Anna Wintour, I love you. Your crazy bob hair. Your bug like sunglasses. Your no bs attitude. And despite what most would say, I’d argue that you’re also a feminist. I often pretend to be you while sitting at my desk. I tuck my hair into my shirt so it looks like I have that blunt haircut. I wear those Ashley Olsen homeless sunglasses, and I even get bitchy with my co-workers all while donning this get-up.
In fact, I was wearing that exact look two and a half weeks ago (right around the time Christopher announced his engagement) when a client of the pr firm I work at came into the office to meet with my boss. Her name is “Katrine” and she insists on only dealing with my boss. When I’ve approached her in the past, she dismisses me. Once time she even asked if I could run to Starbucks to “fetch her a soy latte.” Yes, she used the word “fetch” as if I were a German Shepherd. I would only “fetch” for Anna.
Little did Katrine know, I was the one that was writing her bio, pitching her shitty product (and getting great placements I might add) and placing it among celebrities and socialites–thanks to the my relationships with their publicists.
While waiting for my boss, let’s call him Mr. G, to get off the phone, she awkwardly stood in front of my desk as I pretended to be working on a press release. Mind you, I still had my hair tucked in and my sunglasses on. I probably looked like a cross between a hooker and drag queen. Was there much of a difference?
“No sleep?” she said in a thick Russian accent.
“Oh. I guess not,” I replied. I began to type faster in hopes that she would catch on that I didn’t feel like sharing my personal life with her.
“Ah, I get it. Some fun with boyfriend, eh?” she asked. I was skeeved out the minute it left her lips.
“Um, no. Not so much. But thanks for asking,” I said and smiled the most plastic smile imaginable.
“No,” I said still trying to remain calm.
“Oh. I see. Girlfriend.”
“No, no girlfriend. No boyfriend. I’m single.”
I wanted to punch her in her vagina.
Hey, it was the closet thing to me as it seemed to be hovering on the edge of my desk.
“I’ve got just the man for you!” she said as a strange glee washed over her face. Run. Run away from the office now.
“Oh. I don’t do setups. I just don’t–yeah, hmm–I just don’t.”
Katrine inched even closer and looked at me like a mother who was about to tell her daughter that she really wasn’t a size ten, but a size fourteen, and had been removing her daughter’s tags and sewing new ones in. (Or so I’ve heard of this type of glare.)
“You need to lower the bar. Lots of nice men out there, you shouldn’t be so picky,” she said. Wow. Really? I need to lower the bar? Basically she was telling me I overvalued myself. Damn all those self-help books. Fuck you Deepak!
“I’m good, but thanks,” I said, but this time without a smile.
“How old are you? Forty?” she asked. Fire me now because I’m going to pluck her eyes out, client or not.
“She’s thirty…” I heard a male voice call out. I interrupted him before he could get the rest out of his mouth. It was Mr. G.
“Thirty something,” I said and lowered my sunglasses to my nose so that he could fully appreciate my sneer. I was feeling very un-Anna.
“Come on Farrah, you should go out with Katrine’s friend. Why not?” he asked.
“You’re never going to meet any guys if you’re only hanging out with gay men,” he said.
Mr. G held my stare for an extra thirty seconds. Those thirty seconds were enough to imply, if you want to keep your junior level job you’ll go out with the clients friend, no matter how horrifying he may be.
“Okay,” I said and all of the sudden I burst into a coughing fit. I’d literally choked on my words.
I gave Katrine my email me address and cell number and within a few days I received a nice enough email from a man named Louis who worked on Wall Street. He chose the date (last Saturday) and I chose the location.
One of the only perks about working at a boutique pr agency in New York (it’s certainly not the pay) is that you have access to reservations at some of the most sought after restaurants in the city. (It was my inner Anna shining through I tell you!) A friend so graciously got me a table at Delicatessen, a brand spanking new restaurant on Prince Street. I thought it would be a fun atmosphere especially since it’s fashion week and word on the street is that this joint packs in a very fashionable crowd. It was dating risk, yes I know. But I was willing to give it a try.
