Just when I think summer is finally over and gratefully bid adieu to high Con Edison bills, bad hair days, and with them the lip sweat that keeps one in a constant state of inelegance, I find myself once again compromised. Now my ConEd bill was pleasantly lower this month, and my hair has been looking pretty great, but in spite of the mild 70 degree weather, last night felt like the middle of July. I was sweating in the pits of my elbows, down the back of my neck, and both upper and lower lips were in full glisten. It was as if I caught a fever or something. Was it the flu? Was my mono having a relapse? Early menopause perhaps? No, friends. I was suffering from The Bloom.
In its more archaic definition, the word “bloom” refers to a youthful glow exuding from a young woman. And that’s lovely. Every girl needs some bloom. In fact I know lots of girls who spend oodles of money on beauty products to give them that dewy glow we call bloom. One of my favorite lines from Meet Me in St. Louis is when Judy Garland’s character Esther has decided she is going to allow her beaux to kiss her at the dance that evening. Her sister Rose declares that nice girls don’t let men kiss them till after they’re engaged… that "men don’t want the bloom rubbed off”. And you never want to hear someone say, “the bloom is off the rose”. That’s as good as a death sentence. But there can also be a problem with having too much bloom. As Esther counters to Rose in Meet Me In St. Louis, “Personally I think I have too much bloom. Maybe that’s the trouble with me.” That was definitely the trouble with me last night. My bloom wasn’t a dewy glow… it was a substantial dampness. Everywhere. It was equally as mortifying as it was dumbfounding. I’m no stranger to bloom myself, but never like this.
So what made this bloom so different from other blooms you ask? This bloom was of the Orlando variety…
The Orlando Bloom, if you will.
That’s right. Last night I met, spoke with, and then proceeded to party all night with Orlando Bloom, and let me tell you something: Orlando Bloom lip sweat is a SPECIAL KIND of lips sweat. It’s constant, it’s sticky, it gathers on the surface of your skin in little patches and exposes your wildest hopes, your deepest fears, and every single Lord of the Rings inspired fantasy in which you were Liv Tyler to his Legolas that you ever had... NOT THAT I’M SPEAKING FROM EXPERIENCE OR ANYTHING.
Let me give all this nonsensical rambling about lip sweat some context.
Last night I attended The Friars Club Foundation Gala honoring none other than Robert De Niro at The Waldorf Astoria here in New York. The producer and writer of the event was a close family friend/collaborator of my father’s and he invited me to be his guest. It was an absolutely exquisite evening. The food was delicious; the wine was fantastic, and the show? Beyond. Sting performed. Then Aretha Franklin performed. Then Stevie Wonder did a twenty-minute set. Twenty minutes of STEVIE WONDER. I was losing my mind. "My Cheri Amour" is still playing in my head on repeat. Among the people in attendance to pay tribute to Mr. Di Nero were Edward Norton, Sharon Stone, director David O. Russell, Joel McHale, Christopher Walken, Harvey Keitel, and of course Orlando Bloom. I was seated with my date/dear friend Dan and another girlfriend of mine also in attendance, and as star struck and utterly dumbfounded my artist self was by all the talent in the room (I mean BOB DE NIRO… IN THE FLESH), my girlfriend and I couldn’t help but break into a fit of preteen giggles at the sight of Mr. Bloom. Dan gave us a substantial eye roll and that was that. Until later at the after party.
My friend got herself an introduction, and after a while called Dan and I over to join the conversation. He was so friendly and perfectly charming, which was a problem because apparently my bloom level was directly correlated to his charm level. They found their mutual peaks when he was discussing how it can be hard being beautiful because people tend to pass judgment, assuming that you’re either dumb, egotistical, “or in your case, because you’re beautiful, people assume you must be a See You Next Tuesday”. That was a direct quote. Not only is “See You Next Tuesday” now my new favorite anagram for one of my least favorite words in the English language, but I’m also just going to tell myself that when he said “your case” he meant a collective your, meaning that he was not only addressing my friend who is one of the most beautiful humans on the planet, but was also addressing me… your friendly neighborhood Displaced Debutante casually wiping lip sweat from my agape mouth. That's a story I'd tell my kids one day when I've happily gained like 100 pounds and can hardly walk. The night Orlando Bloom said I was beautiful.
Seeing as how it’s a Wednesday I’ll go ahead and say it: “Bless MY heart”.
Now surely I wasn’t outwardly as much of a disaster as I thought I was, because had I been I would not have been invited with everyone to the after-after party at a fantastic speakeasy in Chelsea. There was a gilded bathtub in the center of the space and truffle fries and champagne for everyone. Champagne controls bloom, I learned. And truffle fries make everything better so thank God for that. We all stayed out together till after 2am… on a Tuesday. A school night. It was a blast, but at last we all said our goodnights and went our separate ways. I hopped in a taxi and replayed the whole evening as we drove up 8th Avenue, through Columbus Circle, then up up up Central Park West to my apartment.
I have been around “celebrity” my whole life. My mentors and people I consider family are some of the biggest names in television and music out there. I know how to act around a celebrity. I know how to behave. And I’m sure I behaved last night – again, if I were acting like a crazy person I would have been escorted away. But what is it about those celebs from our developmental years that cause such a visceral bodily reaction? I mean… I broke out into a sweat! It was in the taxi ride home that I realized these people were our middle and high school movie crushes, boy band and pop star crushes, the people whose picture we tore out of Tiger Beat and put up in our lockers or up on our bedroom walls (or if you were me on your bulletin board… I had a bulletin board). And no matter how old and wise or mature we become, that part of ourselves still exists, so when we find ourselves face to face with a person from that time in our lives, that part of ourselves reacts. It’s like when I spotted Daniel Radcliffe exiting Hudson Clearwater in NYC speaking beautiful French with the lady he just lunched with. I kept my cool... I promise I did. I mean he's just a New Yorker... Like any other New Yorker. He just also happens to be Harry FUCKING Potter. I so didn’t keep my cool. Or when I met Hugh Grant at a Christmas event at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London last year. We spoke over champagne and then he kissed my cheek. I was outwardly lovely and behaved as I ought, but on the inside I was doing somersaults. I’ll live on it till the day I die. And if I were to ever meet Colin Firth… oh man, I don’t think my inner Elizabeth Bennett would be able to handle herself. But as for last night, I arrived home safely and turned back into a pumpkin.
A pumpkin in full bloom.
With Grace and Good Humor,