Entries in Splash (1)


Making a Splash

Back in the year 2000, we had an opportunity to attend the biggest and most prestigious event in hairdressing history, The Intercoiffure World Congress. The congress, held every four years in a different city somewhere in the world, was extra grand that year. It took place in Berlin during a time when the world’s economy was booming and we were all celebrating the new millennium.

We decided to extend the trip by visiting London before the conference and Prague a few days after. We had never been to any of these cities, so we were very excited to experience them. 

We only had three days in London and tried to see as much as we could. We visited Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, Herrods, The Tower of London, saw the changing of the guards, rode the Millennium Wheel, went to two shows (one being Mama Mia) and visited The War Room. Most people skip the War Room, but this underground compound is where Winston Churchill and his military chiefs strategized and organized Britain’s part in World War Two, I strongly recommend it.

We had a couple of star sightings too. Well, O.K., one and a half. We were obsessed when we saw Andrew Lloyd Webber cocktailing it up in our hotel bar and we were slightly impressed at the sight of Macaulay Culkin. He looked the same as he did in Home Alone, which is unfortunate. It’s one thing when you’re a ten-year-old boy with big eyes, large ears and thin blonde hair, but it’s something completely different when you’re a twenty-year old “has-been” child star.

(Culkin in his earlier days)

(Culkin later)

Another highlight of our trip was taking an evening walking tour of the places where Jack the Ripper stalked and murdered his victims. The setting was perfect and typically London; dark, foggy and cool. As gruesome as his crimes were, there was something addicting about learning how he meticulously cut open his victims and left their corpses in carefully thought-out positions. And since most of his victims were picked up in pubs that are still open, we were able to have cocktails while visiting the morbid murder scenes.

The tour lasted a couple of hours and ended around 9:30. We had plenty to drink, but nothing to eat, so we decided to try out a restaurant that we had read about called The Sugar Club. It had just opened and as is the case with any new restaurant in any city, we knew getting a table would be a long shot, but it was worth a try.

“We’re terribly sorry, but we stop serving at 10:00”, said the very chic, turtleneck-encased host. I don’t know what it is about them, but the Brit’s have this manner that is both aristocratic and posh. They could literally tell you to “go stick your royal crown where the sun don’t shine” and you’d feel complimented and do what they ask. I don’t know how they do it, but they do.

“But it’s only 9:45”, we told the Beatle wanna-be, “and we’re very hungry”. “I’m sorry, but if only you arrived ten minutes prior we could have accommodated you”, Ringo said, “Should I check our guest list for tomorrow evening?” We must have looked very disappointed when we told him that we were leaving for Berlin to attend an International event with Mr. Vidal Sassoon and he highly recommended us to you. “Oh, he will be so disappointed”, I said with my own attempt at a very dramatic and affluent accent. “Well, let me see what I can arrange”, said the suddenly accommodating, Monkee’s reject. And without a moment’s pause, we were being escorted to a table.

Thanks Vidal.

We were seated at a table for two where one of us had to face the wall and the other got to view the restaurant. Being the shy person that I am, I opted to face the wall.  

As we perused the menu, I noticed a table of six men to my right staring at us. “Have you noticed that they keep looking over here?” I asked Anthony. “Ever since we came in, they haven’t taken their eyes off us”. Usually, at this point, Anthony tells me that it’s all just my imagination and I’m being paranoid, but he said that he noticed it too. Choosing to believe that they must think we’re cute, I ignored them.

The restaurant was busy and even though I was facing the wall, I could sense a lot of hustle and bustle going on behind me. “They must be really busy, I said in my “why the hell hasn’t anyone waited on us yet” voice. “You’d think they want us out in a hurry since we are the last people to get seated”, I complained.

I started my usual look around to try and make eye contact with one of the wait people. I found in the past that if I actually make them look me in they eyes, they couldn’t pretend we aren’t there.

It was then that I noticed there were a lot of people working, they just happened to all be attending the six men on the one side of us and the two women on the other. “Excuse m…” I started to ask one of the blurs that whizzed by. “Pardon m…” to another. I really didn’t understand, obviously they know we’re friends with Vidal Sassoon and the table of men proved we looked good, so why were we being ignored?

