Thursday, March 22, 2012
The Sweet Smell Of Excess
You know you are in the bathroom of a very fancy apartment when you are halfway through peeing and you realize you don’t know how to flush the toilet. This is why we can’t have nice things. I am out of my element all the time in Manhattan, but never more than when I am hanging out with Reichen. It isn’t Reichen, just to be clear. He is in every way a very earnest and accepting fellow, like an Irish Setter whose only interest is setting. But like a magnet he attracts the who’s who of this and that. If it isn't always A-List, it is frequently at least, an act of becoming, huddled masses on the teeming shores of fabulous with me, the tempest tossed.
Reichen invited me to a private party for his new VH-1 show. Last I heard, he was on that LOGO show which is in every way the afterbirth of Andy Cohen’s very demon spawn. I adore Reichen, but I am not a fan of that particular version of reality. Actually the last I heard of Reichen was his fragrance launch party at Industry, which I had a delightful time at. And since I met my most marvelous new friend Ryan White there, I thought it only fitting that he join me as my plus one for this latest Reichen launch event.
I met Ryan outside a rather nondescript building on the outskirt steak of Chelsea. At first I thought we had the wrong address but Ryan assured me he went to a holiday party in the same building and it was quite fabulous. What the building lacks in curb appeal, it makes up for in soaring twenty foot ceilings and private car elevators so you can literally drive right into your apartment. “But,” Blair hastily added with a mock sniff. “It’s only a one car garage.” And who can live like that!
As we arrived, people were gathered in various rooms watching the new VH-1 show Couples Therapy while a handsome and decidedly heterosexual male wait staff hustled up a delightful buffet-style meal of stewed beef, green beans and mashed potatoes I coveted to the point of wishing I could snort them through a straw. Blair came off the couch ostensibly to greet us, but mostly as an excuse to have a second plate of dinner. As we three happily chowed down, the show came to a quick end. As some second show began airing about women with lifted faces that featured lots of close up shots of high heel shoes, the crowd rose from around the TVs and started to get social.
I met Jay and Tom and then another guy named Jay. I think Sex and the City had no truer line about the gay community than Samantha’s “He’s friends with my friend Bobby’s friend Bobby.” I know that being gay means twice the male names but really sometimes they do cluster. Blair and I are lucky in that we rarely need to worry about being introduced to someone with the same name. Reichen is the luckiest of us all. Now he is a one-name celebrity like Cher or Ovaltine. And there will never be another Reichen.
As one Jay casually mentioned constantly that he was a doctor who studied at Vanderbilt University (“Hmmm… now what year was I at Vandy?”), I started eyeing a tray of cookies in the kitchen so lecherously that one of the straight waiters finally gave in and offered me one, even though they hadn’t finished clearing the buffet yet. I took two, despite the fact that I am trying to slim down before The Hookies on Friday. But let’s face it: the show is in three days, I’m not even close, and Seth Rudetsky’s daughter just delivered my Girl Scout cookie order on Monday. I don’t have a prayer of thinness in my immediate future, so all the more reason to try instead for the next season of The Biggest Loser. After all, this reality show thing hasn’t hurt Reichen one bit.
I did finally get some one-on-one time with Reichen, who now has biceps as big as a thigh. After I commented on his Paul Bunyan arms he turned all modest. “I don’t think they’re any bigger,” he demurred. But just as quickly he was pulled away for another photo. “Why does no one want to take our picture?” Ryan White asked innocently, as I stood next to him in a twelve year old t-shirt from the GAP.
“Because everyone thinks you died 22 years ago. That’s why.”
After my quick retort we retired to the relative safety of the couch for a brief sit. In the midst of our merry laughter, Reichen swooped down with some cologne samples. “Share this with your listeners,” he suggested, realizing the nonsense of what he was saying as it was still coming out of his mouth. “I know. But it does raise money for these three charities so at least mention it, will you?” I told him to come on the show next week and he suggested bringing one of the women from Couples Therapy with him. Good. Less awkward talk about The A-List that way.
As the party broke up, I peed in the fancy bathroom and then made the rounds. As I leaned in to wish Tom a good night, he knocked into the handsome guy he was talking to and caused the guy to spill some of the drink on himself. That’s me. If something spills on you, I am probably not far away. This is why we can’t have nice things. The stranger didn’t seem to mind the spill and tried to engage me in cute friendly banter, but it’s important for me to leave while I’m still behind. On my way to the front door/elevator combo, I grabbed a to-go cookie to eat on the long ride back down to my reality. After all, what is the point of tasting the glamorous life if you can’t take a little of it with you?
Read more of Derek's adventures in When Nightlife Falls and Colonnade: A Life In Columns. Both are available now On Amazon.com, and in digital form for The Kindle, The Nook, and in the iBookstore.