Good things come to those who can't appreciate them. I learned that at Saturday night's Playboy party, at the Casa del Prado in Balboa Park.
Ever since puberty, I've wanted to attend one of Hef's parties and be surrounded by sexy gals and celebs. Naturally, when I finally wangled the invite to his Super Bowl party, it's when my wife is beginning her third trimester.
Securing the invitation was hard enough; convincing my wife that it was all "just work" and "no big deal" was another. She kept calling me "Corey Feldman" because he did the same thing to his wife on the reality-TV show spawn The Surreal Life.
But go I must, expecting a decadent night with celebrities galore.
Instead, it was more like Happy Hour at Gordon Biersch in Mission Valley because much of the crowd looked like young, single successful San Diegans who, like me, begged for free tickets. For the aging frat-boy crowd, it was, as one guy put it, "the beer commercial of my dreams"-that is, if you have a taste for the cheap stuff: Miller Lite, Fosters and Miller Genuine Draft rounded out the beer menu.
San Diegans-this native included-are notorious for not dressing up for any occasion, and while no one sported shorts and thongs (footwear, mind you), there was a refreshing lack of style at the so-called "hottest party of the year." Jeans, dress shirts, Raiders jerseys, Mardi Gras beads and tight skirts prevailed.
The Prado was "Hefnerized" beautifully for the occasion. Classic architecture always looks better bathed in blue and orange lights. Topless models graciously allowed a chubby artist to use their breasts and bellies as a canvas. One woman was a flag (with one of the stars covering her left nipple) while another became a walking advertisement for Miller Lite. Playmates sported temporary tattoos of the Playstation logo. Well done, Sony. Well done.
In keeping with the Spanish mansion's theme, buxom maidens in slinky Mexican dresses handed out plastic maracas, while glad-handing guests like me helped themselves to cigars rolled in the Dominican Republic.
As for the food, thumbs up to the lamb-fennel meatballs for which I made lots of return trips to the "blue room"-the only place with food. Luckily, one of my secret passions is listening to throbbing techno beats while eating bread, cheese and cucumber salmon patties.
One woman, so excited to be at the party, was overheard telling her date, "You can have anything you want tonight from me, baby."
He seemed pleased to hear the news.
I wasn't. It was getting near midnight and I still hadn't run into Nelly, Joe Millionaire or my hero,
John Stamos. I did see Entertainment Tonight reporter Maria Manounos, and I thought I saw CSI star Marg Helgenberger warily eyeing something.
Meanwhile, Shield star and Emmy-winning actor Michael Chiklis was laid-back, enjoying the vibe and appreciating being recognized by the salesmen and accountants and other middle class professionals in attendance.
At one point, I saw Tom Arnold walk by, and while my first inclination was to reach into my pocket and grab a camera. At that moment a little angel appeared on my left shoulder and said, "Relax, it's only Tom Arnold."
I looked to my right and a little devil appeared, "Oh yeah, I agree. Tom Arnold is no big deal."
What I hoped would be a wild romp with the famous and more famous turned out to be something akin to a really nice wedding reception. I had dreams of partying hard with movie stars and perhaps shuttling a carload of them to the La Posta Mexican food stand for after-hours shenanigans.Instead, I went home before midnight to my lovely wife just in time to watch Cheaters on Channel 6.