July 28th 2012 - One of our most avid fans in the country, Geoffrey Raven, had the privilege of having his 21st celebration at the Playboy Party at Tiger Tiger in Pretoria. He penned his account of the evening which follows below.
Droplets of sweat coated my forehead. A combination of slight detox and where my normothermia of 36.8°C escalated to 37.8°C. A result of midday solar rays scorching the foot of my bed and an electric blanket heating me up as if I were a cold-blooded reptile. I attempted to wet my lips, but with a dehydrated tongue there was no effect so I just smacked them instead. I smiled as I remembered the taste of the ginger beer and whiskey that had stained my taste-buds and somehow managed to survive the night. I opened my eyes to a hazy view and sat up. My mind swirled around like a double-thick strawberry milkshake as the hazy view became more disorientated. I settled my hung-over body down, waited 5 minutes, and re-attempted that motion. This time it was successful. “Look mommy! No hands!” I slipped on navy blue slippers (ones that have some kind of all-terrain soles, where you can walk through the Amazon jungle to fetch the weekly newspaper and walk back to the front door without getting your socks wet) and flung my robe over my shoulders like a magician with his cape. “And for my next trick… I shall attempt to walk down the passage… while still hung-over!” (The imaginary audience gasped). I started to take the first baby-steps towards my bedroom door before the hangover had sunk into the crevices of my brain like butter on fresh toast. I staggered down the passage and collapsed onto a nearby couch. The back-track had begun.
July 27th 2012. It was around 17h30; the preparation for the evening had started. I laid my clothes onto the bed: black pinstripe suit, black waistcoat, white formal shirt, a Velcro bowtie (to add the James Bond edge), a breed of shoes where a pair of zoot shoes had reproduced with a pair of sneakers; and a black vest (since the winter winds were still visiting). It felt like the night of a Matric Dance, tension was in the air but was soon silenced by a hot shower. I got dressed and spritzed cologne onto the chosen heat zones: chest and behind the knees (don’t judge, it works, ha-ha). Then I admittedly waited anxiously for the guests of the party to arrive. The majority of us boarded a black Hyundai Tucson and departed in convoy for the venue. The excitement grew as we ventured further and further into Pretoria along the N1 highway. Unfortunately my nerves got the better of me, it was one of those rare moments where my body knew something that my brain didn’t, it had the upper hand. I remained silent as I imagined what was waiting for us on the other side, although I have to admit that I did throw in my 2 cents worth and laughed as we made situational jokes. After circling the venue twice (from not knowing the area), we had finally arrived and located an available parking spot.
We then walked (some took strides in high heels) towards the entrance of the nightclub. We were greeted by bouncers and were ticked off one by one as they read the names of the guest-list. I was ink-stamped with “Tiger Tiger Pretoria” on my right inner-wrist and was given a red glow-stick bangle. Okay, now we had arrived. A unanimous thought that we should toast off the evening with a drink had entered the air, so we searched for a nearby bar. Now the difference between this party and the other Playboy parties that I had previously attended was the fact that my family had joined me this time. The best part was that my parents were there. A gentleman and a lady who had brought me up with values, manners and have supported me with any ludicrous dream that I had concocted while day-dreaming. A coincidence was that this particular evening was one of those random dreams coming true. It was a moment where my 16-year-old self would have given me a high-five and smiled from ear-to-ear while he hugged me as a thank-you for making the impossible possible.
