I went to the fancy Girls premiere party in Manhattan on Wednesday night. My husband works at Entertainment Weekly, so he was invited. I rarely attend media events anymore, but I did in my old life as a magazine editor. In fact, though I live a mere 12 miles west of Manhattan, I hardly ever go into the city. I am so entrenched in my routine as concierge to two children and three ill-behaved cats, that it's logistically difficult. An evening in Manhattan has come to seem as impossible as a weekend in Paris.
But we, as a couple, have resolved to be more adventurous, and, also, 15 of my Facebook friends encouraged me to go to the party. After a day of indecision, I located a willing yet trustworthy babysitter (not so easy) and got on the train. The screening was at NYU, just a few blocks away from my loved old apartment at One University Place, where I lived for ten years and once thought I would never leave. At dinner a block away, I wondered, what if we hadn't moved? What would our lives have been like? How would our kids have been different?
A tented red carpet was set up in front of the building where three episodes would be shown. Posing in front of the Girls wall were celebrities such as Rosanna Arquette, who will play someone's mother this season, and "celebrities" such as Chrisian Siriano. The wall reminded me of the time at a ym party, where I was editor-in-chief, when paparazzi yelled at me to get off the red carpet at my own event. I can't remember what b-list tv stars they wanted a shot of, but I obeyed, feeling idiotic. Or did that happen at ELLEgirl? It's all a blur.
Anyway, there were a LOT of famous people there. People don't believe me when I say I don't care about seeing stars, but it's absolutely true. I am immune to the excitement. There are very few that would get my attention. Patti Smith, Iggy Pop, the Obamas: that about covers it.
Dalton and I were not seated together. I was sitting next to a guy from The New York Post, so that kind of put a damper on the date-night aspect of the proceedings. The Post writer asked me if I am "a member of the media." To which I answered: "I used to be," though I am, in theory, a freelance writer. He then informed me that he calls The Good Wife "The Good Wig," because Alicia wear a wig; I guess I am the last to know.
Lena Dunham spoke briefly, and she was very charming in her black strapless jumpsuit and real hair. I had already watched the episodes that they showed, but I liked seeing them again. I am enjoying this season more than last season. I think it is funnier, and while I was a little disturbed by some of last season's content, I am used to it now. I've stopped watching it as a parent terrified about the world her daughter will grow up and live in. So while I definitely watch Downton first, I enjoy Girls. And I admire Lena Dunham's matter-of-fact comfort in her own body, which is the kind of body that most women have. It gives the rest of us reason to believe that we are just fine as is.
Furthermore, I have recovered from the $3.5 million book deal. When I heard about it on NPR while washing dishes, I felt like such a loser that I had to go and sit on the couch. If I ever finish my two not-nearly completed books (highly unlikely), I will not be getting a $3.5 million advance. My husband spotted me brooding and asked, "What's wrong?" I told him. "Is that all?" he said. "You look like a relative has died."
By the time the screening was over, we had only an hour left before we would have to get home for the sitter, a high school student. We boarded one of the buses HBO was running to the party at Capitale. I felt like a kid at a Bar Mitzvah being ferried from the shul to the catering hall. Capitale is in an old bank on the corner of Bowery and Grand. The building has hugely high vaulted ceilings. I remember another club in a similar building a couple of decades back--the Kingfisher, maybe?
Dalton went to college with Jenni Konner, the executive producer, and she spotted him as we walked away from the bar with our drinks. She was very nice. It turns out that she was a Sassy fan, a compliment I tend to receive with mixed emotions. I feel conspicuous and invisible at the same time.
Before we had to head out, I saw an old friend who was super friendly for two minutes, then vanished once I told him that I am a stay-at-home mom in Montclair (though I am, theoretically, let's not forget, a freelance writer). I didn't really blame him for bailing, because the place was crawling with influential people.
At the entrance to the Holland Tunnel, there was an obnoxious ad for a storage company. "The suburbs have bigger closets," it said. "Perfect for you to hide your dreams in." I was kind of obsessed with the placement. What was the point? Would it be good for business to insult a customer base you have already lost?
The ad also reminded me of a conversation I had with my therapist as we were buying our house 11 years ago. I was fretting that my life would be conventional, now that I was leaving the city. "That's a fantasy," she said in a sharper voice than she had ever used with me. Your location does not determine who you are.
And so I snapped out of it. I left. But I will tell you this: It wasn't because of the closets. My apartment on University Place had three awesome, big closets, much better than the dinky ones in our 1897 house.