Pass the humiliation and the pink Himalayan salt, pleasePosted: April 8, 2011
Gloria Vanderbilt once invited Megan McArdle to a dinner party. I told Van I couldn’t imagine why she was inviting that, and she said, “Well, dear, Andrew Sullivan is coming as well, and we have to give him the chance to act superior to someone at the table.”
On the night, McArdle arrived half an hour early, which would be unforgivable enough had she not come toting a bottle of Vin de Footsquasher 2007 and a bunch of half-dead gerberas. Van’s wonderful old butler, Thomas, stuck her in the waiting room for 45 minutes, so by the time he went and got her we were all already sitting down, onto our first glass and our second line, and hoeing into the sevruga.
Anyhow, when Thomas fetched Megan, she trundled after him, clutching her flowers and bottle. As they made their way along the corridor, she started to let out a little whine, which gradually got more high pitched and then burst out into a litany of complaints against poor Thomas. It was a little like this: “mmmmmmmmmmmoooooooooooooeeeeeeeeeEEEEEEEEEEEE. Why? Why did you make me sit there all alone. Do you know who I am? I sat there without a drink for aaaaaaaages. Blah. Blah. Whinycakes.”
Thomas ignored her and kept going. He rounded the corner, threw open the door, and because McMegan was so wrapped up in her whinge, she had flung the words “It’s just not good enough!” at Thomas before she realized that she was in the dining room and twenty people were staring at her.
Anderson couldn’t help but let out a guffaw, but everyone else was just staring at her openmouthed. Jonathan Franzen started whispering to me to try to find out “who the hell that lank haired harridan” was.
Gloria stood up like the perfect hostess, although even I will admit she was swaying a bit, and managed to focus her eyes on McArdle. She reached out and graciously took the bottle that Megan was clutching, peered at it, and said “No, it’s really not good enough to show up with a bottle of cat piss, but don’t beat yourself up too much.”
Then she walked back to the table, but over her shoulder she said, “And we don’t talk to the servants like they are dogs, dear, not unless we want them to shit in the soup.”
From memory Megan sat at the table the rest of the night, clutching her gerberas and not saying a word. She did, however, manage to bogart the joint, then ran from the room looking green, and spent the rest of the night vomiting in the spare bathroom.
It was a dud of an evening for the most part. Andrew Sullivan had a discussion with Congressman Paul Ryan about the congressman’s proposal that all gays had to wear a pink triangle, be branded on the forehead, and eventually be shipped off to camps in Alaska. Andrew kept saying that he thought it was a bracing idea and evidence that the debate on gay marriage could move on to more earnest grounds, but that he wondered whether he might get an exemption, being a “conservative” and all.
Ryan laughed at him and told him that “conservative” gays were the worst of all, and there would be compulsory castration for them as well, at which point Andrew threw his support behind the idea entirely as “being in the true spirit of Oakeshottianism”.
We managed to get rid of Sullivan and McArdle fairly early, thank god. There was no way the wife-swapping section of the evening was going to work with those two in the room.
Image by David Shankbone, CC-BY-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons