By DENENE MILLNER
Now I was in my house Saturday evening minding my own business and watching my daughters make strawberry cupcakes for their little jewelry-making party when my BFF/sister-in-law Angelou sashayed her little fast behind into my kitchen talking about “It’s Saturday night! Let’s go out—it’ll be fun!” A friend of ours, you see, told Ang about this Old School Night party that blows into the ATL every month, and before her husband could object, girlfriend purchased tickets to the event, and told him, and later me and my husband/her brother, Nick, that we would be in the house for the jam.
Here’s what you should know about Angelou: She’s the young, hot thang in the family—couldn’t keep still if you super-glued her butt to a wooden stool. If there’s a party, she’s there. If a new restaurant is opening, she’s got a reservation. If there’s a class to take/festival in town/wind blowing, Angelou is in it.
Here’s what you should know about me: My idea of a hot Saturday night involves red wine, a roaring fire, and Netflix.
I’ve always been like this—the homebody who was quite content cooking dinner for friends and then turning in for the night. Even as a college student and a young journalist covering entertainment for the Daily News in New York, you’d more than likely find me sneaking a beer into an independent film or flipping through used CDs at Soundz over on St. Mark’s Place in the East Village before you’d see teetering in uncomfortable heels to a star-studded movie premier or a celebrity-filled set in a hot club. Oh, partying was always an option—just not one of my favs.
Maybe a part of this has to do with the ‘rents; to say they were homebodies would be the understatement of life. They went to work, came home, went to bed, woke up, went to work, came home, went back to bed. For kicks, they bowled on Saturdays, and went to church on Sundays, then we came home, ate dinner, and went to bed. And that was on the exciting weekends.
And the two of them, in their infinite wisdom, moved Heaven and high water to make sure their little girl’s social life was equally non-existent. The reason?
They didn’t want me bringing any babies to the house.
I their eyes, a teenage girl couldn't get knocked up if she spent Friday nights scrubbing the floors and dusting, and Saturday nights doing laundry and getting her clothes together for church the next day. Couple that with the fact that I spent the majority of the first half of my life ridiculously shy and socially awkward—being the popular guy’s little sister didn’t exactly help the situation—and it’s not hard to understand why, on a Saturday night, I still get a little stuck in homebody mode.
Anyhoo, fast forward to Saturday night, with Ang having to practically guilt me into going out for a grown-up date night. I agreed only after she took a pinky-swear oath to help me throw the girls’ party the next afternoon, and find me something to wear—stat. A few hours later, at 10 p.m.—10 PM!—we were in the car headed out to party.
Ha’ mercy, by the time we got there and found parking and wound our way though the ticket/coat check/security/drinks maze and got onto the dance floor, even Ang was rethinking the whole “let’s party” thing.
Until the deejay played my song. Or shall I say, songs.
We hit the floor to the Notorious B.I.G.’s “Big Poppa.” Got to sweating to LL Cool J’s “Radio” and Rob Base’s “It Takes Two.” The spicy Cabernet I was drinking was tasting a lot like Red Kool-Aid when the dee-jay broke out “Before I Let Go,” “I Want Her,” and Teena Marie’s “Square Biz.” And by the time he started spinning the reggae and dancehall, my knee-high stiletto boots weren’t even squeezing my pinky toe anymore. Shoot, he could have put on the Star-Spangled Banner and I would have dropped it like it was hot.
It seemed like every last one of those “Old School” songs made the slightly more mature crowd dance a little harder, smile a little wider, reminisce a little more. I know every last one of those songs took Romy back—“Big Poppa” was bumping when my girls and I drove from New York to Martha’s Vineyard for a ridiculously fun 4th of July weekend; “Radio” was the big hit that had me and my high school homies parked outside LL Cool J’s house, giggling and hoping to get a glimpse of him when he was just starting to make it big; “I Want Her” is the song that was playing when I was lusting after ol’ what’s his name freshman year in college and hoping he would ask me to dance (I was too clueless to know the boy was gay); the reggae set reminded me on my days at Spectrum, where I worked as a waitress when I was a junior at Hofstra University, sloshing through the crowd with $4.50 drinks, fighting tooth and nail for my 50-cent tips (yes, broke asses had the nerve to ask for their change back!).
Each one of those songs at Old School night reminded me that A) I wasn’t as pathetic as I remembered when I was young—there were actual memories, a lot of them good, attached to those songs; B) I sure do miss good music—can someone give Plies and Pleasure-P some music history lessons? Please?! and C) I may not be a young hot thang anymore, but it sure did feel good to remember the good times and especially to make new memories with my husband, my BFF, my brother-in-law, and some new friends.
This is a GOOD thing.
Thanks, Ang, for dragging the old girl out. You were right: Old School Night was kinda the fire. Let’s do it again.