February 10, 2016

Where do we fit?

Mardi Gras.  A south Louisiana tradition.  There are parades, bands at every bar, almost 2 full weeks of revelry.  And there are balls.  Gorgeous, fun, glitter filled debutante nights of floor length gowns, champagne, big hair, and all the best schwag you can collect.  Beads are like gold here.  There are good beads, OK beads, great beads, and flat out crappy beads.  Typically you want the flashy ones, the ones that have medallions on them, or something that sets them apart.  I like the ones that are big and colorful:  bright pink, pearl, or gold.  But I have plenty that have something really great, like masks or babies.  I have a tendency to dive for doubloons also.  They aren't made of metal anymore but they are still collectors items and I have plenty.

This years Krewe of Rio stash

This year I accompanied a good friend of mine to a more upper tier ball.  The way Mardi Gras works here, each Krewe has a celebration, or Bal.  The prime gay ball to attend is the Krewe of Apollo Bal Masque.  (I've been to this one several years running)  It's a formal ball that includes a beautiful performance and crowning of the new years king and queen.  They have a gorgeous show and make small "floats" for members to ride on while they throw beads, toys, or various swag items to the crowd.  Each ball is typically themed and the participants create costumes to carry the theme.  This year, the ball I attended was not Krewe of Apollo, but the Krewe of Triton.  Still a men's Krewe, but an older, (straight) working mans group.  Krewe's are a social group that is organized and does fundraising within the city or parish and promotes camaraderie and brotherhood.  My friend works for a prominent spa in town that has done hair and makeup for this Krewe for years.  This years ball was the first one she'd stayed for and she asked me to accompany her.

We had a blast.  We had gorgeous dresses, had a seat up front near the main stage, caught bags full of swag.  Having been to Apollo several years in a row (thanks Queen!), it was a pleasure being there for someones first "real" ball.  The drinks were nice and the evening was a lot of fun.  I got some use out of my wedding dress and we caught some really nice beads.  The show was fun and the floats were great.  Being working women, we didn't feel out of place AT ALL (yes that is sarcasm).  Yeah we looked nice and had money for the open bar....but still.  This particular ball is for the ritzy, the upper crust. Not our typical scene, we're regular gals, we don't have rich husbands so rubbing elbows with this particular set of people was quite an experience.



My friend and I cut out after the mini-parade was over in search of something else fun going on.  Typically the after parties are the way to go.  Our favorite bar owned by a mutual friend has been closed for a bit for various temporary reasons.  So off we went in search of the Saturday night Mardi Gras party.  We texted, Facebooked, called all the hip friends we had.  Most responses included declarations of "I have to get up in the morning", others were "I don't know, where y'all at?"  We settled on a local joint that used to be a decently happenin' place for our kind.  We walked in, grabbed a drink, hugged a couple of friendly faces....then realized.  I just hugged a co-worker I'm older than.
"I like her because she does what I tell her without arguing with me".  It wasn't uncomfortable, AT ALL.  We were only surrounded by adults we could have birthed, or at the very least, would've baby-sat in high school.  *sigh*
Move on to the next joint....lot is damn near empty.  On a SATURDAY NIGHT!  During Mardi Gras.  Seriously????  OK
Keep driving.
Then question starts.  WTH Liz?  Where do we fit??  We're too old for the joint we just left, but we're not old enough for the joint across town that is littered with old divorcees and retired oil field trash.
What do we do???  Where do we fit??
This literally became a problem.  A couple of almost-40 rocker chicks who have decent jobs and teenagers.  Where do we fit?  We're not young enough to be the groupie, but we're not so old that we should be ditching the show.

So this.  This night was our initiation into middle age.  Up until this night we knew, we were certain as to where we fit.  There was a place for women who were looked on as the groupie elite, the ones who knew better but were too old to care.  We don't go out every weekend, but we go out!  We know not to do shots, we know what tequila and straight, bad whiskey do to folks.  We'll only do Jager in Red Headed Slut super shots and only if we order them from "our" bartender.  We drink good beer, Absolute and cranberry, or not cheap wine.  We smoke in the corner and size up the group knowing which chick is getting ditched at 2 am and which one we'll be holding hair for in the bathroom.  When the hell did we lose our spot?  Where's our bar?  Where's our local hangout with the rest of them who can commiserate about the difference between Dave Navarro and Chris Brinkman in Jane's Addiction?

What happened to the babies of the Gen X group?

We're not Gen Y, we're not Millennial's...we weren't born with computers or game systems in our hands...yet we aren't children of Aquarius either.  We are just now turning 40 (give or take a year).

We're too old to be young...and too young to be old.  Our songs are just now showing up on the "oldies" stations and we're just now getting peeved about it.  We were straight edge and flannel and Garth Brooks and Pearl Jam.  We were MTV2 and VH1 pop up and Sega Genesis.  We were the Oklahoma City bombing and the Bill Clinton regime.  We were Clerks and Jagged Little Pill.  We were punk and death metal and chick rock.  We were Doc Oxbloods, overalls, pigtails, black eyeliner, and sunflowers.
We were 1990-1999.

We partied like it was 1999 & we feared Y2K.

Now what do we do.

We work middle aged jobs.  We drive ozone friendly cars.  We raise self-aware kids.  We educate our 40 year old selves that almost gave up at 20-something--when we got married. (the first time)

Where do we fit?
At the Bal Masque in the tux and the ball gown.  At the supper club with the boss and his lackeys.  At the ball park with our kid and our friend/neighbor's kid.  At the prom, chaperoning, so our daughter doesn't do the dumb crap we did at her age.
And at the bar down the street that our friend owns because he worked his butt off to make that bar succeed.  We are what we watched our parents be when we were tweens and teens.  But we're doing it better and cooler.  Cause we'll always have Kurt, Johnny, Drew, and George.







2 comments:

  1. I feel like most of the time I do not even fit in with the crowd of my age people. I mean, I never really did the party thing so I don't have a bar that I did or do go to. I have teenagers and a toddler and a new baby. I get what you mean with the 'where do we fit in' thing.

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    1. This turning 40 thing is for the birds my friend!

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