Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Diana and Nice

“Where are my ruffles? I’m supposed to sit in my ruffles to… My designer, Bob Mackee told me… Do you all know Bob Mackee? Well, he told me I need to sit in my ruffles and sing a love song. Where are my ruffles?”

Call her a diva.
Call her an ex-con.
Call her Miss Ross.

Last Saturday night, I had third row seats. The third row from the top, that is. Fortunately, the venue is not so big, so the seats were not bad. Or, at least they should not have been. The problem with the seats is that they were in the wrong place. They were directly in front of the stage, right smack in the center. Normally, that is a great location. Normally, when seeing anyone other than Miss Ross, but I will come to that in a sec.

Contrary to gay stereotypes, I am not a big Diana fan. Nor do I drool over Barbra or pant over Cher, although I do have a potentially unhealthy adoration for the Divine Miss M. However, given the fact that Miss Ross is a legend and probably is not going to be doing tours for too much longer, I figured I should at least see her once. I have seen a lot of concerts, from Britney to Bette, Madonna to Eminem and Aretha to The B52s. I knew this was not going to be a show about dancers flexing fabulous abs or a parade of stoned rappers, but I believed it would be a memorable show.

Memorable it was. She made her entrance singing off key to some badly played music (It wasn’t until half way through that anybody knew what she was singing) wearing a headdress that made her look just like Sarabi from “The Lion King”. The show was divided into two “acts”.

Act 1 was all about the oldies. Lots of tunes from the Supremes. I guess that helps her ease her guilt of going single, sleeping her way to the top and leaving her sisters to drift aimlessly in the cruel sea that was 60’s Motown. All this was done wearing 1980’s gowns that looked like she just stepped out of Dynasty. I don’t know how many sequins were killed to make those clothes, but it shouldn’t have been legal. Of course, the sequins did get a bit of revenge when they got in her way half-way through the third song, causing her to trip. No worries, she recovered before she was in any real danger of breaking a hip and being sent off to retirement in Miami. Or worse, Monaco.

Baby, baby, where did her face go? That’s what all of us sitting in front of the stage wondered. Miss Ross performed 90% of the show facing her band, which were conveniently located behind the stage. The people that had the tickets behind the stage, traditionally the worst ones, actually got the best show. I’m not really sure I actually saw Miss Ross, just someone with her hair. And there was tons and tons of it, and as the night went on, it got bigger and bigger. It was the hair that ate Rotterdam.

Act 2 was all about the “newer” stuff, even though most of it was 20 years old. She may have been coming out, but she seemed to have no idea where she was going to. It was in this portion of the show that she removed the ruffle she had been wearing as a skirt and flung it across the floor. Her every present staff (almost more entertaining than she) made the mistake of carrying it off before she had finished “playing with it”. Once her ruffles were fetched, she laid them on the floor and rolled around in them like Nicole Kidman in “Moulin Rouge”. Maybe it’s just me, but seeing someone’s miniskirt-clad granny rolling around on a floor in a bunch of hot pink ruffles is not my idea of sexy. My stomach started singing “Upside down and round and round”. I retaliated with “Stop in the name of nausea, before I hurl my lunch”.

After the show, everyone was complaining about spending so much money to see someone’s ass. While there are a few asses I wouldn’t mind paying 65 Euro to see, hers was not one of them. All in all, it was one of the worst shows I have ever seen… In a couple of months, it will be time to say goodbye to Cher again, and I hope Miss Ross is there to see how a real diva does it!

Rewind to a couple of weeks ago.

La Côte d'Azur. The French Riviera. The Glitter. The Glamour. The Sun, yachts, movie stars and champagne. Yes, I was off to Nice, destined to spend a glamorous week sandwiched between Cannes and Monte Carlo. I even bought a pair of the new Prada Car Shoes to ensure that I would blend in with the locals while also adding a bit of my own style of glitz. Just the thought of strolling along Promenade des Anglais, sitting on a terrace overlooking the blue Mediterranean while nibbling on Foie Gras, sipping a bit of bubbly was the only thing that kept me sane through the long grey, rainy days that I was forced to endure here in Holland.

