Tag Archives: birthday
9 Aug

The Mean Reds and Friends as Tiffany’s

Growing up, I had my fair share of advice from adults and self-help books to be judicious in finding company. “Be careful choosing your friends,” a particular book said, “you become who they are.” 

With time I came to realize that friendship, as with any relationship worth its while, becomes less about enabling circumstances and more about the choices we make to stay connected. This becomes especially true when circumstances – for reasons geographical, professional, spatial, or if you want to go all Bradbury or Spielberg about it, dimensional – make togetherness anywhere from a notch to an eon more difficult.

The desire to connect is a commitment.

Nineteen years ago, I was born on the last week of July in the midst of a thunderstorm. Every birthday since, it had been a challenge to invite people to celebrate with. Varying degrees of rain were constant gatecrashers at my parties, after all. But this July 29 was a different story, with some of those I hold dearest conspiring for a surprise get-together. 

The tapestries of each friendship are as diverse as the people themselves, but a single thread binds them together. They are among the first people I could, would and do turn to when I get a bad case of what Audrey Hepburn (as Holly Golightly) called the “mean reds”.

My birthday outfit was inspired by the iconic “wild thing” Miss Golightly.

The Taylor black brocade dress (P250) is from Red Tomato. Black leather platforms are by Gibi. Layered teardrops choker (P150) is a tiangge find, and the necklace used as a hair accessory is a birthday gift.

Here’s one of my favorite scenes from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, where Holly explains the mean reds to her writer-neighbor Paul Varjak: 

Holly: Poor cat! Poor slob! Poor slob without a name! The way I see it I haven’t got the right to give him one. We don’t belong to each other. We just took up one day by the river. I don’t want to own anything until I find a place where me and things go together. I’m not sure where that is but I know what it is like. It’s like Tiffany’s. 

Paul: Tiffany’s? You mean the jewelry store. 

Holly: That’s right. I’m just CRAZY about Tiffany’s! Listen, you know those days when you get the mean reds? 

Paul: The mean reds, you mean like the blues? 

Holly: No. The blues are because you’re getting fat and maybe it’s been raining too long, you’re just sad that’s all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you’re afraid and you don’t know what you’re afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling? 

Paul: Sure. 

Holly: Well, when I get it the only thing that does any good is to jump in a cab and go to Tiffany’s. Calms me down right away. The quietness and the proud look of it; nothing very bad could happen to you there. If I could find a real-life place that’d make me feel like Tiffany’s, then – then I’d buy some furniture and give the cat a name! 

In another scene, Holly said, “Anyone who ever gave you confidence, you owe them a lot.” I may not see these lovelies all the time, but everyday I’m grateful for the likes of them, who make me feel like Tiffany’s — and eons, eons better.

Advertisements
6 Aug

I’ve never been out on a date for my birthday, so when Raine — among my favoritestestest people in the world — asked me out, I squealed a yes even before I could blink.

Together, we indulged in an evening of story-swapping and gustatory revelry with entrees at the Stella Wood Bistro and dessert at The Diamond Hotel’s Cake Club. For the main course, I had my fill of bone marrow with garlic focaccia crisps, served with a rosemary sultana compote and gremolata.

After we had asked for the bill, I oh-so-pointedly mentioned that it was my birthday. And what do you know? The waiter came back with two scoops of Arce Dairy Mantecado ice cream. The flavor was a childhood favorite, and for that moment I felt nineteen going on nine.

Our idea of a post-dinner workout involved the most unorthodox of fitness equipments: DSLR, lamppost, busy sidewalk and the added bonus of a drizzle. We like to think we burned a good deal of calories chasing our shadows on the pavement, twirling, jumping and posing for outfit shots.

That day’s outfit featured a black and white semi-sheer dress (P60) from a Makati ukay, a ribbon recycled from a birthday package, my favorite black doctor’s bag (P250) from a Japanese thrift store and red rose shoes from Landmark. 

It would later turn out that whatever exercise we deluded ourselves into doing was for naught. Our desserts at the Cake Club made doubly, triply sure of that. I’m not very fond of chocolate cakes, but the promise of dark chocolate in the Supermoist Chocolate Cake made me rescind initial distaste. Happily, it didn’t disappoint.

Moreover, Raine had been gushing about their Baked Cheesecake Ice Cream (BCIC) since the summer, and I understood why upon the first spoonful. 

Think of a chunky cheesecake with a nibbly crust. Now add milk and velvety cream, and there goes a humble approximation of the goodness that is BCIC. 

Before paying the bill, I casually mentioned again that it was my birthday. The waiter promptly excused himself and returned with a menu. I got to choose two ice cream flavors on the house, and happily settled for the robust black sesame and the sherbetesque lychee.

That night was the caloric equivalent of raising two fat middle fingers up the face of my so-called grad pictorial diet.

But I’ll never forget what Raine told me when I thanked her over dinner for the birthday treat. She said she had given her gift some thought, but ultimately opted for something impossible to replicate or replace: “I realized I can buy you anything at anytime. And anyone can do the same. But I can’t really buy you memories for you to keep, so I’m gonna give you one for your nineteenth.”

And what a memory it was — rambunctious, spontaneous and overall precious, long after the moon pulled back the strings of rain, and long after the plates had been cleared away.

Photo credits to Raine Calucag.

Chapter 19: Page 1

30 Jul

“Why is the windshield larger than the rearview mirror? Because what lies ahead is far more important than what we leave behind.”

Spending my first hour as a 19-year-old going through pictures of the last few days and heart-warming birthday greetings (will get back to each of you lovelies soonest!).

The universe and the weather system conspired to cancel my morning PE class (I’ll miss touch rugby for another week, but hey, I’m not complaining).

Thank you to everyone who has been part of my journey thus far.

Thank youuu as well to Mamao, her chief accomplice Raine and the sneaky — and special! — creatures who connived to present a birthday surprise like no other.

Together, we rediscovered “adobo”, tested our innuendo mettle with What’s Yours Like?, vented through a strictly-timed round of Apostrophe, and got ultra-competitive over Taboo and Wordi. Besides good times and goodwill, we had our fill of tongue (thanks to my favorite lengua), the staple birthday noodles, barbeque, sardined milkfish, cheesy laing, pretzels, pretentious junk food organic fruit chips, wine, Gouda and Colby.

Sneaky, sneaky.

By sunset, we had made the following all-important realizations:

1) Say “Lady___” as a clue for the “bug” in “ladybug” and you’re just as likely to be answered with: “Gaga!”

2) Unicorns can, in some ways, resemble bulls.

3) To some (and by some, I mean to Suzette Dalumpines), “hulk” is a perfectly acceptable rhyme for “honk”.

4) Making jokes is easier than making love.

5) America — not just flying or super strength– is a superpower.

6) “Royalty” is what jacks up after the EO on mining is passed.

7) Giraffes can’t really reach their ears with their tongues.

Thank you for sharing today — and so much more — with me, you precious sneaks.

Cheers to the sunshine in each of us, and to the company of people who keep downcast skies at bay!