Closing time, open all the doors
And let you out into the world
Closing time, turn all of the lights on
Over every boy and every girl
Closing time, one last call for alcohol
So, finish your whiskey or beer
Closing time, you don’t have to go home
But you can’t stay here“Closing Time”, by Semisonic
As I wrote a couple of Sun-Dee’s ago, my favorite bar–my only bar–closed New Year’s Eve, a victim of Covid and bad luck. Their last NYE was Dee’s first, but more about that below.
My story starts about three weeks prior. Guy me was invited to the my former employer’s Christmas party (I’m retired), which started at 3 PM. Time enough to precede the party with a shopping trip for Dee.
I wore a top and slacks combo, being suitable for the chillier weather and easier to change into guy mode in the car after. I stopped at the St. Louis Galleria, home of my favorite store, Nordstrom. Besides having a chat with my GG friend Karla, who works there, I did some snooping amongst the discount racks. While doing so, I spotted a cute sequin dress hanging on a wall display, definitely worth a look. There was only one of its type–and lo and behold it was my size. I had to at least try it on.
Five years before–eons in the retail business, and back when Nordstrom had a dress department–I tried on a fun long sleeve sequin dress. Depending on which way you rubbed the sequins, the color would change from red to blue. I had a bit of an amusing moment when Karla, then working in the dress department, rubbed her hand up and down the dress, including some, shall we say, more private areas? I later texted the picture to my GG friend Renee, and she said I looked hot in that dress. Anyway, the dress was out of my price range, and I had nowhere to wear it, but it was definitely fun to try on (and imagine wearing it somewhere fun).
When I tried on this latest sequin dress, I really liked (read: loved) the look. I walked into the hallway of the changing rooms to see the reflection in the mirror while I walked (strutted), and the sales assistant saw me and said she really liked the look too. The sequins shined in the light as I moved. The price was reasonable, and I had some mad money gifted to me by a team I coach as a thank you (I volunteer) which would cover the price (not that I could tell the team how I used their gift).
The only negative was the oft-asked question, “Where will I wear it?”–and I didn’t have a good answer. Then I heard a voice from above–or more accurately, the voice of said friend Renee–with the sage advice to “buy it and figure out a place to wear it.” That advice had worked out very well previously–the dress I bought for a fabulous night out with Michelle–so I decided to follow it again.
After my shopping trip, happy I bought the dress, I (guy me, of course) went to the company Christmas party. My best buddy from work–a friend for 30+ years–invited me to a St. Louis Blues game on New Year’s Eve with a 5 PM start time. I said yes, with the proviso I’d need to check with my wife. I did check, and as we aren’t big party goers, she said it was fine if I went to the game, because we didn’t have anything planned.
I started doing the math. With the game starting at 5 PM, it would be over around 7:30. Even driving him home after the game, I (meaning Dee) could find a place and start getting ready about 8:30. Michelle was available, Hemingway’s was closing, so the stars were aligning. I had a NYE dress, new flashy heels to wear with the dress, a partner in crime, and a place to go. I confirmed the details with Michelle, told my wife I was planning to go out after the game (she didn’t do backflips about the news, but didn’t say no either), and started looking forward to my first New Year’s Eve out (as a girl, that is).
NYE finally arrived. Dinner with friend before game (good), game (sucked), and arrived at Michelle’s house about 8:15. Over the next hour I dressed and she finished dressing while we talked and took some photos. Finally around 9:30 we headed to Hemingway’s for one last visit.
Hemingway’s was fairly crowded, with the normal live music (a rotation of musicians and singers) I received a number of compliments (truth be told, I thought I looked pretty good). Patty, a former bartender whom I had met before, said I looked gorgeous.
Another young woman, Katie, came in the bar, walked up to me, and told me she loved my dress and heels. We talked for a while. She asked me for my Facebook name (guy me) so I told her. I took a selfie with her and promised I would send a link to the blog when I publish it (Hi again Katie!).
I am somewhat self-conscious about dancing, but I danced a couple of dances. The band–various players–were good. I talked to Kim, the wife half of the husband and wife ownership team. I wrote a chalk message on the menu board, “Thanks for making me feel welcome” and Michelle and I posed for pictures (see above). Mischievous Michelle posted the picture of us at the menu board on her Facebook page (my second time on Facebook, both with Michelle on her Facebook page).
Mike, the husband half of the ownership team, passed around champagne just before midnight.The champagne tasted pretty good, though bittersweet. About a half-hour after midnight the band played “Closing Time” by Semisonic as the farewell song. I got up and danced and sang with Michelle. Fun (note to self for 2023: dance more).
Never thought I would ever get out on NYE in a sparkly dress, but as Renee advised, buy the dress and find a place to wear it. Now I need to find another time and place to wear it. My wife was a bit grumpy about my going for a while, but eventually that passed.
I got to spend the last hours of 2022, and the first hour of 2023, dressed in sequins and heels–and a smile. Here’s to 2023!