I met Jacques there around 5 so the place was already in the throes of cocktail hour. It was so loud that I couldn’t hear a word Jacques said…lipreading, along with loads of wine, was in immediate order. The only good news was there was so much going on that I knew I’d find lots to write about.
There were tables filled with giggling girls and men openly ogling them. A country and western looking guy at the bar was chatting up a blonde the size of a sequoia. In the far corner sat a weepy, waspy woman in her 40s writing copious notes to the piano player who wisely ignored them.
Yes, we had a surplus of screwballs to select from alright.
Then of course you had us, a most attractive couple if I may say so myself, dressing up the joint. Jacques is quite natty, even in his work attire and I didn’t look half bad either. Besides, I always dress up for Bemelmans…it’s a pleasure.
Roger, who comes on at 4, looks more like a middle weight in his white dinner jacket than a waiter. I always think of him as the potato chip man since you never have to ask for a refill on his watch.
“How’ve ya been Roger?” I asked, happy to see him.
“Can’t complain…haven’t seen you in a long time.” He has a voice like James Earl Jones so one could actually hear him.
I watched Jacques pretend the noise didn’t bother him but I knew differently. The atmosphere was much too prosaic for him. If the piano player played softer and the cacophony was less, he would have been a much happier fellow. Not that I could blame him…the din was getting to me too. It was like a bowling alley with live music.
We sat and drank a bottle of white wine while observing the three-ring circus. After my second glass (doesn’t take much), I wondered when the elephants were going on.
My eyes were on Johnny Cash at the bar. Actually he was a lot more rhinestoned than Johnny ever was, but he did look as if he just flew in from the Grand Old Opry. It’s funny, I never used to like that flashy, diamonds sewn along the sleeve look, but in my twilight years it’s become quite attractive. Chalk it up to early dementia.
You have to have a lot of self confidence (or dead brain cells) to wear snakeskin boots and jeans that look like gaffer’s tape when you’re well over sixty. His legs looked like tarred toothpicks. He even had a white streak running across his brow like a painted feather. I kept looking at the blonde whose body language was crooning, are you lonesome tonight? While his sang back, not anymore.
I don’t know who Jacques was looking at but there were plenty of pretty women to pick from. It was as if Bemelmans was having a sale. We finally moseyed to The Mark across the street where peace prevailed.
The night I met Camille that same glitzy guy was there again, this time alone. We sat at the bar so Camille could have a good look at him. He really wasn’t her type but as she put it, “He’s like an exotic zoo animal you don’t get to see too often.”
The blonde was nowhere to be seen but upon getting a closer look I knew he was a, ‘change your socks, briefs and babe every morning’ kinda guy…the type you stay away from unless you’re on vacation and he’s part of the prix fixe….soup or salad and a night with Slim, no substitutes.
Camille was fascinated by his whole shtick. “Look at him, he looks fake,” she said.
“I think he might have had some work done. You could easily ski off those cheekbones.”
I said the wrong thing. More than me, Camille loathes a man who has had plastic surgery. Years ago she was dating a well known actor until he came back from a trip with a face that not even a mother could love. That was the last time R.S. ever saw Camille. Believe me when I say, a woman does not want a man who looks like he was made in shop.
We sat at the bar finishing our drinks when Slim offered to buy us another. I was all set to politely decline when Camille said, “Sure, we’d like that.”
“We would?” That’s when she kicked me.
Turned out he was here for fashion week which more than explained the get-up. My image of him was shattered when he said he lived in Massapequa, not Tennessee.
“But that’s on Long Island…couldn’t you commute?” I said, staring at his belt buckle that looked electric.
“Have you ever heard of an expense account?” he snapped, clearly annoyed.
“Ignore her…she’s just making conversation,” Camille said. There I go again, failing flirting 101. Not that his flying saucer of a face was doing anything for me, but I’m trying to get back to my fighting weight charm wise. I could tell Camille was bored. We both expected him to sound like Levon Helm, not Vinnie Barbarino.
We thanked Ma-de for our drinks and took leave.
You know, you could take a man out of Massapequa, but you can’t take the Massapequa out of the man,” Camille said.
“You got that right Camille. Isn’t Alex Baldwin from there too?”
“Amityville. Either way, I rest my case.” We then went to the Mark and had appetizers at the bar. To our delight Jacques, looking like Gary Cooper, came in and bought us dinner.
Camille couldn’t take her eyes off of his Armani tweed blazer.
He finally had to take it off.