I was just getting ready to ask for the manager when I glanced slightly toward the women to my left. They were engrossed in conversation, but the one facing me looked familiar. I whispered to Anthony, “Don’t look, but where do I know her from?” “How can I tell you if I can’t look at her”, he murmured back. “O.K., fine, just don’t make a big scene, try to be casual”. Before he had the chance to look, I realized who it was- Darryl Hannah! YES, Darryl Hannah was sitting at the table right next to us. I had to think of something witty and fast to say to her, but what?

Recognizing the look on my face, Anthony knew I figured out who it was and realized it must be someone big. “So, who is it”, he demanded. In my totally inaudible voice I mouthed “Darryl Hannah”. “Who?” He asked in what seemed like a booming voice. “Shhhhhhhhhhh!” I demanded, “She can hear you”. “Who can hear me”, he asked in an equally loud decibel. Through clenched teeth and without moving my lips, I slowly said “Darryl Hannah”. “The Mermaid?” Anthony whispered, as he finally understood me. “Yes, she’s sitting right next to you”.

It was at this point that it all started to make sense. The six men were never looking at us, they were looking at her, we just happened to be in their way. And the reason we were being ignored is because Darryl Hannah was obviously a bigger star than Vidal Sassoon’s best friends.

“Follow my lead”, I said to Anthony as I was devising my plan to meet the half woman, half fish.

I thought about spilling by drink on her friend, but I really liked my wine and didn’t want to waste it. Then I thought about sending her a drink with with a note saying “Loved you in Steel Magnolias”, but that must have been done a million times. Whatever my plan was going to be, I had to act on it fast as the night wasn’t getting any younger and she was already finished with her entrée. THINK, THINK!

Then something happened…

She got up from the table to use the restroom so I seized the moment. “Excuse me Miss, but why are you getting all the attention around here? All the waiters are ignoring me, tell me your secret”. BRILLIANT!

At that moment, Darryl Hannah herself began massaging my shoulders and whispered in my ear “Well, I guess you don’t have what it takes”. OH MY GOD! I thought the men at the next table were going to drop dead. They had been staring at her for hours and nothing. I pretended not to know who she was and BAM!

Her friend laughed at our exchange so I jumped at it. While Miss Hannah was in the ladies room we engaged ourselves in conversation with her. It turned out that she worked for a magazine and was in town interviewing her friend “Dara”. “Oh, and what does “Dara” do”, I asked, trying to get her admit she was dining with a superstar. “Oh, she’s from the states, but she’s in town working on a project”. We conversed the entire time “Dara” was in the ladies room, so when she returned, she had no choice but to join our conversation. And she did so by asking about us.

I couldn’t believe it; I was having a charming conversation about me with a Razzie Winning actress. Funny how the wait staff suddenly couldn’t leave us alone now,  “Sir, would you like to hear the specials”. “ Sir, may I offer you an aperitif?” “Sir, would you care for some fresh bread?” Sir, now that we know you know Darryl Hannah, we’re going to treat you like a celebrity”.

Throughout our entire dinner we chatted about everything from who we thought was cuter, Matt Damen or Ben Affleck (we both agreed it was Ben) to vintage cars (it turns out “Dara” is a old car buff and was extremely interested in the Woodward Dream Cruise).  She even went as far as to invite us to pull up our chairs and share dessert with her, all the while never admitting whom she was. It was crazy; she was more interested in us than we were in her!

It wasn’t until the end of the night and a few glasses of wine later that she finally gave into her true identity. As we were heading out, we hugged good-bye, invited her to Detroit and Anthony told her she was even prettier in person, to which she replied “Thank you…I think”.

When we got back to our hotel we were so giddy, we had to tell someone and the only one in sight was the hotel manager. Obviously unimpressed (and with that same British tone) he told us that Darryl Hannah was indeed in town starring in a play and she had frequented The Sugar Club.

 A few months later we happened to be in an airport and picked up a magazine with Darryl Hannah on the cover. Inside was a full two-page story written by her friend. It began “A couple of months ago, I was having dinner at London’s Sugar Club with my friend Darryl Hannah…” Even though there wasn’t any mention of us in the article, I knew we were the true stars of the night.