It’s not that I don’t try. I read the Times for a few days, pack black clothes, toss in a pair of Jackie O sunglasses and away I go.
I even went more ‘native’ this time, and got a room at a funky, boutique hotel in a funky part of town. How much more ‘in’ could I get? I also brought my 14 year old, Ben, so he could see firsthand how sophisticated his country hick mother could be.
Unfortunately, our room at this boutique hotel turned out to be a broom closet with bed and mirror. I’ve been in bigger phone booths. Ben thought it was very cool, until he went into the bathroom and found he couldn’t back up far enough to pee (accurately) standing up. The kicker was the ‘window’ in the shower providing a view of the so-called ‘bedroom.’ Bad enough he was sleeping with Mom (no rooms with 2 beds in the budget, given the five-star digs), but to have to endure taking a potential public shower was too much. Happily, there were two curtains (one on each side of the plexiglass) so Ben spent half an hour testing the system (“Mom? Can you see me? How about with the bathroom light on? Or off? How many fingers am I holding up?…Mom?…”)
The weather took a turn for the worse — it turned warm and humid, then warmer and humider (this should be a word, shouldn’t it?), which meant a VERY bad hair day. There I was, looking and feeling like a real schlub, meeting with pre-teen magazine editors who weighed no more than 90 pounds and were clad in spandex everything. And the next day, the weather gods got some major yucks by tossing in a downpour or two. My hair started to careen out of control, and my make-up was literally running down my face. Thank god I was wearing black, the better to camouflage the mascara stains on the front of my blouse.
The highest of the low points was to come. Just as I was feeling my schlubbiest (again, a word wannabe), who pops into my life but Hoda Kotb, who co-hosts the 3rd hour of the TODAY show with Kathie Lee Gifford. The woman is an Amazon, in the best sense of the term. She’s huge, with big teeth, big hair, big chest and about 7 feet tall. Physically, she’s quite monumental, a real jaw-dropper. Ben and I literally ran into her in the bowels of Rockefeller Center, and not having a mirror (and so, not realizing that my hair and off-kilter make-up made me look like a crazed stalker) I asked her to pose with me for a pic. Yikes. Even Ben was horrified. The poor kid literally took a step back when he raised the camera and looked into the viewfinder.
There was Hoda, all teeth and hair and bronzed good looks, and there was holey-moley me, with frizz and wrinkles and splotchy complexion complemented by run amok mascara.
Would the Jackie O sunglasses have helped? Naw, but they would’ve looked fab on Hoda.