So imagine my delight when I landed in the rain. There had to be some sort of mistake, of course. Of all the times I had been to Nice and Cannes in February, it is almost always sunny and mild. Now, it was cold, it was raining and it was windy. Nothing to do but make the most of it. That meant checking into my hotel and having an emergency martini. The hotel check in went well, and after a short walk I found myself in the very center of Nice, Place de Messina, right in the middle of Carnival chaos. I was, however, inappropriately dressed for such festivities. I was not about to find out how hard it is to get silly sting and confetti out of cashmere, so I decided to head back to the hotel, change into something a bit more approprié and then head back. In the 30 or so minutes that took, the whole thing was over and the Place de Messina was all but deserted and I had missed the whole affair. I spent the next hour or so wandering around and ended up back at my hotel. The weather was clearing, so I decided I would go to Old Nice, which was about 20 minutes walk away. Old Nice is a very compact area of the city with very few cars and tiny little walking streets crammed with art galleries, pubs, shops and restaurants. I was about half way to Old Nice when it started to rain. I didn’t have an umbrella with me, but knew it wasn’t too far so decided to just go for it. Having been in Nice before, I was quite confident about my directions, and after making a few wrong turns, found myself completely lost in the maze of streets. Finally, soaked and lost and cold, I realized I had two choices: A) Backtrack to the point where I made the wrong turn and get my bearings; or, B) Wander around some more and try to figure this all out. Unfortunately for me sometimes, I am a guy. And being a guy, there was only one choice I could possibly make. I decided to wander around some more until I stumbled onto something that would point me in the right direction. It took 20 minutes to find the Quai des Etats-Unis, which runs along the coast. The punchline is that I was only about 100 meters from this boulevard the entire time I was lost. Yes, I managed to lose an entire sea. Well, after locating the Mediterranean, I was still in need of a pub. I had passed a few, but this being a Sunday Night in France, I could not find one that was open. By this time, the rain is bucketing down and even my socks are taking on water. I duck under an archway, which connects the beach with Old Nice, only to accidentally wander too close to the previously unseen homeless man sleeping there. That would not have been so bad had it not been for his well trained and highly aggressive guard dog. I saw my life flash before my eyes, and was surprised to see the whole montage in black and white… I had expected full color. For that split second that seems to last an eternity, I thought I was not going to get out of there unscathed. So, there I was, scared, cold and lost in one of the most glamorous places in the world. Could my life get any better?

And just when I thought the answer to this question was no, there it was. The Jean Paul Gaultier store in Cannes. Normally, I tend to get caught in the gravitational pull of Dolce and Gabbana, but as there was not one in the area, JPG would have to do. And, to top it all off, there was a huge sale with things being marked down by over 50%, plus the sales woman gave me an extra discount since we bonded over the sweater. I tried on all sorts of funky little numbers that made all sorts of statements, and finally settled on a simple (for Gaultier, in any case) sweater of Alpaca and what can best be described as a plain charcoal grey, with wrap-around neckline laced up with leather… I didn’t want to try the darn thing on at first, but once I did, I didn’t want to take it off… Ever. It oozes sex from every stitch. Showing enough skin to arouse the senses but stopping just shy of tramp.

Now that I was on a role, there was only one logical destination. Chanel. Yes, Chanel is famous for Number 5 and all sorts of chains, glasses and handbags that make most women drool, but they also make some quite fabulous neckties, which I happen to have a bit of a weakness for. So, there I was walking around Cannes with bags from Chanel and Gaultier.

Cannes, meanwhile was playing host to the annual 3GSM Congress (mobile telecom trade show) and the city was buzzing, not with the normal “in-the know” glamour pusses, but rather unfashionable men and some pretty darn savvy women. Now, when you are a man and you carry around bags from places like Chanel, Tiffany’s, Gaultier, you get a number of reactions from people, and can almost read their minds… Men, if they recognize it (mostly only gay men do), think one of two thoughts… “He’s gonna get laid” or “He really screwed up and has some major ass-kissing to do”. The women, on the other hand think “How sweet and thoughtful, what a lucky girl she is… Even if she is mad at him, she is a fool if she let’s that one go”. The smaller the Tiffany’s bag, the bigger those thoughts are… While going through security at Nice airport, my hand luggage was searched by a woman who magnetically found the Chanel gift box and immediately said “oooh la la… what a lucky girl she is”… Then she gave me that “You’re in for a great night, tonight” look.

