Tuesday, November 01, 2005
This past Saturday night, my friends and I went out for Halloween.
I like Halloween. I'm not one of those people who gets dressed to the nines in an elaborate costume, but I usually come up with something good. As a matter of fact, I think a major part of how good a costume is is how easy it is to put together. Meaning, anyone can have a good costume if they have $200 to spend and put in five hours a weekend at local thrift shops and flea markets. The key is to pull something together that's easy but also inspires people to say, "Wow – sweet costume. Is that your real penis? If so, I'm terribly sorry."
For example, three years ago I wore my leisure suit (yes, I have a leisure suit) and shaved my beard, leaving just the moustache. I threw on some fake chains and showed a little chest hair and the transformation was complete. My costume? My dad in 1977. It doesn't sound too impressive, but every time someone asked me what the hell I was supposed to be and I cockily replied, "Duh – I'm my dad in 1977", it went over like gangbusters (whatever the hell they are). Of course, my dad was not into disco in the late 70's, but I don't think anyone I ran into personally knew my dad, so the secret was safe.
I also like Halloween because women just get downright slutty. I don't know why they do this, and I don't care. And so much has been written about this that I really don't have anything to add. As long as they keep dressing as slutty cats or slutty nurses or slutty hookers, I'm just going to keep my mouth shut and enjoy.
This year for Halloween, my buddies Joe and Bill came down from Boston to crash with my roommate Brian and I. Since those guys were coming down, we figured that we should do a group costume. This is good for several reasons:
1) It's easy. When shopping for a costume, it's easier to do it times four. One guy gets one piece for the group, one guy gets the other, etc. And as mentioned above, ease is important.
2) There's less ballbusting and more camaraderie. Instead of spending the night saying to each other, "I didn’t know you were going for gay cop with that costume; I thought you were just going to be a heterosexual police officer" and "Let me guess - you're an overweight guy who gets no ass, dressed in a ninja costume - am I right?" and making other snide remarks, there’s a sense of togetherness. You all look like assholes together, so there's no room for divisiveness.
3) Women are more likely to approach you. If I'm dressed as an Indian chief, no chicks are going to come up to ask me about my costume (hell, I could be dressed in $100 bills, wearing the finest jewels from the world over, talking loudly to Brad Pitt on my cell phone, and have a ten inch penis and women still wouldn’t approach me). But if you and your buddies are dressed as the Cosby kids, ladies might approach to compliment you (or call you racist – whichever).
We had three main ideas for this year, but first I should describe the four of us. First, there's me, the leader. I am chubby and a little tall. Then there's Brian, who's average height and weight. Joe is tall and thin and Bill is short and fat. Got that all?
Here were some of our choices:
The cast of Gilligan's Island
This could have worked. I would have been the skipper, Joe would be Gilligan, Brian the professor, and Bill, hopefully, one of the girls. Or we were toying with Bill being another castaway that was cut out of the show and/or died on the island ("I'm Justin, the gay actuary castaway who died of dysentery in the fifth episode!"). Though it would have been easy, it was nixed in the end, because we didn't think it was funny enough and a little dated.
The Original Kings of Comedy
I was all for this. I would be Bernie Mac, Bill Cedric the Entertainer, Brian DL Hughly, and Joe Steve Harvey. All we needed to do is get some turquoise suits, top hats, canes, and some jokes about white people ("I'll tell you somethin' - white people just can't dance!") and black women ("Now let me tell you - a real sistah will make love to you like you ain't never been loved befo'!"). However, this was disqualified because, really, where the hell were any of us going to find a double-breasted lavender suit or a chartreuse fedora?
The Mamas and the Papas
This was our runner-up. Bill would have had to bit the bullet and be Mama Cass, which would only take a muu muu and a wig. I have a leisure suit and 70’s clothes are not hard to get for the rest of us. But this was a nixed because, well, we thought of something better.
And that something better? Ladies and gentlemen, the Baldwin Brothers.
Yes, Alec, Daniel, Billy, and Stephen, the single greatest family in entertainment history. I have a small fascination with the brothers that I've been harboring for many years now, but it does not compare to the obsession my roommate Brian feels toward them. When he suggested the costume, I knew that that's what we were going to do for Halloween. But it was at once easy and difficult. We decided that the best way to do it would be to each wear suits with open shirts underneath, to slick our hair back, and also to wear name tags that said which Baldwin we were (for example, mine said, "Daniel B." on it). Of course, there's the whole matter of how we, four guys who are not related, look nothing like the Baldwin Brothers. We were ok with this, because at the very least the costume amused us. And hell, odds were that by the time we left our apartment we'd be so drunk it wouldn't matter anyway.
And wouldn't you know it - that's exactly what happened. Bill, Joe, Brian and I didn't leave the apartment until 12:20am, though we starting drinking at 6pm. That's almost 6.5 hours drinking, just four dudes, sitting in a room, dressed as the Baldwins, with a lot of Budweiser. It was probably the happiest I've been in years.
[And in case you're wondering, I was Daniel, Brian was Alec, Bill was Stephen, and Joe was Billy. This was almost entirely arbitrary, except that I'm the fattest and tallest, so I was Daniel.]
