So, how do you think I felt when I came across an ad for Sarah Jessica Parker’s new parfum, Lovely? Like I hit the freakin’ jackpot, that’s how! Not only was SJP herself going to be at Macy’s Union Square, she was going to autograph the first 300 bottles of parfum for the people who bought them at a special meet and greet!
I saw this ad on a Saturday night; Sunday morning Terrence and I were off to Macy’s Union Square. We actually already had the trip planned, but it sounds so much more dramatic thinking that I had to go sign up immediately the next day.
So, I went to the Lovely counter in all its pinkness with pictures of my girl crush displayed everywhere; it was lovely! Then, the $60 purchase of the parfum and a guaranteed spot to meet my favorite celebrity of all time, Sarah Jessica Parker!!!
For the next two weeks, I waited, anticipated, planned and stressed exactly what I was going to wear and what I was going to say. Should I wear my designer shoes? Would she really even be looking at my feet? Probably not, and if I was going to be waiting outside in the cold City air to meet her, a pair of snazzy black boots would probably be more fitting. Anyway, the Tuesday before the event, I had dinner with my SATC gal pals, Jenn and Tosca and received outfit approval. Whew, one worry away! Now, what was I going to say?
I mean, I teach communication and public speaking; I should know what to say, right? I have been so brain tied these last few days leading up to today that I kept coming up against a blank slate.
I even asked my wonderful husband (who watched every single episode of Sex and the City with me from Day One) what to say; he gave great advice, which I actually ended up using (believe it!) but I’m not sure she understood me at first (more on that later). I thought one of two things would happen: 1) I would make a fool of myself because I would ramble incoherently, or 2) I would start crying because I was overwhelmed and make a total fool of myself! Can you guess which happened?
After putting the call out a couple of weeks before to all my SATC gal pals, alas, Ang was the only one who could make it. And, bless her heart! Today she worked the first half of her early morning shift at Peet’s (had to be at work at 4:45am) and got someone to cover the last few hours for her. Then, she hightailed it to my house by 9am; we were determined to get to Macy’s by 10am – two hours before the event was to start. After putting the finishing touches on hair and makeup, and laughing at our almost identical outfits that we swear we didn’t plan – didn’t even consult with each other – (Seven7 jeans, low cut tops, black boots, and cord jackets) we were on our way!
Let me tell you, Ang and I have been on many adventures before (remind me to tell you about the deer antlers through our windshield – and we still managed to go dancing that night – oooah, oooah!) but I think I was most excited about this one.
So, after all our hurrying to get into the City, we arrived to stand in line at 9:45am only to wait, and wait, and wait. There were many things to keep our attention off my aching feet and Ang’s lack of sleep, but they weren’t working too well. First, we had to pick up our prepurchased parfum bottles. Then, there were various employees of the all the various makeup and perfume collections bombarding us with details of their latest promotions. There was the young couple from Ireland in line behind us – they were on their honeymoon, headed back to the airport right after the signing. We also met a nice lady, Lori, from Brentwood who was in the process of moving to Livermore. And finally, the Macy’s Promotions department employees passing out 3×5 cards to a standing crowd of 300. They told us to write down a question we’d like SJP to possibly answer. I wrote, “What’s your biggest pet peeve?” “Who’s your favorite musical group and what’s your favorite song?” and finally, “Do you have a favorite memory or teacher from school?”. And then, we waited, again.
After regretting wearing my cute high-heeled boots for the 100th time, 12 noon achingly arrived. My anticipation was high and Ang’s energy was low; but come on, she’d been up so early! I had to give her credit and a break, which I did and thanked her profusely (I hope profusely enough) for coming with me. I was just so grateful to have someone there to share the experience with me – especially Ang, since we watched all six seasons in one summer (there were many, many three and four hour long watching sessions with crazed dogs running around!). And no one was as happy as I was when Carrie and Big finally got together (if you didn’t know that ending already, you should have!).
