There are people who you just know you’re going to like. Like that gal who taught you how to shave your legs at summer camp. Or, the fellow who helped you understand Jack Kerouac. Or, that pal who bought the materials to roll your arch-enemy’s house. About 700 guests met such a person — Emily Giffin — at the Chick Lit luncheon presented by Dr. Robert and Lara Tafel benefiting Community Partners of Dallas last Friday.
But it wasn’t easy getting to her.
The luncheon was taking place at Brook Hollow Golf Club, which turned into a major traffic jam both on property and leading up to it. First problem was the lineup on Harry Hines. Nicely coiffed females in major SUV’s fighting 18-wheelers for the right lane southbound on HH to get to the BHGC gates. Naturally, the SUV’s won. (Nobody messes with a Texas lady in an SUV on her way to lunch.) What created an unnatural backup was the decision to close the left turn on northbound HH, complete with a policeman and cones.
But once past the BHGC gates, there were still more men-in-blue directing traffic like a square-dance caller. You go that way; you go this way; and a do-si-do and away you go. The reason for this division of traffic was simple. Organizers had decided to use the porte-cochere for a check in complete with book sales. This resulted in the dividing of traffic. But despite the best efforts of valets, it was still confusing and delayed some guests a bit.
Ah, but once inside, it was wall-to-wall gals. One BHGC staffer shook his head saying that the roof was the only place vacant. To accommodate those who were seated on the porch and in the grill, large flat screens were set up.
The star of the lunch blended in perfectly with the crowd. Instead of looking like a successful author with six books under her designer belt, a legal degree from the University of Virginia, and the mother of a soon-to-be-released Kate Hudson movie, she looked like the rest of the “chick lit-ters” seated next to luncheon co-chair Anne Stodghill.
At 11:58, Community Partners President/CEO Paige McDaniel started the program announcing that The Container Store had been honored with the Partners for Children Award for the company’s 19 years of support. Back in 1992 The Container Store joined forces with Community Partners in building the first Rainbow Room, where supplies, clothes and toys are made available to caseworkers shopping for abused and neglected children. Just this past year The Container Story donated $28,000 in cash and goods, including more than 5,400 supplies.
The minimal chatting that was occurring on the porch and grill came to a stop when a video was shown telling the story of the children who benefit from the luncheon. The Paige described the lives of pain for the children who seek help from Community Partners. Her message was, “Share the little voice.” In other words, if you suspect a child is being neglected or abused, report it.
At 12:20 Anne and her co-chair Angela Nash introduced Emily, who was having a bad hair day and let the guests know who was responsible — Derek at Frederic Fekkai. He had canceled her appointment. Quite frankly, Emily looked darn good, but promised that she would have looked better if Derek hadn’t stood her up.
Sorry, Derek, but it was quickly apparent that Emily has no fear in naming names. For instance, Jodie Rhodes, who was her first book agent and got nothing but rejection slips, was summed up as, “She’s mean.”
But Emily, like any new very best friend, wasn’t all negs. Nope, she recalled the best day of her life. The day she got married? The birth of her children? Heavens, no. We’re talking about a professional woman who changed careers before she was 30. She mischievously admitted it was the day that her first book deal came through.
Talking through her six books and the thinking behind them, she admitted that Baby Proof was the one that addressed “the last taboo of women — not having children.” That’s when Emily launched a pep rally for Jennifer Aniston. She said that Jennifer had been the victim of her then-husband’s future wife’s placing stories in the media about Jen’s not wanting to have children and that being the cause of the breakup of their marriage. The 700 guests cheered, whistled and whooped it up for Jennifer and Emily.
The author then told a story that provided a guilty pleasure for many. It involved Emily’s gal pal who had been more or less dumped by a Frenchy “Jean Paul.” Emily not only looked the chap up in France, but went to his home in a rural French area, marched up to the door and had her husband take photos of JP from a distance with his matronly wife. Immediately after leaving the couple, Emily had the photos sent to her pal, who said it was the nicest thing anyone had ever done for her.
But that’s the kind of friend Emily is.