10:34 p.m., Saturday
Phone: “(Ding)” …….. (silence)…………. “(Ding. Ding. Ding.)”
Me: “ZZZZzzzzzzzz………… ZZZzzzzzz………… Zzzzz…..wtf?” (muffled yelling at my phone through the pillow) “Ssstop it. Texting meeEE…… mm’SLEEPIN’….. shhhhh!!!!”
Phone: “………………………..… (silence)…………………..……………”
Me: “………… (silence)……….… (drooling)………….Zzzzzzzzzz……zzzzzzzzzzzzz………..”
Phone: “…………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. (Ding.)”
If you’re staying at or anywhere near Mandalay Bay, you pretty much know that everyone in our industry is at the club in the middle of the casino floor on any and every night of the Luxury and JCK shows. If you’re an exhibitor, it’s your chance to breathe and relax. Here, that smile that you started to believe had been tattooed to your face can be replaced with genuine laughter and even a little snark, if need be. Your friends are here. Your colleagues and co-workers are here. And yeah, while you still have to be “on” just in case a retailer shows up, you know you don’t really have to be ON, on, because if you do something silly or stupid, you can always blame it on that sixth martini. However, if you’re a buyer, you just hit yourself the “sh*tfaced from alcohol” jackpot (which, by the way, will likely be the only jackpot you hit in that casino). EVERYBODY wants to buy you a drink, amigo, so sit back and relax, because you’re about to be as funny and as interesting as you’ve ever been in your life.
Speaking for myself, I look forward to blowing off a little steam every night during Jewelry Week. But on this particular night, I really just wanted to get a full night’s rest. That is, until, my evil nerd twin started texting me when I was two hours into what was going to be an AWESOME night of dreams about the bartenders at Parasol Up.
There are a few people in my life who I find that no matter how mad I get at them, or how much they tick me off, I just can’t stay that way forever. Michael Schechter is one of those people. Can he be an ass? Absolutely. Does he have a filter? Rarely. But for some God forsaken reason, I *get* him, and so when it’s his texts urging me to join him at Eye Candy, I really can find no excuse to tell him “no.”
The dangerous part about Michael and me together is this: we are a different breed of geek. We’re not the wannabe “I watch Game of Thrones so that makes me a nerd” nerds (because we all know, those aren’t real nerds). And we’re not entirely the ComicCon/ DragonCon/ ShowUpInYourBestIndianaJonesCostumeCon nerds, either, though I will admit I’ve donned a super-heroine costume once or thrice in my life. We’re an amalgam of tech, high I.Q., and useless information geek combined with the smartass quick-wittedness you might find in a popular person. All of this really only means one thing to you: don’t flub if you’re in our company. Don’t slur. Don’t fall. And don’t say something dumb, because we’re never going to let you live it down, and you’re going to hate us before the night is over.
As a (now) blogger and (always) vajayjay-haver, spirits are not often far from my fist at the bar, which means that by about 11:30 p.m., I was feeling fairly, shall we say, joyous? Schechter and I had separated in order to give the world a break (you’re welcome), and I suddenly found myself in the middle of some of my favorite folks, which is where my real skill comes in: getting people together with people. “Oh, hey Barry! How are you? Great to see you. Good show so far? Hey, have you met my friend, Michael Briant here from Atlanta? Michael, Barry lives in Atlanta, too. Barry, Michael is my security guy. He owns the Skydas Group, which is the company I wrote about in my kidnapping blog post. Y’all should get together.” … “Raymond, meet Jim O’Malley. Jim and I met at the Prestige Party yesterday. He’s a master craftsman and goldsmith. Jim, Raymond is a designer. What’s that you said, Raymond? HA! Yes, yes, he is the token Irish one, yes.”… “Hey Shannon! Get on over here! Yes, I’d love to meet your friend Rick. Oh, Rick’s a buyer for a chain in the Midwest? How interesting. OH MY GOD, RICK, THAT WAS A SUPER FUNNY JOKE! YOU’RE HILARIOUS AND HAVE FANTASTIC TIMING!!!!! Here, let me buy you drinks all night and forever.” And this goes on and on and on until I find a moment to step away and watch what is happening in front of me. Only at this particular moment, being that I was standing roughly 6’4” in the heels I was wearing, what was happening was not really in front of me but rather about twenty feet across the room: Schechter looking right at me, pretending he had glow sticks, dancing like a raver.
We have GOT to take this show on the road.
Eventually the two of us found our way over to the dance floor bar where Michael introduced me to big, huge, manly person, Sean Moore of Borsheims. Damn, bro… you tall. They must grow them differently in Omaha. Oh, and look who else is here… It’s Matthew Tratner, again! Just in time to see Schechter throw me onto the dance floor, hoping I would fall. Oh, Sketch. Sketchy, Sketchy, Sketch. You’ll never learn. I land on my feet, babycakes. I always, always land on my feet. “You’re like a cat.” Yes, Matthew. I am like a cat. Now get out of my way… there’s spraying and hissing to be done and I’m only three scotches in.
As far as day two of the show goes, it was fabulous. I know I usually start these posts with a breakdown of how the show went and what I was wearing, so, here… it went really well from an orders standpoint and I was wearing a coral dress that took thirty-five minutes to get into and a half-stick of butter to get out of. Happy now? I kid about the butter, but the rest is all true. Prestige does a wonderful job of making sure that our customers are well-fed and half-lit have plenty to quench their parchedness. I mean, do YOU want to spend several thousand dollars on an empty stomach? I know I don’t, and you know the old cliché… “The way to a buyer’s heart is through their stomach”… or is it, “The way to a buyer’s wallet is through their pot-brownie-induced haze”? I seriously can’t remember. I’m terrible with old sayings. Either way, the bottom line is that people are happiest when they have food and drink, and happy people are spendy people; you can quote me on that.
With that said, Part four comes to a close. If you haven’t read parts uno, deux, and drei, then, well, you suck, frankly. I recommend catching up before I post the fifth and final part of this series, which may or may not talk about the moment Mike Asscher caught me attempting to put my leg over my head at the WJA cabana on Sunday night. No spoilers. Just sayin’…
Hope you’re having fun reading. Until next time, my lovelies.
Shortly after I originally wrote this post on Sunday, I found out that a very good industry friend of mine had suffered a massive heart attack at the age of thirty-nine. She had been hospitalized and in a medically-induced coma and I decided it was best to wait to post it until I received further news of her condition. Sadly, today, at 2:53 p.m., Stephanie Harris left this world, and a void in the hearts of all who knew her.
My first job in the industry was working with Steph. As was my third, and eventually, we’d work together again years later at a nightclub bartending for extra cash. She was a great friend, a smart woman, an incredibly hard worker, and the world’s best laugher. She was funny, beautiful, unafraid of consequence, and filled with life. And she was proud of what I was doing, which is why I decided today – on the day of her death – to keep doing it.
I dedicate all of the posts in this series to my dear, dear friend who loved a good joke better than anything else in life. If there truly is a heaven, I imagine that it is similar to a big casino bar in the sky. I hope you’re there drinking a martini, reading, and laughing along with me. And I hope you know just how much I’m going to miss you here on earth.
In memory of Stephanie Ann Harris: July 28th, 1975 – June 17th, 2014