Some time ago (August? Maybe? Sometimes the days all run together for This Girl. Am delirious!) my sweet friend Panda invited me to come with her to the Best of Baltimore event. You all know my love for Baltimore, and Panda has played a huge part in fostering that love. Plus, there were going to be enormous amounts of free food. And swag bags. Needless to say, I gave myself a high five and said yes, I’d be there with bells on. Or white pants. Whatever.
It was crowded, as events like this tend to be, and Panda and I quickly realized that we were among the few there who weren’t there to be seen or to network, we were there to motherfucking eat. We did not don our prettiest pink party dresses, we did not strap on our highest heels and totter around the Hippodrome, our eyes scanning the room for eligible bachelors, and we had not run home from work to straighten our hair and apply another coat of lip gloss before heading out. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.) (You know I’m just bitter because I can’t wear lip gloss anymore.) If our eyes were scanning the room, it was to see where the next food booth was, and we wore flats for better stability while balancing our bags and cameras and not toppling over on someone while winding our way through the crowd. And for the record, it’s not like we’d dressed as schlubs, we both looked very nice, and I had, in fact, done my hair up all pretty earlier that morning. I did it all for you, Cover Girl free samples, all for you.
You’ve got to admire the girls who can go out there and totter around for 4 hours in heels and tight dresses at a food event. Admire them and find them a bit stupid on the one hand, but at least they have stamina and the drive to take risks.
Not that wearing heels is very risky.
Unless maybe beef tenderloin is involved.
Later in the night, as Panda and I were huddled by the bar, anxiously awaiting ice water (because hey, salty food, how are you today?) from the bartender, I wandered away from our conversation in mid-sentence and headed toward a small clutch of girls in pretty dresses and very lovely heels, because something was a bit off. I stared at one of the girls’ shoes intently before I stepped carefully up behind her and stuck the toe of my shoe at the base of her heel.
The other girls in the group eyeballed me oddly, and I managed to stammer out to the girl I was hovering behind, “I’m sorry, you seemed to have…speared a…a piece of beef tenderloin…with your heel.”
The girl turned around, confused, as I pressed the toe of my shoe on the meat. “I’m just…gonna get that for you,” I said. The girl lifted her heel slightly and I slid the piece of beef off her heel, brushing it away from the group with my foot. I nodded my head and looked away as the girl and her friends giggled nervously, slightly embarrassed.
I wanted to tell them that it happens to the best of us. But actually, spearing a piece of meat with a high heel is, quite surprisingly, not something I’ve ever done.
Give me time, though.
After we’d stuffed ourselves on multiple offerings, which for This Girl included not only tuna ceviche
but also an oyster,
and some very elegant-looking chocolate things
—Panda and I were hanging out in the VIP lounge (because that’s how we roll) (riiiight) when Panda turned to me.
“That’s the mayor over there,” she said, pointing to a young woman, stylishly dressed, flanked by hangers-on.
“Really?” I asked.
“Yes,” Panda replied. “She smells a-may-zing.”
“Really?” I repeated.
Who knew? Apparently Stephanie Rawlings-Blake wears a very distinct perfume, not overpowering, just distinct, and as such, you always know when she’s around. You’ll smell her before you see her. In a good way.
We edged closer to the mayor, but unfortunately it wasn’t close enough to smell her. So we continued about our business, fighting for space in our stomachs to fit more food, weaving our way through the crowds and praying that we didn’t spill anything on anyone. (Or, okay, that’s at least what I was praying for.)
We’d wound our way to the top floor and started working our way back down, satisfied that we’d completed the offerings on each level, when we found ourselves heading down a staircase right behind the mayor and her bodyguards. As we got to the bottom, Panda, in front of me, suddenly called out, “Mayor!”
The mayor turned around. She looked at Panda expectantly.
“You smell awesome,” Panda said, her voice belying a hint of reverence, but dominated by matter-of-factness.
“Thanks,” the mayor said, nodding her head. “It’s all that showering I’ve been doing. It’s really working for me.” She smiled and turned around, heading back into the throngs of her Baltimoreans.