Postcard from New York
Sunday 18 October 1998
And so we arrive in all of our finery, only to be told that yes, our names are on the list, but our tickets were posted, and no, they can't let us in without them. Unless we buy new tickets at $250 each, in cash, and they're sure we could organise a refund.
So we opt to stand Donald Trump up (who is - I'm sorry - sexy in a really weird, too-awful-to-mention kind of way: maybe it's just that whiff of money again) and Vogue's Anna Wintour, and head off for consolatory cocktails at the Rainbow Room. Now, it's a long time since someone like Ginger Rogers or Marlene Dietrich hung out here, and you wouldn't bump into Leo there or anyone remotely glam, but the view from the 65th floor is a bit fab, the setting cosy, and if you get there ahead of the crowd, it's comfy.
So we drank. And we talked. And we drank. And at 10.15 I recalled my main goal of the evening, beyond schmoozing at Louis Voo, which was meeting up with a young man named Victor. Now Victor isn't model material, and he's probably not a rocket scientist either. I don't really know what he does, and vice versa, which in the tiny, gossipy, villagey world of Manhattan is bliss.
This is a city where you're told about what Brett Easton Ellis said or did at Beige last night, and you've already heard it; where someone suggests a drink on Friday night, and by Monday, people are asking, 'what's going on between you and Ron?'; a place where the man who's flirting with you turns out to be the boyfriend of a major advertiser and you wonder, is a moment's indiscretion worth six spreads, a gatefold and two outside back covers?
But Victor knows no one I know, he is cute, sexy and kind; and the older I get, the more kindness becomes the premium brand of all virtues. So I nip to the phones to call Victor, whose number I have hurriedly taken down from my address book. But he's not there. The answerphone clicks on, so I speak, a little tipsily, of how much I want to see him - for I have learned to ditch English reserve, just as I have learned to tip - how much I've been thinking of him, the way he made me feel. You name it, I say it, like a bad pop song, and went back for a drink.
After another round or two, I phone him again, listening to the answerphone message, only this time I really listen, and I realise that this is the wrong machine, the wrong Victor. The Victor I had declared myself to was an estate agent who had tried (and failed) to find me an apartment when I first moved to Manhattan. Which meant that the real, premium brand Victor had been at home waiting for a call that never came.
Of course I rush home. There's a message. Victor - and at this point I should point out that Victor is quite Latin in his ways - tells me that I have been disrespectful. Goodbye. "Unlucky in love!", my friend remarks, casually. But I can't help thinking that this more like being ditsy in love. It won't do. It really won't.
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