I complain a lot. An awful lot. If there was an Olympics for complaining, I’d be dripping with gold medals. Even though I do this, I lead a rather charmed life that I don’t acknowledge often enough. Most people my age have not been taken on a private luxury yacht down the Nile, stayed and dined at legendarily famous hotels like the Chateau Marmont or the Drake, had the occasion to become exceptionally familiar with a huge number of Parisian bakeries, gone to the theater with Kathie Lee and Hoda, climbed inside of one of the wonders of the ancient world, or find themselves repeatedly on Nicole Richie’s Instagram. I am so accustomed to this that I fail to realize that people in my station don’t usually experience the world the way I do. I come from a far from extraordinary middle class family, but I oftentimes find myself living like the child of a minor Hilton. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I say all this because the second day Jessica and I spent in Chicago was one of those weird days where we indulged a lot. And I’ll just say this to get it out of the way, we pay for this ourselves. I’m constantly questioned about how I afford to travel. It’s not a complex answer, and I don’t have a huge bank account to draw money out of — I just work and spend as little as possible when I’m not traveling. It’s very easy to live off of potatoes and eggs, reader.
When we woke up, we didn’t really have any plans for the day. The night before, Jessica was commenting that we should just enjoy the hotel and relax. And why not? The Drake is stunning and there are many ways to amuse yourself. Room service, the shops, the tearoom, and Lake Michigan was right outside our window.
We were feeling peckish — as always — so we decided we’d better find something to eat. An annoying thing about America is the tragic lack of bakeries. Back in Paris, you can’t go a hundred feet without bumping into a bakery with a decent baguette or croissant. Jessica had mentioned smoothies the night before when we were walking to Union Station, so I thought I’d take her to Jamba Juice and let her revel in the LA culture.
But, first we had to take selfies because that’s how you show everybody how happy you are and what you’re doing and make them jealous.
Looking good and feeling gorgeous, we headed out the door.
I love Jamba Juice. I used to go there all the time in LA when the Grove was basically in my front yard. I had one with passion fruit and it was delicious. Drinks in hand, we slurped our way down to the river, on the hunt for the BOYS of ONE DIRECTION.
Using the Internet and loads of social media, we tracked them down and made our way to the Langham hotel, which looks very nice. I’ll have to stay there the next time I’m in town. There were loads of teenagers around and Jessica and I were in our element. We’re both basically teenage girls after all. I know I am.
As we stood there, contemplating starting a sing along of the greatest One Direction song ever written, “Stole My Heart,” — WHAT? You don’t know it? Well, let me educate you, dear reader:
You are very welcome.
Anyway, we decided we shouldn’t start a concert outside the hotel. The boys were probably sleepy from their concert the night before and needed their rest. We decided we should just go to the concert again! We had resisted buying tickets for too long. One night with the boys was surely enough, we had thought. But, of course it wasn’t.
I loaded that website where people sell their tickets for higher prices and we found a couple on the floor. “YOLO, Hashtag, bae,” we giggled as we put in the credit card info and secured our seats. Oh, reader, it was glorious. Always treat yourself when you can to the things you like. Many people judge me. They say, “Ben, you’re in your mid-twenties going to a boyband concert?” I can’t hear them. I can’t see them. I was too busy…
Feeling incredibly superior to the peasants sitting around the hotel, we headed back to the hotel with an exciting destination in mind before relaxing. WE WERE GOING TO SPRINKLES. I saw it on the map while we were walking down to the Langham and I lost my shit. I love Sprinkles — they make some of the most delicious cupcakes in LA! Jamba Juice and Sprinkles in one day was almost too much for me, it was like a return to my apartment in West Hollywood!
