Dorothy, We're Not in Berlin Anymore

Some friends appear in your life and then disappear, never to be heard from again. I've had several of these... odd birds. But the most memorable is a woman named Ingrid.

Ingrid was married to a client of mine, a very popular rock n' roll star. He'd met her on tour in Europe. She was a Vogue model and had been on the cover of the German edition several times. Back then as now, rock stars always seem to hook up with models. It's like a must have accessory or something.

Ingrid didn't speak much English and would repeat anything said to her without knowing what it mean. In fact, she would often make up her own pronunciation of many words sending those around her into fits of laughter. It was this trait alone, I believe, why Mr. Rock n Roll married her: he thrived on being a prankster. She was so beautiful she was almost homely. Dress so far ahead of fashion that I believe we're still trying to catch up with her. In short, Inrid was what I called 'high maintenance' on every level. And - she had no girlfriends.

Our first meeting was at a large rehearsal staging area in Hollywood. Ingrid's husband was debuting a new band in front of every major record label decision maker in the business. The buzz on the new band was tremendous. The crowd was a virtual 'who's who' of the music industry. Many of them my clients.

Ingrid was seated just about in the center of the crowd. She motioned me over to an empty seat next to her. As the room quieted down and the lights started to dim, Ingrid suddenly stood up waiving her arms and shouting at the top of her lungs;

"Vait! Vait!"

The room dropped into silence. Complete silence.

Not a soul moved.

"Vee need a schpotlight here." "I vant to show my new girlfriend Jane, sumting"

Huh? Your what? Did you say girlfriend? Wait a minute. I don't recall feeling that spark, that unspoken acknowledgment that we were going to be friends when we first met. And what the hell do you want to show me that takes a spotlight?!

The thought had not finished in my head when there we were, just the two of us, bathed in the brightest damn light you can imagine. Without a second to spare, my question was answered. She grabbed her purse and dumped the entire contents of it into her lap!

"Look here," she said in her very soft voice with a very heavy German accent.

I admit I was afraid to look.

"Since I've decide vee ahr going to be friends, I vant you to see vhat is inside my purse."

Huh?, I thought. Inside your what?! Is this a German thing? You mean to tell me that all eyes in this room are on us, my career is ruined and you're showing me your lipstick, hairspray, nail polish kit, floss, birth control pills, mouthwash, English/German dictnionary, credit cards, photos of family back home (who, by this time I was sure had relocated to Peru) and the remains of a candy bar that you'd forgotten was there?!

At just about the same moment I found my voice so did the announcer and it boomed over the still silent room.

"Uh, Ingrid,"

"Yes?" Ingrid said very softly as she looked up into the bright light.

"Can we start the show now?"

"Vell, ok," she sighed. "But make it quick vill you? I've got so very much to share vit my new girlfriend."

And for the next five years she did. Her favorite movie, "Johann, the Living Sea Goat," her favorite song, "Your Solvang" and the first introduction to a man she'd always wanted to meet "Huge" Hefner. No, no, it's not a typo. She could never pronounce his name correctly and the day she met him for the first time at the Playboy Mansion it went like this:

"Why you must be Ingrid," he said as he approached her with his hand outstretch in greeting.

"Und you must be Huge," she replied in her soft spoken voice with the heavy German accent.


Some Girlfriends Have Extra parts

Meeting girlfriends is like dating. In fact, I believe this may be the learning ground for many of our future initial contacts with men. You can meet a new best friend anywhere. Many women begin lifelong friendships in grade school or college. Some meet at an office or through other acquaintances. You can meet at a party, or through a club or organization where you both hold the same interests. It doesn't matter. You can't go looking for a girlfriend, other women smell desperation a mile away. No, it must be by chance.

You'll know the very minute you lay eyes on a woman that you're going to be fast friends. It's just like meeting your 'soulmate.' There's an unmistakable connection even before you say hello.

I've met a couple of my friends by chance. Take Jenna, for instance. She was dating the brother of a man that I was dating, both successful music execs. We met at a Hollywood club one night as we were passing each other at the front door on the arms of our dates. My first thought was, 'oh now she looks interesting. Hmmmm, maybe we could be friends." I didn't see her again though until several weeks later at the Federal Building in Los Angeles. We were both in line at the Passport Office. I was deep in thought when I heard an unfamiliar voice.

"Hello?" Jane?

I looked up and saw this woman with big beautiful eyes and the warmest smile you've ever seen.

"Yes?" (I didn't recognize her)

She was dressed very simply and wore no make up. She carried a book in her arm.

"It's me, Jenna. We met a couple weeks ago at the Troubador." You were heading out, I was coming in?" Me, Wes....

"Oh, oh. Yes! I'm sorry, I didn't recognize you. Hi, how are you?"

"I'm great, thanks. And you?"

"Can't complain."

"Hey, it looks like we're both heading out of the country," she said as she held up her passport application.

"Oh, yeah, I guess we are...uh, I"m meeting Bill in Cannes at MIDEM and then vacationing in the South of France, and you?"

"Moving to Paris. Tom and I are taking a break."

"Oh, I'm so sorry to.....

