The Soho Experience
Last Mother’s Day, I experienced the rarefied air found at the top of the social pyramid. The wife and I were guests of a friend who is a member of the Soho Members Club in Malibu, and the experience delivered all of the glitter expected when finding yourself in the promised land of the rich and famous.
The club, which I’m pretty sure relishes being a club, describes itself as a private setting for creative people in the arts, politics, and media. It’s a movers and shakers environment primarily enjoyed by L.A. progressives who anchor the entertainment world of America, which explains why kale and content are the passwords, and the secret handshake has been reduced to a pinkie bump.
So when you get out of your car stepping into a long, thin parking lot situated within a stone’s throw of the Pacific, the cars are parked with the very coolest car parked first, right next to the door entrance. It’s sort of like a handicapped space except exactly the opposite.
As I stood next to my own car waiting for the valet, I looked around the lot and maybe there was a vintage Bentley here and there, but basically it was the usual rundown of conspicuous consumption bigboy toys – Porsches, Teslas, Beamers, Mercedes, and Audis.
The valet wasn’t exactly impressed when he took the keys to our Subaru. I’m not sure, but I think he felt sorry for us, either that or he thought we’d driven into the wrong parking lot … at first, I considered acting self-possessed which would imply I’m important or at least in the loop, or perhaps I’d try to pull off eccentric which could suggest I possessed major talent, but to begin with, I didn’t have cool sunglasses which is a non-starter in L.A.. The valet probably parked the car across the street at a McDonalds.
The Soho setting in Malibu is on the beach less than twenty yards from the shoreline. It was a beautiful sunny day in the high sixties, and speaking of the high sixties, even the facelifts were looking pretty healthy that day …
I’m with the wife and we’re feeling pretty good about ourselves. Inside the place there’s real art on the walls, teak up the kazoo, polished steel everywhere, and with possibly a little pharmaceutical help on the side, everyone looked like they were in their happy place.
I’m really hungry, so the first thing I do is look for the buffet I was promised, and I gotta say, holy crap – it was like Christmas for people who had everything but wanted more. My fantasy was to place a chair right in front of the crab leg display and dig in. Who needs to keep on going back and forth to our table? I eventually came back to reality and stood in line waiting for my turn.
It’s hard to describe what free crab legs mean to me, and on top of that, all you can eat free crab legs. So after piling a pyramid of food on my plate, I moved on and I’m waiting, waiting, waiting for this chick to finish serving herself coleslaw. My entire family knows how much I love coleslaw and that I’d always have room on my plate, no matter how many crab legs were already there.
I’ve never been accused of being patient, but it just looked to me like this woman was analyzing each and every strand of cabbage before she considered it plate-worthy … then I reminded myself we were in L.A., so it was probably a search for mayo and its lethal trail of cellulite.
So I’m standing there, and I take a closer look at this woman bogarting the coleslaw and I realize she’s definitely a player – someone who smelled better than the food, someone who seemed to glow with skin and hair like you get on t.v.. She had an air about her. I never really knew what that meant before.
All that being said, this woman kept pecking, pecking, pecking at the goddamned coleslaw and when she was finally done, I looked at her plate – there were three carrots each the size of my my index finger, five shards of lettuce with a calorie count of maybe ten, volunteer strips of bell peppers and cucumber, some kale or maybe it was parsley, and of course the coleslaw.
This woman would be in absolutely no danger
of having to go to WeightWatchers anytime soon.
Back at the table, about halfway into my second pyramid of crab legs, after the girls came back with their collection of salads and desserts, our member friend started recounting a story she’d just heard from one of the waiters she knew.
She looked at us, pulled us closer to the middle of the table,
and in a lowered voice told us discreetly, “J-Lo is here.”
At first, I didn’t pay attention because, you know, I was eating crab legs. Our friend continued. “A waiter told me someone on line actually tried to talk to her.” At that point, I perked up a bit, looked over and asked – “Jay Leno is here?” There was quite an estrogen laugh as I was socially pantsed and informed that J-Lo was Jennifer Lopez, not Jay Leno.
It was then that I put two and two together. “That was me,” I confessed, “at the salad table. I knew she looked like a movie star, but she was taking so freaking long with the coleslaw. All I did was tell her that it’s good for the colon, you know, to move her along, like what a colon does. She was pissing me off like she had coleslaw entitlement or something. In fact, she ignored me when I told her the first time.”
The wife almost choked –
“You talked to her about her colon? More than once?”
I nodded my head. It didn’t seem like a big deal.
“I don’t think she believed me the first time.”
The wife shook her head. “Did she say anything to you?”
“Not much, something like ‘I’m glad about that’.
But now that I think about it, maybe she was being sarcastic.
I do remember she wasn’t smiling.”
The girls wanted me to give them every detail of my interaction. Did I know what kind of shoes she was wearing? Up close, what was her make-up like? Her skin? Are her eyes really as big as everyone says? What else was she wearing? Is anyone with her? Ben Affleck maybe?
After finishing what I’d say was a four crab-leg conversation about my interaction with a major celebrity, I loosened my belt and stood up to walk around the club, hoping to walk off feeling somewhat bloated. Hopefully, I could rally for at least one, possibly two more feedings at the trough. There remained mountains of meat to conquer, three dessert tables, sushi, eggplant parmesan, calamari salad, and basically everything I ever wanted to eat. Maybe Jay Leno was somewhere around as well … I’d sure like to talk to him about cars over a heap of tiramisu.
As I walked among the tables and past both bars, I came to
realize this whole fame obsession that people seem to have in America has tentacles where someone who sees a celebrity becomes a celebrity just by seeing them. Actually talking to a celebrity like I did could be eulogy material as in “He was a good man and told J-Lo about the benefits of coleslaw.”
On our way out the door, as we waited for the car guy to hike to get our Subaru which was parked in front of a detox center, J-Lo was having her picture taken with her kids in front of the next-to-the-door premier car. I almost said something to her, but I was out of colon information. I made eye contact as she posed for her picture, and I gave her a warm smile.
She pretended not to recognize me.
At least that’s the way my agent is telling the story.
I’m a celebrity now … I don’t have to play by the rules.
Maybe you’ll meet me in line someday.
kRIS Krankle is the founder of MILDEW
Men with Intimacy and Learning Disorders Experiencing Women