Alison Berkley: I’ll shed no tears over the ‘bou club
Well, I finally got to go to the Elk’s Den or the Moose Lounge or whatever that stupid private club with antlers everywhere is called.
Whoop-dee-doo. I wish I could take it back. It was like losing your virginity to the captain of the football team and then having him take your best friend to the
prom – overrated and degrading in a way that makes you feel dirty inside, foolish for ever thinking it would be good in the first place.
Not that I ever cared about going there. I was mildly curious, maybe, but it wasn’t like a goal of mine or anything.
I mean, sure, I’ve thought about what it would be like to be taken there by a nice Jewish boy who would choose the perfect wine and feed me bites of prime rib off the end of a nice fork, gently wipe my lips with a linen napkin and then use the red phone to call a private jet to fly us to Santa
Barbara for the weekend, where a boat would be waiting.
What was I talking about? Oh yeah. Who cares about some rich hangout? I figured I’d wait until the opportunity arose to go there, and last weekend it did.
My fancy friend from L.A. was in Aspen shooting photos for one of those big New York fashion magazines. She is one of those people who always moves in very affluent circles without thinking about it because that’s all she ever knew.
She carries herself with the grace of a gazelle, the confidence of a cat and the vision of an owl. “A real pedigree,” my dad calls her. She went to high school at Choate, summered at her parents’ house in the Hamptons and graduated from Columbia. She wears terrible clothes like men’s pants and rope jewelry and knee socks and thrift store finds and looks gorgeous all the time.
Naturally her visit to Aspen would include those places I’ve heard about but never seen, those “secret places” behind heavy double doors and walls thick as bomb shelters to protect those people everyone talks about but doesn’t know.
I told her I knew of those places, but explained that my Aspen is a totally down-to-earth community rich with character and history, a place without a dress code, a place you’re likely to run into someone you know at every turn.
“But you just told me about all these exclusive, secret places,” she said. “That seems to be the opposite of what you’re saying.”
“That’s the whole point,” I said, feeling myself grow slightly defensive. “You really don’t even know it’s there at all.”
“But can’t you just feel it?” she asked. “In big cities, everything is so much more anonymous, but here it seems so pronounced.”
As if to make light of her own point, she said we should meet up with the crew from the magazine over at the ‘Bou-Hoo club or whatever.
Now I have been to many a fancy, exclusive, private clubs in my day, but most of them were on the top floor, or at the end of a long driveway with gates. There are always lots of French doors and wrap-around decks and fountains and immaculate landscaping with views of mountains or beaches or golf courses. We’re talking prime real estate, not some basement as claustrophobic and steamy as those caves down in Glenwood.
Naturally my friend breezed in like she was born there, stopped with the oh-so-predictable, “Excuse me, ma’am.” I think her knee socks and miniskirt and old, worn cotton T-shirt threw the stodgy guy behind the podium off.
And it should. The place was filled with more blazers and khakis than I’ve seen since prep school. I mean, come on people – if you want to dress like that, you never should have left the East Coast in the first place.
We were escorted into a “private wine room” in the back with walls and ceilings so low it reminded me of that trash-compacter scene in “Star Wars” where our heroes are trapped in a pile of garbage with the walls closing in on them.
Every square inch of the room was filled with wine bottles in hundreds of tiny slots, inciting fantasies about baseball bats and lots of broken glass. Men in suits came in every few minutes and eyed the place suspiciously. I had to remind myself that I hadn’t done anything wrong – yet.
I was introduced to a few of the blue-hairs and the crew from the magazine in New York who appeared to be very gay, dressed in cardigan sweaters and open, collared shirts. There were some locals, too, including the big guy who supposedly runs the place, Ducati or whatever his name is, whose hair (at least in that light) literally looked blue.
Just when I was starting to feel invisible, my friend was introduced to a local publisher whom I’d been told was a fan of mine.
“Hi! I’m Alison,” I said boldly, extending my hand.
The old witch, her face frozen and colorless like it were made of clay, turned her back on me like I was a maid she had already dismissed.
“I write a column for The Aspen Times.”
“My friend works for you,” and she said …
Not even a glint of acknowledgement.
Well ‘bou-fucking-hoo. I’ve got news for all those stodgy old snobs. The young Aspen is on fire with a new generation of young talent who’re making themselves quite at home here.
We might not be as rich as you (yet), but we’re running City Council and opening restaurants (a whole new “Genre”), and designing houses (ladies, the architects at Studio B might be taken, but they are all hot! Hot! Hot!) And in case you haven’t noticed – running the local media.
[It would be a waste of your time to sue the Princess because she has no valuable assets. You can e-mail your kind words to her at firstname.lastname@example.org]
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The city of Aspen’s Next Generation Advisory Board is all but defunct due to a lack of interest and participation.