The dress code on the invitation said “Hollywood Glamour.” I glanced at my husband and sighed. It didn’t take a brain surgeon to realize this meant gowns and tuxes. I’m just more of a meat and potatoes kind of girl, that’s all.
My husband works for a very wealthy man. Wealthy, like he owns four homes and has his own plane, wealthy. I must clarify that we do not run in the same circles or socialize much with “the Boss” and his wife, “Twyla”, but as a long-time and loyal employee, Craig (and I) occasionally get invited to one of their soirees.
Last month we received an invitation to “the Bosses” birthday party from “Twyla” (Thin, Wealthy, Yout-going, Lovely and Attractive). They have a home in Beverly Hills and, literally, share a driveway with a very famous movie star, who I am classy enough not to name but let’s just say she and Brad Pitt used to be married.
So we loaded up the truck and moved to Beverly.
Hills, that is.
Swimming pools and movie stars.
As we wove our way through Hollywood, four crossing searchlights beamed out towards the heavens from a location high in the hills. Craig looked over at me and raised his eyes. Wordlessly, I shrugged and wondered if that’s where we were headed. We had entered a different zone, a time zone if you will, and I searched the night sky for the unicorns and superheroes I’m sure had been hired to spirit us away to the party. This was, after all, the night before the Oscars and it was Hollywood / Beverly Hills / LA / Tinseltown / California – anything could happen.
The searchlights drew us in like zombies and, sure enough, when we reached the estate, it was apparent that we had found the mother ship. Security personnel swarmed the base of the drive directing party-goers and paparazzi alike and we followed limousines and Bentley’s up the winding road, past the heavily gated mansion of that famous movie star who was recently in that “Marley” movie, and got in line to valet our borrowed Subaru station wagon.
The wine and the valium kicked had in and I felt oddly relaxed, like I did this every day, like I belonged, like I’d come home. I readjusted my bosom, shook out my hair, and smiled to the tuxedoed men scurrying to open my door and help me out. A large red carpet led from the car to the mansion and I had to turn my head as I walked it, the bright flashes from the photogs camera’s blinding me, and the deafening screams of the paparazzi calling out my name forced me to cover my ears. (Umm… well, I may have exaggerated a bit. Not the part about the drugs and alcohol, but the part where they were screaming my name. All I actually heard was someone say was that “she’s a ‘nobody’”, but at that point, I was living the dream my friends, living the dream)
“Oh-my-God! You look fabulous! Who did your gown?” A woman, who looked just like Joan Rivers but a hundred years younger, rushed over to us and shoved a microphone in our face.
I couldn’t remember the generic name on my label, so I just smiled sweetly and replied “Dior, dahling”. The Joan impostor nodded, duly impressed, and then asked us to say a few words to the birthday boy. We offered our congratulations into the videographer’s camera and then walked into the gala. My fake jewels glistened in the fake moonlight and I walked into the party, chin held high, chest even higher.
Burka, baby, burka
Quick note. The last event I attended in Beverly Hills was for Twyla and “the Bosses” wedding. I had on, what would be considered in the Midwest, classic wedding attire – a long black skirt and a fitted jacket. My hair was pulled back in a chignon and my make-up was . . . normal. In Beverly Hills, my outfit was akin to wearing a burka – I kid you not. The female guests at the wedding wore long sweeping strapless gowns held up by their ample and overflowing cleavage. Make-up and hair were professionally done (duh!) and the jewels, oh the jewels. I swore the next fancy party I attended I would not make the same mistake.
And I didn’t. That night I was not the same frumpy bumpkin that I once was. The moment I stepped out of the family car, strewn with my nieces and nephews toys, I became as charming as Cinderella - or at least, Snow White. After giving Twyla the small gift I had made (fancy potholders), I offered up my fake fur wrap to the butler as though he were my long-lost brother. I batted my false eyelashes, air-kissed (European-style, no less) anyone who came even remotely close and even tucked a business card in my amply displayed cleavage. I refrained from whistling at the speeches and clapped politely when necessary. I thanked the “help” when leaving and didn’t even ask what they were going to do with all the extra food.
After midnight, we returned to the pumpkin for the trip back to my brother-in-law’s place. I kicked off my slippers and struggled out of my girdle (code name – “Spanx”) so I could take my first deep breath of the evening, and sat back for the long ride back to the other side of the tracks.
All in all, it was an interesting night but I couldn’t imagine living that way. I would miss doughnuts and deep breaths (two things that are near and dear to my heart), and just the anonymity that being a “nobody” brings. I would, however, take the rich part. That I could get used to.