The invitation got the wheels of my already-overheated imagination rolling.
It was for a birthday party for a girl I knew from the gym. I had been reintroduced to her at a party I attended a couple of years ago – the Global Warming Party, so named because of the pool in the backyard, heated to hot-tub-like temperatures in the middle of winter. The birthday girl had been there, and it was as debauched a party as I’ve ever had the pleasure of attending. Let’s just say, skinny-dipping was required, not just encouraged, and there was a downstairs room set aside for people whose carnal desires got the better of them.
The emailed invitation from the birthday girl – we’ll call her Fannie – mentioned a room for dancing plus the requisite DJ, a bar, and a clothing optional atmosphere. I thought a hot tub was also mentioned. The party was at a house, which meant that there would be extra rooms in which to crash, if necessary. The downside was, with Vancouver real estate prices being what they are (and houses in the city all but unaffordable except to the rich), the house was in a suburb, over half an hour’s drive away from the city.
Still, as the day approached, and my imagination became more fevered, the party took on Fall-of-the-Roman-Empire dimensions. My girlfriend, R., took little convincing, with the caveat that, should she start feeling like prey for a room full of white slave traders, we would leave.
Saturday night came around and, after a long drive on an unseasonably cold night, we arrived at the two-story abode. Once inside, we greeted by a guy in a bathrobe – Fannie’s boyfriend – whose eyes made him look as though he’d swallowed a bottle of cough medicine. He was having a conversation with the owner of the house, a guy named Gary, about who owed what when it came to bar supplies. It was not a good omen.
My spirits sank with each new discovery, except for the birthday girl’s near-birthday suit (a white mesh bodysuit). The house was unfinished – the rooms upstairs, including the living room and two bedrooms, were almost all completely empty. The food consisted of bulk plastic containers of croissants, no doubt for the morning (the invitation said the party was going to be going until the following afternoon). The “bar” was actually the kitchen, which had been cordoned off with tables and chairs. Except for a few people upstairs, it seemed empty, and there was little noise come from downstairs.
In the kitchen, as we sipped our vodka drinks, much was made about R; Fannie was quick to point out my girlfriend’s physical attributes, while the few guys standing around nodded agreeably. Shortly, our respective ages came under scrutiny. This was getting uncomfortable.
Downstairs, we found the only inhabitable space, a TV room with couches and carpet and a glassed-in three-person sauna. (There was no hot tub; I must have been hallucinating when I read the email. Perhaps I still had an image of Jessica Pare in Hot Tub Time Machine in my mind.) One sport wasted no time in stripping down to the altogether and getting his sauna on. He wasn’t the only freedom-lover – two other guys proudly displayed their fetishistic tendencies. One, Brent, was a short black guy in a belt that emphasized his equipment, the other was a Terence Stamp-type in his 60s and dressed in BDSM gear.
There were some nice moments – people shared some memories of Fannie, for instance (Brent told a story about being at an orgy with Fannie, who commented on the proceedings as they went on around and to her). And Fannie, singing a tune from her stage days revealed a surprising (to me) talent.
But here’s the thing – there was no music. And we knew no one – well, I knew the birthday girl, but barely, and I sort of knew Terence Stamp from the gym – so we stayed more or less silent. If there was going to be an orgy, which the email hinted at (my feverish imagination notwithstanding), these weren’t the people we wanted to have one with. We knew the time to leave had come when Terence sidled up to R. and started telling her his philosophy of life while she tried to keep her eyes off his pierced 60-year-old nipples.
So we pulled a quiet leave, sneaking upstairs and grabbing our stuff. On our way out we ran into our bleary-eyed host, Fannie’s boyfriend, who thanked us for coming. My first orgy – if it’s ever going to happen – can wait.