Finally, finally at 12:40pm (forty minutes late – but so well worth it – at least I thought so and I’m sure many others did too) Sarah Jessica Parker made her entrance. Except, Ang and I were so far back we couldn’t really see her. But that didn’t matter, because when I heard her speak, I had to hold back the tears of excitement. She sounds just like she does on TV – so sweet (if you were wondering). And, after this last sentence, I’m sure you’re probably wondering about my sanity or lack thereof. Okay, for those of you who may not know me as well as you think you do, let me break it down for you:
I get, or should I say, I am star struck – plain and simple. My first encounter was with Robert Wagner from Hart to Hart (of which I was a fan) way back in the 80’s when I was twelve years old at the Cow Palace National Rodeo; I don’t even know why he was there (horse lover, perhaps?), but he was. As we walked past each other, he brushed my left shoulder with his and said, “Oh, excuse me”, and I quickly replied smiling “That’s okay!” And then there was the whole New Kids on the Block phase; thank god, I grew out of that! Well, more recently, it’s been celebrities. I’m just always curious to see what celebrities look like and act like in real life, especially my favs: (Bruce Willis – we have the same size hands – I checked on the wall at Planet Hollywood, Chris Noth (ahhh, Big!), Mark Ruffalo, Joaquin Phoenix, John Corbett (can you tell I’ve been boy crazy for a long time?), and of course, Sarah Jessica Parker). So, now, back to the present with a better understanding of my affection for celebrities in person.
Okay, a morning news reporter from KRON 4 was at the event to talk to SJP and ask her the questions posed by the audience. Much to my delight, the reporter asked SJP one of my questions– the one about the favorite teacher from school. Sarah Jessica said, “Do you really want to know this stuff about me? Do you really care about this?” After verbal confirmation from the audience, SJP went on to state she adored her first and second grade teachers, even saying their names, which I immediately forgot in the excitement of knowing she answered my question – how cool was that?! But, the best was yet to come!
In addition to receiving the promotion offers in line, we also received strict orders about what was going to happen: she’s only going to sign the bottle of perfume and nothing else; and she’ll sign it only with a heart and SJP. We were also told she went through 400 guests and signatures in an hour and a half at her last event. We also learned what wouldn’t happen: no signatures on any other memorabilia and finally and explicitly, to place all our personal belongings in a Macy’s bag including any cameras because there were to be no up close and personal pictures – MAJOR BUMMER! I even started to believe Ang when she told me security came by and said we were going to have to go through a metal detector before we could get close to SJP (I was in the restroom when they came by she said) – she was just kidding – god I’m gullible.
So, I was able to only snap one so/so picture of her – a profile (which I’ll attach) but hopefully, Lori, the nice lady from Brentwood/Livermore is going to email me her pics. Lori either really knows how to hustle or knows how to network, which, I guess, are really one in the same. Lori, told me afterward on BART that she bought a bunch of items from the Clinique counter, which was positioned right in front of SJP’s greeting area, and that one of the salesgirls took a bunch of pictures for her. She showed them to me on her camera and boy did she get some great shots of SJP, who by the way, was wearing a vintage Jessica McClintock royal blue halter dress with some red flowery heels! Can’t wait to get the pics!
So, as the line starts moving and we get closer to the front of it, I’m barely aware of what’s going on around me and only vaguely aware of Ang still standing behind. I’m too busy trying to control my racing mind and trying to answer the question “What the hell am going to say to this woman I have admired and adored so much?! I can’t tell her I adore her; I’d sound like a stalker. And I can’t ask to lunch as desperately as I want to; then I’ll really sound like a stalker. And I can’t pick her up and carry her away like Terrence thinks I’ll do – ‘cause then I really would be a stalker.” Anyway, after handing my bag over to the Macy’s employee and carrying only my bottle of parfum in hand, I made my way up to the stage after receiving my cue to head up there.
When I am standing directly in front of her, Sarah Jessica Parker extends her hand to me and says “Hi, nice to meet you.” She is looking right at me, smiling, and holding out her hand to me. I must be in a dream – really. I take her hand to shake it and suddenly I can’t look her in her eyes anymore. I look down and stupidly say, “Oh, god I’m going to cry”, and then even more embarrassingly, I do start to cry. She continued to hold my hand and say, “Oh no, don’t cry, don’t cry, it’s okay”. And I hear Ang say (somewhere off in a far away tunnel), “Oh she’s gonna cry” and Sarah Jessica says, “Do you know her?” and I hear Ang say “We’re best friends” as I nod my head up and down. Sarah Jessica then says, “Oh, you can come over here too at the same time” (they were only allowing one person at the staging area at any one time).
