BLISTER 


I'm bringing sexy back, or at least dragging my be-suited sexy backside across a limousine wet bar, (thereby desanitizing it) to the bumping bleat of Justin Timberlake, and for a moment I'm taken with just how expensively ridiculous my situation has become. Somehow, in a fit of drunken political reverie at the Peacock Room last week — throwing back Patrón Espressos and Red-Headed Sluts with Patty Sheehan's partner, Jocelyn, whose hair isn't really that red — an invite was issued, consent was returned and my stomach collapsed. I would be joining the Sheehan clan for a limousine trek to the Headdress Ball.

And here I am, crunched up, limo- stumbling and staring into District 4 police liaison Jim Young's tuxedoed crotch … then into his boyfriend Michael's … and then finally into my own drink, from my own scrunched corner of stretched mobile luxury. Go ahead, be gone with it.

"This feels like the gay prom I never wanted!" I effuse toxically to Jocelyn, whose drapey Versace dress alone costs more than my identity. Burp.

And with that we're off. There are nine of us back here and we're all gay, so you can imagine the social dynamic by simply immersing your head in two iced gallons of vodka and cranberry with a lime on the side. It's boisterous, it's melodramatic, it's somewhat refined, but it's by nature naughty. The Pussycat Dolls' "Buttons" pipes through (as it will at least 43 times tonight) and Jocelyn is chair-dancing like a stripping cheerleader, her dress revealing more of her dirty pillows than my eyes are willing to manage.

I look away, bashfully, and let the name-dropping begin.

Jim and Patty start talking about the Watermark piece in which Patty was quoted as saying of Jim, "He is a consonant professional," and I'm pretending to betray media interest in the high pink standards of the gay paper — and grammar.

"I hope the paparazzi aren't there when we get there," Jim glibs.

"The paparazzi are right here, bitches," I forget he's a cop.

Upon our arrival way out at Champions Gate (two miles west of hell), Botox is everywhere, sags squeezed behind clipped ears and into boxy tuxedos and spangly dresses while I sore-thumb my way through in a post—Labor Day white suit. I'm Ducky, you see. Some roles you never outgrow.

By the time our mass shuffle takes us down an escalator and into another superfluous lobby, the VIP party is in full swing. Party-Patty wasn't invited this year (nor was I, natch), but we pretend that we are and somehow shanghai our combined entrance and attempt a wristband-sneak for the rest of our crew, but that doesn't really work. We get Jocelyn in and agree to make our political rounds quickly: kiss, peck, drink, goodbye.

Here's a newsflash: everybody's gay.

The Sentinel's Terry Hummel is here in a stitched black Nehru thing (and is much cuter than his column pic), Jason Lambert (a bar-maker with whom I share the affliction of calling myself "Orlando" for short), who just opened The Beacon without inviting me, is here, and Jim Philips is here-with-wife. I'm certain there are "things" happening, and certain that I am avoiding all of them.

"Have you tried the sushi?" a red-clad vixen of Asian descent perks at me.

"No, but I love the sushi," I fish back.

"What's your name?" she leads me fishward.

"Billy."

She loves me, she loves my column. No matter how hard I try, I could never be confused for somebody who owns a tuxedo and "does" galas, let alone understands the terms "nonprofit" or "investment." My people are the people who work here, trip out to a bar afterward, and pass out in a pile of underpants and regret. They love me in food service.

Back in reality, the actual affair is about to begin. My friend Jason and I run outside for a nicotine exercise and bump into Scott Maxwell-with-wife.

"Are you a judge?" cutes Maxwell, who is a judge for the evening's titular contest.

"They don't even know I'm here," I mope. Some polite conversation reveals that Scott and I are the same age, which means I'm totally 18 in gay years. Legal!

Anyway, the inevitable can no longer be delayed; back inside the lights are dimming their "sit-down-and-shut-up" dim. A spoof newscast sketch gays up Channel 6's Lauren Rowe and Bob Frier (she in a Wonder Woman get-up with full baby belly, he in a Batman bondage cape/mask — tonight's theme: Superheroes! Very gay!) and ultimately reveals that Buddy Dyer can take a joke, if not a sandwich. Everything starts to blur out in a haze of food stink, event noise, drag queens and shirtlessness. I pick at a shrimp suffocating beneath a gummy crabcake for a while and try to engage, but I can't really. By the time the giant head plumage crosses the stage, my attention span is a deflated whoopee cushion covered in pubic hair. Headdress be damned.

"I want to go home," Jocelyn's ADD meets mine.

But that won't be so easy. After the presentation, more mingling: A Parliament House operative gossips about how the event organizers are attempting to gay it down, pictures need to be taken, an after-party dance in the pre-party room, more pictures, "I love your suit!", "I'm not gay, but …", so-cute-it's-OK-he's-wrong Patrick Howell of the Log Cabin Republicans, another picture. Somewhere in the mix, we've lost Jason and his boyfriend Brad altogether and are forced to initiate an Adventures in Babysitting party hunt that lasts a good hour.

By the time he finally shows up, I've already gathered a dozen blue roses (shwag from the Blue Rose condo/hotel community that must be fantastic, simply) and taken to a pageant walk-and-wave, only making things more ridiculous.

"You have ruined my life!" I vamp down a corridor that ends in Jason and Brad. "How many drinks I could have downed, how many bumps I could have snorted, but I had to look for YOU!"

Nobody laughs, especially not the cop. And as ass scrapes wet bar again, Justin Timberlake rinses, then repeats. It's time to get sexy back home.

bmanes@orlandoweekly.com

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