I always adored this picture of me before I became a "Working Socialite". Those were such carefree years; well actually days, because I hit the ground running when I moved here in 1997.
A Working Socialite always seems to be in a position that would be the envy of all. Nothing is further from the truth. Sure: being in jail might make you envious; living in a trailer that had just been picked up by a tornado and flung into a Walmart might make you think of it, and perhaps being dead, too. But, "all is not as it seems" (a very, very favorite phrase of Mrs. Astor).
As a Working Socialite many, many things are not just expected out of you, they are demanded. Taking an interest in everyone's "story" is one of them. Here, I am truly blessed because I genuinely am intrigued by what people do, say, and react to; I always have been. Maybe that's one of the reasons I took the camera everywhere I went. When someone is expressing a thought through words or actions, they slightly act it out and the camera is the perfect vehicle for recording this moment.
Another demand is to entertain THEM (the guests). Again, here I am blessed. When I was 16, my mother gave me a book published in 1947 by Esquire magazine entitled, "Esquire's Handbook For Hosts". As dated as it is, the principles of hosting and entertaining have not changed much and, (I guess) Mother sort of knew what the son she called "Mrs. Astor" was all about. But, entertaining is so very simple; it is all about being gracious and caring, not about putting on a show of dancing bears. Dancing boys are a different story altogether.
And perhaps the other important aspect of it all is putting up with the diversity of everyone. Here you have to draw some lines. I do not put up with bores, idiots, prejudice, or bums that bother my customers (I forcibly threw out two this week).
The benefit on Saturday is picking up great momentum. (My saying that I'm threatening people is a sham, of course. All we have to do is explain it's nature and people melt.) Raul, the pretty manager of Browne and Co, the cosmetic store, has secured a great donation of pet beauty supplies that I will be able to have the drag queen hosts raffle off. Thank you, Raul. I'm exhausted because I put on my rubber-soled squashed-heeled shoes and ran around in the sun all day giving posters to the area stores to put up. My flyer boy ran out of them, too, rather quickly. Tomorrow, I am hiring three flyer boys (out of my own pocket, Douglas, if you are reading this from South Africa) to pan out over Lincoln Road.
Exhausted, but enlivened. What a joy.