I know something about whores. I worked in one of the most famous restaurants in America....back in the day. The restaurant made its bones by being the place where you brought your kids to train them in fine restaurant etiquette.....and where you brought your mistress for lunch before or after your Afternoon Delight.
The place was called The Colony....Madison and 61st in New Yawk City. (There was a Colony Club around the corner on Park, with a branch in Florida....but that was not the same. The Colony Club was a chick joint). The Colony was the ultimate power joint. By the time I got to The Colony it was a Jacque Kennedy/Truman Capote type place. In fact, my first fifteen minutes of fame was serving Truman a plate of spaghetti (a secret off-menu dish for the cognoscenti) on camera on national TV. It was my first act as a waiter (I was a high level wine-steward, and there was a labor action). Truman was clearly terrified.....The tape ran on Johnny Carson, with Truman reliving his terror at my expense. Cirio Mascione...the famed owner of Le Cirque, Cirque 2000, etc was the maitre d'hotel. (He took the circus theme of his later widly successful restaurants from the striped canvas awnings of The Colony Bar. "Sabrina" with Audrey Hepburn was filmed in The Colony Bar.
My bar. It was the summer of the Watergate hearings, for what it is worth.
The Colony started in 1917.......It got going, as I said....by having good food, and a relaxed sense of standards, for the time. The Vanderbilts and the Morgans and the Biddles and the Dukes could go there on Sundays with their children and be served a proper meal by the dedicated and discreet Italian staff. The men could come back at lunchtime with their girls.....and expect the same discretion. During Prohibition the back bar of The Colony Bar would, at the touch of a button, rise into the ceiling and be replaced by a coffee machine.
Anyway, The Colony was all about the working girls.....admittedly at a high level, but working girls nonetheless. There was even a famous dish: The Egyptian Eye. It was a slice from a loaf of house baked bread with a hole punched in the center. The bread was spread with butter and toasted on one side, then flipped and an egg was dropped into the hole. The Egyptian Eye was served with much aplomb by the captain from the gueridon. There was no charge. Working girls.....very glamorous working girls....could always come to The Colony and have an Egyptian Eye and a glass of champagne and not fear the economic consequences. Meanwhile, the Captains of Industry.....used to bringing their kids there on Sundays would hover about and perhaps make an acquaintence. No money was changed hands directly. If a Captain of Industry had lunch with a girl.....he ordered his calf's liver with bacon, and she her Egyptian Eye. She would rise just before the entrée was served and say she needed to go to the powder room. The gent would bow, and give her a hundred dollar bill. (I got a nice $20 for myself on the side, at a time when my rent was $28 a month on 4th Street, between A and B).
Our powder room was like the Harem of the Byzantine Emperor. There were good scents, good champagne, good spirits.....even good clothes: designer gowns, scarves, gloves, hats, etc to slip into.......The coat check girl (Mimi, a Swiss war bride.....the classiest, most hard-core woman I ever met.......) ran her queendom like Imelda Marcos ran the Phillipines. The working girl would come in, give Mimi the hunsky and go and pee. Mimi would steam her dress, fix her hair and makeup, give her a stiff glass of Dom Perignon....actually La Grande Dame was our preferred beverage, take a $20 cut, and send the girl back to the dining room. If the girl was a super-pro with a tiny little dog......this is 1971 now, not 2006........Mimi would order food for the dog (typically foie gras, La Grande Dame, and beignets soufflée (sauce sabayon) for the doggie and put the cost on the gent's bill. The girl would return to the dining room, finish lunch, and leave with the gent. The $80 was her tip.....the rest of the afternoon was up for grabs.
One of our working girls was a famous model with a split between her teeth. Her guy was a Revson.....head of the Revlon cosmetic empire. He was so infatuated with her that he stayed in New York with Lauren while his wife died slowly of cancer....lunch every day. Lauren was way beyond the Egyptian Eyes by that point.
Another of our girls was a redhead....kind of fleshy, but with perfect porcelain skin. She had a suite at the Pierre on the next block, and a house on Long Island with a masonry channel that brought the tides into the house to re-fill the pools and hot-tubs.
There were a legion of others. I am a NYC Local 7 Union bartender. Everyday I slaved away at my bar.......I even pushed the button on occasion and let the booze float up to the ceiling when I got over the bullshit and served coffee. The early seventies were the beginning of the time when it became OK to be gay. The old-school Jewish guys who ran the garment and fashion industry were being replaced by young, dynamic, creative gay guys who could do in a minute what the alte-cockers could put together in a year. My bar would fill everyday with gorgeous models: handbags, hands, foot, lingerie, runway......who would come and order Egyptian Eyes, Sidecars, Pink Squirrels and pop poppers under my nose as a tip while their ''dates'' groped each other in the booths of The Colony Bar.
The girls that failed fell hard. No more Colony. They would still come in and eat their Egpytian Eyes and I would buy them champagne, but there were no takers. I was too young to comprehend what had caused their fall. A little cellulite.....a tooth problem that caused an unfortunate bad breath......a problem with the booze, or heroin (this was before cocaine....)......an indiscretion with a rival. Bad clothes or bad shoes.
Or Sugar Face, as the gay guys called it: a little pudge, a fading of character.......
It was pitiful to watch the fall. The girls would come in, and no one would talk to them. After a while, it was clear that I was no longer cleared to be nice to them.....they had failed some test. Some of them, like the Redhead Tide Queen, would strike out on their own, and bring in new girls, and pretend that it was all fine. But the guys they brought had bad suits and bad teeth and bad shoes.....and failed to recognize Mimi and play by the rules. The girls wound up in the French Ghetto, and I would see them at Tout Va Bien after midnite.....and they would turn away, embarrassed.
This brings me to Joe Lieberman.
Joe is the Redheaded Whore of Connnecticut. He had the villa where the tide came in and replenished the hot-tubs. Joe Lieberman has eaten more Egyptian Eyes than anyone in Government this side of Rusty Cunningham and Tom DeLay. He fucked up, though. The cellulite set it, and the halitosis. He became the sloppy second backup whore to the pharmeceutical industry and the insurance industry, and actually kissed George Bush on national TV. He was so focussed on his cash handout in Mimi's powder room that he failed to notice that he was pimping away the lives and profit of a generation in a stupid, greedy, fucked up war.
If he was a working girl in New York in 1971, Mimi would have beat his saggy ass with a sap and dumped him in the alley by the dumpster. We all would have pissed on him as he struggled to pull the lettuce leaves off pathetic balding dome.
Joe got dumped by his regular stick of faithful....who are not the brightest to begin with.....and thinks he is going to set up on his own.
Yeah, Joe......what a class act. But, if your society had standards, you would do what the redheaded whore did.
On the last day before the lease ran out on her suite at The Pierre, she rang down to The Colony for a pack of cigarettes and a bottle of La Grande Dame. I ran it up to her......I even opened the matchbook, folded it back, tore of the first match and tucked it behind the first row, ready for action. The cigarette pack was opened, with the first butt pulled out.....the whole thing propped against the matchbook.
I poured her a fat glass, and bowed out. She gave me a sweet smile and a hunsky.
They found her the next morning....Marilyn style, dead of barbiturates.
getting kind of pudgy.
Sugar face, as the gay guys say. When it is over, it is over.
I came back for my champagne bucket and glasses the next morning and saw her there with the detectives, laying in the bed in her suite.....
She looked beautiful.
Give it up, Joe.