Marijuana? You almost had to scavenge for it. But talk of legal briefs, raquetball, the best sailing approach to Oxford, Md? Now that stuff was easy to find.
As everybody has known for some time, those radicals of the '60s are now the accountants and oxford shirts of the '70s. Nonetheless, it's a transformed breed that still finds it socially chic to be seen at fund-raisers for NORML, the national marijuana lobby.
So last night, Washington's fashionable, liberal and perilously close-to-30 (or horrors, even beyond) contingent paid their $35 a head and trooped up to Stewart Mott's house on Capitol Hill. Once inside, they were greeted by cream cheese and caviar, some muted Rolling Stones and probably a half dozen or so Brooks Brothers suits.
"I can't believe it," said Anne Zill, the woman who distributes Mott's annual$1 million for liberal causes. "It's like young businessmen. Hunter Thompson isn't lounging around."
He certainly wasn't. And neither were the White House staffers who, by attending in past years, have more or less put this party on the map.
Still, people could dream. "There's a couple of White House staffers upstairs," joked Shelley Broderick, a lawyer.
"Peter Bourne, for instance," added James Doyle, another lawyer.
But that was in the old days, back in 1977 when Carter's health and drug abuse adviser Bourne reportedly snorted cocaine at a larger NORMAL party -- a report that helped lead to his resignation. The old days included last year, too, when Thompson and some 1,000 others had this wild time at the Elk's Club. No longer.
This year, the crowd numbered 100 or so and White House staffers -- among them Hamilton Jordan, who is under federal investigation for allegedly snorting cocaine at New York's Studio 54 -- stayed home.
Among those who did make it were people from High Times magazine, a representative from Mayor Marion Barry's office and Bill Paley Jr., son of the CBS czar.
"I'm engaging in therapeutic irresponsibility," said Paley, who wore sunglasses, a tweedy sport coat, a thin tie and cowboy boots. "I shall look for the perfect cannabis cocktail." It was not known whether he found it.
And then there were those who sighed some about what they saw as the passing cause to legalize marijuana.
"I mean marijuana is really passe," said Eric Sirulnik, a George Washington University professor and lawyer for NORML. "Cocaine is the next plateau."
The party, for one reason or another, had a male to female ratio of about 7 to 1. This caused a fair amount of discussion, especially in a city where the ratio is often said to be the exact opposite.
Nobody, however, had an explanation and one guest certainly didn't care.
"I'm not complaining," said Sue Leland, a part-time paralegal. "When I walked in, I said 'Hot dog.'"