Thursday, May 14, 2015

Go-To-Gay: Gotta have a theme!

Introduction by Gary Edwards

I kinda live my life around themes, whether it is when I decorate a room or have a party. I think themes set a mood, make a memory and just all around make life way more fun. If I am attending a party I always ask, “What is the theme?” I always want to know so I can wear the right outfit. From nautical to a Vegas game night, I am there!

That’s why when Wade and I started doing book tours I always like to dress or have a theme to embrace his most recent memoir. Sure, some folks may say it is immature or tacky. I say it’s all about fun.  Trust me, if the event is black tie I can class it up with the rest of them. But, meanwhile most things aren’t, so why not add a sparkle and some fun?

Following is an excerpt from Wade’s memoir, It’s All Relative, about me and themes. Yes, on that book tour I decorated everything holiday and then decided to wear a hula outfit! So always remember to make life a party and set the mood!

Blue Christmas
by Wade Rouse

            If Martha Stewart were to have a full-body electrolysis, Adam's apple shaving and, well, basically just go whole hog and become a man, she would be my partner, Gary.
            Gary is home.
            He is coasters, and table runners, and twig lamps.
            His right scent, right season.
            He is place settings, and teacups, and dish towels that cost forty dollars apiece but can never be used.
            And Gary is holiday.
            He is bedecked Fraser firs and red-twig dogwood centerpieces, he is mistletoe and twinkle lights. He has the perfect recipe for a Thanksgiving sweet-potato casserole or a Father's Day breakfast-sausage bake.
            In his wallet.
            In his previous life, Gary was responsible for bedecking the city of St. Louis in all its holiday splendor. He was Simon Doonan for an entire town, now just a window. He raised forty-foot firs and trimmed them in more shiny shimmer than Liberace's panties. He hung forests of poinsettias from the ceilings of malls, making holiday shoppers both spend more and believe they had just witnessed the arrival of baby Jesus. He would've flocked the Gateway Arch if he couldn't gotten approval from the airport.
            And when Gary was finished with the city, he focused on our home, decorating it like the White House and then tossing a holiday party.
            Every year around Halloween, Gary began thinking seriously about the theme for our holiday bash. I could tell because his face would always grow serious and tight, like Martha's does when she ties a duck with rosemary-infused twine or is firing a kiln to make her own dishes.
            All of our parties, no matter how intimate, had themes, like "Winter Wonderland," or "Gingerbread Castle." We had never been Velveeta-on-Ritz-type hosts, even for unannounced drop-bys. We held a Frost & Berries holiday party, meaning everything – food, d├ęcor, the table, drinks – had to be frosty and berrylicious. We served frosty cranberry punch out of a frosty antique cut-glass bowl. We had tuxedoed waiters with frosty hair. We transformed pine roping into an old-fashioned garland by stringing it with popcorn, cranberries, and twinkling frosted lights. But the piece de resistance was a flocked, berry-bedecked Christmas tree that Gary hung upside down over the dining room table a la The Poseidon Adventure.
People actually gasped.
Even our Super Bowl parties had themes, much to the chagrin of my old fraternity brothers. "What does 'Cheer Squad 2010' have to do with the big game?" they would ask. But it gave Gary endless opportunities to decorate our mantel and big-screen with pom-poms, serve popcorn out of megaphones, and choreograph his own halftime show.
One evening just before Halloween, as I watched Gary line our porch with pumpkin lights and scatter our yard with hay like we lived on a farm and needed to feed our horses, his face grew serious and tight, and he looked up in the witch's hat he was wearing and said, "I've got it! Let's go simple. Let's go retro. Let's do a Blue Christmas, just like Elvira!"
"Elvis," I said to him. "You're mixing your holiday metaphors."
"Our theme is simplicity. Simple, simple, nostalgically retro simple."
Simple to you is like casual Friday to Karl Lagerfeld, I said to myself.
"What? Did you say something?" he asked, before yelling "BOO!" so loudly at a neighbor that I could swear she started to reach in her purse for pepper spray.
            Having a simple dinner party to Gary meant loads of cash and lots of time. It meant filling McCoy pottery with cranberries, and vases with lake stones and floating votives. Simple meant creating a canopy of pine boughs and bittersweet over the dining room table.
            Just something simple meant spending four hundred dollars on new place settings and stemware because the dishes we had "weren't simple enough."
            And as simple luck would have it, we, of course, didn't have anything amongst our forty red-and-green holiday storage containers that was "blue" enough for our Blue Christmas.
            "I want ice blue, frost blue," Gary told me in Target. "I want everything to look dipped in ice, like a winter sky at night."
            I had no idea what he was saying but quickly got the point – five hundred dollars later.
  "I desperately need some ice-blue tapered candles," Gary then said.
            And I desperately needed something, too, I thought: I desperately needed a turkey baster inserted into my eyeball to dwarf the pain I was experiencing.
            Another three hundred dollars later – after buying candles and faux ice blocks and icy blue penguins and ornaments we wouldn't even use – I cracked standing in Michael's while looking at luminaries.
            "How can a quarter ounce of paper," I asked, my voice rising with each syllable, "cost four dollars?"
            "Well, each luminary has this adorable cutout of a northern star …" Gary began.
            "That's a rhetorical question!" I yelled.
            "What's wrong?" Gary asked. "Don't you want to throw a great holiday party?"
            I did. But I also wanted to retire before I was 112. I didn't want to deplete our IRA, and we hadn't even hired the caterer or bartenders yet.
            And, to be completely honest, I always felt a bit worthless when it came to tossing our holiday parties. Gary was gifted. He knew how to entertain. 

The writings of bestselling humorist Wade Rouse – called “wise, witty and wicked” by USA Today and the lovechild of Erma Bombeck and David Sedaris – have been featured multiple times on NBC’s  Today Show as well as on Chelsea Lately on E! and His latest memoir, It’s All Relative: Two Families, Three Dogs, 34 Holidays and 50 Boxes of Wine (reviewed here) launched in paperback February 1st from Broadway, and he is creator and editor of the humorous dog anthology, I’m Not the Biggest Bitch in This Relationship: Hilarious, Heartwarming Tales about Man’s Best from America’s Favorite Humorists (NAL). The book features a Foreword by Chelsea Handler’s dog, Chunk, essays by such beloved chick lit authors as Jane Green, and 50 percent of the book’s net royalties go to the Humane Society of the United States. His first memoir, America's Boy, has been re-published by Magnus Books for paperback and Kindle. For more, visit his website, or friend him on Facebook or Twitter.

Gary Edwards is the marketing and events manager for bestselling author Wade Rouse. Edwards arranges Rouse’s tour schedule, speaking engagements as well as coordinates and facilitates his writing workshops and retreats.  Additionally, Edwards has helped market and promote all five of Rouse’s books. Edwards also has a background in hospitality, and sales as well as design.   With his vast professional background and a love to listen and help friends he is a perfect storm of love and nurture. Edwards is Martha Stewart meets Dear Abby with a dash of Mrs. Doubtfire.  For more, please friend him on Facebook and Twitter.

1 comment:

Janine said...

I have only been to one theme party in my life. And I have to admit, it was a lot of fun getting dressed up and seeing everyone else dressed up. It was a 60s theme. It made it easy for everyone. It also made a lot of great conversations.