This trip, I saved myself the misery of an afternoon in Monaco. I know, Joan Collins loves it, and spent the latter part of the 70s and most of the 80s doing the talk show circuit throwing around words like glamour, champagne, yachts, Monte Carlo. I knew I had to go. I wanted to be part of the glitter set. I knew I was destined to be hanging out in the casino, playing roulette, winning every spin… Rubbing elbows with my movie star friends and basically just being glamorous. “I’m glamorous, therefore I live” was to be my slogan. Then I went there and the only explanation I can give for all the hoopla Joan created, was that she had a great pharmacist who indulged in some dodgy dealings. 18 year old girls/women with puffed up lips and inflated tits wearing Chanel and Manolos, riding around in rare Ferrari’s driven my 80 year old men with comb-overs and personalized oxygen tanks just about sums it up. Monaco is basically the Boca Raton of Europe minus the broken hips.

Well, that wraps it up for now… I am leaving soon for Barcelona, Milano, Bologna, Florence and Pisa… A little sun, a little sea, some mozzarella and lots of shopping.

USA 2004

It was a dark and stormy night and I, having nothing else to do, decided I needed a bit of a trip, so off to the States I went. The drama started before I even left the house. As my travels would take me from London to Denver, Corona, Palm Springs and New York, it would not be easy figuring out what to take, so I took the easy way out and decided to bring everything. Of course, a suitcase holding 6 pairs of shoes tends to exceed the weight restrictions. Now, I was not being overly extravagant, I needed everything in there… Rain gear and water proof shoes for London and maybe California. Ice and snow clothes and shoes/boots for Denver and New York. Sandals, sneakers and shorts for Palm Springs, and then there were the “what-ifs”… What if I need to dress up? What if I go to a play? What if I go hunting? Deciding to be practical, which I only ever do when forced, I narrowed the footwear down to 3 all purpose, “anything goes” Prada shoes and left behind a few other bits and bobs that although would have lent a bit more glamour to the occasion, tended to weigh me down.


I, of course, chose a very cold and rainy night to get lost in South London while looking for a party. Once there, I was surrounded by roughly 2000 scantily clad men all heaving to the beat of mediocre dance music. I too got lost in music and was soon shedding my duds, putting my nipples to the wind and showing skin like the rest and best of them. Never having taken my shirt off at a dance party, I was unprepared for the unavoidable brushing against other people as you walk past. While there were the occasional pieces of eye candy with their sculpted abs, there were also those that looked, and sweated like Fat Bastard from Austin Powers. Guess who kept brushing up against me, leaving a nice trail of sweat and body hair behind. And no matter where I went and tried to hide, there they were, moving and grooving and shedding and sweating. As soon as I got back to the hotel, I showered for a good half hour. To make matters worse, I had worn my newest and favorite pair of black Prada shoes, which apparently had “step on me” stickers on them. And the crowd obliged.


Luckily I had a whole row to myself on the trip from London to Chicago. Unfortunately, I could not sleep, so the row was wasted. It was one of those times when you look at all the books and magazines you brought along and realize its all crap. Change the channels and nothing on. 36 thousand feet up and bored. Not even a dishy flight attendant to harass and flirt with. So, I arrive in Denver… all foggy and frozen, two of my other favorite things. So far the vacation was going just swell. Fortunately, my old friend and former partner-in-crime DeLane met me at the airport and whisked me away to a bar for some much needed cocktails before retiring back to the hotel, where I managed to spend a few hours staring at the ceiling and listening to DeLane snore.

Fast forward a few nights and there I was, still staring at the ceiling, trying my hardest to sleep but not being successful. Decided to watch TV. There was this TV commercial on for a drug called “Ambien”, which is to help people get a full eight hours sleep and wake up feeling rested and energized. It sounded like just what I needed, until the list of side effects came on… I was astounded when I heard that it may cause drowsiness. Then it was back to Jay Leno, where someone was toting around missile shaped carry-on luggage. A must-have if I ever saw one. So, unable to sleep, I decide to go to the hotel gym. Can’t find it. I ask someone in housekeeping (formerly referred to as “maids”). She gives me a blank look and says “I don’t know”. Before anyone thinks that it is my own stupidity that I can’t find the gym, you should know that the hotel is the largest between the Mississippi and Vegas (or something like that) and is divided between two towers. I, like Frodo, was on a quest. I soon found the gym, which is about the size of a bathroom on an RV, and a crowded one at that. Denver wasn’t all sleepless nights and missing gyms. I did manage to sneak in a movie “Big Fish”, which I thought was just brilliant, the occasional extra dirty vodka martini with three olives and a snowy hike near Pike’s Peak.