"NEXT!" "Next in line, please!" shouted the man at the pick up window.

"Oh, that's me," I said taking a step backward. "Well, maybe we'll see each other again soon?" Hey, maybe even in Paris!"

And off I went. I new right then that we'd be friends. It was just a matter of time.

A couple weeks later, after Bill proposed marriage to me on the balcony of our hotel room at the Hotel de Paris in Monte Carlo, (I declined. He got attitude. It's a another story) we arrived in Paris. We'd just settled into our hotel room when the phone rang. It was Jenna; she was in the lobby. Could we join her for dinner, she begged. She was very lonely for a familiar face. Bill put his bruised ego aside and off we went to the brasserie downstairs to share some wine and laughter.

After dinner, Jenna and I felt like an espresso and some people watching at a sidewalk cafe down the street. So we paid the check and left Bill to continue pouting in the hotel room. We talked for hours. When the cafe waiter started folding the chairs for the night, we decided to go for a walk. We walked for hours through the streets of Paris until the sun was up.

Later that day Jenna and I met again and walked along the Seine, marveled at the Louvre, and shared a simple handmade truffle from Fauchon while staring silently in awe at the Cezanne stained glass dome in the Paris Opera House.

A few nights later we joined my newly jilted lover and a friend of his for dinner. We whizzed in the Porsche down the rain soaked streets, past the the Eiffel Tower in all its glory, down the Champs-Elysee, around the Arc de Triomphe, and down a dark narrow street stopping abruptly in the middle of the block. Valets rushed out of nowhere and hurried us to the ornate front door under the cover of huge umbrellas. Once inside, our eyes had to adjust to the extravagance of the room. It was as if we'd entered a Faberge egg. The 16 foot high walls were covered in deep turquoise silk, diamond-tufted in gold metal with large, carved gold buttons at each intersection. The chandeliers were like bare trees in winter with icicles dripping from every branch. The tables were layered with deep green, turquoise, yellow and blue damask, silk and hand embroidered brocade. The place settings were heavy silver, the china; porcelain, the crystal wine glasses, Baccarat. It was breathtaking.

My new best friend and I breathed in the anticipation of a perfect evening, and it was -- except for the dog. I didn't know at the time that it was customary in Paris for your pet canine to accompany you into any public place, including a five star restaurant. So, there we were and there 'it' was -- the dog -- who apparently was experiencing a violent disturbance in its digestive tract. Yes, Gigi had gas! It was deadly. Oddly enough, no one else seemed to be reacting to the foul smell but me. No raised eyebrows or whispers. I looked at Jenna. She looked up from her menu at me and shrugged her shoulders. There were no other signs that anyone other than Jenna and I were smelling the offensive olfactory assault on this otherwise magical evening.

That night at the hotel we laughed until we cried. We knew right then and there that we would be friends forever. As I look back, now 26 years later, I'm certain that because I was the only one in the restaurant with a panicked, sick look on my face that the other diners - maybe even some at my own table, thought I was the foul smelling offender that evening. It makes us laugh every time.
Oh and yes, we are still best of friends, sisters in fact. We will finish this life in each other's lives, through the thick and thin - and we've had both (stay tuned).


We All Live in the Land of Nod

There are no exceptions. We are women. We are asleep at the wheel on some of the most important journeys in our lives, and then some.

Please don't get me wrong! I'm not saying that we're ignorant or stupid or lazy or any other derogatory word you might want to slip into this sentence so you can be insulted. I'm not even suggesting that because we're women we are unaware of what may be going on around us in our lives day-to-day. I'm simply saying that we tend to romanticize the most important events in our lives. Often before, during and after they become reality. I'm talking about the fact that we are lulled into believing that whatever our world is at the moment it is good and safe and loving and then...

It happens. That life-changing event that sends even the strongest of us into a tailspin. The new man, the marriage proposal, the wedding, the breakup, the loss of a job, the birth of a child, menopause, the death of someone close. "I didn't think (fill in the blank) would be like this" we whisper. Yet, when faced head-on with these intrusions into our quiet happy little world as we knew it we find ourselves hearing for the very first time what our closest girlfriends had seemingly known all along. The facts.

And that's what this blog is about. It's about what all us gals have kept under wraps and to ourselves as we stood steadfastly by each other in that happy, euphoric, boring little center of the universe we call home. This is not information ordinarily bandied about at a reunion luncheon or a night out with the gals. Hell, we won't even crack the silence after having too much to drink.

Remember....every woman before you got the facts only because somewhere along the way they had a girlfriend who enlightened them right after a life altering moment. It's not like you were out sick the day they handed out this very personal information around the halls at school, or on vacation when your female co-workers were all talking about the fact memo around the water cooler, or god forbid, that time you missed the one Sunday dinner where your own mother was letting your sisters in on the news. NO! The fact is...you don't even know what you don't know until you needed to know.

This is not a serious blog, it's not meant to offend or be confrontational. It's not necessarily autobiographical. There's no hidden agenda here and I don't name names. (I know, I know...probably won't help me find a publisher) I just want to shed light on some of the facts of life before they find you!