It was so nice to get my chocolate cupcake and gorge on it back in the hotel with some Lavazza coffee. Gastronomic heaven, reader! I can’t believe I didn’t take any pictures in the room, but it was so nice. We had a corner room, so we had windows facing the lake and then others that looked down on Michigan Avenue. Request a corner room when you stay at the Drake, readers. It looked like this picture that I grabbed off their website:
I went down to the business center — something I had not been aware of before — and printed off our tickets and then we were off to lunch. We had plenty of time and it was too nice to get an Uber, so we walked down to RPM Italian, the restaurant owned by Giuliana Rancic and her husband, good friends of mine. Well, I’ve seen them:
I’ve been meaning to try this place on my last few trips to Chicago, but it hasn’t worked out for a variety of reasons. Giuliana has tweeted so many pictures and written so much about it, so I was excited that I finally had the chance .
We were walking downtown when I heard the distinctive wailing of lustful youths. THE BOYS MUST BE AROUND! I spotted the commotion taking place in that little park in front of the Ralph Lauren Restaurant (another favorite!), Jessica looked at me with panic. “RUN!” I told her and she quickly took off. It wasn’t hard to push and shove our way to the front and we were rewarded with this:
There were boys inside that darkened SUV, reader, but they weren’t the ones I was after. It was the band Five Seconds of Summer who are the opening act for One Direction. We’d missed them last night because of that godforsaken train, but we had seen them the year before in Las Vegas. I’m not much of a fan. Mainly because one of their more popular songs talks about American Apparel underwear, which I take umbrage with as it’s poorly constructed and doesn’t support your bits at all.
Still, we were pleased we had hunted a celebrity down, and it was fun to hear the wailing of the youths who didn’t. “I can’t believe I didn’t see them. I hate myself,” one girl sobbed while collapsing against the Ralph Lauren storefront. I laughed. I’d seen them.
A short while later, we went into RPM Italian and I loved it at once. Jessica didn’t. She hadn’t realized that it was a more upscale place, and I don’t think she was completely prepared for that. She’s odd that way, I’m never unprepared for glamor. She relaxed soon enough.
We were seated quickly in a demilune booth with a good view of the rest of the diners and perused the menu. I ordered Mama da Pandi’s bucatini and an appetizer of fried squash blossoms. Jessica had tortellini and an appetizer of warm ricotta and bread. Now, that sounds lame, but it was probably the highlight of the meal. It’s composed of very good ricotta, some tomato sauce, and excellent artisan bread. Put together, it’s simple, but decadent. The squash blossoms were very nice and the pasta was tasty, if unexceptional. It’s hard to truly stand out with pasta, tomatoes, and basil, you know! The waiter quickly fell in love with us because of our strong dueling personalities that would work very well on a reality show — call me, E!, and we had a really nice time. He also loved us because we sang and danced to the music playing and because Jessica sneezes as loud as an elephant. If you get the chance to visit the restaurant, do it!
We still had a bit of time, so we went back to the Langham on our way to Soldier Field. My Twitter sources were telling me that the boys were going to come out the back exit, so we went back there with all the excited teenagers.
The police kept yelling at us all to get out of the street and not to block the traffic, but we were all, “WHATEVER! GIVE US HARRY!”
It was time to get going, though, so Jessica and I took off and fought the GPS on my phone. For some reason it wasn’t really responding, but acting like it was. It’s never done that before, but we finally found Soldier Field and the parade of children we were going to have to crush. I mean, it’s cute that they think Harry and Zayn are going to be their boyfriends, but it’s very clear that they’re meant solely for me. What don’t these kids understand? They shouldn’t even look at my Harry.
I was rather charmed by one group we passed with a young girl, she might have been eight, I suppose, who was telling her friend about her sign that said something about hugging Niall. Her friend was saying that it was impossible, but the girl responded with the whimsy and wisdom of a much older person, “I know it probably won’t happen, but why can’t I ask?” You get it girl.
It wasn’t long until we were getting our wristbands for FIELD ACCESS. The other peasants burnt with envy when they saw that wonderful green loop dangling from our wrists.
