- The Washington Times - Friday, June 30, 2006

We were all sweating on the roof, but one young man’s bald head wasn’t just absorbing the sun’s last fling. The reflection in the beaded sweat drops was thrown back in my eyes as I made a valiant effort to stay engaged in conversation.

The conditions were not ripe for chatter. My sunglasses slowly slid down my nose and the small pile of sour cream on my plate began to ferment as the man drunkenly occupied my personal space, testing it with a waving beer bottle before his beaded head made an entrance.

Welcome, I thought, to the side of Washington where ambitious singles ditch their upbringing and seek to make a name for themselves in a city packed with others cut out of the same mold.

Hello, world of congressional denizens and other D.C. rats who kiss their spouses Monday morning and wait till Friday to catch up or to catch their son’s baseball, meanwhile catching a mouthful of gossip and temptation.

Ahhh, but little black dresses and seersucker suits are intoxicating, cocktail parties on roofs packed with dehydrated strangers a blast. Nondescript, but pretty, faces with jobs in the communication field, all here for the sake of networking. Meet all the people you can, but only to the point where they can help you bank a promotion or connect you to another elitist club.

Be careful not to be too honest, it might actually cause pain. Authenticity may even strip away the mask that hides insecurities and reveals something deeper than Burberry perfume and casual sex.

But, no, it is better to slip the wedding ring into a pocket for safekeeping and fill the soul’s hole with politics and shallow laughter, with perversions and feigned interest. Fortunes are made off such groping minds, just as the dog business booms when live-in couples choose pugs over a baby who actually may look like them.

Aspiring and seasoned politicians who live far from your families, raise your salt-rimmed glasses and toast a mysterious life — a life shrouded in dark sunglasses, briefcases and alcohol to forget that you’re lonely, to remember that you just want to have fun.

Angeline Riesterer, from Portland, Ore., is a rising senior at Hillsdale College in Michigan.

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