"the" Mrs. Astor

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I don't know if my life can get any crazier. The photo shoot went great and I--as the stylist/studio mom--was ready with everything. I not only had all of the clothing items Leo wanted pulled out of his closet, but a bag of "necessities". This held make-up, lint brush, hair combs, safety pins, and the like. When it was decided that Leo's straight-cut Versace dinner jacket needed to be fitted, that bag contained clothes pins; nothing works better on a shoot than that, and it did. After the shoot I joked with Leopoldo that he had become a Fashion Stegosaurus and that we would have a new member of the household.

But, no; nothing is that simple. Today, Wally Gator invited me out to the deck table; he had "Stegy" in front of him. According to Wally, he--as the first transvestite alligator on Miami Beach--had an exclusivity contract regarding "Reptilian Performers". I vaguely remembered signing something like that in the heat of the night, but there it was, on paper. Where oh where was Riley when I was signing anything; the reptilian union is a major player here in town.

There was no argument (never get into an argument with a drag queen alligator); I unhooked "Stegy's" clothes pins and retired him back into the closet of designer jacket from which he came. I heard Wally snap her fingers.

Meanwhile, Lolita--ever watching what was going on--informed me that she was not joining FOPS (Fraternal Order of Poolboys). She now wants top billing, artistic control over ads, and the right to deny people she regards as low brow a ride. She kept handing me a beer and, after a while, I totally understood her position and gave her a contract, too.

What's next? The possum strike or the toad sit down?

Monday, July 28, 2008

I decided to continue my domestic course and planned to leave with Leopoldo when he left for work, walk him to the bus stop, and then go to the farmers' market. As we prepared to leave, he gave me The Look. "You are wearing that? he asked, and then, "You are not wearing that." I had brown loafers, maroon and gray, baggy shorts, and a gray sweatshirt on. "It's only the farmers' market," I pleaded. "I DON'T CARE. What if Carl was there and took your photo. You never leave the house like that, not living with me." Funny, I had just about anticipated it; I had a Polo shirt hanging nearby in case that happened, which means I knew it would happen, and I was sort of hoping to be reprimanded--now that I think back on it. But nothing, nothing beat the night we were leaving for a very posh event and I appeared--early in our relationship--out of the bedroom wearing the most wrong combination of patterns, colors, and clothing. Leopoldo's face blanched, his mouth opened, and he could only mumble a few, unintelligible words. "Uh...uh...are you going to get dressed?" he sputtered. "I am dressed," I calmly replied. He started to visible shake (and not from the tight jeans) when I laughed, "Only kidding; I thought I'd scare you." It took him hours to recover.

Oh, it was hot at Score last night: Red Hot. Nothing brings out the creatures of the night like an anniversary party, and a tenth one at that. We arrived relatively early to meet Riley and already the place was packed, upstairs and down; a line was forming early, too, I noted. While talking with Riley and saying hello to those friends who passed, my eye never wandered far from that doorway as the people streamed in; at 10 dollars a pop my mind's calculator was posting some fine numbers. And stream they did; oodles of fag boys flitted with scallywags and muscle builders. A veritable herd of Lesbians stampeded around, towing their dyke-boys behind, and straight boys warily eyed the feeding frenzy forming around them. Photographers of the press politely pushed their ways around and you couldn't turn anywhere without seeing someone you knew (or wish you didn't). Cheek kissing was reaching a certain point where my CDC alarm went off and I started to aim for the lobe of the ear; if we had stayed any later I would have had to resort to patting on the head. And, everyone just seemed to be having a grand time with the Score employees gleaming in their gym shorts and hooded jackets. Good old fashion fun.

Tonight Mr. Astor is being shot by famous, local photographer Dale Stine in a Wire piece on South Beach's most fashionable men. I promise not to embarrass him.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Yesterday, Mrs. Stuyvesant-Fish rang up suggesting that we all meet up for cool, refreshing beverages at a local gin hall. The prospect of seeing dear Mamie was almost as appealing as seeing the gin. Sadly, she never showed up (although the gin did). When we arrived home, Leopoldo asked, "Please contact Mamie-dear and make sure she didn't end up in a gutter." I couldn't help but replying, "Just where do you expect to find her." But I dutifully dashed off a quick note of concern, which she returned this morning with some lame excuse of working too late; she was so much more easily understood when she did nothing but drink all day. She was off on a rampage with Mrs. Wilmerding (nee' Vanderbilt) and, I wisely decided to stay home and plan Mr. Astor's dinner. Late in the afternoon, a garbled message arrived which made no sense at all; it was a monument to drunk writing. She babbled to the point that I had to answer that her usually clouded mind had obviously turned to molasses. (I dug out this old photo of Mamie-dear, haughtily wearing a tiara from the Salon du Barry. Mamie shuns photography these days as she tries to shave some of her social magnificence.)

