The other day, our friend Mavis threw a housewarming party in Holland Village and invited us along.
“Just bring a bottle of wine and nothing else!” she commanded. “I have too many things as it is. I don’t need more stuff.”
Saffy was perplexed, unable to conceive of anyone who would say ‘No’ to a free present. “I love stuff,” she said firmly. “If any of you ever feel the need to give me stuff, don’t hesitate. Now, Amanda, what are you wearing to this party?”
By the time we showed up on the day, the party was in full swing. The lighting was flatteringly low. The balcony doors were swung open to the cool evening. The guests were a glamorous mix of long haired beauties, cool looking nerds and buff models. Meanwhile, the dining table was laden with bottles of tequila, gin, wines and vast bowls of corn chips.
“This girl knows how to throw a party,” Amanda said approvingly, and immediately caught the eye of a guy on the far side of the room who looked like he’d just stepped off the runway.
Saffy clung to my arm. “Whatever you do, don’t let me near those corn chips!” she pleaded. “You know what I’m like. I can’t stop at just one!”
I pulled away. “You’re on your own. I just spotted booze.”
A few hours later, I found myself sitting on my own, one hand on a glass and the other clutching a bottle of gin. And at the other end of the table, Saffy was foraging around the bottom of a bowl of corn chips while moaning, “Oh my God. I can’t believe I just add this whole bowl! Oh my God!”
And that was when Amanda materialized out of the gloom. Saffy’s antennae for drama, never offline even when she was in a state of carb, fat and salt-induced shock, sat up. “What’s the matter? You look like you just watched the growing old scene in ‘Up’!”
“Nothing,” Amanda whispered as she looked helplessly around the table for a clean cup. And the tears started to flow in great fat drops. Saffy carefully pushed the bowl of corn chips aside and went to Amanda, gently pulling her outside the apartment where we sat on the stairs and waited for the tears to stop.
It turned out that some of the girls at the party had made rather disparaging comments about Amanda. Apparently, no one had bothered to be discrete. “SPG” and a word that rhymed with “switch” had been uttered.
Saffy’s formidable bosom inflated to a dangerous volume as she struggled to get up. “Which ones? Show me! Those fat cows. Someone is going to be pushed off a balcony tonight! No, don’t try to stop me! Let go of me! Seriously, let go! My God, Amanda, how did you get to be so freakishly strong?”
As I later said to Karl over a beer at our local bar, if there’s one thing Saffy is really good at, it’s her uncanny ability to muscle her way into any good drama and seize the spotlight.
“But what did Amanda do though?” asked Karl who’s always had a crush on her.
“She’s beautiful,” I said flatly. “That’s all she did. This happens all the time. She just has to show up at a party and every woman in that room will immediately start to hate her just a little. And if they have a husband or a boyfriend, they’ll make sure she doesn’t get beyond ‘Hello’. And if she talks to a guy is single and unattached, they’ll hate her even more.”
Karl looked shocked. “But, but…that’s just like…”
“That’s just like high school,” I finished. “And the fact that she’s totally unaware of her own beauty makes other women hate her just that little bit more.”
“Huh.” Karl peered into his beer. “I had no idea. I’m just trying to think now what happens when a good looking guy walks into a room.”
“I think you’d just feel a little bit of envy and then drink some more beer. Guys aren’t very complicated that way. Or so I’m told.”
What I didn’t tell Karl was that after Saffy had calmed down at Mavis’s party, she’d gone back in and identified the mean girls. Then she went downstairs to a payphone and called the police and told them there were illegal prostitutes in Mavis’s flat. She gave very precise descriptions of the girls. We left the party just as the first police car pulled up.
Amanda says she hopes she never falls out with Saffy. I’m just glad I’m not a woman.