Sunday, September 03, 2006

Subtle Differences

Yesterday morning both “Today” and “Good Morning” did pieces about women and wine. They aired at exactly the same time and if it wasn’t for the miracle of the TV zapper, and my uncontrollable desire to use it non stop, we never would have known. We figured that there must have been some study about women buying wine a becoming big consumers because if we’re not a marketing target, our likes and dislikes hardly ever matter. Gender as a profit center – my favorite thing. Anyway, what was interesting was that the NBC version was four black women talking about not being intimidated by whatever the color and name of a wine, while on ABC they had five white women trying to be intimidating about the drink. NBC presented the story along with food suggestions. ABC presented their story along with what appeared to be suggestions about how to become a wine snob. I like the ABC morning show much better than the NBC show so this presentation of the same subject was unsettling for me. Anyway…

I’m a terrible wine slut—not snob—so I’ll drink any wine that is put in front of me. I might not like it but I’ll drink it! OK maybe I’m exaggerating but not much. There is nothing I like better then going to a party at Andy Besch’s (“The Wine Guy”—it’s a great book so buy it or visit his store at 82 and Columbus). Or a party at Larry Irving’s (who collects wines and rids himself of much a few times a year – or just dinner when he brings the wine to the restaurant. But I didn’t want to blob about wine I wanted to dwell a bit on subtle differences.

Last week was the Pakstani Independence Day parade. Two weeks ago was the Indian Independence Day Parade. This is a little disconcerting since they are both actually the same day but they don't want to celebrate a most painful historical event together. Two weeks ago the weather was gorgeous. Last the weather was horrible which caused the parade to be pretty much of a bust. I love a parade, especially one where there are lots of costumes and music. My favorite thing is to march along to the beat of someone else’s drum, while waving a flag at all the people on the floats. It was raining so hard that there were a minimal number of float participants and those who toughed it out were absolutely drenched. It was hard to enjoy the elaborate saris when they we laden with rainwater. At the end of the parade there were supposed to be booths where you could taste some real Pakistani food and enjoy a protest about freeing Kashmir, but even that was a washout. I felt so bad for the organizers. These acts of nature can breed terrible disappointment.

I was looking forward to both these parades because I love those cultures. In 1980 I spent considerable time in India creating the world premiere of the film “Gandhi”. And I had the good fortune to meet many Indians and Pakistani’s who had been through the devastating Partisan of their countries. And while I loved the food, and the dance and the colors and the smells of those places, I especially loved looking at the women in their attractive saris and Punjabis. Gandhi believed it was possible to live in peace – if he could only see us now.

I have taken to looking at the subtle differences of the women on the street in N.Y. Not in a weird way, and not street people. Quite the contrary. As I was walking across the city, I began to think of the Stephen Sondheim song “Pretty Women”. The first verse begins; Pretty women Fascinating... Sipping coffee, Dancing... Pretty women Pretty women Are a wonder. Pretty women!

And the pretty women aren’t just rich women. They were all shapes and colors and types. But they all had a certain flair. Something that made them different from women anywhere else in the country, as well as each other. I remember when I told a Washington friend that I didn’t know what to wear for Halloween and she said “have you looked in your closet?” I have always dressed like I live in NY. When I was at the State Dept. a senior official suggested I had a little too much style and it wasn’t what THEY did. I was a senior official (who knew the President) so I suggested they start dressing like me. But that’s another blob.

Women in NY no matter what their socioeconomic status or their profession dress in a way that makes them pretty. Maybe not pretty in the traditional sense but in a way that makes you look at them. They are not ordinary or dull. They are colorful and expressive, and free and sometimes feathered. But they are wonderful to watch because of who they think they are and the subtle differences. We’re just sayin


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