Well, hell froze over: I went out two nights in a row and lived to tell about it.
If I had given thought to the fact that I was going to be going out two nights in a row, I might not have been able to pull it off. Kind of like a tightrope walker being just fine, as long as he doesn’t look down. But a call came late Friday afternoon from my friend L. She and I were in the same playgoup from the time our first babies were like three months old. It was a special playgroup that I created for working moms, and it has continued for nearly 10 years, although now the four core moms in the group no longer meet with our kids. Back then, we met at night, ate pizza and bonded over the challenges of not being part of the daytime parkbench crowd. These days, we still meet at night, usually with our husbands in tow, and bond over, well, whatever real friends bond over. But I digress.
Anyway, L’s husband had bought a table at the annual Real Estate Industries’ Winter’s Eve Dinner Dance to benefit the National Jewish Medical and Research Center taking place the next night and wanted to know if we wanted to come as their guests. “Wow…sure,” I found myself saying.
“Oh, and by the way, it’s black tie,” said L before hanging up.
Oh. Well. Black tie. My closet, stuffed as it is, isn’t really geared towards black tie events. But I managed to find a dress, a pair of strappy sandals, and I was as good to go as I was ever going to be. The event was at the Grand Hyatt, right over Grand Central Station, and the theme was some kind of weird combination of Madame Butterfly, Memoirs of a Geisha and Vampire Lesbians of Sodom. Much of the cocktail hour involved food from all over Asia (sushi, curries, Peking duck, Dim Sum, Satay) and the Martini of the night – Asian Passion (Alize plus Grey Goose…ouch!) – although since (and I mean no disrespect to my people when I say this) the Real Estate Industry in New York City is dominated by wealthy Jews who were brought up to believe that it’s not a party unless you go home with your stomach so full you need to undo your belt, the cocktail hour also featured all of the typical Jewish banquet “stations”: the “Carved Meat”, the “Jewish Brunch”, the “Antipasto”, the “Creperie”, the “Shrimp and King Crab”. There were also a few “stations” I have never seen before – a “sandwich” station where you could get burgers and hotdogs and club sandwiches, a soup station where you could get some sort of mango-chili cold soup concoction.
It was pure gluttony. I don’t quite understand it. But it is, in fact, a part of my culture.
As we made our way around the many cocktail rooms, we saw some real estate royalty of the Jewish kind. In other words, Trump was not there, but Larry Silverstein was. Larry Silverstein is the leaseholder of the World Trade Center (for all intents and purposes, the owner). Lots of faces from my days as a corporate lawyer who helped clients like George Soros sell REIT shares.
As the dinner chimes rang, the guests were ushered into an anteroom where many drag queens dressed as geisha girls sauntered around the room, waving silk flags in the direction of the dining room, where the table was set with Thai beef draped over a salad of greens and udon noodles and a little book that told you where everyone was sitting so you could seek them out for a little networking (even as they were away from their table doing their own networking.
My friend L, who goes to this party every year, advised us where the best networking can be found: on line at the portrait room. I laughed because I could care less about networking.
In case you’re wondering, the portrait room is where professional photographers take your “prom picture”, and you can take it over and over again, until you like the way it turns out. Ah, vanity. Ah, technology.
The meal, which at a Jewish event is never really the main thing since everyone is stuffed from the cocktail hour, was steamed snapper and sticky rice. I had a few bites, and then I heard that there was “stuff” going on in the anteroom. Cool….
Fake tattoo artists, caricaturists, face painters (who would get their FACE painted at a black tie event?! I did see women get things painted on their shoulders and backs though) were stationed all over the room. I got myself a really cool little fake tattoo on the back of my shoulder. I have no idea what it depicts though. It could be something really sweet. Or it could be some terrible curse, or a sign of Satan. Ah well. It will wash off in a few days anyway.
Okay, I better stop now because the Husband needs to go over our weekly agendas. Long story short: I am exhausted, I now have a cold, which I am beating back with Zymed (? Zycam? Alls I know is that it’s homeopathic, it contains lots of zinc, and it leaves a nasty taste in my mouth…but it’s working), I practiced today at home, but a very abbreviated practice (5 A’s, 5 B’s, most of Standing, all the Marichyasanas and sitting in Lotus).
Tomorrow is another day.
** This is not me being a self-hating Jew. It is a line from a Woody Allen film, specificially, Annie Hall (Woody’s character, Alvy Singer is on a rant about how everyone in New York is anti-semitic, even the network execs he has just met with who he claims said to him, “Jew eat?” rather than “Did you eat”.