No sooner do I arrive than I am carted off to a party where my sole purpose is to provide the glamour in ways that only I am able. I have to start by saying that I looked fabulous in Paul Smith and Prada Shoes (I was trying to stay alphabetically in synch). It was Euro-trash house music all the way to the party, Charise was looking mighty fine with her hairpiece, which I was to learn is sizzling, bleeding edge fashion and I had that certain je ne sais quoi that so many parties these days seem to lack. I have to say that all in all, the party was quite fun, but I got a bit confused when, all of a sudden and quite out of the blue, there was a hair show. I didn’t know what to do, so I ordered another cocktail, settled in for the night and made my opinions and critiques known, much to the dismay of a few hairdressers, I’m sure. So, the next day I looked at all the pics on my digital camera, staring at pictures I didn’t even remember posing for, living vicariously through these people that look like my friends and I, compliments of the dirty martinis… I don’t know if you have ever woken up with a hang-over, but imagine waking up with a hang-over in a room that has been painted Barney the Dinosaur purple and being attacked by one of those mosquito type net things hanging over the bed. Oy Vey. I didn’t know walls that color were legal outside Tijuana. I then did what most Americans do when there is something to celebrate or forget about… I went to the mall. Nothing like a bag full of Abercrombie and Fitch to cheer up an aging gay man beyond even the help of botox. I’m a simple boy with simple taste… and those sales guys at A&F look mighty tasty. I tried the old “My zipper’s stuck, can someone come and help me”, but to no avail. Of course, it doesn’t help that the whole store is basically a shrine to soft-core porn, so as soon as I got back to the house, I had to wonder “can this really make me go blind?”

Now that I had a new look, I needed some new color. Nothing a couple of days lounging by the pool in Palm Springs wouldn’t fix. Ok, I will be the first to admit it… with all my perfections and highly polished facets… I have tanning issues. It is an issue because I do not tan. Unfortunately I will never have that leathery look of a well sat upon chair or heavily used Louis Vuitton handbag. In fact, I have been banned from removing even the tiniest article of clothing at most sunny/tropical locales due to glare problems. That is my cross to bear. I go from white to red to peeling to white. So, there I was, staying at a clothing optional resort. I, being the prude American that I am, opt for clothing. However, even the most reserved of us can have our temporary lapses in judgment. I was sitting by the pool in shorts… my swim-trunks were in the room, and I decided to go for a swim. I shucked the shorts, pointed Sparky into the wind for aerodynamic effect, and dove into the water au naturel. After a freestyle swim, I raised myself from the water in a slow-mo Baywatch kind of way and laid myself face down on the lounge to toast and roast buns. Roast they did, and quick. And faster that I could say “will someone please rub some Ban de Soleil into my backside?”, I had rosy cheeks… Four of them.

And what goes better with newly pinked cheeks than a bit of bling from Tiffany and Co.? Yes, I know, I’m a sucker for anything that comes in a blue box with a white ribbon, even if I have to buy it myself. Of course, why stop at one box when you can have two. So, there I was, sashaying around the Springs with my two little blue bags which basically screamed, albeit in the best possible taste, “I’m here, I’m rich, get used to it”.

New York

What does not go well with newly pinked cheeks is knee high snow piled up street side in Manhattan. Cold does not begin to describe the temperature in the Big Apple. To make matters worse, when the wind blows, and it did, no matter which way you walk, you are always walking into the wind. I’ve heard it said that a blowjob is better than no job, but after being blown for 3 straight days in NY, I may have to disagree. Of course, a little cold didn’t put a frost on my parade. I was at Splash Bar within an hour of landing, Corona in hand and a bevy of boys to be flirted with. I was overwhelmed, so I took off my shirt and made the rounds. There was Gino the bodybuilder/flight attendant, Bryan the bodybuilder/waiter, and various other muscled and glistening boys all circling what they thought was going to be the new prey… They had no idea who they were messing with.

