Spinning Magnolias

September 8, 2008

Magnolia Pettes is a model, a beautiful girl with large green eyes, long blonde streaked hair and a body girls envy and men covet. At every party she is the It Girl, in every room it was like spotlights were only on her, she is the star where ever she goes. She can have any man she wants, any drug she wants, and she can have it now.

The only thing was, at 22 years old, she already felt old – she felt used up.

She was getting sick of the coke binging, sick of feeling slutty the morning after, sick of walking through Yorkville Park at three in the afternoon, getting breakfast at the coffee shop while children next to her were getting there after school snacks.

The jobs weren’t flying in anymore. Her agency called her less and less. Partly because the jobs they were offering her were crap and she kept turning them down, but partly because when she did accept them, she showed up late, high and/or drunk.

No one wanted to book her for modelling gigs anymore – she was only being hired for openings of new clubs and restaurants. Expected to be the ‘date’ of expensive clients.

At the cafe she sipped her coffee through a straw, watching a girl play with her dog. It dawned on her that this girl was probably the same age as her, she wasn’t extraordinarily beautiful but she wasn’t ugly either, she looked like she could have been a student, maybe she has a boyfriend. Her clothes weren’t necessarily front-page worty either – last year’s UGGs with ripped up Rock’s, but this girl, who had nothing better to do at three in the afternoon but play with her little white poodle looked genuinely happy.

And this made Magnolia wonder if she would ever get there.

Her penthouse suite had lose its allure, the sexy baller types with wads of cash they gave her had also lost its thrill.

Nothing seemed to excite her anymore.

Sleeping with the new It club owners was boring now – she could barely fake an orgasm. Her so-called friends were only interesting to her when they were high.

She wondered if there would ever be a normal life for her. She wondered if there would ever be a boyfriend in her life. Maybe even a relationship.

How did she even get here? She half-laughed to herself. A place in her head that she actually wanted a ‘normal’ life with a relationship??

Sadly, she knew exactly how she got here. She just didn’t think that her life would ever lead her to this conclusion, this need of normalcy.

So she stopped.

She slowed down, and she stopped.

Magnolia changed her phone number, not telling anybody her new one. This was so refreshingly weird that it almost frightened her. No missed calls, no searching for a vibrating cell phone in her bag – it just seemed so quiet.

Just peace and quiet.

Rumors started flying about her – she was on a bender. Or in Europe. Or in rehab.

They weren’t too far fetched though – hadn’t she been there already?

She was still going out and partying, but with no phone there was no way to invite her to after parties, no late night booty calls.

Sometimes her friends tried going to her place after the clubs, but she placed her buzzer on DND and her doorman never let them in. It made her look as if she was still partying, as if she had somehwere better to be.

In truth, she was getting to bed earlier so she could wake up earlier, for her 11 am yoga class, three times a week. She was naturally ultra-slim, but she was noticing her body was changing now, sleeker, more strong.

She bumped into a club promoter in the park as she was sipping her coffee through a straw again. The kissed air and he started shouting at her in his fake British accent.

“Hey Magnolia! I’ve been trying to get ahold of you! Where have you been, love? Holiday? You look fantastic!”

She shrugged but thankfully didn’t have to reply because he kept on talking.

“There’s a new club opening darling! It’s called Rehab! Isn’t that so tongue-in-chic? Everyone’s gonna be there – you have to come! I insist! VIP, bottle service, anything you want!”

She half-smiled, told him she would try to make an appearance, which seemed to satisfy him because he jumped on his phone and left.

She felt her world slowly shut down around her. Calls were non-existent, her only contact with the world were the coffee shop employees and her yoga class.

Magnolia sat in Yorkville Park again, this time at 9 am, fresh out of her early yoga class, watching the birds fighting over a piece of bread, and she wondered to herself, “Is this what it feels like to be alone?”

She saw a shadow form from someone standing behind her, hesistantly she turned around and recognized the man’s handsome face.

Paul, an old party friend, a banker type who had married a model. He looked good as ever in his Armani suit and Prada shoes, his dark hair falling over his dark eyes, and she suddenly realised what she looked like. Her own long blonde hair was pulled back in a ponytail, no makeup, with her purple yoga pants on. And Paul sat down at the chair next to her.

“What you been up to?” He started. “You look terrific! Pilates?”

“No, yoga,” She said with a smile.

“Oh. Sheniss was a pilates freak.” That was her name, the model wife, Sheniss. Magnolia once pulled out her hair in a bathroom fight.

