September 02, 2009
Don't Eat Foie Gras
I attended one of those big Hampton charity events last Saturday night and found myself under a crowded tent which was the size of Hampton Bays. I somehow got separated from my wife, the beautiful Judy Licht, and was walking around, totally lost.
A man, whom I swear I have never seen in my entire life, came over and said, "Jerry, you're looking great!" Then he gave me the kind of hug you wouldn't give to anyone until at least the third date. Then he said, "Stay healthy. Never eat foie gras."
"Foie gras?" I said, thinking this was some sort of a weird dream.
"Foie gras!" he answered and walked off to hug and warn another stranger.
What is this with the hugging stuff? It used to be, when I was a kid a million years ago, that the only time men hugged other men was at funerals.
This was followed by an awkward conversation about the condition of the body lying there. "I'm so sorry, but he or she looks very good." Then what would follow was a conversation about what a great job the undertaker had done with the dead body.
I remember when my first wife's grandfather died. A woman came in to the funeral home screaming the dead man's name. She rushed to the casket. Then she screamed: "Look at him! Look at him! He looks so natural. He looks like he can get up and walk."
That's when I whispered, perhaps a bit too loudly, "If your grandfather so much as moves a muscle I'm out of here." In retrospect my wiseass remark might have contributed to the end of my marriage.
As it turns out I'm really at a disadvantage in a large group of people, be it a wedding or a funeral or a big-time Hamptons charity event. I'm inept at making conversation. I don't recognize anyone.
That all showed up the other night at this charity event when I ran into a woman whose name or face I couldn't recall. Judy greeted her with a big hug and the woman said "Jerry!" and turned her head to be kissed. I leaned over and kissed her partially on the lips and partially on her nose.
Which brings me to my problem with double-kiss women.
I was brought up in a time when, upon greeting a female acquaintance, one would give her a single innocent peck on the cheek. Those women who were not interested in being kissed would, upon meeting a man, extend their hand and ward him off, settling for a soft, limp handshake. But these days I'm dealing with the new, liberated, European-influenced "double kiss" woman.
I was at a party recently where I saw a woman I've known for years. The minute our eyes met she quickly turned her face.
Not having all that much confidence in my relationships with the opposite sex I immediately thought, "She hates me. She's turning away from me." After the longest three seconds of my life it dawned on me that she wanted me to kiss her cheek. I stumbled forward and just barely brushed her cheek. That's when she whiplashed her head and presented me with the other cheek. This threw my timing off and I fell against her and my kiss landed on her ear, hard. I felt her gold earring on my lips going into my mouth. "God," I thought, "if she had turned any faster I might have accidentally swallowed her earring."
The thought of swallowing and possibly choking on an earring at a cocktail party and the four glasses of wine I had consumed made me giggle. "What's so funny?" she asked. Before I could answer she snapped her head away from me. I was about to kiss her for the third time when I realized that she had dismissed me and was setting her face for a kiss by another man.
I went for my fifth glass of wine determined that, for the rest of the night, I was not going to kiss another woman or hug another man.
If you wish to comment on "Jerry's Ink," send your message to firstname.lastname@example.org.