I decided to go all out for my hotel in NY and stayed at the Paramount, an Ian Schrager/Philip Starck hotel. The lobby was fabulous, and like all the other hotels they have done, the staff alone is worth charging admission for. The room, however, was microscopic. It was seriously the smallest hotel room I think I have ever had. Decided not to spend too much time there, however tempting watching an out of tune TV may seem. I spent the majority of my time holding court at the Library Bar.

I found New York a bit boring, but finally, something huge happened that spiced it all up. Janet Jackson’s breast. Thank God we can finally stop talking about little things like war, WMD and HIV medication to 3rd World Countries… there are more pressing issues at hand. I still haven’t recovered from the J-Lo/Ben split and now this.

So, now I am back in my little house, stormy weather outside once again, but fret not. I will be hitting the road in just under 14 days, this time to Nice, Cannes and Monaco… After that, it will be Barcelona and then Florence.

Making glamour happen all over the world.


Pronunciation: 'l&n-d&n
Usage: geographical name
1 city Canada in SE Ontario on Thames River population 325,646
2 city & port SE England formerly constituting an administrative county capital of United Kingdom; comprises City of London or The City (approximately coextensive with ancient Lon.din.i.um /län-'di-nE-&m, "l&n-/ ; population 4000) & 32 other boroughs which together are referred to as the metropolitan county of Greater London (area 632 square miles or 1637 square kilometers, population 6,377,900)

I did number 2 last weekend. On the Strand, in the heart of Theatreland, there stands a famous and fabulous hotel named the Savoy. All the beautiful and non-beautiful rich people stay there and do things like have high tea complete with clotted crème. We stayed across the street, just a two minute or so walk from Covent Garden. Street performers are nothing new, but in Covent Garden, they seem to have elevated it to a higher level. No longer do you see the lone guitar player singing off-key to a Paul Simon song he barely knows the lyrics to. That would just be too last millennium. Now, in addition to aforementioned guitar and requisite hat or case in which passersby are to throw coins, they now have microphones, amplifiers and Bose speakers. However in spite of all that, they still haven’t managed to learn the words. I guess that allows for artistic interpretation and freedom.

For our first night in London, I had arranged tickets for The Lion King. There we sat, the grown ups, being suspiciously eyed and ogled by the little tykes that littered the theatre. Great. All I needed after a pre-dawn flight and a day of hard-core shopping, in which I could find nothing in my size, was a bunch of whiney little things that would have to go wee-wee in the middle of the play. I was wrong. The children were great… Not a peep to be heard once the music started. In fact, it was quite enjoyable watching the reactions of the children. I honestly have to say, It was one of the most amazing productions I have seen… Yes, the story is the same as the movie, but the scenery, props, costumes and extra music were just beautiful. I won’t go into detail as that would spoil it for anyone that goes to see it, and you should all run out to your local ticket office and book those suckers now!

Saturday morning. If I had known what was in store, I would have stayed in bed. Better to watch bad British TV. The main reason I was in London was Pride in the Park, an annual gathering of gay people from all over the place. Normally I avoid any mass gay event, but I was persuaded by friends to make an exception and go to London. “It will be a great time” they assured me. Well, here’s what happened. It all started with the weather forecast. Light rain in the early afternoon turning into major rain and thunder later in the day. Brilliant. I turned the channel from BBC1 to BBC 2 and was told the same thing. BBC World backed them up, so I had no choice but to bite the bullet and head out. The sun was out and we all looked very cute, I eschewed the labels and went as an Abercrombie and Fitch model. A and F is not sold here, so I figured I would have my own look and would stand out as “That cute guy we saw at the park”. I was mortified to discover that somehow, someway, A and F had fully invaded London. In fact, to my dismay, it is considered the gay uniform. I was instantly part of the tired and huddled gay masses, waiting for a parade to start. And here is it came, winding up from the Houses of Parliament (Big Ben for all of you not familiar with London) to Trafalgar Square, where we were standing. We being myself, Ulco and Michel. Yes we saw it all… Dykes on Bikes to Chicks with Dicks, they were all there. The good news about the parade is that it lasted but an hour and then it was off to what promised to be a fabulous party in Hyde park. The weather was looking good and the warnings from the BBC seemed like a distant memory. What follows is a perfect example of typical British logistics and organization. We get to the main entrance of the party, which is at Marble Arch. We had bought tickets online (for 26 pounds each, I might add) and needed to pick them up at will-call. At the entrance, we were told to go around the side and we would find will call there. We walked and walked, finally reaching the other end of Hyde Park. There was the will call. There were 19 windows. 8 for credit card purchases, 8 for cash purchases, and 3 for will call. Guess where the line was. 16 windows had absolutely no customers. 3 had a line that we stood in for over ½ an hour, but grew to mammoth proportions while we were there. We got the tickets and guess were we had to go to get in? Yep, back to the main and only entrance. Finally we got, only to discover that in order to buy any drinks, you must by drink tokens. No cash. Just as we were about to stand in line again, we get a text message that the Piper Champagne bar is cash. Nothing more needed to be said and within 9 minutes we were slurping on the bubbly. Then it happened. One little raindrop. We braved the light shower and marched ourselves to the main performance stage which was next to where we had picked up the tickets. A little more rain. 15 minutes later, we were looking for shelter and I was looking for an excuse to bow out gracefully. After another hour and a half of rain, I abandoned the excuse and said “we’re leaving”. I pushed my way through the Abercrombie clad crowd with Ulco in tow and off to SOHO we went.

