508. I Love a Charade
In this ever-expanding galaxy called New York City, there are certain heavenly bodies one orbits around every day. And then there are those stars whose gravitational pull one drifts in and out of over the years.
Is that all there is.
Bobby Fine, satellite friend, piano bar legend.
I usually do this number at home in a pink caftan and a Peggy Lee wig. Like you've never done the same thing after three daiquiris? But right now, I must take a quick break to say hello to a celebrity friend. Is there any other kind? Little Miss Carrie Bradshaw.
She writes books. You remember books. Primitive versions of the DVD. Stop, please stop. Okay, one more time for the cheap seats in the back. Is that all there is. Yes, that's all there is.
How long have you two known each other?
- Let's put it this way. Cats was just Kittens. Cats, the musical. Hello? - Oh, I loved Cats.
- Medic. - It hasn't been that long, has it?
Please, darling, when we met, you took aerobics and Stanford had hair.
- Bobby. - Bitsy. I thought you had a dinner.
Oh, I do. The driver is circling, but I had to run up and say hello. Oh, hello.
Bitsy Von Muffling. This is Carrie, Miranda, Samantha, and the one who liked Cats.
Bitsy, Samantha Jones. I did PR for your museum benefit.
Samantha, of course, I loved you. I was just so thrilled that someone actually liked Cats.
- I didn't like it that much. - Waiter, sense of humor, Table 5.
- So, Samantha, how are you? - Fabulous. How are you?
Delirious. I'm madly in love and getting married. Big Hamptons wedding.
- Congratulations. Who's the lucky stud? - Me.
You're getting married?
Can you believe it? Bitsy and I are affianced. I finally found the right girl. Mr. Broadway has to go tinkle before he can tinkle.
- Samantha, I have your address. You have to come. Nice meeting you all. - Bye.
I thought he was gay.
Yeah, "Mr. Broadway has to go tinkle"? That's the gayest sentence ever uttered.
He must be marrying her for the money.
He doesn't need the money. He was one of the original investors in Chorus Line.
Just when you thought you'd never hear anything gayer than "Mr. Broadway has to go tinkle."
Why would he be getting married?
In 1988, Bobby Fine announced that he was going to sell his piano bar downtown and go volunteer with Nicaraguan orphans. The orphans are still waiting. This wedding will never happen.
Everything's booked. So the really big question is where are we going to stay?
That's the really big question? What about, "Why are these two people marrying each other?" Is that all there is?
Bitsy said they were madly in love.
You see, I find the love facade the most offensive part. We're adults. We can handle it. Bitsy should say, "I'm getting older, and I want companionship." Or Bobby should say, "The hot men don't go for me anymore." But don't print invitations and call it love as if love transforms people and changes molecules 'cause that's bullshit.
- I guess you don't want to be my date then. - No dates, unless they have summer houses.
Relax. We can stay with Stanford and Marcus.
I was a fool to break up with Richard before Labor Day. He has a fabulous house.
I wouldn't go to this charade if you paid me. It's like there's a pink suede elephant in the middle of the room and nobody's allowed to talk about it.
You think they won't have sex? All married couples stop having sex eventually.
That's not true. You've had sex with lots of married people. That's how I know.
Okay, let's say it's companionship. How do you sustain a relationship without the zsa zsa zsu?
That butterflies-in-your-stomach thing that happens when you not only love the person, but you gotta have them. Isn't that what gets you through the years? Even if it fades, at least you have the memory of the zsa zsa zsu.
I'm fine with whatever people want to do. Just be straight with me.
I think that's how Bitsy proposed to Bobby.
It was right about then Charlotte decided to be straight with us.
- I'm seeing someone, sort of. - You're in a "sort of" relationship?
- It's ridiculous. He's so not my type. - Is he heterosexual?
Yes. But he's bald and short, and he talks with his mouth full. I don't even want to be seen in public with him. I hate his name, Harry, because he is, everywhere but his head.
- Is the sex bad, too? - It's the best sex of my life. I think I might really like him.
You want to go to a wedding in the Hamptons in a few weeks? Bitsy Von Muffling's.
You're invited to that?
Oh, yeah, I handled her divorce. I just never thought of you as a Hamptons type.
I am the Hamptons, baby. I own a house in Bridge.
Well, I can't go. I'm not really ready for swimsuit season.
What? You're a fucking knockout.
