Do you ever get this weird feeling that you contributed in some way to the death of a particular celebrity? For example: There I was, mincing around the Four Seasons in L.A. last April, when I ran smack dab into Bernie Mac, and now he’s dead.
The fabulous and talented Mr. Mac was wearing a groovy beige slubbed-silk leisure ensemble, accessorized with a black bowler hat and a nifty lizard man-purse complete with wrist strap. He tipped his hat, leading me to believe that he may have mistaken me for a woman, which is understandable given the fact that I was wearing a toweling bathrobe. When he saw my hairy legs, he winced slightly. Four months later, the great Bernie was no more.
Once upon a time I sat next to Isaac Hayes at a fashion show. A plus-size show, to be precise. Lane Bryant, to be even more precise. Mr. Hayes enlivened this runway experience with his sexy, deep-voiced commentary. “These ladies are deliciously endowed,” he growled over and over again. After the show, I showered him with compliments regarding his groovy Afrocentric ensemble. He seemed taken aback.
Mr. Hayes died on Sunday, Aug. 10. Coincidence? Maybe.
My pal Dennis Dermody, a movie critic, once killed Lucille Ball. “It was at the Oscar ceremony where Rob Lowe danced with Snow White,” recalled Dennis by phone last weekend, while idly perusing the obits. “She was wearing a great spangly red dress with a slit up the side.” When Ms. Ball turned around and saw Dennis, she kind of jumped back in horror. (His celeb look-alike is Albino rocker Johnny Winter.) Two weeks later she was pushing up the daisies.
During a Liberace concert at Radio City in the 1990’s, I stormed the front of the stage with a photog friend named Henny Garfunkel. Lib looked visibly pained and startled by Henny’s multiple piercings and over-painted lip line. Six months later he was dead. Coincidence? I’m not so sure.
When I discussed this phenomenon with my psychologist pal, the gal who works at a state-run loony bin and whose wisdom has often wormed its way into this column, I was told to relax and lay off the narcissism/paranoia. The lady shrink told me that I am not alone in seeing meaningful patterns where none exist: She hears it all day long from her severely psychotic patients. In other words, this deranged focus on coincidences is a sure sign that I am losing my chocolate-brown lizard clutch bag with nifty wrist strap. Maybe. Maybe not.
Either way it is hard for us—me and Henny—to escape the notion that we killed Liberace.
There are exceptions: When Princess Diana died, the whole of Britain went bonkers with collective guilt. Madonna and the whole celeb community “hit the wall” with Di and Dodi. Empathy abounded, except chez moi. Though saddened, I felt no sense of responsibility. Maybe this is because I was never trapped in an elevator with Princess Diana and a chocolate-brown lizard clutch with a nifty wrist strap.
When I head off to Fashion Week, I will be strenuously avoiding eye contact with any front-row notables. Enough already with this carnage!
CELEBS ASIDE, there is a certain group of individuals whose blood I would happily spill on the runways of Bryant Park. I refer to the annoying bloggers and Web-content gatherers who keep calling me and asking me the same deeply silly question: “What are you doing to prepare yourself for Fashion Week?”
While most people associate the end of summer with bittersweet back-to-school feelings, I am forced to associate it with being asked this same embarrassingly daffy query. There is something about the notion of grown people earnestly primping and training for a week of doing nothing much except waddling from show to show that is truly, cringingly tragic.
In the past I tried explaining to these hacks that New York Fashion Week is not really such a full-body-armor Fallujah-type situation, and that all one really needs to do is show up. No more Mr. Nice Guy. This season my prepared response will, hopefully, deliver a lethal blow:
“Seaweed colonics, genital rejuvenation and a full-body wax! Happy now?”