Sarah Jessica continues to hold my hand and pat it and I still can’t look her directly in the face again; I keep trying to look at her but every time I do, I start to cry again and I definitely don’t want her to see my makeup run or my not-so-pretty cry face. (Earlier one of the salesladies told us that SJP had 2 hours of hair and makeup before the meet and greet – and she looked every minute of beautiful!). So, she says again while still holding my hand “Oh don’t cry, I’m going to start crying” and her eyes well up and she tells Ang, “Ever since I’ve become a mom, I can’t help but cry when I see someone else cry”. Then she says, “Oh, I don’t even have any tissue for you”. And I say, “That’s okay, I’ll be fine, really, I’m sorry” all the while still crying (not very convincing, huh?). Then out of nowhere two boxes of tissue appeared and she plucked two from a box and handed them to me. I said, “Okay, I’m fine, I’m fine” still feeling very overwhelmed by the whole situation, but finally able to catch my breath and look at her squarely.
Sarah Jessica, still holding my hand, asked me my name and I answered, “Cat” and she said “Oh, that’s a cool name”. Then Angela said (thank God for Angela), “You answered her question about your favorite teacher” and she asked me, “What do you do?” and I answered, “I’m a teacher; I’m cutting class today to be here” and she smiled as she replied, “Your students must be really luck to have you”. Then I blurted out incoherently, “I just want to thank you for all the work you did” and she said “What?” and I said, “On the series”, and then she laughed and said “Oh”. I continued with, “My husband and I watched every episode together from the beginning to the end and loved every one of them.” And she said “Thank you”. And then she asked, “May I have your perfume bottle and I’ll sign it”. And I said, “Okay” and handed it to her – having no idea what she signed. She asked me, “Do you have to go back to school today?” I answered, “No, not until Monday.” She said, “Good, you can enjoy a nice long weekend! It was really nice to meet you” and I think I said, “Yes, it was a pleasure meeting you, thank you so much”.
Then, I was led away from her (so sad). Soon after, Ang was back at my side and we were comparing signatures on the bottle. I didn’t even realize Sarah Jessica actually personalized my bottle with my name; it reads, “To Cat [Heart] SJP xox”. I hadn’t even looked at it because I was still wiping tears away. She was just as sweet and gracious and beautiful as I hoped and thought she would be. I wasn’t disappointed in the least, except maybe for the fact that I cried so much I forgot to ask her if she wanted to go to lunch with me and Ang (kidding but not really kidding).
As we walked out of the store into the fresh air, a new wave of tears started, and Ang kept telling me it was okay to cry – gotta love your girlfriends! The BART ride home was a blur for me; I was barely managing to keep myself together. My emotions were going crazy and I didn’t even think to ask Ang what she said to SJP when she signed her bottle. Luckily, the next day, my head was clear enough to ask. And, once again, Ang totally came through… she told SJP, “She adores you so much” (exactly what I wanted her to know about me without sounding like a stalker!) and Sarah Jessica said to her, “Oh, that’s so sweet. You’re such a good friend for coming with her.” Ang thanked her and then SJP wished Ang a nice weekend. How sweet, really?!
All in all, it was a surreal and wonderful moment in time for me. I’ve liked Sarah Jessica Parker since her days on Square Pegs, in movies like Footloose, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, Striking Distance (with Bruce Willis), LA Story, and of course, Sex and the City! On the BART ride home, I said to Ang that besides my wedding day, it was probably the best day of my life. Later, when I recounted this story to Terrence, he reminded me of my graduation day and that maybe I could include that as the best day after our wedding – naw, I don’t think so – this was definitely it; I can get another Master’s degree, but who knows if I’ll ever get to meet Sarah Jessica Parker again!