SOHO was hopping with all the locals that know better than to go to the party in the park. Here they all were, dry and drinking without tokens. Once again, it was time to herd. I marched up to the bar, got myself a Smirnoff Black and tried to look cute and adorable while hair wax was streaming into my eyes. By this time, we had had enough and so back to the hotel we went. Naps and CSI for everyone. Then the phone rang. It was Michel. It was 10pm and he was in SOHO with a few friends and did we want to come? It was also pissing down rain. Michel would stay in SOHO for a bit and then head off to the hotel before going onto a friends house. We agreed to text each other if our locations changed. He do our bit and head off to SOHO. In the 10 minutes it took us to walk it, we were absolutely soaked. Well, not totally. My black Prada 100% waterproof jacket came through with flying colors. My head was soaked, my trousers were soaked, but I had a dry strip right across my chest. No sooner do we get to SOHO than my phone rings. It was Michel. It was 10:20pm and he was at the hotel.

Ulco and I made the best of it, had a bit of Italian food for dinner and headed back to the hotel to put the whole episode behind us.

Great news for all you single people out there… Well, I can’t speak for everyone, but I can speak to the guys. Especially if they like guys as well. There is a new, hip and happening pick-up place in London. The Tate Modern. Enough cute guys to keep even the most jaded of us entertained. No need to hang out at the stereotypical Warhol and Keith Harings, simply place yourself in front of any old piece of art and let the magic begin. There are outside terraces on the upper floors, where you can place yourself against a backdrop of London, St. Pauls Cathedral lurking mysteriously in the background could be just what you need to conjure up the dark and brooding side of yourself. And best of all… It’s free.


Ciao! I am back from Italy and what a great and interesting time it was. First stop, Milano. We arrived in Milan and went immediately to our hotel, which is described in all their literature as “one of the most elegant hotels in Milan”. One would think that with all my marketing experience I would be a bit suspicious about such a statement, but instead I jumped in with both feet. The hotel wasn’t bad, but certainly did not live up to its description. How it got its four stars, I will never know. It was in a very interesting area, next to the main train station in Milan. That meant that in addition to the usual sites one expects to encounter in Milano, we also stumbled across the occasional used syringe. Turn left instead of right out of the main door of the hotel and we had working girls sporting the latest Louis Vuitton handbags. It’s all about the glamour.

