I'm on the far right. As close to crew as I ever got. This was a English Speaking Union party on Boathouse Row in Philadelphia. Pretty sure it was the Vesper Boat Club but don't quote me. The ESU threw amazing parties in Philadelphia around the mid-80's. Don't know if they still do. Lots of black tie events for no other reason than to wear it. I remember ESU being open to everyone and the dues were cheap. Hell, they accepted me. It's one thing to be a Naval officer's son - - quite the other to be a Green Beret officer's son.
Tool from Main Line: So, tell me. What's your father's business?
Me: Killing people.
TFML: Oh, you're from South Philadelphia? Funny, you don't look Italian.
I might as well have been. Still, most people didn't seem to care. There were Jews and blacks and gays at these parties. Very diverse. I remember a beautiful Iranian woman who owned a gallery. Stunning. I almost stated Farsi lessons.
What was important was your attire. My Italian friend, who was a Mummer, would have problems at an ECU party. Sammy had that South Philly, closed vent suit with a tone on tone shirt and grey leather shoes thing going on. Sammy always wore a crucifix and explained to me he wasn't that religious...he just didn't want to be mistaken for being Jewish.
If you were not the part - -you had to at least look it. Forget the guy in the boater and pay attention to my tie. Notice the stripes run from the left shoulder down towards the right. On an American tie they run from the right shoulder to the left. A detail but a very important one.
I remember it was hot. No a/c in the middle of August. Misery. But the girls were always decked out . These girls look like they don't know what to do with their hands. You know why? They're not holding a drink and a cigarette. That was how I remember them at parties. With The Talking Heads booming over a stereo.
I was big on cigars then, what with The Black Cat on Spruce and Holt's on Chestnut, you'd be an idiot not to imbibe in the leaf. Cigars attracted these girls like a magnet. They always wanted a puff...or two between drags on their Kent. Funny. I never saw anyone smoke Kents before Philadelphia or after.