chicago.

laurie said...

lesson learned. did you at least to have a glass of champagne with Sue?

nonlineargirl said...

A good outfit and the right attitude will get you into a lot of good parties. Too bad I'm such a weenie about such things.

Violet said...

one of the best dos I ever went to was one which I gatecrashed.

Melissa said...

Ah, one of those big-picture life lessons. You can apply it in all sorts of situations.

For instance-- up all night with baby? No problem. Throw on formalwear and head to Chicago. Wait, does it work with a baby?

Michele said...

I met a really hot guy once who crashed a wedding I was in. I always wanted to crash a fancy schmancy party but havent worked up the nerve yet.
Does it count if you dont know you are crashing?