I mentally time-warped to a page in the memory archives. A time where I was sitting on a couch, wasting away, while I watched TV. I changed the channel and stopped in time before a program had started. It was a biographical documentary about Hugh Hefner and was based on how he became known as the founder of Playboy. I have heard of Hugh Hefner plenty of times but the descriptions mainly revolved around the idea of a man being surrounded by a bevy of beautiful women. My knowledge also relied on the time where I overheard promiscuous students at my high school mention Playboy as a prominent party brand and it as “a magazine that has naked babes. It’s a porn mag, dude.” So to finally see how it all started, was a moment of intrigue for me. I sat there with wide-open eyes as I viewed the story unfold. I was amazed at how persistent Hugh Hefner was to make his dream come true. He mortgaged his furniture to generate a bank loan, received an investment fund from 45 investors and was given money from his mother. That helped him get his idea from a piece of paper to the printing press, and shelved the 1st issue of an undated Playboy, which even had Marilyn Monroe on the cover. I sat in awe as I witnessed Mr. Hefner solidify his dreams in the real world and lived a life that people were too scared to even dream about. He opened nightclubs,hotels, threw exclusive parties in his mansion, started a clothing and fragrance line, flew in his very own customised DC-9 jet known as “Big Bunny”, aired his own TV and radio stations; and made his dream, one of the 5 most recognisable brands in the world. Playboy transformed from a magazine to a lifestyle.
I remembered sitting on the couch and imagined what it would be like to attend a Playboy party. I immediately threw that idea to the side since the parties were hosted in America and I was here in South Africa. I remembered a moment where I was laughing with my parents as we ridiculed about the thought of making our own make-shift Playboy party for my (then future) 21st party. My mom smiled as she said: “Yes! We will have polystyrene Playboy logos, wear fluffy bunny ears, ask the guests to wear formal clothing and play jazz music in the background.” An idea that I grew to love as a theme for my 21st birthday, especially since it includes a touch of tongue-in-cheek humour. I returned to reality when I heard my name being called by my fellow musketeers and the Spartan ninja. “Geoff! Get your butt over here!” I approached the bar with hesitation as I knew that I was heading towards troubled waters in theform of a shot of Jack Daniel’s, a shot of Olmecha tequila and a 330ml bottle of Hunter’s Dry as a “chaser”. I was then further offered to taste their choice of concoction as if I was some sort of sommelier. “Yes, the creamy coconut flavour of the Malibu does blend well with the sweet soda texture of Sprite.” Oh great! I am so screwed! With slight numbness of the face, I realised that there is no chance that I will be getting out of here alive, well unless I stayed incognito for the remainder of the evening (but that proved to be a challenge since my friends could point me out of the crowd like a drunk guy in a bowtie). I had to rely on Plan B, which was to sober myself up by any means necessary. I slurred an order for a glass of Coca-cola and drank it in distorted silence.
I was now in a slightly more sober state, a state known as “tipsy”. I however realised that I was completely wrong, and found out that I was further away from being sober than I thought, when my body went into mild shock as I exited to the outside lounge area to meet up with my parents, who were enjoying a smoke break. My teeth clenched as I swayed from side to side in a rhythmic motion to keep my blood flowing as I warmed myself up in the natural refrigerator, powered by the Pretoria winds (Jeez, and I thought that Pretoria was a city spoiled with the hot weather?). After the cigarettes were extinguished, we decided to return to the warmth of the club and regrouped with the strayed guests in the VIP area. A moment of silence and awe wafted into the atmosphere as the Playmates had arrived with a no-introduction-needed entrance. They journeyed and made themselves comfortable as they settled their belongings and sat at a table in the VIP area. I was very fortunate to be introduced to each of the lovely ladies and to meet an extraordinary photographer. A man who was like a photographic assassin, where after each flash was a “killer” shot. I was then spoiled further by receiving signed copies of the issues that the ladies had posed in. I then noticed the lens of the camera point my way. Uh oh. My semi-intoxicated mind reminded that this was not going to end well. There were flashes, poses, smiles (and drowsy eyes on mypart) as my fellow musketeers, the Spartan ninja and I had fun while we took photos with the Playmates and Playboy Bunny’s. We felt like celebrities for that brief moment. I decided to walk out of the limelight and joined my dad, who sat at a nearby table, while my friends had their photos taken. I nudged my dad with my elbow, smiled and said: “Who would have thought?” An idea that we thought would be the most impossible dream to accomplish was the one that became a reality. We laughed at the surreal evening before being asked to pose for a family photo.
