It was a small, intimate post-Christmas dinner party with an unexpected focus on sex toys and new relationship memories. I have to say, it was really kind of sweet.
The dinner had originally been scheduled for Sunday night, then shifted to Monday night because of the snow and finally agreed upon for tonight. I was the first to arrive, only to find the hostess in full Suzy Homemaker mode, not her norm by any stretch.
The prime rib was about to come out of the oven, the water was boiling for potatoes, bread was being sliced and veggies were being prepared. She poured us both a glass of wine and I shared my tale of wrist woe. Moments later, the other guests came in and the party started in earnest.
I loved her music selection for the evening; it was all obscure vintage holiday stuff from before my time, stuff like Johnny Hartman, Steve and Edie, Joe Williams, Billy Eckstein, Doris Day, the Lennon Sisters.
A few voices I recognized from my parents' old record collection, but we also had an aficionado of that era's music in the group and she was lightening fast at telling us whom we were hearing (her boyfriend said she was born 60 years too late). Really, Jim Nabors aka Gomer Pyle?
It was the kind of gathering that required a fire, so one was started while we enjoyed cocktails in the living room. A discussion of real versus gas fires ensued, but with the scent of well-seasoned wood burning in our nostrils, it was difficult at best to buy into the gas log argument.
Then the hostess disappeared, we heard the whirring of an electric knife and dinner was served. She had bought an enormous 5 1/2-pound piece of meat, despite the butcher warning her that she was overbuying for the size of her group, but meat's her thing.
She'd done a salt crust and barely cooked the meat to rareness and the butter for the bread required a sharper knife than the meat did. Though she claims she's not much of a cook, you'd never know it by her meat.
There was much moaning about the meat and in the midst of it, the cook casually mentioned that she'd been shopping at Priscilla's ("Where Fun and Fantasy Meet") today using her Frequent Customer Card. I thought I knew this woman, but apparently not.
She's a few months into a new relationship and they're doing a getaway New Year's Eve weekend and she thought she'd pick up a few treats. (Wait, Priscilla's has a Frequent Customer Card?) She offered to show us her stash after dinner.
Since I'm the curious type and I've never been in a Priscilla's (or any kind of fun and fantasy-type store), I wasn't willing to wait to learn more. This group was having third and fourth helpings of meat and there was no telling when they might be finished satisfying their blood lust.
Maybe she could start by telling us about some of the purchases she'd made, if only for discussion purposes? But words were clearly inadequate, so she fetched the pink plastic bag and I was designated the show and teller.
First came the Whisper Micro Bullet, which I'm still a bit unclear about, but the woman on the package looked very happy. It was followed by a silicon ring for a certain body part, no doubt a gift for her beloved. Surely also for his pleasure was the, um, cut-out outfit and stockings.
Then came the vibrating tongue ring (lasts up to 40 minutes!) causing a male guest to say, "Well, your tongue does get tired," with a slightly embarrassed laugh. Our hostess quickly corrected him, however; the product is designed to be used by a woman for a man's pleasure.
A collective "Ohhhh" came up from the table. Every single one of us had made the incorrect assumption about who would be using it on whom. Not that Priscilla's can check on proper usage or anything.
And on that note, we moved back into the living room to enjoy the warmth of the fire, yet another bottle of wine and some slightly more classically romantic conversation.
A guest told us about the memoir she had written about the beginnings of her relationship. It was sort of a memory book about their first four or five dates, complete with reminisces, restaurant and festival logos, even her unshared-at-the-time feelings about the burgeoning relationship.
She had begun it as an exercise for herself and become so caught up in remembering that she'd elaborated on it and decided to have it bound and present it to him as a New Year's gift.
The idea seemed romantic to me (well, given the absence of my own love life status, it would), so I asked the female half of another couple if she could pinpoint the top four days from their relationship's first six months.
With some thought, she came up with her own list: the day trip to the swimming hole when the car got stuck on the low road, her birthday weekend away with the endless Prosecco, an early-on meal at a local restaurant while snow came down outside and he wooed her inside.
Her S.O. made a few suggestions, but, as I pointed out, I was looking for her fondest memories at the moment, not his.
After all the sex toy talk, I was really just interested in hearing about some classic romance and with so many of my friends currently in relatively new relationships, they're full of the sort of stories worthy of a good true romance comic. You know the kind.
Her: (hand on forehead woefully) "Gosh, why hasn't he called yet?"
Him: "Golly, I'd really like to talk to her, but my tongue's exhausted!"
I feel quite sure they'll live happily ever after.