Monday, April 22, 2013

Hanging Out with the Beautiful People

So I was at my desk last Friday, just after lunch. Four or five more hours of work for the day, then a day off Saturday, then work a few hours Sunday to try to get ahead of a deadline. Saturday evening was to be spent with our church Life Group, hearing the report of a couple who recently returned from a missions trip to Cambodia, where they worked with those who are combating the human sex trafficking business. All this in temporary bachelorhood, as my lovely wife is back in Oklahoma City, helping with grandchildren. Not quite yet on baby watch for our granddaughter due May 15 or so.

One of the women who works with us came to my office, saying my boss, the CEO, said I needed to go to the social event on Saturday evening. It was a fundraising evening for a children's museum the plan to build in Bentonville, built around a Dancing With The Stars theme. A silent auction and regular auction were to be part of it. The company had bought a table of tickets and needed some butts in the chairs. But the bossman was flying out the next day and thus couldn't attend, and the under-bossman was flying out the day of and couldn't attend. So they were dragging the bottom of the barrel and I got dragged up. "Cocktail dress" the tickets said. I said I would go but that I was charging mileage.

So Saturday after my chores, my weekly Wal-Mart run, and a little writing time, I showered, shaved, put on my one suit that fits, and drove the 19.1 miles to the Hammond Center, parked, walked in. Immediately I ran into the Beautiful People. You know who I mean: the ones who are always photographed for inclusion in the society magazines. Women in tight, low-cut dresses, their hair done up big and with loads of make-up. Their men photographed for balance. I worked my way through the crowd, appreciative for the view.

The prices for soda pop at the cash bar were way too high, the starting bid on the silent auction items were way too high, and I didn't really want or need either one. So I went inside the grand ballroom and found our company table. Already sitting were the under-bossman's wife and a female friend of hers. I sat next to the female friend and was introduced and we began the small talk. Eventually our CFO came in, without his wife, and he sat next to the under-bossman's wife. With the two women in the middle and the men at the ends, these four married singles probably looked like two couples (though I was way too old for the woman I was sitting next to). We were shortly joined by Mr. & Mrs. Bachelor. He's a young engineer with our company. No one else from the company showed up to claim the other four seats at the table. So the four married singles and Mr. & Mrs. Bachelor settled in for the mass banquet style meal and the show.

The food was typical banquet fair: good but probably loaded with MSG and other equally unhealthy things designed to pass as savory taste. Celebrity waitresses dressed up like the Beautiful People filled our water glasses when needed. The dancing was quite good. There were six local "celebrities": a woman VP with Wal-Mart, someone high up in Arvest Bank, someone from Tyson's Food, the Benton County sheriff, one older man who serves as a good will ambassador for the region, and one other whose position escapes me right now. They had obviously practiced, and the routines were great. The sheriff's partner had a pair of handcuffs tucked in her back belt line. When their routine was over she handcuffed him behind his back and led him over to the emcees. When they got their score, two uniformed officers came up and led him away, still handcuffed. It was all good fun. And I have to say the "stars" did very well. Their pro partners did well too.

And always, swirling all around, were the Beautiful People. Photographers went from table to table, putting groups of four to eight people together and snapping the pics. Two tables had Bentonville City Council members at them, and they were snapped. Another table was filled with 30-something couples, the women showing lots of skin and curves, and they were snapped. Our table was ignored, as well it should have been, with the four married singles looking like couples and the Bachelors being a couple.

In addition to the six celebrities were some dancing exhibitions, including performances by a couple of previous year winners.  By the time it got to 9:00 p.m, with the judges retired to calculate who won and the auction just about to start, I decided it was time to leave, find my pick-up among the cars of the Beautiful People, and leave those Beautiful People and drove the 19.4 miles home (different interstate ramp configuration). I'm glad I went. I wasn't as edified as I would have been at the Life Group gathering, and I'd have rather been there with Lynda than appearing to be the date of the woman friend of the under-bossman's wife, but all in all it was a nice diversion.

I just hope they don't ask me again next year.

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