Wednesday, February 04, 2009

At least I'm wearing cowboy boots.

I was going to say you can't take me anywhere, but that's not really accurate.

Because we shifted cultures and settings so often, I genuinly can walk into just about any situation and behave like I'm comfortable. I doesn't mean I am, but I can fake it when I have to.

I grew up attending events at the ambassador's residence in whatever country we lived in. I've been to parties in honest-to-god castles. And on the flip side I've spent days on a camel and nights sleeping on the sand under a disgusting camel blanket (like, the blanket that the saddle that separated me from the camel rested on) in the desert in Rajasthan.

(Thank goodness I had no idea about tick-borne illnesses then.)

But back on topic.

While I'm generally happier and more comfortable on the fancy side than the camping end of the spectrum, it can be problematic, depending on the setting. Or rather, I can. Because, well, you just are who you are.

But I can always look the part.

Like, for example, at dinner at the Metropolitan Club.

I have this conservative blonde bob. I can dress all reserved-like. My makeup is understated. I even have conservative shoes. From the outside, I can blend.

If you've never been there - and I hadn't even heard of it before meeting Nick - it is grand. It's a beautiful old building, with sweepingly high ceilings, marble floors, elegant furniture, huge flower arrangements, lovely fireplaces.

It is not somewhere I would ever, ever go, except with a date, and not least of all because you have to be a member. But also because it is so far from my personality, from the kind of atmosphere that makes me comfortable.

But it is beautiful and elegant and as a place to dine, absolutely charming.

So we had dinner there the other night with Nick's colleagues and spouses. There were 10 of us, and we were at a large table in the center of one of the main dining rooms. There were maybe six or seven other tables of two to four people.

It is mostly an older demographic. Conservative, sedate. People know, or at least recognize, each other.

You don't pull out cash; you sign for things. The staff is extremely friendly and proper. It's all very understated and dignified.

I was seated next to a guy I've gotten to know and really like over the last year - and totally coincidentally, he and his wife are close college friends of Wendy, my high school friend.

He turned to me and said, "Nick shared your blog with me the other day."

Which I found surprising, but it's not a secret, so OK.

The entire long table, non-blog-readers all, turned their attention to the blog. And to me.


"Lisa has a blog?"

"What does she blog?"

"Lisa, you have a blog?"

And so I, I addressed the table all at once. "I do, I have a blog."

I didn't notice at the time, unfortunately, but this got the attention of the genteel-ly populated room.

"What's it called?"

"Lemon Gloria."

Blank looks all around the table. It is, I realize, a totally random name.

And so I explained, once again to the table, but really, as it turned out, to every single diner in the place, "It's a variation on my porn name."

I believe a couple of my dining companions - most notably the guy who'd organized the evening - actually had to resist the urge to cover their faces.


  1. Oh, that's a moment I would relish. I love making stuffypants people uncomfortable... even if they are nice and pleasant and such.

  2. Oh my god that is too funny!

    I laughed out loud at Rambunctous Ghandi. Mine would be Layka (yes like the first dog that went in space) Broadleaf which makes no sense.

  3. Remind me to tell you the story about one of my shortest job interviews ever which may or may not have been at that particular establishment... anywhos, back to you...
    I would have been mortified, and not just because my blog is anonymous. The idea of explaining it to a room would have made want to remove someone's tongue with one of the very ornate spoons at the table.

  4. You're so good on the spot! I would have been nervous if the attention came to my little blog in that setting. The club sounds really pretty. Thanks for being my source of tick-borne illness information, by the way.

  5. Clearly, you were meant for a higher caliber audience. And by that, I mean one with a sense of humor.

    But what's the point of dining with a group, if you can't openly discuss the things that you do? If anyone around you was offended by the conversation, perhaps they might have done the aural equivalent of closing their browser window.

    Because, you know, eavesdropping is rude.

    Bah. I'm grouchy today, aren't I...

  6. Hilarious. I love it.

  7. This could only be funnier if "It's a variation on my porn name," was accompanied by the crash of a trayful of dishes being dropped.

  8. How many of the people in the place do you think have googled "lemon gloria" since then? Do you think you have new readers?

  9. LOVE THIS. I didn't know that about the blog. Now that I do, if I ever start a blog, I'm totally calling it Mimi O'Rourke. (Mimi - my first cat; O'Rourke -- the street I grew up on!)

