Bonjour! Cest Me!

I want to be classy!

Back when I was a slutty, young high school girl, whenever I needed a break from scowling at my fellow students, I would head down to the office of our slim, elegant and stern vice principal for student affairs. "I have an appointment at Planned Parenthood," I would lie contritely. "You don't have to tell my parents, do you?"

"I can't let you leave campus without permission," she would remind me before walking me to my car and waving away all the security guards we encountered. (There was one we were all convinced was a narc à la 21 Jump Street, which doesn't really make much sense with 10 years' hindsight. Who's gonna try to sell drugs to a campus security guard? Still, whenever he caught us smoking behind the auto shop, he'd just give us warnings, so we kind of had a crush on him, narc or no.)

Of course, being a slutty high school girl and all, I occasionally did have an appointment at Planned Parenthood. It was excellent health care without moralizing or a long wait—and most important, it was on a sliding scale. If you're a slutty young Commie girl with no income, that scale amounted to about $4. I will always love Planned Parenthood. And I am pro-life.

I wouldn't have said that out loud at Planned Parenthood's Marrakesh Express gala benefit Friday night—unless, of course, the topic had come up even once, in which case I probably would have immediately opened my yap and begun nattering. But the causes at gala benefits are very rarely under discussion. Instead, under the gauzy tents and trompe l'oeil sky at Costa Mesa's Marrakesh Restaurant, we discussed . . . well, the fact that none of the other women at the table worked outside the home. Now, if you want to not work outside the home—and it's nice work if you can get it—it helps to have a wealthy-developer husband, an accessory all the ladies around us seemed to possess. My favorite of the bunch (slim, friendly and went to Stanford, wealthy-developer husband in tow) said she's a writer and has also begun to design handbags she said are very stylish, very Jackie O. I'm assuming she meant the former first lady and not the famous New York drag queen. The thing is anybody who says she designs handbags is going to immediately conjure up in her listener the unbidden and unwelcome image of Miss Monica Lewinsky and her ungodly passel of PR folks who actually say things like, "When people think of Monica Lewinsky now, they think of handbags." Don't they mean hand jobs? Except, judging by my reaction to my new friend's announcement, people do think of handbags. Still, the banana-yellow one she was talking about for summer sounded really cute.

It's fascinating comparing devotees of various charities; the distinctions between classes of Newport Beach homemakers are as finely varied as the distinctions today's whippersnappers make between their sub-subgenres of electronica.

The chicks who throw parties for multiple sclerosis, for instance, are friendly and fun but in a very grown-up, sorority-girl way. That is, they get pretty tipsy and look for potential husbands. (If you, too, are looking for a Ken to your Barbie, you might want to try Young Professionals Against Cancer.) Peeps who kick down for the Orange County Museum of Art tend to be older—and when they are in their thirties, they tend to be excruciatingly stuck-up and yupped out. There will be no chatting with the likes of you! I hear Harvesters (the food bank, not those who want to reap your soul! come July) is extremely popular with those who are kind of progressive—sort of. But the people getting down at a Planned Parenthood benefit are extremely friendly and open; they're more risqué than those who would prefer to become involved in a cause that's absolutely unobjectionable. Who, after all, is for cancer? The Planned Parenthood patrons are well-educated, they keep their plastic surgery to a tasteful minimum, and their hair is not shellacked into something like Kevlar. They seem kind of—can it be?—low maintenance!

The affair was '70s-themed, with folks showing up in purple-glitter jump suits, which was pretty excellent. I should take a page from Los Angeles Times society columnist Ann Conway and Orange Coast's inimitable Gloria Zigner (she "writes" the Zignature column), and put on the page little pictures of people who were there and then fawn over them. But I don't really want to, so I won't, even though Zigner and Conway are my absolute heroes. The pair are just so gracious and elegant and well-coifed—and never, ever bitchy or shrill. That's for Jews. I want to be classy and sophisticated just like them! Bonjour! C'est me!

Ready to end it all or just shoot some heroin at the news that all the county's best music spots are suffering ignominious deaths? Costa Mesa's Bamboo Terrace and Sunset Beach's Lotus Lounge (formerly 13th Floor) are riding to the rescue like they're various and sundry Segerstroms out to save the Philharmonic. Bamboo Terrace has long been a favorite of extremely cool bands who like playing the mellow, family-run Chinese restaurant on a stage in front of a tackily tinseled window. My personal A-list includes the bewitching Coleen Rider, The Moseleys, George Fryer and the Decaf Junkies, the much-missed Tex Twil, and the Official Commie Girl House Band, Lo-Fi Champion. They're all keeping on in the capable hands of lovely proprietress Debbie (and her mom).

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