THE dress code for that particular post-Christmas party was simple enough: come in your best hat. Since I was pressed for time entertaining visiting family members from America almost every day, I had nothing to wear until the eleventh hour. It was during the dying days of 2008, a year which proved to be one of the busiest for me in recent memory.
Before that, I was also on top of our house’s renovation and expansion project. My Texas-based brother sent the money, while I was tasked to spend it wisely. Who says spending other people’s money is easy? 😉
Anyway, since I didn’t want to fail my dear friends, I decided to break away for a few hours from my hosting chores and make time for them in what would later pleasantly degenerate into a Mad Hatter’s party. Like I said earlier, the problem was I had no hat to add to the madness.
What about my reputation?
And since I already had a reputation for showing up through the years in the most outrageous or inventive outfits during our group’s regular get-togethers composed mostly of journalists, writers and publicists, I couldn’t just show up wearing an inverted baseball cap. That would have been unthinkable.
To quote an imaginary line from the pretentious Doña Victorina of “Noli Me Tangere,” speaking in her brand of Spanish-inflected Tagalog: “Ano na lan an sasabihin nan mana tao?!” (What would people say?!)
Well, that all changed on the eve of the party. As my guests and I were passing through the Christmas décor section of SM MOA, I was struck, like a bolt out of the blue, with this inspired idea of stitching together a mobile of sorts using discounted (it was already two days after Christmas) Yuletide trimmings with an old woven conical hat (salakot) I bought years ago as a souvenir from Vietnam.
To cut a long story short, I worked on the hat overnight and my efforts were rewarded handsomely the next day. The idea was a hit! Since I was multi-tasking up to the last minute, I was one of the last persons to make it to the party.
Nice try, guys
As I rang the hotel suite’s doorbell, the door suddenly opened with everyone gathered by the entrance to greet me in their cuckoo hats. Eat Bulaga! Nice try, guys.
I saved the best for last by hiding my hat from them. The minute I slipped it on, the joke was on them. They were momentarily stunned before breaking into peals of laughter. It proved to be the weirdest hat in the room that not even Ivy’s green hat with its built-in blinking lights from 168 could match.
Of course, there were times when I also had to play second fiddle to them. I tell you, these bitches could be equally creative.
Our tradition of dressing up started out when we decided to hold a children’s party dressed as, well, children one Christmas in the late 90s. It was hosted by businessman and hairdresser Ricky Reyes in his Valle Verde mansion.
And like little children, the party culminated in some kids pushing and being pushed into the swimming pool. I knew better not to linger by the pool area, and decided to spend the night warm and dry in Ricky and Cris’ game room.
Themes through the years
From then on, our themes during birthday and Christmas parties became more creative and outrageous: ’80s Chic, ’70s Chic, Tribute to MJ, Tribute to FPJ, Asian Flavors, Shiny, Shimmery Splendid, Winter Wonderland, China Syndrome, Let’s Get Physical, Inner Animal, Angry Birds Special, Polka Dot, Rainwear Gear, etc.
Perhaps you’re wondering by now why we even go through such trouble of dressing up for costume parties meant for our eyes only. I go back above to the day we started it. It has become a tradition, no, a hard habit to break.
Besides, I’d rather spend some effort and have fun in the process rather than be teased all night for not following the dress code. There was a stretch of time, for instance, when Edwin made no effort at all to dress up. He ended up being called all sorts of names, up to the time he was emptying out leftover party food from huge trays to bring home to his homeless “orphans.” 😀
Of the bunch, Ivy and I are hands down the bitchiest and most outspoken critics to those who come short. And we can be downright mean. 😀 But there was a time I merely (and uncharacteristically) laughed along while Ivy and Tanya did the roasting.
They only learned later that their “victim” was on the verge of staging a walkout had there been taxis plying the gated village’s streets outside. Hey, I had nothing to do with it, okay?
I guess, more than the possibility of having fun and seeing who ends up unofficially winning Best Costume (we’ve never handed out awards), we do it out of sheer friendship and the possibility of taking a break, if only for a night, wrapped in our wildest fantasies.
Do you have any suggestions what theme/s we could explore next? Let’s hear it. 😉