And I was making glamour happen all over the city. I left no semi-precious stone unturned in my quest for the newest, the latest and the greatest. I was determined to add a bit more shimmer to the Golden Quad. The Golden Quad is a small section of Milan crammed with the biggest names in fashion. Everybody who is anybody has at least 1 store in the area, but most have several. The big news from the fashion world? Bondage is back. And with the possible exception of Gucci and their handcuffs, nobody does bondage better than Dolce and Gabbana. Or more expensive either, as I was to painfully discover. Anyone who knows me knows I like to shop. In fact, I like to think I take shopping to a whole new level a sort of Dalai Lama of consumerism. Ulco, on the other hand approaches shopping with a sort of “gee, that’s nice” attitude. I normally leave him home when hitting the pavement, but this time he insisted on tagging along, and as we were there to spend quality time together, I said “OK”. In fact, for pure shopping pleasure, nobody does it better than my two friends Christina and Ann. They understand that items such as full length Jean Paul Gaultier reversible mink coats, velvet lined Thierry Mugler jackets, tiger print Cavalli shirts and anything by Dolce and Gabanna are staples, not options. Ulco doesn’t see the difference between a white Fruit of the Loom t-shirt and hand painted crepe silk pajamas from Gucci. I think it’s in his DNA, because I have tried and tried... Which handcuffs are stainless steel and which are platimun? He just can’t tell the difference. Anyway, camera back on Dolce and Gabbana bondage. It was after two hours of power shopping that I finally spotted the mother ship and decided it was time for E.T. not only to phone home, but to drop by and stay a spell. There they were, the newest of the new… Dolce and Gabanna bondage pants. I had to have them. I tried them on, but the smallest size was too big, Not to worry, they could send them to their tailor and have them ready first thing the next morning. I was just about to get them when I saw it. The price tag. I normally don’t let a little thing like a price get in the way of my self-professed fabulousness, but looking at one in excess of 650 US Dollars made me sit and reflect. What better place to sit and reflect? The Martini bar at Dolce and Gabbana. It was there that I resigned myself to the fact that I would have to pass on the pants and take the consolation prize. A shave and a haircut at the Dolce and Gabbana salon. Of course, I left the salon looking so fabulous and hip, that I had no choice but to go shopping for clothes that suited my new image… bondage. A quick trip back to the Armani store was in order. That didn’t produce anything except dinner reservations at Nobu. To make a long story short, I consoled myself with a bit of Cavalli, a few trinkets from Paul Smith (think stripes) and a few other assorted bits and bobs from other assorted and fabulous boutiques, but I find it a bit gauche to name-drop. Dinner at Nobu meant bringing out the big guns… Dolce and Gabbana with Prada. I was out to dinner not to see, but to be seen, and seen I was. Salmon tartar with caviar, Scallops with Wasabi pepper sauce, Experimental sushi… it was fabulous. I don’t know if you have ever been to Nobu, but if not, I highly recommend it. Run down to your local Nobu now and tell them Robb sent ya. See how far that gets you… In case, if you want to try it out without having to hand over a substantial amount of cash, go the bar where they have a buffet with all sorts of fabulous nibbly things to tempt the taste buds.

From the following list, see if you can find the disastrous combination:

A Gucci and Sex
B Prada and Shoes
C Mozzarella and Dental Braces

I learned this lesson the hard way as well… I had so much Mozzarella stuck in the braces, I was leaving trails from Calvin Klein to Versace. I almost had to find a priest to have the darn stuff exorcised off my teeth. I hadn’t even thought about it, and of course the one time I do it, I do not have a toothbrush with me. Anyone who has been to Italy knows that they put Mozzarella and olive oil on anything that doesn’t move and a few things that do.

Well, that about sums up my last few days…. I need to get going as I must get ready for the flight to London in 12 hours…

May the glamour be with you…


Holidays are the time when we all think of peace on earth and goodwill towards man. I have also learned, since living in Holland, that it is also the time of year when people feel the need to display their stupidity in large quantities, with absolutely no regard for the mental trauma they inflict on those of us with an IQ above 70. The other unfortunate thing, is that this lack of mental clarity seems to be concentrated among Americans. Now, before any of you Americans get all upset, I am not talking to anyone of you, otherwise this whole thing would just be a waste of pixels.

Most of my frustration centers around Thanksgiving… Yes, I know I am a bit late… I have had the following conversation several times a year for the past years… Almost verbatim, it goes like this: (The opening may change depending on if it is happening in the US or here, but the result is the same in any case – This is basically a conversation I had on my first night in Raleigh, North Carolina not too long ago…)

