I’ll be attending a televised awards show tomorrow night – and I couldn’t be less ambivalent; I am absolutely convinced it will be appalling.
Tomorrow night, in glamourous, gilt-edged, downtown Toronto, the Canadian film industry celebrates itself with the 24th Annual Genie Awards... and I will be in attendance.
My role is actually a supporting one, though non-nominated – I’m there to prop up a girlfriend who will be handing out the Documentary Award. (“How in God’s name do you pronounce ‘Ciupka’!” she rails. “Jeez. And I thought this was going to be fun.”)
Clearly seduced by the promised goodie bag given to all the presenters as part of the Genie’s ongoing effort to ape the Oscars, (any comparison to the lavish Academy Awards freebie ending abruptly with the definition of the word ‘goodie’) the g.f. is already beginning that slow regretful burn destined to end up in full flaming panic: the dress, the shoes, the bag, the hair – these things matter.
I began in my semi-demi-bridesmaid sorta role earlier this week when I accompanied her on a shoe-shopping trip. And let me just state at the onset that my friend is a bit of a freak in the world of show biz. Whilst enjoying moments of looking her absolute best and understanding (to the nth degree, seriously) just exactly how good she needs to look to keep working after her 40th birthday, (extremely) in most all other circumstances her sole nod to vanity is always wearing fresh lipstick. Her hair could be a rat’s nest, braided into two pigtails, or shoved under a hat; she could be wearing a pair of butt-saggingly ancient Capri’s and a torn t-shirt. But Goddammit - she will have soft mauvy-pink lips. (Mac ‘Hue’.) She’s an original alright.
So how to explain my screamingly non-diva type friend descending into a tizz-wizz of mounting anxiety as we made three separate trips back and forth between the frighteningly over-priced footwear at Specchio on Bay, and the scene of highway shoe-robbery taking place at Holt’s across the street and up the block? She was dazed and a little incoherent as she became unable to choose between the powder pink Chanel mules and a pair of exquisite leopard-spotted slides adorned with the softest of wedding cake-type pastel roses. (Strange, but utterly gorgeous.)
She, the most self-aware and confident of my friends was trying to decide who she was going to be: the classic elegant fashion plate, or the funky ‘mix-it-up, ‘bring-it-on’ ageless style-maven. It was a question alright. And she seemed paralyzed, incapable of decision.
But don’t think I don’t understand my role; much the same as dissing a friend’s cad of a boyfriend, only to find him back happily ensconced in the g.f.’s home and currying undeserved favour with her and the dog, you don’t go around willy-nilly giving the thumbs up to one of two pair of $500 pumps. You’ll never hear the end of those back-of-the-closet never-to-be-worn-again shoes that she never would have purchased had you not gone to bat for them.
(You’ll also become privy to the myriad other things she could have blown the $500 bucks on, and begin to lose patience with the pining over the un-purchased shoes. These impossibly perfect slippers will finally turn into a big fish-type myth of ‘the ones that got away’, and most dress-up occasions will seem incomplete without a retelling of the sad tale.)
A decision was finally reached – I was brilliantly non-committal whilst appearing totally supportive… it’s a gift – and was poised on the brink of a clean getaway, when the issue of a navy blue clutch purse was raised in a voice of impending catastrophe. This was the first I’d heard of it; I don’t know what I must have been thinking, but clearly I wasn’t. Thinking, that is. And certainly not about navy blue clutch purses.
Heaven only knows how difficult it is to match black with black, but navy with navy? And with just three shopping days to go? Disaster was staring us in the face – but I selflessly took on the mission and sent her home with instructions that included hot honeyed tea and a cool cloth.
I would handle it.
It must have been the crazy confidence of the neophyte; I metamorphosed into something like Seabiscuit – the nervy newcomer who defied the odds and silenced the critics. Within five minutes of talking her down and coaxing her into the Volvo to dispatch her homeward, I found the perfect bag. On sale. Then reduced once again. Who knew happiness cost $29.00 plus tax?
That was a few days ago. The awards are tomorrow; I just got off the phone from her and she is as serene as a navy blue Armani-clad swan, shod in leopard print slides with pastel fabric roses stitched on top…and with the perfect navy blue clutch purse tucked under her wing.
All this fuss and feathers – and for what? Five minutes on stage with LeVar Burton, mis-pronouncing the names of people who will never forget the ignominy, to people who will never remember the moment?
But don’t go telling me this is just the Genies; that no one knows, and no one cares, and most importantly, no one watches; (Three words: Hockey. Don. Cherry.) these televised awards ceremonies are whole eggshell-lined pits of potential disaster. There will be drunks, there will be disappointment, there will be humiliation and recrimination and jealousy and dirty looks and loss andlosers and tears.
And I’m just talking about the pre-awards cocktail party.
I’m beginning to look forward to it.