Thursday, 15 April 2010

High society

It’s four in the morning and the phone pings.  Lukewarm is on his way to Sion Park with a friend back in London and I’m in bed in Manhattan with a monumental hangover.  My head aches.  I’m drinking water from a tooth mug because I forgot to bring a glass upstairs when I came to bed what seems like, and could well have been, an hour ago.  I want to go back to sleep but I have that coming out of a coma feeling of having done something dreadful, said something stupid, behaved inappropriately that is sobering up after a party.  Actually, a series of parties.

On Sunday I met the Ambassador in Bloomingdales – as you do (he lives in an apartment block opposite) where I was in search of what used to be called a girdle and is the changing room equivalent of being swallowed by a flesh coloured anaconda from the toes up, so that half of you is constricted, eaten by lycra, and the other half is hanging out, struggling to breath.  Naturally, he didn’t accompany me to the changing room.  Afterwards I went to see A Behanding in Spokane with my friends.  It starred Christopher Walken looking like a creepy Max Wall and swearing in the same racist vein as Alf Garnett while the all-white audience laughed at the supposed irony, and I cringed.  Tellingly, the only collective sharp intake of breath, not quite drowned out by more laughter, came when he called the female character a runt beginning with a different consonant.  So the N word is irony but the C word still causes offence.  Pleased to see there are still some taboos.

They then took me to dinner at the Waverly Inn on the corner of their street after the obligatory walk on the Highline.  The sun shone, pink blossom drifted from the trees like confetti at a really camp wedding and I looked like an ageing Heidi in my red polka dot dress and plaits (which I’m working for the tousled curl look when I undo them).  With cleavage I felt I looked like some sort of speciality category on a porn site but my friends didn’t recoil in horror when I bounced along the sidewalk though we all did laugh when imagining the different reaction I would have got from our other friend, the style guru.  He would probably have had me put in a trunk and taken to New Jersey.

The Opera on Monday was slightly less of a fashion faux pas, but only because, despite the style guru telling me years ago that black should only be worn by maitre d’s and restaurant hostesses, at least you can glam it up with borrowed bling.  I had diamonds the size of frozen peas dangling from my ears set in a cascade of other gems whose names I don’t even know, and a matching cuff.  So who cares if the dress is on it’s sixteenth outing, tightly girdled, and held up with elastic and static electricity?  In any case, arriving with my friend Audrey is like wearing a cloak of invisibility.  She was in Lacroix couture with the GNP of Sierra Leone round her wrist and throat (but ethically) and so I just fade into the carpet – though for future notice, it would be a good idea to wear red rather than black, just to match the corpuscular upholstery…  As it was, the only other person wearing black in my size was holding open the stall doors in the ladies room.

We had the gala dinner on the Mercedes Bass terrace (yep, Bass - just like Gossip Girl) together with Bette Midler who was wearing a sort of shiny barrel-chested tunic over leggings and looked like a third world Christmas decoration.  Everyone commented on her plastic surgery which, given that hideous dress, will give you some idea of the competition put up by her face.  Selma Hayek was also there, as was John Lithgow and Christine Baranski (you’d know her if you saw her).  Lady Gaga was purportedly in attendance– we saw her name on the guest list – but nobody knew what she looked like in mufti…

The performance was Armida starring Renee Fleming and sixty quid worth of tenors.  The first act went on longer than the second world war but with much less action and I confess that I kept drifting off into dreamland (blame the jet lag).  I was sitting in the front row of a box so it was just as well I woke myself up every time my chin dropped,  before it landed on the balustrade - though I assume that's why it's padded.

The second act brightened up considerable, and the third act – as with all opera – was another long goodbye as Rinaldo tries to extricate himself from the sorcery of Armida who has bewitched him.  It was the guest who says they have to leave and then stand on the doorstep chatting for another thirty minutes – though in this case singing.  Oh just go already, I was thinking.  I’ve had relationships that lasted longer than their break up.

It got a lukewarm reception in the New York Times, damned by faint praise.  Which brings me back to the text that woke me up at 4am.  

I’m going to have to stop calling him Lukewarm.