Our friend Jeremy convinced us to go to meet him and his crew at an apartment party in Gramercy. I'm pretty anti-party when I don't know the hosts, which was the case here, but we didn't have anything better to do, so we went. Jeremy was Napoleon Dynamite, which works well because he kinda looks like Napoleon Dynamite in every day life (same hair and awkwardness). The problem was that by the time we got to the party, Jeremy was so drunk that he was speaking only in character. This was tremendously annoying, but the good news is that ten minutes later, Jeremy was asked to leave the party because he was too drunk. So that left us, the four Baldwins, at a party where we didn't know the hosts or many other people there. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't ideal. At least people were digging the Baldwins costumes.
[Later, Jeremy would puke outside his apartment building, just in front of the restaurant next door. He said that as he stood outside the restaurant throwing up everywhere, the waiter was banging on the window, yelling at him, telling him to stop or move. Maybe you have to know Jeremy, but the image of him - dressed as Napoleon Dynamite, no less - doubled over and vomiting in front of diners at a packed restaurant while a waiter mimes yelling at him from the other side of a window, well, that's had me in high spirits for days.]
We checked out of the party, traveling all the way up the Upper East Side to meet some friends of mine that were in town from Philly. We brought with us two of our friends from the first party, Jamie and Angie (dressed as Britney and Kevin, respectively). Why they agreed to go all the way up to the UES with four guys who were dressed as the Baldwins and were way too drunk, I don't know.
When we got to the UES, my plan of meeting with my Philly friends fell apart. I'm still not quite sure what happened; I think my friend Marisa fell off a barstool and got kicked out of the bar while we were en route, and her friends left with her or something. But by then, we were stranded in the middle of nowhere, miles away from our apartment. So we had to make the best of it.
But something happened in the long cab ride up from Murray Hill to the UES. Usually, long cab rides in the middle of a drinking night are a time for quiet reflection, sobering up, and using every muscle in your body to prevent yourself from pissing your pants. But it seems like the group collectively got drunker. Brian went with the girls while Bill, Joe and I shared a cab, and when we finally settled on a bar, it was like we'd been drinking the whole cab ride up, even though we hadn't (well, I had a little bit to drink because I brought my vodka cran from the party into the cab with me, but it was like four ounces). But my expertise in all things boozing tells me that the alcohol finally hit us on this long drive. When you're standing at a bar or a party, talking to people, walking around, and keeping active, your body has a lot going on. But when you're sitting in a cab for twenty minutes, staring out the window and thinking about molesting the belly dancer from the party, your body says it to itself, "Well, I guess I better do something about all this alcohol. Here goes!"
And so at the bar, it was a whole new world. After some drinks and shots, Bill did what he does best, which is pass out in a public drinking establishment. For over an hour. I don't know how we didn't get asked by the staff to leave, because he was legitimately asleep on his bar stool. Of course, we took advantage of this by taking pictures of him passed out in awkward positions, most of them involving us simulating handjobs and various sexual positions (and yes ladies, most of us are single).
Brian, who is usually pretty reserved, put on one of the most impressive performances I've ever seen. Brian does this thing were he becomes a Booze Zombie after about 2am. He's functioning - still walking, talking, and drinking - but one look at him and you know nobody's home. It's amazing. And of course the next day he'll remember nothing from this time period. This is what Brian was like at this point in the evening.
So he saddled up on a barstool next to Jamie and spent the rest of the night staring at her cleavage. I'm not talking about admiring from afar here. Brian sat next to her, bending over her, his face four inches from her chest for about ninety straight minutes. When he'd come up for air, I'd go over to him and say, "Dude, take it easy. I think the Sex Crimes Unit is on the way." And, in Booze Zombie mode, he'd say, "What? I'm not being a pervert. Everything is fine. Everything is fine." Then he'd stare at her boobies some more.
Fortunately, Jamie was a good sport about this. Between Brian being a pervert and Bill passed out, Joe and I had ample ammunition to make fun of the two of them all night, right to their faces (of course, neither was really conscious). Being very drunk myself, I don't remember much but I know we closed the bar and went to get pizza.
At the pizza place, a little divey Ray's at 95th & 3rd, the six of us were divided into three adjoining tables: me and Joe at one, Ang and Jamie at another, and Bill and Brian at a third. At Brian and Bill's table, someone who had previously eaten there left a takeout container half-filled with some pasta dish, like a shrimp scampi or something. We all munched away at our pizza, not thinking anything of this trash that someone had left behind, when suddenly Angie said, "Um, Brian, that's not yours." We looked over and Brian was twirling this half-eaten pasta dish with a fork. We all laughed, he was embarrassed and put down the fork, and we continued eating later.
No more than fifteen seconds later, Brian was eating this shrimp scampi. I mean, just going AFTER it: twirling up big heaping forkfuls and sending them down the hatch. Naturally, we all peed ourselves a little bit in laughter as we kept saying, "Dude - that's not yours! Someone ate that and left that to be thrown away!" Undaunted, he took a couple more forkfuls than said he was full. I don't remember if he then threw it out or left it for another patron to enjoy. After that, we went home. Mostly because it was almost 5am, but also because we didn't think we could top that. Nothing like watching another man eat trash to really cap off the weekend.
You might be surprised to learn that the next day, Brian didn't remember much. He joked later that he got a little too into character, which is totally ok on Halloween (especially if you're a Baldwin). But I am very proud of him and proud of the rest of my Baldwin brothers for an entertaining night. Looking back, we really didn't do much, but I had a blast. I guess I'm a simple man: all I need is a solid 10+ hours of drinking, a few friends pretending we're the Baldwins, one guy to pass out at the bar, and another guy to eat trash, and I'm a happy, happy man. I think that means I'm getting old. Oh well.