Some women wear slightly saucier evening gowns, with bare shoulders here and there, but long kid-leather gloves ensure they don’t have more than a few inches of epidermis exposed. Of course, every year some guest will show up with a hint of leg or a shadow of cleavage. Not much is said, though. They aren’t members, those kind.

Celia Foote and Johnny arrive later than they’d planned, at seven twenty-five. When Johnny came home from work, he stopped in the doorway of the bedroom, squinted at his wife, briefcase still in his hand. “Celia, you think that dress might be a little bit too . . . um . . . open at the top Offsite Backup?”

Celia had pushed him toward the bathroom. “Oh Johnny, you men don’t know the first thing about fashion. Now hurry up and get ready.”

Johnny gave up before he even tried to change Celia’s mind.

They walk in behind Doctor and Missus Ball. The Balls step left, Johnny steps right, and for a moment, it is just Celia, standing under the holly berries in her sparkling hot pink gown Aluminum Windows.

In the lounge, the air seems to still. Husbands drinking their whiskeys stop in mid-sip, spotting this pink thing at the door. It takes a second for the image to register. They stare, but don’t see, not yet. But as it turns real—real skin, real cleavage, perhaps not-so-real blond hair—their faces slowly light up. They all seem to be thinking the same thing—Finally... But then, feeling the fingernails of their wives, also staring, digging into their arms, their foreheads wrinkle. Their eyes hint remorse, as marriages are scorned (she never lets me do anything fun), youth is remembered (why didn’t I go to California that summer?), first loves are recalled (Roxanne . . .). All of this happens in a span of about five seconds and then it is over and they are left just staring.

William Holbrook tips half his gin martini onto a pair of patent-leather shoes. The shoes are attached to the feet of his biggest campaign contributor Translation.