Mr. Astor will have chilled avocado and cilantro soup, Cajun-seasoned pork chops, corn on the cob, and a special dessert of Mandarin oranges and sherbet. There is every bit of truth in a happy husband is one whose every sense is constantly titillated.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

So, There, Connie

I had to finally make the effort. It was to counter, for the first time, the epicurean skills of Leopoldo's mother, Consuelo. Oh, she thought she was out-foxing the fox when--during her visit--she arrived with enough frozen, homemade meals to look like a U. N. relief maneuver. Of course, I loved those little, patty-caked meals and no one could say I didn't; I was even photographed by a local rag wolfing down one in a tribute to Darfur.

Several weeks ago, I got a cookbook on Mexican cuisine and have studied it like Cortez might have. I didn't have cannon and horses, but I did have a cause: To show Leopoldo that I, Mrs. Astor, could make him feel that "Mommie" was here. In the shadows of images of Quetzalcoatl, which popped up in the toaster at precise moments needed to inspire strength, I practiced and chanted until I was sure that no step was missed. Today I marinated, chopped, and prayed to the Food God until Mr. Astor stepped through the door, whereupon--in my finest chiffon cocktail gown augmented by an Aztec headdress--I greeted him with a glass of tequila and an air of supreme confidence.

"What is that?", Leo asked. "Oh, just some cilantro I've been chopping all day with lime juice, basil, tomatoes, garlic, and love", I replied. The trap was set; Consuelo must have had a twitch at that moment. I presented the chicken tortillas with plastic swords holding them together (what better to represent the conquest of the New World). When he was done, I asked if he wanted to "share" another and the answer completed my conquest of The World of Consuelo", but--of course--only as food may be concerned. I will never want to compete with her three-times-a-day calls to make sure her baby is O.K. But, then why would I need to; he's more than O.K.

This is the face of nonsense; call it Jew's Gone Wild.

Is it me? But all the major news outlets have decided that they can't broadcast an opinion without having at least two out of three views voiced by black commentators. Quite frankly, I have not seen ONE white, respected member of the "press" join in on these feeding frenzies about Barak Obama's latest moves. It is almost as if the networks have decided, "Let them fight it out amongst themselves." Of course, you have to allow everyone's favorite Republican apologist--the Jewish Uncle Tom--Ben Stein. How anyone who catapulted his way into the WASP clubs with "Win Ben Stein's Money" could now be featured for his political views is beyond me; but I step aside for meteoric arises to fame.

Still, the employment offered to black commentators--long forgotten until this year--can only be applauded. Where was the network management previously?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I am trying to figure out why the U.S. taxpayers are expected to foot the bill of bailing out private, or even semi-private, financial institutions simply because the mighty monster of greed took hold like The Plague for the last few decades. Why do I hear a giant sucking sound when ten days ago it was reported that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were "way too big" to worry and two days ago it turned to "a 50 per cent chance they will need help"? I guess I have too little to do today because I'm also wondering if those highly paid CEO's and administrators, along with the shady mortgage brokers, are in any way going to be held accountable. I had better do something today; I can't imagine the public standing like deer in the headlights while talk of billions of bailout mount. But maybe I can; they've sat around while this administration has plundered the U.S. Treasury relentlessly for eight years.

And, another thing that's on my nerves today. Has anyone sent out the notice that voicemail is dead? According to the obituaries, it died about three years ago and was buried with full honors; Email gave a joint eulogy with Texting. It has been noted that it takes much longer to listen to voicemail than to read email or text; and people have a tendency to blab way to much. I hate listening to it (and, indeed, do not) as it rambles on and on sometimes and even whines.

And, finally--before I really have to do something of value and get a drink--I thank the Republicans for providing yet another demagogue up to the chopping block. Alabama Attorney General, Troy King, is being outed by several Internet, political blogs like Pensito. As Riley wrote, "As you would say, 'Rich' ." Although this is speculation and hearsay, his page as the state campaign chairman of the McCain bid, has been taken off of the senator's site; that speaks volumes. Anyone who calls homosexuality the "downfall of society" usually has a boy under the bed.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Tonight was DJ Leo's birthday party at Twist; one can only hope that this marks the end of the endless parade of events for a while. My Leo was still a little tired from the weekend and asked to leave early. There was an interesting incident in the cab home when Leopoldo started to shake and convulse; the cab driver became very concerned, as did I. As it turned out, my baby was just struggling to get something out of his jean pockets and--well--it was a tight situation. I assured the driver, "Don't worry. He's just wearing jeans which are too tight." Leo--agitated--exclaimed, "My boots are too tight, too." There was too much tightness for me not to say, "And, they call me the Duchess of Pork". Boy did I get a spanking with the Prada belt when I got home.

