Once upon a time along the banks of the mighty Duwamish River, in the shadow of the 1st Ave. South bridge, lived a young electrician in a house boat. Well, perhaps a boat house. It was a boat that had been dragged up in 1931 during the depression when housing was scarce. I was freshly single because my ex decided I needed psychiatric help for my bent brain syndrome. Even though Vietnam was a distant 9 years in the past, I was told I was not husband material. Due to this singleness, I felt obligated to have a little get together to celebrate the newness of it all. In short, a cocktail party was in order.
Fortuitously for me the Spring Equinox was just around the corner on the 21st of March, 1981. I am the consummate party animal. One of my friends once said I’d celebrate a hangnail. He was entirely correct. For this auspicious occasion, I could only conclude a Toga was in order. Having never attended or hosted one, I was forced to consult Miss Manners via the Seattle Times. She never got back to me so I called the caterer and together we ventured forth on our own. I had nothing. No table clothes and very little silver. As some of the attendees were “questionable” , the caterer suggested we put the silver away and go plastic. Besides, I only had a service for eight and I had bigger plans that were limited only by the amount of on-street parking.
The guest list was heavy on women. Very heavy. Most were barmaids and friends’ wives. Some were friends of barmaids, but the ratio was decidedly lopsided. I decided this was too short a notice to print any invitations so I relied on word of mouth. The rules were simple. No one was allowed to enter in anything but a Toga. No undergarments of any kind. This was going to be authentic and there were no exceptions. I made this amply clear to all the attendees. Sadly, some had to be turned away at the door. Most returned home and rectified their shortcomings because I sure don’t remember many of the invitees not being there.
Loud music, perfume and suckling pig were the order of the day. I was the toast of the town for weeks to come. It was so successful that I was forced to do it at gunpoint four more times. I had no idea how culturally deprived I was back then. Fortunately for me, there were women willing to educate me and orchestrate the future Togas in a more orderly fashion. Some of my wine choices clashed with the pig and turkey. I had no idea that suckling pig was white meat. Did any of you? These were uncharted waters for a 30 year old novitiate to the single life.
Fortunately for me I got married six years after inaugurating these things. I could have harmed myself doing this on a regular basis. It did give me the idea for my Divorce party which was held five months later.
I learned a valuable lesson from Toga parties. Never, ever let you ex find out about them. She decided I was so well-heeled that I deserved to pay more child support. This is why I banned cameras at the Divorce reception.
I’ll bet you are all wondering how we got the Good Year blimp on such short notice. Quite simply, it’s who you know. I was a preppie but I don’t tell many because it sounds so pretentious. Very few know I’m from the prestigious East Coast NOD side of the family. Very few indeed.