Since it was a fashiony-type eatery, I appropriately arrived fashionably late. The vibe of the restaurant is a mixture of stainless steel and glass and a ton of pop art everywhere. Lounge music played. I think I recognized one of Hotel Costes CDs that I owned. There were bursts of color and seductive lighting. Fashionistas (I hate that word too but it’s appropriate in this case) and party people sipped mojitos and cosmos by the gallon. The restaurant clearly is the creme of New York City nightlife. My date Louis seated at a table in the center of the restaurant, on the other hand, was not.
Dressed in a gorgeous black dress that I’d picked up at Ina and a pair of fab high heels that were given to me as a gift, I was feeling pretty great making my entrance. I felt like all eyes were on me. Yes, I’ll admit it. I felt a little like Anna Wintour. Until I felt a tug at my back and then a SNAP. The waitress ripped off the tag from Ina that still hung from the back of the dress. I was M-O-R-T-I-F-I-E-D. I smiled at the hostess as a silent thank-you and then followed her to Louis’ table. I flashed Louis a smile, ready to run for the door. Keep an open mind. I told myself. Maybe he was equally nervous and insecure.
He appeared to be in his mid-forties, Mediterranean, and seemed to be relatively fit. Maybe not so bad. Until he opened his mouth. His teeth had caps so large that I thought he was going to gnaw off a piece of my cheek. I did the best I could not to stare.
“So sorry I’m late. I hope you haven’t been waiting long,” I said in a girly way–a way that I was neither comfortable or familiar with.
“I have actually,” he said. No smile. No, don’t worry about it.
This was uncomfortable.
“I’ve surveyed the menu, and I’m deathly allergic to ninety percent of the food here,” he said monotone.
I immediately scoured the room for a waiter. I was going to need a stiff drink. “I’m sorry to hear that. Do you like break out into hives or get itchy?” I asked, trying to make light of the situation.
“I could go into full cardiac arrest.”
Where the HELL is that waiter? Louis reached into his blazer jacket and pulled out a small cigarette style box. He set it on the table and opened it to reveal a syringe and a vial. I panicked.
“Oh I stopped injecting meth years ago,” I joked.
He rolled his eyes at me and then said, “I don’t want to alarm you, but if I should bite into anything with garlic, I’ll have to jam this needle into my leg and be rushed to the emergency room immediately. Otherwise my internal organs will shut down.
A nearby waiter passed and I yanked him down to the table and in my best Anna Wintour demanded, “I’m going to need a martini…NOW!” I looked back at Louis and tried to smile.
After about thirty minutes of even more awkward conversation and two dirty martini’s later, the waiter arrived with the entrees.
Louis was silent and picked at his food with his fork. I took a bite of my salad. After a few more minutes of inspecting, Louis finally took a few meticulous bites.
“So Louis tell me what it’s like working on Wall Street?” I asked.
Louis didn’t say anything. He cleared his throat, then once again– getting louder with each time. Really? This was a bad ninety-minute comedy playing out in front of me at Delicatessen, no less. Fuck.
“Louis?” Louis put his hand up to say don’t come near me. As the throat clearing got louder, I downed my drink faster. Out of panic, I reached for the syringe. Louis put his hand on it to block mine. He cleared his throat in one loud moan causing the Manhattan scenesters to stare even more. I’m never coming back here. EVER.
“Are you okay?” I asked generally worried. Finally, it was over. He suddenly stopped chewing, and then pushed back his food.
“You mind if I skip this meal?” he asked.
I nodded and quickly motioned for the waiter.
This shit doesn’t happen to Anna.
As I waited for a taxi on Prince Street, I reached into my purse and pulled out my dark sunglasses and put them on. Nobody else seemed to get my homage to the Vogue editrix. But I knew there was someone who would. A cab finally pulled up and I got in.
“Fifty-first between Eighth and Ninth, please.” Within minutes, I was at Hell’s Kitchen’s newest and gorgeous gay lounge Vlada.
The doorperson, appropriately enough a drag queen, said to me as I walked by her, “Work it out Miss Anna.”
And work it out, Miss Anna did.