American: Where you from?
Me: I Live in The Netherlands, but I am from California
American: Wow! (no American conversation is complete without that word)
Is Copenhagen a nice place to live?
Me: Guess so, but I’ve never been there
American: But I thought you lived in Sweden?
Me: (I realize I am in a hopeless conversation and try to ignore person)
American: What do y’all do for Fourth of July over there?
Me: Nothing
American: You mean you don’t celebrate the Fourth?
Me: Not really, it is mostly about American Independence
American: Do y’all eat turkey on Thanksgiving, I mean do you even have them over there?
Me: Don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in Sweden, Denmark or the Netherlands
American: Are you serious!!?
Me: Well, Thanksgiving is all about when a bunch of people went on a three hour tour to the edge of the earth and ended up on an uncharted continent. After they went through many hardships, they had a good harvest, thanks to the Indians and all their help, so the Pilgrims threw a big dinner to thank the Indians before massacring them out of gratitude. (Now, here is a little something I got from Kurt Vonnegut… The Earth is several hundred million years old. Man is supposedly the most intelligent creature on the planet. Man has been around at least 10 thousand years and that is if you follow biblical time…. Now, all that given, why is it that only 500 years ago, the most intelligent creature “found” the other side of the world?)
American: But you don’t celebrate Thanksgiving?
Me: (decide to try and ignore again)
American: (Thinking as deeply as his genetic make-up will allow) No Fourth, no Thanksgiving, no Christmas…
Me: We celebrate Christmas
American: Why would you celebrate Christmas when you don’t have Thanksgiving
Me: Christmas is a bit more global than Thanksgiving… Jesus was born for all of us, the last time I checked…
American: That just doesn’t make no sense
Me: (Decide to walk to walk away)
American: (Follows after a while, I am the cutest guy in the bar, if I do say so myself) Can I ask you just one question?
Me: (try to ignore but nod yes)
American: Do y’all wear them wooden shoes?

Imagine enduring that year after year… It gives me a hangover. Prime example of why brothers and sisters should not be allowed to reproduce.

So, this morning I went to the corner grocery store to do my last minute food shopping before everything closed for the holidays. Friday is also a holiday here, so nothing opens until Saturday, at which time I will be traveling at 160 Miles an hour on a train to Val Thorens for a week of snowboarding fun. Anyway, the busiest food shopping day of the year, and the lady in front of me decided to pay for all her groceries with small change. That in itself, while annoying enough, was made worse by the fact that not only did she keep losing count, but so did the cashier. There I stood, getting more and more wrinkled by the moment, coming very close to just paying for her groceries to get her out of my way. Almost 10 minutes this took, an eternity for me as I hate grocery stores. If given the choice between the dentist and grocery shopping, I would go to the dentist…

About 7 years ago, I went to Israel to visit my then boyfriend. On Christmas Eve, I went to Bethlehem. He was not allowed to go. People from Israel must have a legitimate reason for entering into Palestinian Territory, and as he is Jewish, he could not really find a way to justify being in Bethlehem to celebrate the birth of Christ. So, alone I went. We were all to take a normal touring bus from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, where we would change to armored busses and then be driven into Bethlehem. On the way to Jerusalem, we were told about what to do and what not to do should the bus be attacked. What to do it a Molotov cocktail hit us… Rocks. Angry mobs with sticks… The closer we got to Jerusalem, the quieter it got in the bus. Fortunately, we did not have to change busses (I have been on an armored bus… very weird feeling) and we got into Bethlehem without any incidents. The whole event takes place on Manger Square, in the center of town. I expected everything to be very quiet and respectful. It was a party. Bands, dancing, drinking… everyone was just having a great time and celebrating the holidays while being patrolled by heavily armed Palestinian Soldiers. It was one of the best Christmases I have ever had. That same year, on New Years Eve, I was flying to Amsterdam from Tel Aviv, complete with broken heart as I had just split up with my boyfriend… I cut my trip a week short and came back home… Anyway, I was sitting on the plane when this woman, who looked just like Sylvia Fine from the nanny, sits next to me and looks me up and down. I was in no mood to talk, but she did not seem to be aware of that fact. She turns to me and says (this is a direct quote… Even I could not make this up) “Do you know what your problem is? You are too beautiful for your own good and people fall instantly in love with you”. She then spent the next 5 hours (normally it is a 4 hour flight, but we stopped in the south of Israel for refueling) elaborating on this. Not only that, but she had exactly the same problem and she felt we were the only ones that could understand each other. Half way through the flight, I got up and went to sit in the back, in the smoking section. Guess who smokes? And again, I was trapped in the middle seat, she was on the aisle. There was nothing to do but give up any hope of peace.

Oy Vey.