We were hella turnt up tonight. Last night we had been so stressed and tired from our unlucky travels that we didn’t really unwind until today! Here on the floor, though, we were having the time of our lives! We had loads of time to kill before the boys came out, so we decided to dance. Let me tell you, reader, I don’t think we have ever danced harder.
Jessica and I are clearly gifted at the dance, as I’m sure you already know or suspected. We also love attention, so we were doing all of our best moves. It was like this:
People were envious. Admittedly, we looked like fools, mainly because we were some of the only people dancing on the floor. I’m sure there are dozens of shaky Vine videos online right now of us in all of our glory. I was surprised at how prudish most of the people around us were. The ones on our right actually looked pissed to be alive. We were so happy to have the dwarf lesbian in front of us and the two women dressed up like bananas behind us. They were truly our concert soulmates. Silly bananas. You can see them in the riff raff picture.
I have often viewed my role in the world as an educator and a confidant. I do this a lot at work, but I find that these activities spill out in all aspects of my life. I like when people can be themselves and enjoy themselves. Because, as our dear Ru once said:
Anyway, there was this young girl a few rows back who kept dancing for a few seconds before sitting back down, clearly embarrassed. One time when she was up, I nodded at her approvingly, and I never saw her sit back down. Vote for me for governor! I’ll make dancing a vital part of Iowa culture.
Five Seconds of Summer, 5SOS as we young people call them, came out and I swayed to the beat. I didn’t know any of the music, and as I said, I didn’t approve. But I came here to have a good time, so I faked a smile through their set. They were finally done and then after an interlude that nearly caused me to pass out with excitement as I did the macarena, the BOYS CAME OUT.
Sadly, it’s almost impossible to take really good pictures at concerts no matter where you’re standing. The lights are too erratic to focus. I suppose the new camera on the iPhone 6 Plus might do it. I’ll have to get one before I see the boys again, and I surely will, reader. I love them. I don’t care what you think!
I was having a much better time than last night. I could actually see all of their beautiful faces this time. Harry was looking PERFECT and Zayn…well what I can say. He was stupidly good looking. Like, he was so beautiful that I wanted to punch him in the face.
Look at him, readers. Is that not what physical perfection looks like?
Louis, Niall, and Liam all looked fine, too, but I wasn’t really there for them. I was here to worship at the altar of Harry Styles, like half the audience, and weep whenever Zayn blinked or sang or took a blessed breath.
The boys were clearly in a better mindset than they were the night before. There were jokes and chitchat and Harry spit out water like a whale. They even brought a young girl up on stage to sign her cast. I think she might be a saint now.
Then the stage magically lifted and the boys were a bit closer to heaven, where they came from originally.
There was an outfit change and Zayn did something VERY important. He switched into a tank top. Here it is from both sides.
All good things must come to an end, though, and so did this third One Direction concert of my life.
Getting out of the stadium was a mess, but we were so high from our exposure to the boys that we didn’t care one bit. We probably should have called a car, but we were determined to walk back to the Drake for some reason. I think we thought we’d find nourishment somewhere, but all we found was Walgreens. So, we grabbed some nibbles there and Jessica shuffled up Michigan Avenue screaming to anybody that would listen about her chafed vagina. I was glad she did this. Who was going to mug us? We were clearly insane.
I wanted a cupcake and Sprinkles has a CUPCAKE ATM that is open 24 hours a day. This is truly a remarkable time to be alive, reader.
There was a big line of drunken bridesmaids when I arrived, and they screamed with glee each time a cupcake was delivered. I feel the same way when I see food, won’t deny it, but they needed to keep their shit together!
* * * * *
The next day we had to pack up and get going, but I wanted to go check out the beach first, so I scurried down there and took a few photos.
Shortly after, we checked out, got lunch at the Cheesecake Factory, took an Uber to Union Station and boarded the very delayed train home. There was a beautiful sunset over the Mississippi and then we were back in Iowa, impatiently waiting for the next adventure…which I’m just starting to figure out. I’ll give you a clue though: ghosts, Ms. Price, modern obelisks, and a man named George.