“So how are you and Sheniss? I heard your honeymoon was in Fiji? Sorry I missed the wedding, I think I was in London on a shoot.”

“Oh no worries. We honeymooned in Mexico. And now we’re in the process of a divorce.”

“Oh my god – I’m so sorry.” Magnolia was surprised that she actually did feel sorry for him.

“No, no. It’s honestly for the best. We, we weren’t very… compatible I think.” He shook his head for a couple of seconds. “Anyway, she moved out, I get my condo back, it’s almost like it never happened. You know, I’m having a dinner party at my place next Saturday, you should come. We could catch up.”

“Definitely, that sounds like fun.” She smiled, she knew she wouldn’t go, but it was nice of him to offer.

She returned to her penthouse, which now seemed extra large and empty now that everything was packed up and moved out. All that was left in the echoing rooms was a couple of rugs, huge, shaggy, luxurious things that she was leaving behind.

She decided there was no way she could really make a change in her life if she felt like she was stuck, stuck in the same place physically.

Her place sold within an hour after it was on the market, at 40% over asking. She immediately put down a deposit on a huge authentic loft conversion on Queen St West – away from the posh little neighborhood she was living in – away from the clubs and people she knew. Her new place was a penthouse, but it felt more true to her now.

Polish concrete floors, exposed beams, original brick walls. It felt right to her.

There was no doorman, but the building had a gorgeous rooftop patio, with gardens, benches and little bonsai trees. It felt like so calm above the busy city. It felt like home.

The Saturday of Paul’s dinner party was her first night in her new home.

The week leading up to the move-in was her and her decorator picking out paint, furniture, appliances, and new rugs – even better than her original ones.

And she even got a job. She had called her modelling agency and informed them she was leaving the business. She got a job at a luxury boutique, the first time in her life working an 8 hour shift was so exhausting for her, but at the same time, exciting.

It was exciting for her to feel normal. She started reading more than just magazines. She was in advanced yoga. And she was doing everything on her own.

She felt empowered. She felt like herself again for the first time in a really long time.

She realised she never actually knew who she was, until she stripped it all away and was alone, all by herself.

But she wasn’t alone anymore.

She was in a relationship now.

With a little brown yorkie named Max.

Magnolia and Max lived happily ever after. For now.

What Are Friends For?

June 29, 2008

Since the beginning of the year, I’ve had it in my head to bring together a bunch of girls for a dinner party. A semi-themed posh dinner party – no boys allowed. I had ideas in my head – a pink party or a white party with matching speciality drinks – dinner at a posh resto-lounge and dancing at a club in the vip section.

I mentioned it only to a couple of my girlfriends who said it sounded like a great idea, they were enthused and looking forward to it. So I made up invitations, I decided to do the pink party theme – everyone wearing pink and drinking pink martinis – and set it up for a weekend in May, so it wasn’t too cold and not too hot. I sent out the invites a month in advance, invites that were hot pink with black embossed printing – I knew a company who did them so they gave me a huge deal.

A week after my guest’s received the invites I still hadn’t heard anything from anybody. No RSVPs, no questions, no remarks. I’m a control freak by nature, and even though there were two more weeks to rsvp, I needed to know NOW.

So I started making some calls.

Tara made an excuse about her boyfriend and said she ‘would let me know’. Another girl claimed she was too pregnant to come. Fari was confused – was this a birthday party? was this an engagement party? did she have to bring gifts? why couldn’t her husband come?

It was really making my head spin.

So I sent out a cute little email, all in pink, about the idea of the party (as if the invitation didn’t spell it out clearly enough for everybody).

Ladies!

You are all invited to a Pink Party – dinner, drinks and dancing. You are requested to wear pink from head to toe! My loft 7 pm for cocktails, followed by food at One, and finishing the night in the VIP booth at Circa. I need to know by next Wednesday who’s coming to make final reservations.

This is a GIRL’s night out – no presents required, no men – just crazy fun like we all used to have – and if you’re pregnant come out to dinner – you still need to eat!!

xoxo

Tuesday rolled around and I got a few phone calls. Girls were saying yes but whining about the dress code (I don’t wear pink, I don’t like pink, It makes me look fat, etc, etc), the restaurant (is it expensive? i’ve never been there before), and yes, even the club (why don’t we go where we always go?).

I really didn’t believe that it would be THIS difficult to get together a group of girls for no reason other to have fun and remember what life used to be before fiances, husbands, weddings, babies and houses – even if that wasn’t their specific order.

Was it possible that I was the only one who wanted to do this? We’ve all been talking about “doing something” for almost a year now! I was getting exhausted, what was wrong with them? What’s going through their heads? Should I just invite their boyfriends and make it a boring dinner party – NO! I need to save the girls!!

