I think what most impressed me about my party was that my friends showed up to have the best of times. That's how the mood felt: Electric with that intention. Friday night was a testament to how great and supportive and fun and interesting all my friends are. I had a complete blast. It's the best birthday party I've ever had.
I'll have a ton of pictures to post when I'm back from NY. Barry, my friend of many years, has transformed himself into a great photographer and I can't wait to see what he comes up with. The above photo is a teaser. As you can see I went with a royal blue number and not the yellow dress. It was the right call. I felt like a million bucks.
Here's the other highlight of the evening: Since I've been a salsera for more years than not, and because I hired a salsa DJ for the party, I was very prepared to get my mambo swerve on. I was so prepared that I threatened bodily harm to my sister in law, Titi Jen, if she didn't come out from the east coast to dance too. She runs an Arthur Murray in NJ and I secretly hoped she would give a little salsa-step instruction to the party goers, which she totally did at her own suggestion. Ah man, she brought the party alive! I was so prepared that I took Titi Jen and another salsera to a club the Wednesday night before the party to recruit boy dancers to come to the party. I know more women that know how to dance and hardly any boys. This, as you could imagine, would pose a problem. Betsy showed up at the club too -- after driving all day from the Bay Area -- and she did a successful recruiting job too, not because she dances well but because she's so goddamn likable and charismatic. A handful of the boys we invited actually showed up. It was perfect.
Before the party dancing really popped off, I noticed Husband was dancing with Titi Jen. Husband grew up listening to the music, but had always been more drawn to hip hop. Learning to salsa wasn't cool to him growing up. He has been to a salsa club once with me in ten years, which is a fine arrangement. He knows how much I love it. I know he's not too keen on dancing around like it's a cardio workout. I was a little baffled as I watched him in his white tux jacket lead his sister around. He waved me out to the dance floor. He said, "Do you want to dance?" We were the only ones on the floor. I said, "Of course, Papi." His forehead perspired. He said, "Ready?" And then he stopped. He said, "I've secretly been taking lessons. I've been going for the past few weeks so I could dance with you." I laughed and said, "Nu uh." It didn't register that he was being for real. It was more likely that he'd joke about that than really take lessons. He told me about how he had Titi Jen help set it up and despite his sick work hours he rushed to make lessons. He said he didn't just learn for my party, but so he could take me out to dance now and again. It then sank in what he had done. It made it hard to dance. We'd step-step and hug. Step-step and he'd stop, nervous and overjoyed that he'd touched me. How I feel about this still balloons heavily between my heart and stomach. I'm almost embarrassed by such a high level of romanticism. He is not a man that does things for show-off sake. He does nothing he doesn't want to do. Making great efforts to show me that what I love to do is important turned this into such an intimate gift; one so driven by love. It's the best present I ever got.