Bulletin Board, excerpt

Party of one: 'I thought it was a costume ball!'

Lead item(s) in (St. Paul Pioneer Press) Bulletin Board, December 2, 2004

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Party of one: 'I thought it was a costume ball!'

Or: Boy, Was His Face Red But You Couldn't Tell Because of the Makeup

Reports Poet X of PDX:

"Sometimes in awkward situations, the line I think of and may even say out loud is: 'I thought it was a costume ball!'

"The line is from the Gene Wilder/Donald Sutherland comedy, 'Start the Revolution Without Me.' A fancy state affair is being held by the French court, and the dowdy, elderly king shows up in a feathered chicken outfit. As he goes through the receiving line, he explains to everyone he meets: 'I thought it was a costume ball!' It is hold-your-gut funny.

"I went to such a costume ball myself once, back in St. Paul in the mid-'80s.

"It was early December, and a friend and associate invited me to a party he was hosting the week between Christmas and New Year. 'We're going to have a Virgin Mary look-alike contest,' he added. A number of our friends were associated with the Radical Fairies and occasionally would 'do drag' at group functions, so the idea wasn't totally unbelievable.

"Having never done drag, I thought this event would be a fun time to do so. Another friend I knew to have done drag a few times assured me he'd be attending this event in drag.

"The night of the party arrived. A friend who had planned to accompany me, though not in drag, got sick at the last minute, but did spare me having to take a bus while dressed in a dress. He dropped me off outside.

"There were signs of a party, lots of cars, open windows from his second-floor apartment allowing the buzz of conversation to spill onto the street. I clopped up the stairs in my high heels and knocked at the door.

"Inside a party was going on, all right, but there was no competition in the Virgin Mary look-alike contest in sight. There weren't any friends from the Radical Fairies in sight, either  except the one who had said he'd be there (which he was) in drag (which he wasn't).

"Instead it was mostly a party of the host's 'A list' friends: a retired judge, bankers, perfume and pearls (but on real women), that crowd. Most were aware the host had 'unusual' friends (his usual party list, that is).

"Moral? Lesson? I suppose it's: 'Don't go to a party in drag unless you get dressed with a few other attendees.' And/or: Take extra caution when you have a friend who specializes in practical jokes."

The highfalutin amusements

Mrs. Samfrmwi directed us to sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news?slug=fanball-giantshandpull groin&prov=fanball&type=lgns, where we found this story: "Giants defensive tackle Norman Hand strained his groin in the third quarter of Sunday's game against the Eagles and did not return to the game. 'I didn't know big guys had groins,' he told Newsday. 'I'm finding out today that I actually have one.' Hand hopes his sore groin won't keep him from playing the 'Skins next Sunday."

Commented Mrs. Samfrmwi: "Could there BE a worse headline for this story?"

The headline: "Giants: Hand pulls groin."

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