“I want to meet Mr. Big, get married, and live in New York.”
I am freezing my butt at the outside bar of the Bryant Park Grill, sipping shiraz, eating french fries,Â and fielding questions fromÂ two twenty-something German chicks who’ve come to New York for the first time, ostensiblyÂ on vacation. For tonight at least, they are onÂ a fact-finding mission more so than a holiday. They want to know where to find Mr. Big and a good deal on American jeans–in thatÂ order.
The more animated of the two, or at least the one with the better English, is leadingÂ the charge. Even though she has barely touched her sweet-looking drink, she is more than slightly drunk. She waves her stick thin arms in the air a lot and slides her Size 0 butt around the stool a lot, and steals my fries when she thinks I’m not looking. So far, though, she’s more amusing than obnoxious, certifiably happy to meet me and anyone else who lives in New York. Even if it’s partly vodka-induced, that kind of unbridled, unjaded, over-the-topÂ enthusiasm is well, kind of refreshing.
She smilesÂ frequentlyÂ and broadly, andÂ I can’t help noticing her teeth could really do with a bonding. Still, she is lovely in that haphazard, waifish, just-breezed-out-of-my-bunk-at-the-youth-hostel sort of way, a lookÂ you pretty much stop being able to pull off the day you turn thirty-five. With her straight brown hair, full mouth, and pencil thin body, sheÂ also bears a striking resemblance to the 80’s supermodel, Paulina Porizkova. I’d tell her so only she probably wouldn’t know who Paulina is. You see, sheÂ was born in 1981.
“No, really, I want to know,” she persists, plumpingÂ her full lipsÂ into a pout whichÂ if I were a guy I’d probably find really hot. “Where do theÂ Mr. Big’s go?” She tosses her bangs out of her eyes for the umpteenth time and slantsÂ her big round eyes at her friend, whom until now she seems to have forgotten. “We want to go there.”
Yes, well, good luck with that. Not that I say anything so remotely bitchy, of course. Instead IÂ smile back and shake my head and admit it’s a worthy goal–and one hell of a good question.
Just what my friends and I need,Â another nubileÂ twenty-something model look alike swimming in our dating pond which even though it’s Manhattan sometimes feelsÂ more like a puddle. Supposing I do know where Mr. Big hangs out? Does she really expect me toÂ give it up out ofÂ what, the goodness of my heart?
The German educational system is reputed to be among the world’s best, but I’m thinking theÂ curriculum must not includeÂ any Darwin.
To segue from scienceÂ to literature–that’s litter-ah-chur–I’m reading or rather re-reading Candace Bushnell’s SEX AND THE CITY. It’s interesting howÂ living in Manhattan has altered my perspective on the book as well as the HBO series. Before moving here,Â references to The Bowery Bar (B Bar and Grill now), Bicycle Boys, and yes, Modelizers seemed about as relevant to me as Ancient Egypt. I mean good to know, fascinating even, but really whatÂ does any of it have to do with my day-to-day? NowÂ nine months intoÂ my Single Girl in Manhattan Life,Â I find myself sighing and shaking my head. AndÂ groaning occasionally. Okay, a lot.
The Paulina girl interrupts my momentary musing, her eyelids listing toward closed though her drink is more than three-quarters full. “You areÂ Carrie Bradshaw, yes, but you have brown hair.”
I don’t smoke, either, but well, when you’re being compared, even remotely, to Sarah Jessica Parker, is it really any time to quibble?
Candace Bushnell, whom I met last month when she stopped by the Barnes and Noble in Union Square, is frequently likened to literary icon, Edith Wharton. The only Wharton books I’ve read are ETHAN FROME and THE BUCCANEERS and well,Â it’s been a while. (As for THE AGE OF INNOCENCE, so far I’ve made due with theÂ Daniel Day Lewis film). For sure both authors offer an insider’sÂ sometimes scathing perspective on Manhattan culture, though Bushnell’s take is a lot closer to the Age of Un-Innocence. And even though SEX AND THE CITY was first published in 1996, dating some of theÂ references, it’s amazing how much of what she wrote in the 90’s still holds true. If you have any doubts, see my 9-22 blog on “Keeping It Real.” Believe me, modelizing is alive and well.
Fortunately, so are dreams. Yes, “girls”Â of all ages stillÂ want to have fun. But along with the fun,Â we want the fairytale. Sure, Prince Charming is now Mr. Big, the castle is now an UpperÂ West Side high rise,Â and the glass slippersÂ are Manolo slingbacks with some sort of really amazing detailing on the vamp, butÂ otherwise the story, the fairytale,Â plays out pretty much the same.
And I for one am holding onto it with both white-knuckled hands. Even Bushnell’s Mr. Big got it right in the end, at least in the television and film adaptations of the book.
“Sometimes you just want to be with the one who makes you laugh.”
Happily Ever After–and Happy Halloween,
PSÂ In celebration of the day-long Witching Hour, I’ll be pulling out my Inner Princess along with my ghoul-friendsÂ Liz Maverick, Elizabeth Kerri Mahon, Leanna Hieber et al asÂ the GothÂ versions of popular fairytale princesses. I’m going as Goth Snow White and in addition to that Poison Apple, my costume’s corset is well, murder.