- It's you. It's your back. - What's wrong with my back?
It's very hairy. You're not supposed to be able to grab someone's back.
- This is how I was born. What am I supposed to do about it? - Get it waxed.
- I'll tell you what. You come with me to the wedding, and I will get my back waxed. - Fine.
- Come here, you. - Your hands are all greasy.
That night, I thought about what it takes to make a relationship work till death do us part. Most singles have more long-term success with friends. So maybe it is a better strategy to marry a friend. However, in the absence of sex, whether that's the arrangement, or just what happens after a few years, what distinguishes this companion from your many other companions? When it comes to saying "I do", is a relationship a relationship without the zsa zsa zsu? Or in Samantha's case, how much is a woman due for surviving the zsa zsa zsu?
This is Richard. You have 30 seconds.
I've been thinking. Our pathetic relationship is as close to marriage as either one of us ever hopes to get. So I feel I deserve some sort of settlement. Like, say, a weekend at your house in the Hamptons. You're not invited. I'll be having a party. You're not invited to that either. It's Samantha. Call me.
A couple of weeks later, another couple of exes were working out their summer share.
- Hi. How you doing? - Hey. Me and Brady were just napping.
I miss napping. They look down on napping at work. It's so hot out.
I was going to give him one more bottle before I left.
- I can do it. - I know, but I like it. It used to be all breasts. Not me and him. We got our bottle thing.
- Did Magda bring those? - No, I did. Nice garden in Queens.
- Lilacs. - Yeah. Good flowers.
Miranda wasn't sure if it was the smell of the lilacs, the smell of the baby, or the smell of Steve's skin. But that afternoon, Steve went from ex to sex.
I slept with Steve.
Miranda admitted they were somewhere between friends and lovers, somewhere between Manhattan and the Hamptons.
That's why you decided to participate in the charade. You're fleeing.
- I'm a fucking fugitive, literally. - Perhaps it was the zsa zsa zsu.
No. It was an itch which we shouldn't have scratched, because now we're into a gray area. Not having sex was the only thing holding us together.
You're fleeing to the right wedding. I think that's the theme.
Seriously. You can't have a kid with someone, and get along and have great sex without giving the wrong impression.
That being what, that you're happy?
Fabulous. Absolutely. Yeah, bring them along. I look forward to seeing you, too. This party is going to be amazing. Strictly A list.
- Are we still invited? - Yes. But shitty-pants there is not.
I have to bring him. I wouldn’t be able to find a sitter.
He's ruining my lunch. He's not ruining my party. No babies.
Evidently, there's already a party pooper. Ketchup.
- Carrie? - Yeah. Hi.
- Jack. - Berger. I know, I remember.
What's going on here, are you okay? Do I need to make a tourniquet out of a hotdog bun and a twig?
- No, it's just... - Ketchup.
Yeah. Thanks. I didn't figure you for a motorcycle guy.
Turns out I'm not. I bought it as a reaction to my breakup.
It was exactly what I wanted. A Berger with a side of single.
You look good on it.
No. I look good next to it. On it, I look like this. I'm not even really hungry. I pulled over because you know, a bug hit my visor, and my hands are still shaking.
So you're "uneasy rider." Well, if you make it to the Hamptons, my friend is having a party tomorrow afternoon. It's at Richard Wright's house.
I heard about that. That's quite a place. I pass it on the way to my house. I'm going to get a soda. My throat's kind of dry from all the screaming inside my helmet. It's nice to see you.
Yeah, you, too, Berger. Maybe I'll see you tomorrow.
- Yeah. If you don't, call the Highway Patrol. - Yeah.
Definitely zsa zsa zsu.
The next morning, Samantha prepared her borrowed beach house for the big bash.
I want half the tables set up near the house and the others near the pool. Ladies.
- Cassandra, did you bring my tote? - Shit, where are my Merits?
Ladies, excuse me. Hi. The wait staff is to change in the guest cottage down near the entrance. Aren't you here to waitress?
- We go to restaurants. We don't work in them. - Where's Richard?
Richard? He isn't here. I've got the house this weekend. Excuse me. Where are you going?
Richard told us we could hang by the pool whenever.
You can't pool-hang today. I'm having a party at 3:00.
- We'll be fried by then. - I have no cell reception at all.
Miranda brought the kid. Don't say anything.
I know you didn't want babies, but he's in Ralph Lauren and I stuck a cork up his ass, so it'll be okay.
