I don’t mind if you appreciate me for my brains. I don’t need you to slap my ass to validate my beauty. That’s what I had to explain to a man the other night as I bid adieu to him and his girlfriend. I had struck up a conversation with the Russian couple while sitting at the bar at Caffe Roma in Beverly Hills.
The three of us, and sometimes just the man and I and sometimes just the woman and I, chatted about a variety of topics. I used the word oligarch and brought up Roman Abramovich. As the evening wore on, it was clear that the man, Oleg, was surprised that a woman out alone could hold an intelligent conversation and wasn’t trying to get picked up. On a whim, I had stopped by to celebrate the re-opening of the lounge/restaurant because I happen to adore the owner Agostino Sciandri, who has treated me almost like extended family since I met him 11 years ago, and I wanted to see if the restaurant would work for an Italian cuisine segment on the weekly radio show I co-host on KTLK AM 1150.
As I prepared to leave, the Russian man said something about slapping my ass. I don’t remember his exact words but I politely questioned why he felt the need to do that. I may have had a couple of glasses of red wine and enjoyed a glass of their Veuve Clicquot but my brain was still working fine and questioning skewed logic as usual. He said something to the effect that he wanted me to know that he appreciated my body and not just my intelligence.
He was under the impression that if a man didn’t say something sexual to a woman or perform such an action, I guess like slapping the ass of a woman you’ve talked to for a few hours, that a female wouldn’t feel that she was attractive. He called himself doing me a favor. Hey, it wasn’t like I was ignored that evening. I had offers to dance, attention from Agostino and chatted with other Italian men whom I hadn’t seen in years. I was feeling pretty good, knowing I looked good also. Obviously that wasn’t enough for Oleg. His girlfriend Lara (as in Dr. Zhivago‘s Lara) didn’t say a word as we discussed this slapping the ass thing. I’m not sure if she was left speechless or she figured she just better stay out of the conversation.
I left the restaurant shaking my head. I thought that all my years spent covering sports taught me a lot about men. But that evening I learned that I still have a ways to go.