Monday, March 30, 2015

You Can't Hurry Love

In case you haven't noticed, I tend to have an opinion on almost everything.

For instance, I see no point in not watching an entire movie. I know some people will come into a movie midway through and watch it with enjoyment, but not me. Nor do I start and stop.

Except when I do.

My final foray at the French Film Festival involved the particular kind of film for which I go to the event: a romance. Standing in line to get popcorn, I heard a familiar Frenchman and unexpectedly, I had a companion for the film, "Not My Type."

We found seats before it got too crowded, but my delight was in finding the most comfy seat I've ever sat in at the Byrd. Unlike most, this one had clearly been replaced since it was covered in pleather, not the tired red fabric of the other seats. And, lo and behold, no springs jabbing my backside.

The available seat to my right soon found an occupant while his wife continued on to look for another single seat. I pointed out that you're not supposed to talk during a movie anyway, so it didn't really matter that they couldn't sit together.

"I know but we like to hold hands," he explained. Very sweet. "And if I try that here, I might get smacked." Yea, by your wife, I told him.

Within a minute or two, his wife was back, signaling him that she'd found adjoining seats. My French friend began chortling. "She didn't want him sitting next to you!" he said, grinning. Whatevs.

The film was supposed to start at 2:45, but first they introduced the entire French delegation and the scores of interns who'd worked on the festival and then someone from the French Embassy spoke. By the time the film began, it was 3:40, a problem for me because I needed to be home shortly after 5.

It was a shame, too, because from the first few frames, I knew this was my kind of movie. A teacher of philosophy gets transferred from Paris to a small town 90 minutes away, a place in which he expects to languish, if not die.

Besides being consumed by his research and teaching, he's written a book about sex trumping love and why there's no point in committed relationships. Naturally he meets a hair stylist ("I'm not beautiful, I have charm. It's different") who reads tabloids and likes to sing "You Can't Hurry Love" at karaoke with her girlfriends.

He gives her Dostoevsky and Steinbeck to read. She takes him to his first Jennifer Aniston movie.

It's love at first haircut. Problems arise once she falls in love and realizes that he's the type who can't admit to love. They sit on the beach at the seashore ("You can't get bored looking at the sea"), her talking about how love means you make plans for the future.

Problems arise when she reads his book and realizes that he sees no point in love or long term relationships. Tears and heated discussion followed and then...

I had to leave. Now I was never going to know if he was her type.

It about killed me to walk out without knowing how their future was resolved, but I had no choice. I was hosting five of the coolest kids I knew for dinner and I couldn't be late.

Okay, so I wasn't hosting them at my house or cooking for them or anything as mundane as that. But I'd invited them all to join me at a wine dinner at Camden's and I needed to get myself ready for that and over there before they arrived.

In order to do so, I sacrificed the end of a movie I really wanted to see. It pained me to walk out, believe me.

In what turned out to be the hot topic of conversation to kick off the evening, I wore jeans to the dinner. I know it doesn't sound like much, but I don't wear jeans. Period. Never, I'd bought these yesterday at a thrift store for $2.50 on a whim.

Everyone noticed and commented ("Who are you?") and when my date said  she'd never seen me in jeans in the five years we'd known each other, I shared that the last time I'd worn jeans, my boyfriend had dumped me. "Kind of risky to try again, isn't it?" she inquired.

I'd calculated the risk but admittedly, I'm not very good at math.

Arriving at the restaurant just as two of my friends did, I chose a center seat so I'd have everyone around me to talk, which was the whole point of asking them all in the first place.

My girl date was next, having arrived by Uber. Her driver had warned her that there were two motorcycle gangs in town this weekend for a music show, so she'd better be wary. She found this hilarious and chose not to call him when it was time to leave many hours later.

She was followed by Pru and her beau and our six-top was complete. Both of the gentlemen looked particularly dapper, disproving the notion that men don't dress for dinner. The Pandora station was set to Raphael Saadiq, an appropriately soulful soundtrack.

Tonight's wine dinner theme was the Pacific Northwest and wine rep Matt began the evening by standing on a bar stool (actually that was my suggestion but it got things off to an amusing, if precarious, start) to talk about the first wine.

