by Nicole Crews
Mother: So you’re going to the swank Oyster Roast of recent fame.
Me: Yeah, the event has raised a ton of money for Family Service in the area. The one in High Point has been going strong for 20 years and Greensboro is going into its 11th year. They’ve helped a lot of people, yours truly during the mortgage crisis.
Mother: You do realize that it’s the overlords who can help the underdogs.
Me: Yeah, but the Overlords are Decepticon Godmasters and “Underdog” had a better theme song.
It’s 7:47 p.m. and I’m almost an hour late to Greensboro’s outdoor party of the year when a tiny brunette wearing a Betty Boop onesie jettisons onto my front porch. Behind her, LQ, the pilot — and my photographer — for this mission offers an apologetic glance.
Megan (in her boldly tiny voice): I wanna go to the party. I brought my bikini in my purse.
Me: It’s not that kind of a party Megan. LQ and I are covering the 11th Anniversary of the Greensboro Oyster Roast — the signature fundraiser for Family Service of the Piedmont — and 1,100 people shelled out $75 a pop for this.
Megan: I know, but I’m just in from New York, so they should just let me in.
Me: Spoken like a true New Yorker.
A scotch after eight and we’ve dropped off the megalopolis-proud Megan and given the party an hour to marinate in its own salty brine. We’ve barely boxed out a brigade of blonde bronze-shells for some journalist juice when the ebullient host of the evening, Frank Auman, leaps across a bed of white tulips to greet us on the walkway leading up to his six columned Irving Park manse.
Frank: Welcome! We’re so happy to have you here!
Me: Really? Have you read my column?
Frank: Oh come now. We were just really honored to be asked to host this event. We didn’t think we even had the space for all of the tents! Lindsey has gotten more and more involved with Family Service and so this is really huge for us. Truly an honor!
Me: So give us the lay of the land. I see people dining and the bar out front and I hear the band in the back.
Frank: Yes and our kind neighbors let us set up the oyster tent in their front yard and the port-o-potties in their back yard.
Me: Those are really nice neighbors.
It’s 8:15 and just dark enough to see the pollen rise from the blazing blazers and collective collegiate badinage of the male attendees. The entire casbah-themed Tory Burch spring collection, it appears, has been air-dropped in for the event like tiny, tunic parachutes to clothe the women. Moor is more on this night in Irving Park than in Morocco itself. Honorary Chair Lynn Black wields her event logo wine vessel from tent to tent at this sold-out event and greets guests and with equal enthusiasms.
LQ: So what’s that scent all the men are wearing? It smells very clean.
Me: And mildy misogynistic?
Me: It’s called “Golf.”
Served on sod-strewn, ice-laden tables by Pepper Moon Catering, the shelf life of the shellfish is still intact and there’s beer in the bathtub and port-o-potties hidden by English boxwoods. But it’s 9:30 p.m. and the dew is off the Lily Pulitzer and the ladies of the evening are giving thanks to their Spanx after the first-round orgy of oysters, Southern sides and desserts. Now it’s time to dance.
Me (to the Right to Party sound guy): Do you ever get tired of watching white people dance?
Sound Guy: Not if the check don’t bounce.
It’s 10:30 p.m. and those brave enough to aerate the Auman’s freshly rolled out lawn earlier now have heels in hand. The shagging set has slowed to a shuffling while the funky-music frat boys align with sorority Sister Sledgers to take over the dance floor. It’s a short walk home for some across the rub of Greensboro Country Club’s greens. It’s a slanted sidewalk stumble for others being escorted by their designated drivers to the mile-long parallel parking lot while Greensboro’s finest looks on. A few of us have other social obligations to attend to. There is a Megan somewhere out there in the night mist, with a bikini in her purse, awaiting tales of our adventure.