Saturday, February 02, 2008


Last night I was at a charity benefit at the Ritz downtown Chicago. It was a nice gala with decent food, and music.
Of course there was the silent auctions for a number of things. But mostly it was raising money for the homeless. I never noticed how many there were living on the streets and not in shelters. Especially here in Chicago where the weather has been in the minus single digits or freezing with several inches of snowfall blanketing the city. I notice these poor unfortunates as I'd take the L home between 9 and 10, after dining with "the boyfriend", who lives behind the John Hancock building.
Well it started at 5:30 and I had to work. So I brought the shoes, hosiery and jewelry to work Thursday and the dress and pashmina on Friday. When I woke up Friday morning it had snowed at least 8 inches. It was a mess. I'd have to drag my UGLY totebag with me to the gala. To put a sweater and jeans in, to change into after the benefit for the L ride home. Anyway, Friday I get the goodies out of my locker and take them to the employee bathroom. Wash my face, and put on fresh makeup. Put on the dress, hose, giant wool socks, my old ankle high Frye boots, long wool coat and pashmina over my coat, so it doesn't wrinkle. God I looked like a dork. I put the gorgeous heels in a plastic garbage can liner with a lint brush and the sweater and jeans and stuff them all in a tote bag. Before the short cab ride to the Ritz, as I usually do, I look at the drivers id and address him by his first name, e.g.

"Tyrone I'm going to La Trattoria in Old Town", or "Mahmood to the AMC at 2600 N. Western". But today his name was James. Without thinking, I said, "James, I'm going to the Ritz". It then hit me. Just like the posh heiress in the movies, who says, "James, to the Ritz" I giggled. "To the Ritz James. The Ritz Carlton!" We get there, I pay him and run in to find a corner to be unseen while de cloaking. It was easy, no one in site. I take off the boots and socks and put them in the plastic bag. Put on the heels and start to freshen up by taking the lint off my hose and fluff up my dress. VoilĂ  I'm done. Get to the cloak room, ditch the coat and tote. Duck into the ladies room to fix the static hair. VoilĂ  again. I arrived without a second to spare. Dinner was served 15 minutes later. I was frazzled getting there for nothing. I was paranoid I'd slip and fall or I'd get sloshed while hailing a cab. I looked perfect and I never ever say that (being the critic I am).
But strangers told me so. (Lots of dress compliments) It's been a while since I had to dress up for an event with messy weather outside. I pulled it off so I'm da bomb. The end result was fab. The lady I sat next to was an organiser of the benefit and the numbers surpassed last years event. We were all happy for that.

1 comment:

M- Filer said...

I love this story. I don't know how I missed it. It conjures up all sorts of images for me (fun and not so fun) living in cold and snowy cities--Boston & New York--and all that entails when you are struggling to look fucking great despite the elements and public transport. To the Ritz indeed!

I wish you took pictures, I would love to have seen your "transformation". You go girlllllll.