In what had to be the most surprising way to begin the meal, we had a late harvest Sauvignon Blanc which drank sort of like Sauternes and was an ideal pairing with "faux" gras- a chicken liver mousse- over apple galette with shaved Tillamook cheddar.

We all agreed it was a brilliantly unconventional way to start the meal.

When Matt introduced the next wine, Lundeen Pinot Gris Estate 2013, he got a good laugh when he said that the winemaker as another liberal arts refugee. The same could have been said about the chef or most of my friends at the table.

We drank the lovely wine with an arugula, celery, red onion and rockfish salad, the youngest member of our group admitting that she'd only had rockfish once before. We're doing our best to bring her up to speed.

And while rockfish wasn't her forte, when we got off on the subject of Lip Smackers (or any of the flavored lip products young girls use), she was an expert. Dr. Pepper had been her favorite flavor, setting off a discussion of other disgusting offerings such as cherry vanilla and root beer.

We tried to remember if there was a correlation between flavors used and types of girls. No one could recall what flavor was the so-called "slutty" girls' favorite.

After much back and forth, Pru pronounced the Dr. Pepper queen a full-fledged member of the club as of tonight.

The third course was pork hand pies with lavender goat cheese creme fraiche and my date was the first to eat it properly (in hand) but we all soon followed suit, picking up the floral notes of the Emerson Willlamette Pinot Noir along the way.

By this point, everyone was fairly well lubricated, evidenced by the conversation, first about the Lance Linc lunchbox sitting nearby (only guys, it seems, understand the appeal) and then about "Fifty Shades of Gray," when one male friend claimed to have read it. "Twenty five was all I could handle," he quipped.

Ribbing continued when plates of roasted leg of lamb arrived with dried currant jam and fried fingerling potatoes. Each plate was adorned with sprigs of fresh thyme, although mine seemed to have an entire thyme plant atop it.

"Some people get all the thyme," it was said. I shared my abundance with those less fortunate because the thyme really made the dish, although had you asked Pru, she'd have voted for the currants because they are a personal favorite of hers.

The lamb was accompanied by Claar Cellars Cabernet-Merlot 2012 ("This is a really beautiful pairing," my date noted with a mouth full of lamb and a big smile on her face), tasting of dark fruit and spice.

I was busy discussing film with the left side of the table when I overheard a discussion of helicopter parenting on the right and put my bid in to join that conversation when I could. Many opinions there about how we're ruining future generations.

"Wine is sunlight held together by water. Galileo," the former bartender and pastry school student announced before using a copy of the menu to shape a decorating tube.

The official meal ended with dark chocolate cherry fudge pate and Thurston Wolfe "JTW's Port," a heavy hitter at 18% but exquisite with the chocolate.

Meanwhile we'd decided to further visit our youth by crafting a childhood game, the folded paper puzzle that tells your fortune. Several of us tried to complete one but it was the newest member of the club who successfully did so.

Since my pen was already out, I got to label it with numbers, colors and names so each of us could take a turn and learn our fate.

"In grade school, it was fun, but now it's just a creepy swingers' club," said the friend after his choices said my date was his future.

"All I want is for you to cut my grass," she informed him. Hell, that's not even two shades of gray,

That was officially the end of the wine dinner, but our group opted to linger over a bottle of Touraine Sauvignon Blanc 2013, pleasing Pru no end and resulting in the comment, "Do not look directly at a man's member."

In my opinion, because you know I have one, there are times when it's perfectly fine to look directly.

But only if he's your type.


  1. The showing of "De Toutes nos Forces" on Sunday at the Byrd was memorable. A fine film. The FFF never disappoints.


  2. P.S. maybe you should wear jeans more often.


  3. come now, let's leave something for the imagination -- I've seen ....


  4. .....i've seen enough. Besides sometimes change is good.
    don't U agree?


  5. so you're on sabbatical? Home 4 Easter/


  6. Sick as a dog, but better now!

  7. karen --

    very, very sorry to hear this. beginning to become a little concerned on this end...Worried? glad you're better. you missed some neat stuff concerning the civil war, [historical] events the last few days....especially last night.


  8. Mike Gorman's tour looked amazing. So sorry to have missed that one. I'm back in action today and will do my best to make up for lost time! Thanks for noticing my absence, cw.

  9. you're welcome karen... i'm only human...people I'm fond of are missed when they're not around. you're qualified to be in that "club". missed u...