Not Our Type, Dear.
It turns out I'm not to everyone's taste. Those pure of thought and deed and word wish I'd shut my dirty mouth. Many republicans, mostly those who object to being called "evil" by such an expert in political analysis, dislike me. People who thought I was writing a book about cooking aren't too fond of me either.
And then there are the Spence School parents.
The parents at the the Spence School don't hate me or anything. I'm just not really their milieu. I went to a book fair their just before Thanksgiving, and I have to say, it was the most excruciating three hours of my life. There's something about trying to explain my book about a financially and existentially struggling Queens secretary to a woman with perfectly honeyed highlights, a $3,000 sweater and a suspiciously unlined face that just gets me down. It's the blank look that passes across their eyes when you say "Queens" or "temp work" that does it. They just don't get it. They smile with that look of comprehension they've cultivated, and you can just hear them thinking, "This is a poor woman. I've heard about them."
I did another event for some distinctly nonplussed people at L'Ecole in Soho - the NYT Times-hosted one I mentioned before. It was me, the chef from Artisanal, and two TV chefs. Bunch of upper west side foodies in the audience, very nice people I'm sure, definitely big Food Network watchers. That was the second most excruciating hours of my life. I don't mind that everyone was there to see not me but a borscht-belt-by-way-of-Puerto-Rico Daisy Martinez hold forth. She's smart as a whip, and was funny, if you like that kind of thing. (Though she told her best story, a nicely disgusting one about monkfish, in the green room beforehand. I'm not going to tell it, because if Daisy has a grain of sense she'll publish it at some point, and I don't want to steal her fire....) And I don't mind that there's this whole society of celebrity chefs that have a whole world of gossip I know nothing about. But I just wondered why I was there. These people are food people. They're going to read my book, and they're going to figure out it's not really about food, and they're going to hate me. That's the way it happens. So I sat there in front of this big audience, feeling their animus in advance. I don't like it when people don't like me.
But, I'm learning, that's just the way the shit goes. Which is sort of a great thing to learn, actually.