“She’s going to have to leave if she doesn’t calm it down,” said the bartender sternly to Jake.
I’m 26 and engaged, so nights like this shouldn’t still be happening–you know, those liquid dinners accompanied by outpouring of deep secrets and revelations due to an obscene amount of Ketel One martinis and Gimlets. However, it was a couple of days before New Year’s and I was feeling “festive.” I went out to Ditka’s in Chicago on Chestnut Street with my three brothers and one of their girlfriends and Jake. We made our way to the upstairs dining room and were greeted by tables full of bustling people, Sinatra and Elvis tunes in the background. We sat down, excited and breathing in deep the aromas of BBQ sauce and fresh seafood. I felt a bit nauseous–my loss of taste and smell was definitely on the rebound and some days feel like I can smell the slightest tinge of aroma.
I immediately knew what I was going to order–oysters and the baby back ribs. With the ocean no where to be seen, the oysters were just as fresh as they’d be in some harbor-side joint in Boston. The calamari was light and fluffy AND they had a small list on their wine menu specifically for $20 bottles of wine. Happiness.
My brother Johnny was excited I was getting to know his girlfriend, Mae, whom up until that point, I had had little contact. I can be a tad intimidating so I think she was relieved to see that I was ordering some wine off the menu, “Want to split a bottle?” I asked her. She heartily agreed and we all ordered our entrees. The ribs were amazingly tender and the BBQ sauce was just the right amount of sweet with a kick. The other popular item ordered was the Fridge Burger–and it lives up to its name. Packed full of cow and all the fixings, the sauce they ladled over this decadent burger separates it from the norm.
We ate and bellowed with laughter when we all realized that the Sinatra and Elvis tunes we had enjoyed were emanating from one guy with a microphone and a guitar. Simply amazing (we were all wondering why people kept clapping at the end of each song as we thought it was a recording–we simply chalked it up to a bunch of drunken Chicagoans, which wouldn’t be completely hard to believe).
We ended the meal by sharing one ginormous slice of decadent chocolate cake, with all 6 of us digging into it. The boys patted their stomachs and thought we’d all be on our ways home…or so they thought.
“Let’s go to Luxbar or Jilly’s or something!” I shouted as I raced out of the restaurant. Having given away “tastes” of my ribs to my brothers and taking some of it home, I hadn’t really eaten much to supplement the wine. At Jilly’s, Mae and I ordered drinks–myself “upgrading” to a Ketel One dirty martini, “Let’s get this pahty started.” There Mae and I discussed Johnny and herself a bit–I didn’t know much so I was interested to hear more about her family and where she came from. I learned her stiff ass Irish grandmother held a muted disdain for her Italian daugher-in-law–with tensions remaining two decades after the nuptials. “How horrible!” and I continued to sip.
Meanwhile Jake and my three brothers were more than annoyed, having wanting to go home after a satisfying meal.
“Uh, we’re having a conversation here…chillax, it’s a pahty.” I told them.
From there we moved on to Kelly’s in Lincoln Park, where I switched to Gimlets. We continued with the tom foolery, enjoying ourselves and Johnny even starting to down a few. Jake sat next to me, watching me, most likely dreading what awaited him at the end of the night (I’d “pahtied” like this before). He began a steady momentum of drinking himself.
Well…I blacked out after Gimlet number two. I was later told that Mae, also hammered, started feeding me rum and cokes (which I don’t drink but apparently became my new favorite drink at that moment) and we partook in rounds of shots. A friend of Johnny’s was visiting from out of town and apparently told me some sentimental story, himself getting choked up at the fact that I was happily engaged. Touched, I put my arm around him and we continued to chat. I later learned that Jake was ready to kill the dude and my younger brother alerted me to the fact that, “You know that douche is in love with you right?” Smooth.
Channeling my neurotic and loopy aunt Wilma (for some odd reason as I haven’t seen or talked to her in years now), I started to yell, “I am Willmaaaaa!” In a ferocious rage…and it was then that we all headed back to Johnny and Mae’s.
As you can imagine, I did a number to their bathroom. I’m not one to vomit readily so that was an epic moment in itself. Hurling insults at Johnny and Jake, they peeled me off the bathroom floor and brought me home–to my parent’s house.
“Does she do this a lot–if so, I’m going to kick her ass,” mumbled my father as I stumbled into the house, my anger toward the men in my life still vibrant.
“No, this happens like once a year if that,” assured Jake. He paused for a moment, reflecting on the fact that most other guys probably don’t have to deal with this display of debauchery even on an annual basis. He hauled me upstairs and laid me on the bed.
I awoke the next morning, naked, face down, with my contacts still in and full make-up done up.
My sisters, much younger than myself, marched in and reminded me I was taking them out that afternoon.
“Well maybe now you’ll lay off the sauce,” said the younger 12 year old.
We went ice skating for two and a half hours at Wrigley Field’s ice rink, the bitter cold being the only thing to slap the hangover out of me.
“You realize now why boozing is bad, right? I mean, just take a good look at me and remember this face,” I told them.
“Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwww!!!” they shrieked.
Jake smiled and shook his head at me. My family is more in love with him than ever I think hahahaha