My friend, M, went to the Benson Hotel for champagne and dancing to a big band on new year's eve. She thought for a couple of days in advance about which dress to wear, and tried to get to bed early the night before. I went to Astoria. Oregon.
We started at the Pig 'n' Pancake for a little visit with friends passing through town. The wait staff kept giving us meaningful glances and heaving heavy sighs, so we didn't linger. They wanted to go home. A Pig 'n' Pancake official locked the foyer doors behind us before we even had our jackets zipped up against the (periodically horizontal) rain. Our friends set off for Long Beach. We went looking for debauchery or a reasonable facsimile thereof. With dancing, please.
Astoria is dotted with a variety of bars, pubs, and restaurants. One promising doorway had a portable fence like the one that keeps you in line at the bank - only they didn't have anyone to keep in line. And, besides, they wouldn't let us in because one of us left home without a driver's license. Being, clearly, decades past legal drinking age (face it, Oil of Olay can't work miracles) wasn't good enough and the conscientious bouncer turned us away.
In the end we dropped into a waterfront lounge and, lo, on the table was a card advertising dancing in the banquet room! What we found was a fresh faced DJ with enormous headphones playing electronic music to a virtually empty room, save for one medium-small girl in a party dress perched on the edge of a chair swinging her legs to the beat. A tiny disco ball twirled on the ceiling. Never being of a mind to pass up a dance floor with plenty of elbow room, we asked the DJ to look in his library for something suitable for swing dancing. He knit his teenage brow and allowed as he might have some Rat Pack music.
Good enough. We shed our shoes (the dance floor was carpeted...) and got right to it - a little east coast, some one step, a dip here and there - and darned if people didn't stop and look. And then they came in. And then they danced, too. Even when the DJ played YMCA. At midnight the restaurant staff brought us plastic hats, horns, and tiny cups of champagne. It was just dandy.
Happy New Year, loyal readers. Both of you.