In the end, six out of twelve girls came out, and we had a smashing time. Drinking and dancing, getting hit on like there was no tomorrow. The next morning we all went out for breakfast with our boyfriends, but made them all sit grouped together while we carried on giggling about the night before.

Everyone came up to me and thanked me for taking the effort to do the party, and asking when the next one was going to be… which somehow made me think of a yellow party, but would that just be too much to ask?

Lobster & Wine

June 5, 2008

Todd & Ashley were celebrating in a posh restaurant in Yorkville last night. The type of restaurant where Ferraris, Porsches and Bentleys were on the curb outside, while the bar and the patio were filled with business types – old men and sugar mamas, younger guys in ill-fitting suits – and lovely couples were mixed in between them.

T & A just got the keys to their new loft yesterday. They were so excited they went to Tiffany’s and purchased keychains – a heart for her, a tag for him.

They took a seat on the heated patio, right in the front of the restaurant which offered perfect people and car watching. They started with a beer and a strawberry champagne cocktail, and watched the people around them.

A lady in her early fifties was smashed beyond belief at a large table of eight or ten people. She was yelling and laughing, generally having a good time even if it was embarassing to her friends. She wore a knee-length skirt and knee-high boots, but kept her legs wide open. Occasionally she would cross one leg over  another, but a minute later would bring her legs apart again.

T & A shared a cured meat plate, with spiced olives and buffalo ricotta.

An older man with an orange file folder sat at the table next to them. He sat alone with a glass of red wine, he looked as though he was waiting for someone. Another group of business men walked onto the patio. There was a younger business man, in his early thirties, wearing an ill-fitting cheap suit who eventually sat down next to the old man and started talking to him. A short while later a gorgeous blonde in her forties sat across from the old man, she gave him a look. The old man said he didn’t know who the young guy was, that he just sat down and started talking to him. The young guy left without a word.

T & A ordered their meals and a glass of white wine from New Zealand for Ashely. He had the ultimate street burger with frites, and she the lobster risotto. She loved risotto more than anything, for the texture, the comfiness of the food itself. She ordered another glass of wine.

T & A started talking about the people around them.

“Do you think we’ll be like this when we’re older? Wearing True Religion jeans in our forties?” She pondered.

T said, “Definitely.”

The bill was expensive. T said not to worry about it at all – they were celebrating! Enjoy yourself!

T & A walked over to Holt’s, only to find that it was closed. They started walking to their car, but looked in a window of a restaurant, stopped to read the dessert menu, and went in to sit at the bar.

Another glass of wine. A decadent chocolate cake.

Looking around the empty restaurant they realized they were almost alone – except for the bartender and the girl who sat by herself at the bar. T & A started talking to the girl, who had long dark hair and worked close by at another restaurant but came here for drinks after her shift to talk to the bartender.

Ashley was drunk at this point.

The girl went outside for a cigarette and Ashley went out with her – she didn’t smoke, but kept her company. Back inside they started talking about clubs – Atelier had a private party going on, but Lobby was the place to go on Wednesdays.

Ashley had another glass of wine.

Upon the urging of the girl and the bartender, Ashely tried a red wine that she actually enjoyed. She sat there on the bar stool next to her boyfriend, who was making plans for the night to go to Lobby, and she started feeling queasy.

Two trips to the bathroom.

Ashley told Todd it was time to go. Todd obliged and they were off on their way – the girl they had met at the bar said she would call them to meet up at Lobby. Todd asked Ashley, “Does she even have your number? How is she going to call you?” Ashley shrugged and jumped into the car, hoping she wouldn’t have to puke anymore.

Todd had to pull over into a nice neighborhood where Ashley continued to be sick out the car door.

Ashley cozied herself into the car seat, anticipating the drive home. As the pulled into the driveway, Ashley had already slipped off her Manolo’s and ran barefoot through the alley beside their home to the back entrance.

Just before midnight her phone rang but she never answered it.

She spent half the night by the toilet, the other half sleeping in bed with a plastic bag next to her just in case. In the morning she was still sick.

Ashley tried to remember everything that happened last night, she looked at the bottom of her feet and was surprised they weren’t completely dirty. Looking at her phone she had five missed calls. Two from a number she didn’t recognize.

Playing her messages she realized that she HAD given the girl her phone number.

Two gravols later she was at Denny’s reminiscing about the night before with a couple of girlfriends.

She blamed her sickness on the Lobster – not on the wine.