“What’s your name?” I ask.
“Are you kidding?”
“It’s Dick Goddard, but my employees nicknamed me God.”
He shrugs his narrow shoulders. “They think I’m God of Couture.”
He rants about how important couture is, telling me that most people look “tacky” and that America has turned to “Costco.”
Dick Slick is a boomer clotheshorse. He’s into labels. He owns chic men’s shops in San Francisco. He’s one of those guys who’s not handsome but chic. Slim as a string, with a kind of big head and huge gray curly hair, he lives for clothes and the “right” labels. He refers to everything he mentions as “good,” “bad,” or “chic.” We met at a fundraiser to save the sheep in Australia. Then he invited me out.
It’s been a while since I’ve been on a date; I’m trying to get out more — I’ve been busy with my books and meeting deadlines. And I also tend to get hermetic. So Dick Slick, alias God, picks me up in his black shiny Lexus, and he’s as spiffy as his car.
He wears a Gucci black suede jacket with a black cashmere turtleneck underneath it; the neck is so high, it rides above his chin. “So does he have a chin?” I wonder. When we get to the restaurant and are seated at the table, a cranky-looking waiter named Walter brings us chic bottled water. Over persimmon and lime martinis, Dick Slicko fixes his stare on me, doing this quick blink thing, his eyes sliding along the array of silver craft rings I wear on my fingers.
He smiles showing his too white veneers. “Who’s jacket is that?” he asks in a demanding tone.
“I mean who’s the designer? he asks impatiently.
He squints his eyes. “Can I see the label?”
He gets out of the chair and comes over and lifts up my collar, then goes back to his chair. “It’s a knockoff,” he says petulantly.
Then dinner arrives. Three tiny mussels floating on a humongous huge plate in some kind of oil. I’m starving, but try not to gobble the nebbish mussels.
All the while he’s fussing about the wine he “brought in,” speaking lousy French to the wine steward who has a supercilious air about him.
“I don’t really care about fashion. It’s style that matters.”
“God Wears Gucci,” he replies.
“Well, I’ll have another drink, please.”
“You’d look good in Gucci. Or Versace,” he says.
“Not my thing.”
“What is your thing?”
“I like serendipity, you know, to wear a top with my 20-year-old Yves St. Laurent pants I bought at a thrift shop.”
After dinner he insists on going to a private club where we can tango. I love the tango.
We arrive at the club. After three knocks on the doors we enter this huge dark room with strobe lights bouncing like bubbles. Tango music sensuously plays and couples, who look like they’re sleepwalking, are dancing. Wow. It’s something.
Dick Slick of course took tango lessons; with his head turning like a clock, his body hardly moving, he practically lifts me in the air and navigates me around the room. I’m throwing my head back, glad I wore black net stockings and my skirt with the side slit, plus my four-inch platform Joan Crawford style platform shoes. Only I’m kind of klutzy. In my dreams I dance the tango, but I’m leaning all forward and bumping into him and stepping on his feet. He whispers that this dance is “smart and chic,” and that he’ll buy me tango lessons at a “chic tango club” where I can learn. “Also you have to wear the right dress and shoes.” So I’m stumbling along and finally we leave.
We arrive at my apartment. He walks me to the door, my shoes making schlumpy loud echoes on the pavement. He walks as if he’s floating, his polished Gucci shoes barely making a sound.
After we say goodnight, his appraising eyes checking out the lobby of my apartment, the cracked fountain spurting water, and he leaves.
I watch him drive away and upstairs I change into my usual sweat pants and long t-shirt that says “Princess” on the front. It’s good to be home. It’s good to be me.
Barbara Rose Brooker is a native of San Francisco and an author. Her latest new edition of her novel “The Viagra Diaries” will be published April 30th, 2013 with Simon Schuster. HBO is in the process of making the series a television series. Her newest novel “Should I Sleep In His Dead Wife’s Bed” is to follow.