Moodswing - Society event

Curtsies and teacakes aside, a good time was had by all

Read closely, because this is the last time I'll write about a society event. In fact I hate society — all those teacakes and curtsies and shit. Not that anyone curtsies anymore, it's just that I can't imagine a more awkward formality, and that's always how I viewed society events — full of awkward formalities.

I usually behave badly at such occasions. For example it wasn't that long ago that my friend Jim Llewellen invited me to a party in New Orleans thrown by the Democratic Leadership Coalition, at which I showed up blotto wearing a beach sarong, determined to try the dry-hump dance with the governor of Indiana. So there you have it. I'm notorious.

Except Liz, who invited me to her wedding anyway, which was held in Miami last week. I love Florida. I lived there when I was 9 and never wore shoes. I liked to catch blowfish off the Melbourne Beach Pier and throw them back. Yes, I was a barefoot tomboy in cutoffs at the end of an old wreck of a pier, liberating blowfish to watch them toss around in the water like scaly tether balls before they'd deflate and, once again, swim away. To this day it's an image I attach to total bliss.

I figure Tony Hernandez understands that feeling. He's the artist who designed the cover of Train's Drops of Jupiter CD, which is nominated for both Record of the Year and Song of the Year at the upcoming Grammy Awards. Tony also designed the cover of Liz's wedding invitation, which is fitting because he was the groom. A common theme in Tony's paintings are pre-adolescent children, one or two precious figures glowing with the warmth of old photographs against a backdrop of monochromatic, textured depth. Often they are alone on the canvas, the innocent children, in a world of their own, the vastness around them roiling with promise.

Tony's pieces remind me of myself on the pier, barefoot with fish bait in my front pocket, experiencing what has become a rare memory of immeasurable glee for me. I wonder if I'm the only person who cries when they look at those paintings, who is moved to envision themselves reaching for lost dreams, straining until finally they feel it, the slightest flutter at their fingertips, the slightest reminder that those dreams can be found again before they deflate and, once again, swim away.

But back to the big event. Also in attendance was an impressive cadre of bitchen people of the Atlanta bitchen-people sect. People like Elizabeth Roth, whose probably-Versace-or-something dress reminded me a little of Jennifer Lopez at the Grammy Awards only minus the totally obscene tit factor, and her husband Tom, who was very dapper in a cream-colored tuxedo jacket that once belonged to his grandfather. How debonair he was, like Bing Crosby, only not all sweaty from just having beaten his own kids. (God! See? Am I the worst society writer or WHAT?)

Tony's mother looked too young to hold her position, and Liz's mother looked like Judy Garland if Judy Garland had taken perfect care of herself her entire life. Also there was Wilma and Jan, whose last names I forget but who helped collapse my whole theory that society events have to be boring, along with Wilma's boyfriend, whose entire name I forget but who nevertheless won the "Cool Shoes" award.

The wedding was held at night, in the Eden Roc Hotel, the scion of Miami Beach Art-Deco design that Liz's grandfather, famed architect Morris Lapidus, created. I spent the afternoon beforehand hanging out with Chris Renaldo, of the he's-the-father-of-my-child Renaldos; Marcia Wood, of the Marcia-Wood-Gallery-in-Buckhead Woods; and Dan Greenfield, of the someone-important-at-Earthlink Greenfields. At one point it rained so hard that South Beach became a water park, and I was discouraged from doing a belly slide down the Lincoln Road esplanade with the reminder that it was time to tart myself up for the wedding.

In hindsight I shouldn't have bothered, because at the ceremony I cried big bucket tears and all my makeup ended up in my underwear anyway. And it didn't stop there, no. What really brought it on was the waltz. Early in the reception the bandleader stopped the music to announce Tony and Liz's wedding waltz, and the two of them stepped hand-in-hand onto the giant dance floor. Liz's veil, which earlier had shrouded her head like a fine mist of magic dust, was now a trickle of liquefied pearls cascading down her back.

There they stood, Tony and Liz, their silhouettes glowing warmly against the background. When the music began, 400 eyes turned to them, and these two lone figures embraced each other in courtly tenderness, waltzing alone on an otherwise empty expanse. At times Tony and Liz were endearingly unsure of their practiced steps, maybe missing a beat. Maybe looking at each other for assurance. Maybe teetering a bit. Yes, that's it. They teetered. They teetered sweetly to the music, like two precious children in a world of their own, the vastness around them roiling with promise.??