People who live in glass corsets, shouldn't throw stones.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sheila, the Head nurse from Boca, had to make a return appearance this week as Mr. Astor came down with a little cold. I am always at my best when I am taking care of someone (and doing so in a short skirt and some serious jewelry). This was the first time Leopoldo saw me in a dress and, he liked what he saw so the nurse outfit is never far away.

I cooked up a storm including my famous chicken soup; if that doesn't cure someone the undertaker should be called. The week was a melding of the anniversary and Tommy Decker's birthday with Twist being the center of all activity. The Baroness Seitzinger was seen on Friday there holding an impressive court of her own; we couldn't determine if she had purchased it (like her title), but she looked mighty fine and in control. Mrs. Stuyvesant-Fish was totally out of control as usual and was loudly applauding her new hair-do--or at least the man who executed it. She claimed to have gotten a "sniff" of his nether region, but refused to tell the press just how she did it. It's nice to know she still has some values. Our friend Keith was there with his new (doctor) boyfriend and was complaining that he had to drive an admiral around all week. We were amused because we have another friend driving a general around.

I will be administering my version of healthcare: good food, plenty of kisses, and rehabilitation time with The Bedazzler.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Happy anniversary to us, and--boy--did we celebrate it last night. After two very public birthday parties, we decided to mark the occasion with a quiet night out at Twist that turned into the usual free-for-all. All went fine and I was even able to cook dinner for us when we stumbled home. We did meet a few chorus guys who--as usual--were all over Leopoldo; he's not a "chick magnet" as Miss Vickie notes, he's just a magnet. Oh well, I batted them off with my umbrella, as one of them sighed, "You are very lucky". I know, and I count my blessings every day.

I'm still trying to figure out how the evening ended since I left the house with $100 and returned with $120 and drink tickets. Counting in the cab rides, we stood a 40% gain in income which--in times like this--would make Wall Street proud.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Yes, there she is in all her pomposity. Two afternoons in the company of Mrs. Stuyvesant-Fish would be more than enough for any God-fearing soul, but she does come with some unique charms and--as long as you keep a full glass of tequila in front of her--she is likely to talk nicely about you to your face. The Countess Bedelia cabled for news about our Saturday tea and all one could say is that Mamie did not let down any one's expectations of bad behaviour. She managed to spew nasty comments at me, keep her gloved hands down Mr. Astor's pants, AND never let go of her glass of liquor; she's got moxy. God only knows how she keeps slipping out of those bed restraints I so generously donated to her handlers.

Another cable came from the dear Miss Vickie warning me to keep a tight leash on Leopoldo this week since 5,000 gay men and women are in town for the Gay and Lesbian Chorus Association. She even cautioned, "Note I included lesbians in that statement. Obviously Leo is a chick magnet to women like myself, and I would bet you $100 right now that getting a gander at him and his endearing charm would make a flannel clad lesbian doubt everything she believes in". Humph! Now I have to worry about yodeling dykes, too.

Not to worry... Tomorrow is the one year anniversary of that fateful day I took a wrong turn and bumped into the most wonderful man I ever met. It's all been a little dreamy, and--in a town that is definitely not known for its long-term relationships--we have succeeded where so many others have failed. We have never had an argument; it just doesn't even seem possible that we would ever disagree with anything more important than what shirt goes with what pants. After several very public parties for ourselves, we've decided to be private this time and enjoy what we really love about each other. (Close that trap of yours, Mamie!)

Should this cover on The Jew Yorker be in any way a surprise? Surely, the biggest weasel in the Senate, Joe "Amen Corner" Lieberman, had a hand in this.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

That's what came across my mind an hour ago when my caller ID read, "Mamie Stuyvesant-Fish". It was way too early for someone who is usually nursing a hangover the size of Montana on a Saturday; still, it seemed better to know what a viper like that was up to and I picked up the call with a tender, "Why, Mamie; what a treasure to hear from you". "Well, Caroline; just how is this fine Saturday treating you?" (She was up to no good; that much I knew.)

"Well, Mamie, I am cooking Mr. Astor a robust lunch as we just finished circling South Beach on our bikes. As you know, he has a big appetite." "Why, don't tell me your adorable husband is off today...I was just wondering if Ladies of Quality were taking cocktails this afternoon?" That's funny; usually you could lob a bottle of Old Spice through her bedroom window and still not flush her out in the daylight, but that old battle ax has the nose of a bloodhound when it comes to having a chance to cozy up to Mr. Astor. As if to make my blood boil even more, she had the nerve to add, "I certainly hope Mr. Astor won't start pawing me again in the middle of the day."

