Valentine's Day is already one of the most horrific experiences you can endure as a server. Compound that with a needy single gal with a February 14 birthday, and you've got a surefire recipe for a homicide.
Amber was one of those girls who could have been genuinely pretty underneath the make-up, fake casaba melon boobs, orange tan, candy-scented perfume, glitter, fake-blue contacts, and badly bleached blonde hair. Most repulsive, however, was her tedious sense of entitlement.
You see, for as Amber reminded me & everyone within earshot throughout the evening, she was:
2) Done with people who didn't give her the respect she deserves; and
3) Making this year all about her, starting with her Valentine's birthday.
I, on the other hand, after an afternoon spent simultaneously dipping my spoon into peanut butter and chocolate ice cream, and my straw into an open bottle of red wine, was in no mood. Girls like Amber are a dime a dozen in Los Angeles. Over the course of my time here, I've made it an almost life-consuming mission to guarantee they know I do not view them with the same false sense of respect with which they view themselves.
Amber and her token slutty Asian friend Molly Yi arrived first for a party of eight. Amber instructed Molly Yi to decorate the table while Amber downed a sickly blue cocktail that she guilted Molly Yi into buying for her. Molly Yi had a water.
I stood at a neighboring table chit-chatting with a group of delightful lesbians who'd bought me multiple shots, when Amber noticed I wasn't equally as enthralled with her.
"Hey!" she shouted. "You've been at that table for, like, 5 minutes..."
"Ok," I replied, slinking over like Michelle Pfeiffer in a cat suit. "And did you need to order something?"
"Ok," I replied. "Did you need to add or detract from the number in your party?"
"Ok," I replied. "What exactly did you need?"
"Well..." Amber searched. "It's obviously, like, a party and you could, I don't know, offer to help decorate or make sure my birthday party is festive."
"I see," I said. "First, as I will likely be the one taking down all this lovely regalia at the end of the night, it's not really my job to put it up. Second, you let me know when everyone in your party has arrived, and I'll make it supes festive."
Amber gave me an open-mouth eye-roll as Molly Yi struggled with a large heart-shaped balloon. The lesbians shot me a look of sympathy. I retreated and poured myself a shot of sympathy.
Eventually the other zoo animals arrived, each one trying to outdo the others in spectacle, feigned warmth, and idiocy.
"HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!" screeched Shawna, whose sentences sounded more like the battle cries of a blind zombie in an emergency room.
The other ladies offered similarly insincere birthday wishes, and Amber basked in them as if they were Academy Awards, not generic salutations. With everyone seated, Molly Yi (under specific instructions from Amber), led everyone in a horrible round of group games, all to the tune of "Who Knows Amber Best" and "What are Amber's Favorite Things?"
I laughed boisterously each of the many times one of the party guests did not know the answers.
"You guys, seriously? You all know my favorite episode of Friends is the one where Rachel's sister comes for Thanksgiving!"
"You guys, COME. ON! My favorite scene in The Devil Wears Prada is where she gets the Harry Potter book for the twins!"
"You guys, seriously, you suck. My favorite jelly bean flavor is passion fruit."
This awkward exercise continued until finally one of the girls suggested ordering food. After a highly complex, unecessarily difficult exchange of modifying salads, nachos, and who was on whose bill, food and drinks were served.
As a drunken Amber licked nacho grease off her face, she gave me a glare and said, "I hope you're pulling out all the stops with my birthday dessert, because no offense? You haven't been very attentive."
"None taken," I replied and walked off.
I returned after the plates were cleared with the tiniest, measliest chocolate flan I could find. I let the birthday candle burn for one minute so that it would also appear tiny and meager. With as little fanfare as I could muster, I approached the table as Molly Yi and Shawna began a tentative round of the "Happy Birthday" song.
I returned moments later to hear the girls' demeanor had changed drastically. Amber was yelling about how she wasn't chipping in for her own birthday meal.
"Amber, nobody's asking you to pay," Molly Yi assured her. "Just because we're figuring out how to split it doesn't mean we expect you to give money."
"It's just..." Amber began defensively, and through forced tears, "I just feel like you guys are making my birthday seem like an imposition. And do you have any idea how shitty that makes me feel??? Like, just throw down your credit cards and split it between you guys, stop making me FEEL BAD!!!"
"No one was arguing about the bill, Amber," Shawna offered with a little less consolation in her voice. "This is, surprise surprise, not about you."
And with that, the girls turned on one another.
"You're being a bitch for no reason!"
"You don't need to be rude to Amber, it's her birthday!!"
"NO ONE even knew the answers to all my questions, you guys are shitty friends!!!!!!!!!"
I did not censor my smile when I returned to the now very quiet, very tense table to pick up the various credit cards.
"Did everyone have a super festive time???" I inquired. Amber started to cry again. Molly Yi took to taking down the balloons.
And the lesbians and I did a round of shots to celebrate a party truly fitting of its hostess.