Brigid yanked the conversation back. “And what do you do, Miranda?” she asked. “You live in the city, don’t you?”
“Well, actually, I’m the executive director at a cable company.”
“Oh, I love cable,” said a woman named Rita, who was wearing three heavy gold necklaces and sporting a 12-carat sapphire engagement ring next to a sapphire-encrusted wedding band.
“Yes,” Belle said, smiling sweetly. “We think of Miranda as our own little Bob Pittman.”
“Oh, I know,” said Rita. “My husband is at CBS—in fact, I was his assistant! Though then he was married to someone else.”
Carrie plunked down next to Rita.
“Wow,” Carrie said. “A real home-wrecker!”
“Well, it wasn’t quite that simple,” Rita said.
“O.K., so what if he was married when you met him?” Carrie said with a wave of her hand. “The important thing is, you got him. I mean, I would never be able to pull it off. I’d probably end up becoming best friends with his wife.”
“That’s why there are courses at the Learning Annex,” Sarah said drily.
“Yeah, but I don’t want to take a courses with a bunch of losers,” Carrie said.
“I know a lot of people who have taken courses at the Learning Annex. And they’re pretty good,” Brigid said.
“What’s was your favorite?” Rita asked. “The S&M course. How to be a dominatrix.”
“Well, whipping is just about the only way I can keep my husband awake,” Brigid said. “Married sex.”
Lucy gamely laughed.
Suburban Surprise: Bidet
Carrie stood up and yawned. “Does anyone know where the bathroom is?”
Carrie did not go the bathroom. Nor was she as drunk as she appeared to be. Instead she tiptoed up the stairs, carpeted with an Oriental runner, and thought that if she were Jolie, she would probably know what kind of Oriental rug it was because that was the kind of stuff you were supposed to know if you were married to a rich banker and making him a home in the suburbs.
She went into Jolie’s bedroom. There was a thick white carpet on the floor, and photographs everywhere in silver frames, some professional-looking shots of Jolie in a bathing suit, her long blonde hair swinging over her shoulders.
Carrie stared at those photographs for a long time. What was it like to be Jolie? How did it happen? How did you find someone who fell in love with you and gave you all this? She was 34 and she’d never even come close and there was a good chance she never would.
And this was the kind of life she’d grown up believing she could have, simply because she wanted it. But the men you wanted didn’t want it, or you; and the men who did want it were too boring. She went into the bathroom. Floor-to-ceiling black marble. A bidet. Maybe suburban husbands wouldn’t play ball unless their wives were just-washed, unlike guys in the city. Then she almost screamed. There was a 14-by-17 color photograph of Jolie, Demi Moore–style, naked save for a skimpy negligee that was open in front to reveal humongous tits and a huge belly. Jolie was staring proudly into the camera, her hand resting just above her belly button, which had been pushed straight out like a little stem. Carrie flushed the toilet and ran breathlessly down the stairs.
“We’re opening presents,” Brigid scolded.
Carrie sat down in a chair next to Miranda. “What’s your problem?” Miranda asked.
“Photograph. In the master bathroom. Check it out,” Carrie said.