Circumventing The Dress Code
Forgetting your anniversary is a bad thing. Sleeping on the couch for a week is a bad thing, too. Just
take my word for it. I did both last month and it just wasn’t worth it. Today was wife’s birthday. If I forgot
it, I’d need to find a lawyer, ‘cause the marriage would be over.
Karen decided last week that she wanted to spend her birthday at Jontay Coo, an overly elaborate supper
and dance club that had just opened up last month. Jontay Coo was in the middle of suburban nowhere, and I’d taken too
long closing a deal at the office, so as usual, I was running behind. I was an hour late when I pulled the Ferrari up to the
valet’s station. I gave my keys to some uniformed kid with a serious need for Clearasil and made for the front door.
"I’m sorry," said a burly fellow in tuxedo that looked a size too small. He stuck out his hand
to stop me. It was supposed to be threatening, but the man, with his cliched undersized jacket, looked too much like a cartoon
character to actually intimidate me. "You can’t come in. We have a dress code."
"Dress code?" I wasn’t sure what he was talking about. I looked at myself. Armani blazer, Polo
shirt, Calvin Klein jeans, Bruno Magli shoes… nothing was wrong with that. This was the first time I’d ever been
denied from entering a club, and frankly, it was insulting. "Ralph Lauren pioneered this look, dammit!"
"No jeans," said the doorman. His blonde hair was slicked back. Not a hair out of place. It looked a
little too perfect and it annoyed me. "Brings in a bad element."
"Bad element? I just drove up in a Ferrari." I reached into the breast pocket of my blazer and pulled
out a few Macanudo Reserves. "Do these look like White Owls to you?" I was already late and this wasn’t doing anything
to lighten up my mood.
"Out!" The doorman was hell-bent on giving me the bum’s rush. His tuxedo was straining at the
seams as he tensed up and leaned forward towards me. If I didn’t leave immediately, Magilla Gorilla and I were going
to have an altercation, and giving up 80 pounds to a bouncer didn’t seem like the best way to start the evening. As
I started backing up, I wondered how I was going to explain this to my wife.
I was about to leave when I saw something ridiculous walking up to the club. This guy was wearing a
white Panama hat, a red Hawaiian shirt, blue Bermuda shorts and a pair of sandals. At least I wasn’t going to be the
only one getting kicked out today, I thought. My jaw hit cement when the gorilla in the tux opened the door wide open, letting
the tropical fashion plate in with no contest.
"What’s that?" I asked the doorman, who was still more than an arm’s length away. "That’s
what you call a dress code here?"
"Hey, you see him wearing jeans?" He growled back. "Now Amscray!"
That gave me an idea. I went back behind the club and hid behind the dumpsters. I switched my wallet
from my pants pocket to my jacket. Then I took off my pants. I was wearing a particularly baggy pair of green plaid boxer
shorts. They were made out of thick wool, and had a snap-button on the fly. I was willing to bet they looked enough like regular
shorts to get me inside.
I went back to the front door, feeling a breeze the whole way. The doorman looked me up and down. Then
he cracked a smile.
"That’s more like it," the muscle-head said. "Why didn’t you just change before we had to
get all unpleasant?"
I didn’t say anything. I just walked in. The place was crowded, and at first glance I didn’t
see my wife. I went up to the bar and ordered a whiskey sour. 15 minutes and one drink later, I was sure my wife wasn’t
in the place. She must have gotten tired of waiting and gone home. This wasn’t a good thing. My back gets pretty stiff
sleeping on that damn couch and I had this nagging worry that her mother was going to be visiting on short notice.
Cell phones are good in situations like this. I whipped mine out and dialed home. It was two rings before
she picked up.
"Happy Birthday, honey," I said in the sweetest tones I could muster.
"My birthday’s next week, you goof," came her unexpected reply.
"Dinner’s getting cold. How long are planning to work tonight?"
"Uhm, I’ll be home in an hour."
I went to the bar and ordered another drink. Waiting for the drink, I found myself bringing a cigar
to my lips. My fingers groped for my lighter… unfortunately, I’d left my lighter in my pants.