I heard my name being called again. “Geoff! Get over here! It’s time for you to have another shot!” Oh boy, just when I thought that I was flying below their radar, I appeared in their sights and was illuminated by a finger pointing my way. I approached the bar. There were four shot glasses, three with tequila and one with water. I felt a moment of relief but that was soon stolen from me, as if a mat had been pulled from underneath my feet, as one of the ladies threw back the water and I threw back the fermented cactus juice. Whew! Well that was just a storm in a teacup (in my case, it was a shot glass), and I thought that I was safe for the next hour, but I was pointed out again. This time it was my mom and sister, and the poison of their choice was a type of pink liquid settled in a shot glass. The drink was called Strawberry Lips, a mixture where Strawberry Cream Liqueur had been laced with Gold Tequila, and strangely reminded me of the strawberry milkshakes that I had as an 8-year-old. A drink that I would order in a tall glass and sip through a silly straw, while occasionally blowing bubbles. But that was NOT a strawberry milkshake and the outcome was completely different as one would imagine. I had to get out of there while my legs were still on my side.
I joined my friends, where one was accompanied with a drink, and followed them to the outside lounge area, since the Spartan Ninja had a nicotine craving. With a slip of a few clumsy fingers, a glass had smashed against the brick-paved floor. I decided that I should be courteous and apologise to the innocent by-stander, in case there was any spillage on his shoes. With a groggy mind, I answered a rhetorical question as I was shown a dry shoe. I thought that since there was no harm done, I should rejoin my group of friends, but I was then unexpectedly called back by the stranger. Uh oh. Maybe I should have ducked and dived instead. He placed his arm around my neck and held me in a loose headlock. Crap, now I’m screwed. Here comes a threat followed by a beat down. But instead I was given words of motivation. I was told to live life to the fullest and to never give up on a dream (which was quite coincidental, due to the fact that I had just previously spoken to my dad about this evening being a dream come true). He enlightened me on his life’s motto as he mentioned a tattoo that was printed on his right ribcage. “Leef vir Vandag”, an Afrikaans saying that translates directly to “Live for Today”. A saying that had added philosophy to this evening and was even accompanied by the echoing music from the dance-floor. I was released from the headlock and shook his hand to seal the deal that I would enjoy the rest of my evening, before I turned to my friends. I noticed that there was a sparkle in their eyes, and after looking in the direction of their vision, I knew exactly what they had in mind. It was a shiver of an evening and they wanted to heat it up on the dance-floor. I bid farewell to the modern-day philosopher before the group had entered the club.
We ordered a round of drinks before making our way onto the dance-floor. I was handed a cocktail of ginger beer and whiskey. A mixture that tasted pretty darn good, where the burn of the ginger subsided the stripping-power of the whiskey and blended well with its oak flavour; creating a sweet herbal drink (not the type of herbal drink that has healing powers). After snaking through the crowd, we found a comfortable spot on the dance-floor and pulled off some dance moves, moves that shall not be mentioned. All I can say is, who needs to have the “Moves like Jagger” when you have the moves like Mandela. I glanced around to an active dance-floor; everyone was dancing to the beat of the music and the pounding of their hearts. I noticed my sister and her fiancé, smiling as they showed off their dancing skills. I was even graced with the presence of my mom as we danced to the likes of Flo-Rida, Rihanna, and Wheatus with “Teenage Dirtbag”. Boy, did we party that night away.
I woke up from the back-track (with a drop of drool on the corner of my mouth) and found myself on the couch. Wow, what a dream… but the best thing that it wasn’t a dream, it was a memory. It was an evening that I could save in the issue of my mental scrapbook titled Best Memories. After I revised the previous evening’s events, a thought had dawned on me. Perhaps life should be lived in a way where we enjoy every moment of it, where we can’t wait to wake up and live life, and where we don’t have mediocre memories that are clogging up the area where there should be magical ones. I know that I just sound like a dreamer but isn’t that where it all starts? I staggered towards the kitchen and made a cup of Ricoffy before I returned to the couch and started day-dreaming about what the next “Best Moment” would be. I took a sip of the coffee and sighed. Let the good times roll…
To see more photos of the Tiger Tiger Pretoria Playboy Party on our Facebook page, click here.