GIRLS' NIGHT OUT: DRIVEN TO PARTY HARDY
WASHINGTON POST STAFF WRITER
Friday, October 22, 1999
; Page N13
HEY GUYS. Mickey Holliday knows things you don't.
He knows what women talk about when you aren't around. He knows their
innermost desires. Their hopes, their dreams, their fears, their fantasies.
The amazing thing about this acquired knowledge is that it wasn't at all
hard won. It was gained while having fun. You see, Mickey Holliday hosts
bachelorette parties for a living. His company, Girls' Night Out, takes the
hassle out of party planning for gals who want to throw one last crazy bash
for a friend headed to the altar. Holliday works out an itinerary of bars,
then rents a van, then carts the party all over Washington in pursuit of a
good time. "I take the worry out of it," Holliday says. "I'm the designated
driver, so the girls can all just concentrate on having fun."
It's while in the van that Holliday gleans his awareness. "The first hour
or so is when you establish a rapport, then they realize they can trust me,
and I become the invisible man. Then they start talking, and maybe the alcohol
has loosened their tongues, but they're just going on and on like I'm not
there. I think I've got tremendous insight into what girls are thinking now.
Most guys, I have to say, have absolutely no idea what's really going on in
After I talk to Holliday a couple of times on the phone about his
business, he finds a group that will let me and a photographer tag along as
long as we don't mention last names. Hey now! Perhaps we, too, can collect
clues about the cogs of a woman's mind. A few weeks ago, we hopped into a van
with Holliday and were on our way to Falls Church to pick up a group of 10
women, celebrating the impending marriage of Suzanne.
Walking into the apartment of Suzanne's friend Claire we find the women
playing an X-rated version of pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey and sucking down
Jello shooters. Holliday looks my way as if to say, "We've got a live bunch
here!" He introduces himself all around, and after explaining the itinerary
and handing out the "task list"
(more on this later), he herds the women into the van. I hunker down in back.
They ignore me! Yes!
Mickey gets onto I-66 inbound and starts his rap. "Our mission is to keep
you going 'til the sun comes up!" he says to lots of whooping. "At the end of
the night if you want to go to Bob & Edith's diner for breakfast, I'm happy to
take you there." (An entire night of partying, not including any breakfast or
drinks, runs around $300.) He goes on to say that his job includes watching
over everyone and that if there's any trouble, they should know he's right
there if needed.
Later he explains to me the whole safety issue: "Sometimes when there's
alcohol involved, people can get rude, and the girls might find themselves in
a situation where they feel uncomfortable. Some guys get aggressive, but the
bars have people to deal with that kind of thing. I'm just trying to tell
them, `Hey, we're here if you need anything. Signal and we'll be there.' Girls
want to feel like they don't have to worry."
And clearly that night, the women were not worrying. After his little
speech, Becky starts in singing "Oh Mickey, you're so fine, you're so fine you
blow my mind. Hey Mickey!" (Toni Basil would be proud.) The whole crew picks
up the chant, and Mickey's grinning. I'll bet he's heard that one before. The
radio (99.5 "Jam'n Oldies") starts blaring something from "Grease." "Oh my
God! Turn it up!" Now they're all singing "Tell me more, tell me more . . . !"
The conversation then turns to men. I sink lower in my seat. I hear
things I cannot repeat. It seems there's been some sharing of boyfriends among
this crowd, most of whom know each other from a particular Virginia Tech
sorority. They are more than willing to discuss their overlapping experiences.
The Bottom Line on I Street NW is the first stop. There's a line, but
Holliday has strings to pull. He gets everyone in, and gets a deal on
Budweisers. He distributes the beers then lets human nature take its course.
In this case, that means watching guys pluck dollar bills from their wallets
for the right to nibble at the Life Savers taped onto the shirt of the
bride-to-be. The shirt reads "Suck for a Buck." There's a line forming. The
Life Savers are disappearing quickly.
One of the women, Heather, pulls out "The List" and gets to work. If you
haven't been part of a bachelorette party lately, you should know that "The
List" has become de rigueur. It's a scavenger hunt of sorts for the lucky gal,
and Holliday is particularly proud of the lists he works up for his parties.
Number 9: Get a picture of her with a cop as she holds his night stick. Number
12: Makeher use the men's room and scold guys for leaving the seat up. Number
6: Have two guys arm wrestle and dance with the winner. Some are a little more
risque, but not too. Holliday doesn't want things getting out of hand.
After a round of beers, we hop back in the van and move on to Rumors. There
are three other bachelorette parties there, one of them is another Girls'
Night Out party. Holliday explains that he generally prefers to do all the
parties himself, but some weekends he books two or three, and after he sets
them up, he hands the keys to the van to a trusted part-time employee he calls
The DJs are spinning '80s fare like "Our Lips Are Sealed" and "Should I
Stay or Should I Go." The dance floor is packed.
Members of the group are running around with "The List." They find a
Marine who ducks into the men's room, returning to hand over his boxer shorts
(Number 16). Suzanne kisses a bald man on the top of his head (Number 5).
Mickey gets beers for everyone, sipping Coke himself. He hands a glass of
water to one woman in the party, but it's too late. She leaves the club. She's
overdone it and is sick in the alley.
"Oh, that happens," Holliday says. "I try to get them to pace themselves,
or if I see one of them going at it pretty hard in one place, I'll get 'em
back in the van and say to the one, `Maybe you should stick to water at the
next place.' I'm not there to tell them what to do or not do, but it can
really put a damper on the evening. Like what do you do with that person. Let
her sleep in the car? Take her home? But I always have an emergency kit of
water and towels and that kind of thing." (His kit also includes safety pins,
needle and thread, hair scrunchies. Holliday has had to learn to anticipate
the needs of his clients.)
With one of their comrades ill, the party goes downhill from there. The
other bars are scratched from the itinerary. The women pile into the van, and
Holliday points it toward Virginia. Heather is laughing ruefully: "This is the
scary part! We're the youth of America and look at us!"
Oh, Heather, don't be so hard on yourself. It's just one night of
partying. There's a life of responsibility ahead of you. On behalf of the
photographer and myself, I thank you for the candid insights.
Find out more about Girls' Night Out by signing on to
www.girlsnightout.net or by calling 703/319-7750.
Articles appear as they were originally printed in The Washington Post and may not include subsequent corrections.
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