  10. That is so funny! They did ask!

  11. Can I co-produce your eventual sitcom? Because it's coming. You're like Mary Tyler Moore, Rachel Green, and Samantha Jones, all rolled up into one perky package!

    And I'd like Charlize Theron to play me, if that's all right.

  12. I'll bet half those stuffed shirts weren't half as offended as you'd like. Their true selves are probably a little looser than they let on.

  13. As a stuffed shirt, I am frequently offended when youthful hipsters say something that is outrageous to my sensibilities. My typical reaction is to expel Madeira or Port through both nostrils and utter a loud, "hrrmmmph." However, if you break into song, we stuffed shirts are likely to surprise you when we also shake our booties with the best of them.

  14. Are you my long lost sister? I think you are.

  15. The problem is, we grow up to be these old genteel people, and then we can't take ourselves anywhere. I used to think it was fun wearing parachute pants to dinner at the Muthaiga Country Club and mocking all the Brit expats who would raise a jaundiced eye at us. Now I think it was just silly. And they were looking at us because we were Yanks in their club.

  16. LiLu - I can enjoy it, but I think on a smaller scale. The fact that it was all the other tables in the room made me twitch, hard.

    Joanna - Layka Breadloaf is excellent, though. It's such an odd combo!

    restaurantrefugee - Yes, I would love to hear about it. As for explaining to the room, it would've been fine with me if I hadn't announced the porn name thing. I am fine with random people knowing.

    HKW - I think at this point I've explained it to enough people, and I'm comfortable enough with what's in it that it's genuinely OK with me.

    As for ticks and such, always happy to be of help.

    Hillary - I do try. :)

    Dagny - Our table went on to discuss porn names and what each person's would be, and it turned into a good conversation. The initial shock, however, was kind of painful.

    Also, this is a version of you I rarely see. I just read your post, which explains your grouch. I certainly cannot blame you.

    Canaan - Ha. Thanks!

    FoggyDew - Yes! Which would totally happen in the movies and would ratchet up the awkwardness.

    Nicole - I don't actually think any. Or maybe at our table, but I think they'd have commented to Nick. As for the rest of the room, I'd bet money they're not Googlers.

    Cheryl - Mimi O'Rourke sounds like a good Irish girl. You know, I loved our dog Gloria, and I think the name suits me, but I have wished a number of times that I'd picked something transparent.

    artichoke - Thanks.:) They did.

    FreckledK - I love you, I do.

    Maiden Metallurgist - I really, really like all the people we were dining with. And even if any of them think I'm odd, I know they really like me. As for the rest of the room, I have no idea.

    Amateur de Fromage - I'd like to see that trick, I really would.

    Lemmonex - I have always wanted a sister. I think we should be.

    Anonymous - You are definitely right. I think back to a lot of my cringeworthy behavior in places like the embassy or American club, where we kids didn't realize that we should actually take things seriously. And I don't even mean TOO seriously, just not as stupidly as we did.

  17. It's on cold, dreary days like this where I think, "what happened to me?" Nothing against DC, but this is not how I envisioned spending my 30's. I had a list of 100 things I wanted to do back then. Instead of riding a motorcycle/sidecar from Nairobi to Joburg in a dinner jacket, I'm content with catching new episodes of Entourage. Ah... when I lived it, I remember thinking, "I have to get out of here... effing Africa; ooooh, this new band Guns and Roses is awesome!"

  18. This post makes me far, far happier than you will ever know.

  19. By the way - Our first dog was named Tibetti (Lhasa Apso. From Tibet. Get it?), but my street was a numbered street, which doesn't work so well as a namesake.

  20. This is the whole reason I ADORE you and pretty sure why your Nick does too. Charming, in a sweet pornagraphic way.

  21. Anonymous - I understand. I feel like things are rarely the way I expected. I have been a lot of places where I felt like I had to get out of there...and then wished myself back.

    Kate - Cryptic, but I like it!

    FreckledK - Ours was a Lhasa as well! They're such nice dogs, aren't they? Not so bright, but really nice.

    Lynn - Oh, thank you! Nick definitely appreciates these pieces of me, he really does.

  22. Totally Brilliant!!

  23. I wouldn't have been too concerned.

    I'm sure the serving staff would have been properly trained to react to such spontaneity, and had smelling salts at hand.

  24. Easily I agree but I think the list inform should have more info then it has.

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