The nerve. As if the photographic evidence doesn't clearly show Mamie's octopus-like arms all over my baby, and all he ever does is give her a little tickle to make her shriek. (Yes, someone with hide that thick is still ticklish.) Still, there's no need to deprive anyone of much-needed alcohol. We can't be selfish or cruel. So, there it is: Cocktails at 3 PM with Tommy Decker.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Oh, please...What is the flap about learning Spanish? We are groping to catch up with the very neighbors in this hemisphere we have ignored so long, and are being gripped by xenophobia of the Latin kind. My humble take: I studied Russian and Italian for four years, Russian because I thought it the wave of the future (oops, I forgot the Chinese) and Italian because one of my great-grandparents was and I thought it was so romantic. Where did it get me? Nowhere! If I had been at all inclined to learn Spanish with all those mundane, Jewish girls, I might have been in a better position in life. After a certain age, the mind doesn't take to new languages. As I have said for a long time, if you could learn a language through injection, I would be the Infanta of Spain.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Peoples' Mayor

Last Saturday an aide to Mayor Mattie Bower approached me and asked if I would be able to "walk" her through Twist's 15 th anniversary party. To me this was wondrous, as we had initiated the gay part of her uphill battle for mayor at last year's anniversary and, we all had so much fun. The aide remarked that they were surprised I never stopped by or called; I had to emphasize that--to me--her campaign was a battle between good and evil. Once we accomplished the win, my involvement was complete. I turned down an appointment to her first mayoral advisory board and certainly never entertained the thought to "stopping by". But taking her by the arm to Twist's momentous party was right up our alley and, once again, the crowd adored her, pressing to get near the endearing grandmother, The Peoples' Mayor. Here are some of the photos of last night:

Of one thing I am certain: without the political genius of her advisor, Mike Burke, she would not be in these pictures. I will never forget that lunch at David's Cafe during which we plotted the campaign. "Get the woman vote and the gay vote and it doesn't matter how much money that slimeball, Simon, has; it's a done deal." And the developer lobby, and the Jewish lobby, and the Cuban lobby, and the slime lobby couldn't stop her; her win by ten percentage points shocked a usually unshockable town. It didn't mean that politics changed or corruption ended or code enforcement was tamed, but it meant a lot to people like me, and we love her. Last year at this time I embarked on a mission to get her the gay vote and met Leopoldo the same week. Sometimes you hit the jackpot.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Good Ol' Thomas Barker stopped by on a stroll from his nearby apartment and found me reading Gwen Cooper's "Diary of a South Beach Party Girl"; he had given me the book earlier this year with an eye roll. "You will love this!" And, so I did. Both of us discussed the characters of this "novel", some of which were thinly cloaked to protect the guilty and others just in-your-face named. It seemed we knew them all and both of us wondered just how you survive in a town like this. As Cooper wrote on her website, "There used to be a joke about the typical table setting at a South Beach dinner party: fork for the tongue, spoon for the nose, knife for the back."

Both of us have the security blanket of a relationship without which we'd be bouncing around like olives in a martini. We also have a network of friends all keeping an eye on each other. So, why does that book scare me? None of us are into the club scene anymore, and we certainly don't do drugs, but both of us easily see ourselves moving deftly through all those well known names in Cooper's book, winking at a doorman, and over-tipping bartenders. While we were sipping some Kettle One, I picked up the book and read a passage of some shallow club talk. We looked at each other and both rolled our eyes.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Lolita is the new star in town; Leopoldo bought her for The Fourth and we took turns blowing her up. The weather was typically glorious on the holiday and I awoke early and was cooking by 8 AM. Riley questioned just why anyone would be cooking so early and, the answer of course was that if one wanted everything perfect one didn't wait until the last minute. We hardly ever utilize the pool and backyard, but Mr. Astor so wanted to have a real holiday that I could not--and never can--say no.

Today I awoke to CNN playing the usual claptrap about Patriotism and--although I share The Countess's love of this country--I feel Patriotism has been kidnapped and enslaved by the hooligans in charge of this country. And, here is what CNN doesn't say:

A patriot never manipulates a national tragedy to acquire total power.

A patriot doesn't conspire to fool a country into war with lies.

A patriot doesn't loot the national treasury for the gain of a few friends.

A patriot doesn't mortgage the future by borrowing from The Chinese.

One could go on and on, but what CNN misses is that it is not necessarily what a patriot is, but what a patriot is not. Hopefully, next Fourth of July will find George W. Bush and his gang of thieves facing war crime charges and a host of other trials for what they did to this country, its middle class, and its soldiers. A scaffold on the Washington Mall with dangling wing-tipped shoes would be more touching than any parade or fireworks display.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The girls got together this afternoon at the High Tea at Twist. All the glamorous names were there: Mr. and Mrs. Astor, Mrs. Stuyvesant-Fish, The Baroness Seitzinger, Lady Mirna, and many others. Mrs. Styvesant-Fish seemed to command the setting, putting her gloved hands down Mr. Astor's pants and offering sniffs to lessor beings. She is too precious to hold this against her; if you can escape your handlers AND sniff underpants in public with no backlash, you have to have been doing something right all this time.