This is supposed to be an A-list party.
Then who's the Double-D list by the pool?
They won't leave. They say Richard lets them hang out here on weekends. Fucking freeloaders.
People in glass houses...
I am not freeloading. I went through a lot with Richard. And people should be rewarded for not getting married as well.
Frankly, I don't know why you broke up with him. What's a little lying and cheating compared to a pool with a little cabana?
Did you say "no babies," or "no boobies"?
Lady? And Brady?
That is so inappropriate.
- Greetings from Silicone Valley. - People can hear you.
What, like everyone here can't see those tits are fake? Everyone can see those tits are fake.
Would you stop saying "tits"? Why are you wearing that shirt? Tropical shirts are out.
- This is not tropical. It's Tiki. Well, please Tiki it off. - I thought you'd never ask.
Oh, my God! Your back! You must've had a bad reaction to the waxing.
Yeah, I thought it felt a little itchy. Suddenly a little hair isn't looking so bad?
Carrie, woman to woman, the sex is amazing. I've never had a man make me feel this way.
Hush, Miss Scarlett, how you do go on. Well, who ordered the Adonis?
Bobby, Bitsy, this is my boyfriend, Marcus.
For God's sake, man, get yourself to a gym once in a while. Look at that body. It's disgusting! Wow! I could grate cheese on your abs. One large pizza, and hold the salami. Please, put a shirt on before I marry you.
No! I haven't touched a carbohydrate in three months. I've got to fit into that dress.
Please eat something. Would you look at her? She's ltsy-Bitsy.
- Bobby, I see the Talcotts. We've got to say hello. See you all tomorrow. - Bye.
I swear, and I'm totally serious, I almost fainted when he mimed grated cheese on Marcus.
It is so obvious that he wanted him.
Try to keep up. Bobby is straight.
- Right. - What is she doing? Maybe he just makes her laugh.
Can't you wait till we sit down to eat? It's so crass.
Question. Is there anything about me today that doesn't bug you?
People are trying to eat. You should have your shirt on. And you have sauce on your face.
Now so do you.
Why did she need to tell me the sex was amazing?
Because it is amazing. She's amazed he's able to get hard without another penis in the room. And speaking of dicks, do you think Richard slept with any of those cocoa-butter bitches?
- No! I'm sure they're just good friends. God! How do I look? - You look great.
- Jesus! Where's a mirror? - Here.
Great. All right, put it down. It's okay. Thanks for having a party.
- How long have you had a house here? - Three years.
Moments later, among the butterflies, I felt butterflies.
- There's a really nice garden. - So, you garden?
No. I have been known to hoe, but my ex actually planted the garden so we could enjoy fresh summer salads. We didn't quite make it to the summer. So it's more fresh pain than fresh vegetables. Yeah. I can't really go out there.
I know how you feel. When I broke up with my ex. I couldn't bring myself to go within six blocks of his furniture store.
When did you two break up?
Last year, for the second time. We broke up the first time the year before that.
You broke up twice. Way to go.
Yeah, well, we hadn't sufficiently hurt each other enough the first time round. But we definitely took care of business this time. Because this time, he moved in, so we had the merging of the things...
...the dividing of the things, the things that are left behind that you don't want to get back because that seems mean, and you don't want to throw them away because it's all you have left. It gets harder as we get older because we're not dating wildly inappropriate people anymore. You know, there's no "Glad that's over."
After every breakup I tell myself I'm not doing this again. It's too hard. I mean, how many of these things can one person survive? You know, they should institute a helmet law for relationships.
- Right. That's excellently put. - Thank you.
I should get going. It's going to take me six hours to drive the two miles home, so...My jacket.
- Sorry. Gee. I hope there aren't grass stains. - No. It's old. Okay, bye. - Bye.
The man could not get away from me fast enough. Apparently, it's a short road from commisery to misery.
Are you okay?
Perfect! Everything's going out right on time.
- There's no Tab in here. - What are you doing in my refrigerator?
- It's Richard's refrigerator. - I stocked it.
Did you see any Rice Krispie treats? Richard usually leaves those around for us.
- No, I didn't. And those lemons are for the drinks. Drinks I paid for. - Whatever.
And I also paid for the food. In fact, The only thing at this party that you two actually paid for are your breasts!
- Jealous? - Yes. I'm jealous. I'm just dying to look like this.
