It was me and the beautiful people, all of us drinking too-sweet pink or blue drinks and Veuve Clicquot, eating tiny sandwiches and puff pastry with gorgonzola and lamb sausages with figs and bread with tapenade, all of us looking at one another, everyone very much on display and the room as noisy as a birdcage in a zoo. It was a party of sorts in honor of my husband's great friend, the haute couturier, complete with models forcing their way through the crowd before making turns up on a dais, a Finnish violinist, and a pop band (we left before they hit the stage, however).
Everyone there was a fashionista of one sort or another, even A., the assistant director: Her modelling days in Paris may be over, but she still sets the style, standing like a madonna in Manolo Blahniks and a bluejean skirt and trying to convince me to give her the bracelet they gave me when I came in the door, which could be redeemed for a surprise present that was bound to be makeup or some other girly thing.
The husband had dressed me beforehand in careful non-style (I had almost made the grave error of wearing the type of crinkly linen shirt that all the non-fashionistas of Stockholm are wearing these days) and as we stood in line waiting to have them check to see that our names were on the list before letting us in to the party, I was ever so thankful I have someone to arbite my taste for me. And to think, before I moved to Stockholm I used to think I had a sense of style.
"You see why we never go to these things?" the husband said to me, looking so very handsome standing next to me in his suit.
Yes, indeed, I told him, I did see. And was it tacky of me to be eating little sandwiches at the same time I happened to have a little packet of snuff stuffed in a corner of my mouth?
"No," he said. "You're just being Swedish."
The Swedish word for the day is kille. It means guy, as in just an ordinary guy.
- by Francis S.