Note: this excerpt originally appeared linked to a post titled Sex in the City. CLICK HERE to read that post for background.
Note: just prior to this excerpt, I tell about the struggles of being single in New York—where the sex is easy, but dating is hard.
After my romp in the hay with the barely legal boys of Cosmo, I moved to the opposite end of the age spectrum and developed a thing for older men. I thought perhaps I needed someone more mature, a little more stable, someone who had real boyfriend potential. So I started looking for opportunities everywhere, and found unrequited love when I escorted actress Teri Hatcher to the first VH-1 Diva’s Live.
My boss BusyB assigned me the task of escorting Teri to the usual trifecta of morning show appearances: Good Morning America, Regis & Kathie Lee and a taping of The Rosie O’Donnell Show. Teri was between gigs having ended her run on Lois & Clark and was in town to promote a line of greeting cards with a breast cancer and Mother’s Day tie-in. She had just become a mom herself and was traveling with her newborn. Most importantly to me, Teri was going to be a presenter on a new VH-1 show called Divas Live. She was introducing Gloria Estefan, and I had always loved Miami Sound Machine.
After our morning show appearances, I stopped by Teri’s hotel to escort her to afternoon rehearsal for the concert. The line-up of limos outside the Four Seasons New York was impressive even for the city’s understated out-of-town celebrity hideaway. Running late, and blinded by the glistening Spring sun, I jumped inside the nearest black stretch chariot, and tumbled unexpectedly into the lap of a sexy tanned gentleman in the back seat. I’ve always had a thing for Latinos, and with my developing appreciation of older men, this distinguished fellow took my breath away—handsome, dashing, available? I gazed at him dreamily with my head near his crotch.
“Excuse me, I believe you’re in the wrong limo,” he said.
“Oh, my goodness. I’m so sorry. I was just going to Divas Live with my client. Where is she? I’m so sorry. Are you going to the concert? Can we give you a ride?”
My Telemundo soap opera star just stared at me blankly.
Knock! Knock! Knock!
Through the darkened windows, I could see Teri tapping and shouting furiously at me.
“Wrong one, dummy. Our car is back here,” she yelled.
Flush with embarrassment and a trace of lust, I grabbed my bag and papers, apologized and stumbled back out into the blazing sun. The Latino lothario smiled past me as I stood outside holding the car door. I watched silently as an equally glamorous Latina whizzed by and took my place at his side. Gloria Estefan bounced into the limo and rolled her eyes at me—another queen come to worship (at) her heels. I shouted as she shut the limo door and locked it behind her.
“I loved ‘Coming out of the Dark’!”
“Well, well, well. You just made a pass at Gloria’s husband Emilio. Nice work,” Teri teased
“I think I’m in love,” I panted like a cupid-struck teenage girl.
We ducked into our much smaller car a few places down the road and headed to rehearsal where the VH-1 Divas Live directing team walked Teri through her role at the famed Beacon Theater. Her job was to come on stage and introduce Gloria, the second musical number, with about three scripted lines, ending with, “Ladies and gentlemen, Gloria Estefan!” Seemingly simple, yet surprisingly grueling for Teri. She shielded her eyes from the spotlight, asking advice from anyone who would listen.
“Excuse me, excuse me. Does anyone know how to say Gloria’s last name?” Teri asked.
An assemblage of VH-1 writers, stagehands, sound guys, gaffers, and flunkies gathered round.
“Can someone tell me how to do the accent? Is it EStefan or esTEfan?” Teri continued.
Anyone standing nearby with a collectible Divas All Access Pass felt obliged to give a conflicting reply, which confused Teri even more. I bounded onto the stage from the wings intending to rescue Teri from the accent vigilantes. That’s when I noticed Gloria and the love of my life Emilio sitting in the auditorium watching the whole thing.
“I’m just going to ask them,” I said, pointing into the audience.
“No! You can’t talk to Gloria!” a VH-1 staff member insisted.
Her red color-coded badge giving her an extra level of authority over the other flunkies.
“You’re kidding, right?”
I laughed and walk towards the steps into the audience.
“Do not walk off this stage. They are off-limits. No one is to talk to them!” the head flunky shouted.
“Look, there’s no way Gloria and Emilio couldn’t have heard all nonsense on stage. I’ve already made a fool out of myself with Emilio once today, I’ve got nothing to lose.”
Silence on stage, as I descended the stairs and made my way to the middle of the Beacon Theatre where the famous duo were seated. They were surrounded by a sea of celebrity cardboard cutouts posed in seats, used as stand-ins during rehearsals so cameramen know where to train their close-ups during filming of a live show. I passed by a stiff Sarah Jessica Parker and took a hard left at a listing Patricia Arquette. Emilio looked up from his reading as I made my way down the aisle, and seemed panicked at the thought of what this crazy train might do.
“Hi there. You guys remember me from the car thing before?” I asked.
They shifted in their seats anxiously.
“Well, I’m back! Just hoping you could clear something up. The thing is, well, I’m Teri’s publicist, and she doesn’t want to mispronounce your name.”
I sat down next to Emilio, my knees just brushing up against his, and he shifted his legs away from me slightly. I looked into his eyes and lost my train of thought for a minute.
“So, anyway, sorry. I was wondering if you might give me some coaching? I mean give Teri some coaching. About your name. Do you prefer EStefan or esTEfan?”
Emilio’s tensed up broad shoulders relaxed, relieved that I wasn’t as insane as I appeared. My heart melted. Gloria looked around at me.
“I’m just so honored that Teri is here to introduce me. I don’t care how she says my name, sweetie.”
Gloria said “sweetie” not in my too-familiar-Southern way, nor in the Yankee-slightly-judgmental way, but in a Latina-Pop-Star-Survived-Major-Trauma-Non-Diva kind of way.
“Wow, that’s so generous of you. But really, I want to get this right. I mean, Teri wants to get it right.”
“In that case, we prefer esTEfan,” said Emilio.
His rhythmic sexy voice sent chills down my spine. I could hardly speak as I backed down the aisle and retreated toward to the stage in a cloud of admiration for them both. I turned around, performed a little bow of thanks, and could have sworn Emilio winked at me.