Maybe if you did, you'd be out here with Richard. Snap!
Evidently, people who borrow glass houses shouldn't throw cantaloupes.
The next morning, while Stanford and Marcus had Brady, Miranda and I had brunch.
- How about these muffins? - How about these eggs?
- How about these napkins? - How about these plates?
- How about we marry gay guys? - How about maybe now I won't have a choice?
- Was it really that bad? - Bye-bye, Berger.
One minute we were laughing, the next minute he had to get away from me so fast, he left skidmarks. Seriously. I can show them to you.
I know what I did. I revealed too much, too soon. I was emotionally slutty.
That's not like you.
It wasn't me. It was the zsa zsa zsu. It makes me crazy. Bitsy Von Muffling Fine may have the right idea. Maybe we should stop looking for a great relationship and settle for a fine one.
I'd marry Steve in a second if he were gay. Everything would be so easy.
- So, a gay area is better than a gray area? - Yeah. More coffee. You want some? Great coffee.
Tell me something I don't know. What?
You did it, Stany. Great man, great house, great relationship. We've all been looking, and you actually found it.
Marcus and I haven't had sex since we bought the Cynthia Rowley china.
Thank God! I am so relieved.
Bitsy Von Muffling, the first time I saw you, I fell in love. You walked in wearing that red vintage Dior.
Pink elephant in the room.
Do you mind? I am listening to the bride and bride.
My dear Bobby Fine…
Something tells me Bitsy isn't doing "Fine."
And that's the little piece of information she's been Von Muffling.
You are there for me in the morning, and there for me at night, there in the good, there in the bad, there in my thoughts, there in my dreams, but most of all, my darling, you are there in my heart forever.
Perhaps we were all much too cynical. Perhaps, somehow, despite the odds, Bobby and Bitsy had found something real.
I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride.
One more time, for the cheap seats at the back.
Looks like somebody over here is about to dance.
I think you may have sold this one a little short.
With a little time and the right astringents, who knows?
There's nothing on my face, nothing in my teeth. I'm sure you'll hate my moves on the dance floor but that is the risk that every man must take.
What a beautiful night. It's too bad I blew my only chance at a boyfriend this year.
You want to hold my boyfriend?
I think I'm going to drown my sorrows in another piece of cake. And if anybody asks, I had two, not three.
You smell that, Brady? It's lilac. Should we call Daddy and tell him we miss him?
It's me, Steve. I'm not here. Leave a message.
Do you believe this wedding? Funny where life has taken us. I remember when we went to these things just for the free food.
I have dinner rolls in my purse.
There's my song. And there's my girl, whom I love. In case you had any money riding on it.
Not a penny.
Look out, she's got a piece of fruit, and she's not afraid to throw it.
Can we not talk about that?
Okay. But we'll be the only ones here. Look, I'm just glad Brady wasn't the biggest baby at the party.
I guess I went a little crazy, being at Richard's house around his party-crashing pussy posse. What do you call zsa zsa zsu gone bad?
Zsa zsa eww.
Then I fell in love with the most wonderful boy in the world
Bitsy, honey, everything was perfect.
It was. Except for the dessert. The top layer of the crme brule just wasn't hard enough.
Yeah, that's the problem with this wedding. The crme brule isn't hard enough.
And then one day, he went away, and I thought I would die. But I didn't. And when I didn't, I said to myself, is all that there is to life?
I'm not technically crashing. I was having lunch in town today and for some reason the groom invited me. Shall we?
- What? Now you want me to wax my eyebrows? - I think I may be falling in love with you.
- I've been falling for you since the moment we met. But I never thought... - What?
- Come on, you could have any blue-blooded guy here. I'm... - You're wonderful.
- And Jewish. - So?
- So, where can this go? - I don't know. Let's find out.
Charlotte. I have to marry a Jew.
She can marry a gay guy, and you can't marry an Episcopalian? What do we do now?
I don't know. Dance?
Apparently, Charlotte had a zsa zsa Jew.
- You're awful quiet. - And I intend to stay that way.
No. You were fine. I just wasn't sure if I was up for all that again. Then I thought...
Then you thought what?
Maybe we should go out on a date before we break up.
When it comes to relationships, maybe we're all in glass houses and shouldn't throw stones. Because you can never really know. Some people are settling down. Some people are settling. And some people refuse to settle for anything less...than butterflies.