Since I am frequently lamenting the lack of a “dinner party” mentality in New York City social life, Brian and I recently decided to entertain “chez nous” with greater regularity. That this coincided with the onset of colder weather works for us. Since our mentalities meet at around age 40, he was open to my suggestion to have a “Miss Universe Pageant Viewing Party” this past November. A few of my friends came, those who weren’t otherwise busy having migraines or too tired to walk 5 blocks, so Brian and his betches rounded out the party.
Part of the joy of throwing a party, a bash, or a shindig is the preparation. I actually love the hustle and bustle of making the apartment ready to receive guests. Since I love Chiaroscuro, the lighting, appropriately dimmed, gave it all a soft glow, including me. The menu, previously discussed in detail between us, focused on a communal meal to be consumed while gathered together around the TV. Could you guess that we had cheese fondue? It was accompanied by a simple green salad and a healthy choice olive oil-ricotta cake with concord grape coulis.
Watching The Miss Universe Pageant is actually a tradition that dates from my married days. I’m not sure why this took hold but I think that it was rooted in having other couples over for dinner and the pageant happened to be on. Those guest in finance and law became characteristically competitive as we wrote lists of our Top Ten, narrowed it down to finalists and gave a running commentary about bust size, national costume, evening gown choice. It was catty and bitchy and fun which never goes out of fashion. Those who accurately predicted the winner were a little smug about spotting a real beauty among all those beauties. Did they feel like Donald Trump (the current pageant owner) who in real life has made a career out of finding beautiful women?
Although it is certain that some of the male species (excluding Brian and those of his persuasion) watch these pageants through the lens of fantasy, that night we women were grounded in reality. A few of us commented on the irony of happily lapping up bread and cheese, washed down by a dry white, while women with perfect body proportions (surgically enhanced we opined) paraded before our eyes in swimsuits. We were appropriately snide about Steven Tyler, Tara Lipinski and Melanie Brown’s (oh Spice Girl what have you become?) B-list slide into irrelevance on national television.
At the end of the evening, Gabriela Isler, Miss Venezuela was crowned Miss Universe 2013 and later accomplished her first duty to pose in a ruby cum diamond encrusted swimsuit. Although it was near unanimous among our group that Miss Ecuador should have won, I noticed that Miss Venezuela owned the crown from the start. She acted as if she was Miss Universe already and the universe obliged her fantasy. That should instruct us to think seriously about our fantasies so that we make them come true.