Friday, April 18, 2014

Originally Published 2007

Ok, so I have to tell you an amusing story about an elevator encounter I had this past weekend... Or more accurately, one Candy and Jae and I had.
Candy and Jae have played with Traveler and me before, and they all like each other, so when I suggested they come visit us late one evening, he said, “Why don’t we all go to dinner first?” So we all went out to a lovely dinner, and there was some wine, and perhaps we were all feeling just a touch merry and uninhibited. Although really, we can all get that way without wine.
Now, you probably don’t know this, but there was a big convention in Seattle these last few days – of orthodontists. When I say big, I mean we heard there were something like thirty thousand orthodontists in Seattle. Not just American orthodontists, either - there were Spanish orthodontists, there were French orthodontists, there were Indian orthodontists. Heck, there were orthodontists here from countries I couldn’t find on a map. I saw a lot of said orthodontists in lobby and elevator of the Fairmont, and plus, we got the skinny from the valets, because those guys always know what’s going on. And they like to chat with cute girls.
We were looking more than just cute, actually, all dressed up for an evening of fun and games. I was wearing a slinky, skintight black Wolford top and skirt and spike heels, Candy was wearing very high heels and a flippy little black and white dress which made one think that her legs might really and truly be a mile long, and Jae was wearing an outfit that we decided could best be described as “a kinky SS cheerleader”. We were quite a sight, in the lobby of the serene and conservative Fairmont Hotel. We seemed to cause something of a stir on our way out to dinner, so on our way back in, I told Traveler to drop the three of us off at a side entrance, so he didn't have to escort us back past the interested gaze of the various hotel staff. I mean, the man stays at the Fairmont with his business companions as well, let’s not complicate his life by raising too many eyebrows.
So we three ladies are in the elevator, riding back up to the suite, and an older couple – perhaps late-sixties – get on with us. They were both all dressed up, obviously coming from some social event, and something about the lady’s expression reminded me of one of my great-aunts – the one who was essentially a kind person, but sometimes a trifle querulous.
Perhaps it was the reminder of dealing with older relatives that made me say to them, “Careful, this elevator’s been bouncing a little when it’s stopped, don’t trip.”
Just being a good citizen, you know? But Candy and Jae took my remark as a cue to begin bantering with the man in a manner that one might call flirtatious.
He looked mildly startled but pleased. His wife’s face suggested that she didn’t know quite what to think about these oddly dressed and chatty strangers, but that given some time, she might work up to being displeased by them.
This was not exactly my idea of being low-profile, but, luckily even a quaint old elevator like the Fairmont’s doesn’t take long to get up seven floors. The couple were going on up, and I breathed a small sigh of relief as Candy and I got off the elevator, with Jae a few steps behind us, saying a polite goodnight to them like the former debutante that she is.
And the woman calls out, in a half-sweet, half-suspicious voice, “Are you three orthodontist-girls?”
Now, the first thought that went through my mind was: what exactly would an orthodontist-girl be? A female orthodontist? Oh, wow, that’s real feminist of you, lady. Gloria Steinem thanks you.
Or maybe she means orthodontist’s assistants. I didn’t know what such a person’s correct title would be. Neither did she, apparently.
But, while I am sure there are some very tarty, kinky-looking people who work in orthodontist’s offices in all capacities, my strongest reaction was: lady, do we fucking look like orthodontists?
However, I would not dream of saying such a thing to a blue-haired, pearl-wearing, great-aunt-ish lady. My Southern upbringing would never permit it.
So I turned around to civilly decline any connection with the tooth-straightening industry. Candy, however, is a woman of fewer words. She gave short laugh and a broad, dismissive wave of one hand, and sang out clearly, “Oh, hell no!” Then she turned and stalked off down the pastel blue hallway in her black and white faux fur coat, like Cruella DeVille gone vegetarian.
I was at the wrong angle, but I caught just enough of a glimpse of the woman’s face to decide that I would follow Candy, abandoning Jae, who stammered something about Tourette’s Syndrone as the elevator doors closed on the outraged lady.
“Oh my god, I can’t believe you said that!” I was laughing so hard Candy had to grab my arm to keep me from stumbling.
Jae caught up with us. She was laughing too, in that horrified way one does when one sees a sacred cow – Always be respectful of your elders – tipped over into the mud. “Jesus, you should have seen her, her eyes got big and her lips got all mad and tight, and her chin started quivering like a bobble-head doll.”
We reached the suite. Jae and I collapsed onto the couch, giggling madly. Candy looked slightly abashed.
“I didn’t really think about it,” she said, biting her lip. “I didn’t mean to be rude, it just - came out.”
“Well,” I said, “it’s probably good that you didn’t say something like: “Hell no, we’re not orthodontist-girls, we’re a bunch of perverted harlots, and we’re going to go stick needles through this guy’s nipples, you wanna watch?”
That made Candy laugh, too. “Yeah, well, that’s sort of what I was thinking. Only not the wanna-watch part.”
So if you’re a lady of mature years who had an encounter with three wild women at the Fairmont this weekend: Sorry, we didn’t mean to be rude. Want us to stick needles in your nipples to make up for it?