Using Chicago Party Aunt's own colorful language, you might call her a media whore.
“I’m just trying to build a following,” the author of the @ChiPartyAunt Twitter handle told me. She/he/they agreed to an interview as long as I kept their identity secret.
I debated, remembering the time-consuming hours I spent trying to uncover the true voice behind the hilariously profane @MayorEmanuel back in 2010-11. He eventually revealed himself as Dan Sinker, an unassuming entrepreneur and writer whose tweets detailed a farcical life of then-mayoral candidate Rahm Emanuel.
I decided this time around that keeping the mystery was OK. Knowing @ChiPartyAunt's true identity would take the fun out of guessing. It's like a party game to imagine, according to one Twitter follower. Another said he wouldn't be surprised if Chicago Party Aunt was really the sharp-witted Matt McGrath, the aide to the real Mayor Emanuel. (He's not.) And the writer of @ChicagoBars, another Twitter enigma, says he doesn’t know Chicago Party Aunt’s true identity but enjoys telling people it could be Sun-Times reporter Fran Spielman “so they’ll follow her reporting.”
In an in-character interview, the sharp-tongued Chicago Party Aunt reveals only a little bit about her true self. Her childhood was spent “growing up in the greatest city in the world, sweetie. I'm lucky in that I've been able to achieve all three of my childhood dreams: I've been a Luvabull, a Honey Bear and a Loop Rock Girl.”
Among the things that make it the greatest city in the world? Its dive bars, of which she's a connoisseur. "A wise man once said, 'dive bars are unpolished, imperfect places filled with unpolished, imperfect people,'" she says. "Nothing makes me feel more at home than the smell of a backed-up urinal, the taste of a lukewarm Old Style, the feel of my leopard-print Uggs sticking to the floor."
But it's not all lounge-lizarding; she keeps active. “Fighting for my dibs really keeps my blood pumping," she says. "Just yesterday I cut a ladies brake lines for moving my street ironing board.”
In between carousing, she's got a rich home life. “I'm happily married to my husband Kurt who works for Chicago Street and San in the pothole division," she says. "I've lost count of what number husband he is but I've never been more in love. He proposed to me in Section 210 at Solider Field. He hid the ring in a brat. Most romantic thing anyone has ever done for me. Kurt supports me in all that I do and gives me a hall pass for any major- or minor-league athlete."
Given she tweets often about her sons, I asked how Chicago Party Aunt likes motherhood: “When they're not getting arrested I love it…. Also very proud of my daughters, most of them are Blackhawks ice girls in the winter and work the Wrigley rooftops ice tubs in the Summer.” And they're responsible for her singular party hairdo. "Most of my daughters are Aveda Institute of Hair Design drop-outs so if there isn't a Hawks game they'll do it for me. I go through a can of Big Sexy Hair Spray a day."
And after night falls, she makes time for a certain special someone.
"I'm a WGN News girl. Tune in every night to see my sweet, sweet Tommy Skilling. He's the perfect man."