In which I step inside the bubble

I woke up Saturday morning to heavy fog and light drizzle, the ocean obscured by clouds. I enjoy listening to the rain, so I lay awake for a few minutes, and it gradually dawned on me that it was my birthday. ...Yay. (I guess.)

The Keelhauler's out at work, and I'd made no plans except to attend what was explained to me as a Decadent Tea. "If you're going to bring anything," the host, Martin explained in his thick Massachusetts accent, "just make sure that it is decadent." (Translation: Don't think you can foist your cheap shit on me, bitch. I know the difference.) Hats, he said, were required, as were tea cups. His boat, just down the dock from mine, is very formal, though you wouldn't know it from the outside. Strictly BYOTC.

I hung up the phone already intimidated. Martin does not take the term decadent lightly. The boat on which he lives appears to be, to the casual passer-by, a nondescript powerboat. It is twenty-six feet long, made of fiberglass sometime in the 1970s, and has a great quantity of emerald-green canvas covering every window and the stern. You wouldn't give it a second look, but open the canvas flap and take a peek inside, and all of a sudden, you're in an episode of Dynasty. The ceiling is hung with silk, and there are oil paintings and gold-framed mirrors on every vertical surface. Tall crystal vases are filled with un-burned, scented votive candles. "Oh, I never light them," Martin explains, taking a deep drag on his cigarette, and when asked why, answers, "Because then I'd have to fucking get more, wouldn't I?"

Here, just look at this one tiny corner (see illustration):


Inside the Faberge Egg

That's the artificial fireplace at right, and you can see part of one chandelier at the top. I recently referred, in Martin's presence, to his three chandeliers, and he recoiled, hand to heart, and hissed, "Bitch! What do you think I am, some kind of fag? I have TWO chandeliers!" Martin is very free with the term "fag," and generally uses it in reference to himself.

I arrived at the boat carrying a bottle of Champagne (medium-decadent) and wearing a violet rabbit-fur scarf wrapped around my head, secured with a gold brooch, in tribute simultaneously to Doris Duke and Dr. Zhivago. The guest who arrived after me wore a tall, tapering gold brocade lampshade trimmed with pale yellow marabou. I tipped my teacup, which was filled with strawberry wine, to her. Martin himself wore a tall crown of Austrian crystals over his customary black wool fedora, and positioned himself under a light, to afford the maximum sparkle.

There was no actual tea at this tea, just Champagne and the aforementioned wine, which we drank freely as we admired the Bavarian crystals adorning every objet except the pink silk peonies overflowing from vases in every corner. "Did you notice I don't take the prices off the flowers?" Martin laughed, pointing to the tags hanging from every stem. He gave no reason for it, and I noticed that the pillows, covered in pale blue silk, also had the prices on them. "Originally one hundred and fifty dollars!" he said, not without pride.

This was a ladies-only tea, and outside, the various menfolk milled about, confused about what we could be doing. Now and again, one would appear at the canvas flap on some manufactured ruse, begging cigarettes or something. They were not welcome inside the Fabergé Egg, and they were not subtle about their displeasure.

We all made a pact that what happened inside the Egg stayed inside the Egg, so I cannot reveal the details, nor my new exclusive nickname. I can tell you that I highly recommend the experience of finding a secret decadent clubhouse and spending an afternoon there.

You can invite me, if you want, but if you don't, I'll understand.

Star of the day. . .Ron Sexsmith
posted @ 7:49 p.m. on October 06, 2008 before | after


She lay awake all night,