Friday, May 09, 2008

Our very own Diana

A princess arrives. With carry-on.

I have my own princess. And I'm not talking about the whiny Long Island variety, I'm talking bona fide royalty.

I spent a year in France when I was in high school, living with a family. (Mindy gives a nice recap of our visit with them in France last year.) I enjoyed wonderful hospitality from all the families in the little town where I was living, but none were quite like this particular family. They were so sweet and generous with me I could hardly believe my good fortune. They would spontaneously say things like "hey Tom, why don't you invite about 20 of your school friends over this weekend. We'll have a barbecue!" I was very sad when I had to leave them at the end of the year and return to my own sullen brood.

The eldest daughter of this family is a year younger than me, so we were especially close when I was living in her home. She has her personality quirks just like anyone else, but I always found her to be utterly delightful. And very pretty to boot.

Brunching at French Roast

Anne's family is an upstanding one in France, and actually suffers a bit of a "reputation" in this little town. I never saw this side of them, and granted, maybe they were putting on a nicer facade for me, but a lot of people in the town referred to them as "those snobs." I found them to be anything but. Sure, they liked to enjoy the finer things in life, but I didn't exactly feel them turning me away at the door. Plus, I can't help it if some people just don't know how to dress.

But anyway, they were lovely, and I've kept in touch with them all these years.

Anne always aspired to greater things in life, and in keeping with her plan she ended up marrying into German royalty. Literally. Although the Germans no longer have any official responsibility-bearing titles, the former royals are quite proud of hanging onto their titles that apparently used to mean a lot more in an official sense than they do now. Social registers and all that jazz. I don't know a whole lot about it except to say that her husband is officially a "prince" and his mother is "Countess of something and something" etc. And that when his mother passes away his title becomes even nobler. I need to look into how that all works.

Have you ever been crowded into a small elevator with a princess? George and I have.

They got married about 13 years ago, and I always figured it was a fairy tale romance. But alas, I recently discovered all has not been well in paradise, and that the "happy" couple is splitting up.

While it's hard to feel sympathy for a princess when there are billions of people in the world suffering from real problems, I still feel bad for her. But anyway.

Anne called a while ago to tell me of her woes and to ask if she could come spend a long weekend with us in New York. "Mais bien sur!" I told her and began making plans on how to regale her in the same spirit of generosity with which her family has always treated me. I have always tried to go to extra lengths to be nice to them whenever they come to visit me, which they've done numerous times in the U.S. In fact, last summer Anne celebrated her 40th birthday, and I was totally stressing out about what to get her since George and I were attending her party.

With Ruby in our suite at the W

"She's a fucking princess. I can't just walk in there with some piece of junk!" I thought, and George agreed. So I went to Tiffany's and got her a bracelet. And actually felt ashamed when I walked in the door with it. I was thinking "her husband is a prince and has probably given her all sorts of family jewels and all that crap. She'll just laugh at this."

Little did I know, it was the nicest present she received. In fact, her "Protestant" husband (that's how Anne's parents refer to their son-in-law) has NEVER given her a gift in all their years of marriage. NOT ONE GIFT! Needless to say, she was charmed almost to tears with our thoughtfulness.

But I hadn't yet been informed about the prince's miserly nature at the time that I was planning Anne's weekend with us. I remember talking to Mindy on the phone about it, stressing about how we were going to have a princess staying with us and we didn't even have a spare bedroom to offer her.

"I don't know how I can possibly expect this woman to sleep on our couch. With cats running all over her yet."

George and I at dinner

Mindy replied that I should make it into a funny blog post, and take pictures of her bundled up on the couch, which incidentally doesn't even pull out into a sleeper sofa. "It will be great. You can title it "Anne, Princess of _________, Husband of Prince ________, Daughter-in-law of Countess _________, visits the home of Mama Gin and enjoys her luxurious Brooklyn accommodations."

Very funny.

An exquisite dinner at Aquavit

After thinking about it for a short while, I came to the realization that the weekend she was visiting coincided with George's birthday. So I did the only sensible thing and booked us a suite at the W in Manhattan. It was like a madcap Manhattan weekend for the three of us to celebrate her visit and George's birthday, therefore justifying the (considerable) cost.

Pre-dinner cocktails in our suite with Ruby

We had a lot of time to talk and catch up, as well as to enjoy the finer aspects of the city. Enjoy the following pictures recapping parts of our weekend.

Oh, and the princess has agreed to sleep on our couch next time she visits.

I was careful not to eat too many rolls at Aquavit.

Ruby spent the entire evening telling Anne how she would "start healing very soon." To the point where we were cringing in embarrassment. Anne is wearing the Tiffany bracelet.

Nightcap at the W bar

Ruby admonishing Anne to buy herself jewelry if a man won't. "Look, I baaawt my own rubies and doooiiiamonds." Imagine Fran Drescher's voice and you pretty much understand what it means to spend time with Ruby.

Anne shoots us the inevitable look of "who the fuck is this woman?"


Alan said...

Is this recent? Do I owe Poor George a "Happy B!"

Writeprocrastinator said...

"Little did I know, it was the nicest present she received. In fact, her "Protestant" husband (that's how Anne's parents refer to their son-in-law) has NEVER given her a gift in all their years of marriage. NOT ONE GIFT!"

Status or not, how the hell could she stay married to that sh*t???

Johnny Yen said...

Okay, I have been called, by several women in my life, "the great unromantic," and even I know that women love gifts, and act accordingly. What a schmuck her husband is.

Beth said...

You lead the loveliest life.

Dale said...

Ruby's going to end up being one of those must see attractions to visit in NY. She's decked out!

What a lovely story about your princess and other family in France. All this and George too. O Lucky Man!

Chris said...

Sigh, I need to get a better circle of friends....I don't even have a friend on the local city council :)

BeckEye said...

Looks like Anne and Ruby are drinking toxic waste! Must be Midori sours.

lulu said...

I love Ruby.

I am a little put out that you don't worry about me sleeping on the couch though. I thought my princess tendencies were widely known.

Bubs said...

Happy Birthday George!

So, not only are you a swanky urban sophisticate, but you hobnob with royalty as well!? Wow.

Oh, and add my obligatory "oh my God he never bought her a present" statement to the list please.

GETkristiLOVE said...

Next time, the princess sleeps on your couch and you teach the kitties French so she's more comfortable. Teach them to say, "le mew, le meow."

Writeprocrastinator said...

What? It was George's birthday??? Happy Birthday!

Gifted Typist said...

Your post reads like a fairy tale. It's lovely.

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

That Princess is quite the cutie. And you guys clean up pretty good too.

chelene said...

Happy belated birthday to Poor (but quite Amazing) George! And that picture of Ruby showing off her baubles if priceless.

Grant Miller said...

Nice picture of you and George. And I'd like to have brunch and Bloody Mary's now after seeing the French Roast picture.

Happy belated birthday, George!

Grant Miller said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Old Lady said...

Ruby is actually very pretty.