As we descended onto the runway a voice over the speaker welcomed us to “the diverse areas of Orange County.” Interesting word choice. I’d never considered the birthplace of Richard Nixon, the home of John Wayne, and the site of the Ronald Reagan Federal Building as diverse, but perhaps things had changed since my last visit.
First stop: my dad and step-mom’s house. Fred and I went out to dinner alone with my dad because my step-mom had inadvertently agreed to host a meeting at their house for her Orange County Performing Arts Center charity group on the one night we were in town from Paris.
When the three of us returned from dinner, we entered a virtual lion’s den. And it was feeding time. There's something about women over 50 that love my husband. When they see him they gush "Oh, please have him say something! I want to hear his accent." I'm always hoping that he'll respond: "Enchanté dumbass, the pleasure is all mine" or quote a line from The Exorcist. But instead he smiles boyishly and asks: "What would you like me to say?" And that's probably why they find him so charming. [Side note: I’d like to point out that if they’d just speak to him like the human being that he is, he’d respond in kind and they’d hear his cute French accent without all the hoopla and the rolling of my eyes.] I’m considering bringing a top hat and hoops with me the next time we take our act on the road. In fact, maybe his fans at the Performing Arts Center could sponsor my play: Les Misérables en Le County Orange. It's about a poverty-stricken Frenchman trying to earn money in Orange County by performing a play in English with a very thick French accent. Poverty-stricken and French in the O.C. Now that's diversity!
More recently Fred’s role as a spokesmodel spilled over into print work. During the same trip to the U.S. we spent a weekend in Napa at our friends' wedding where the photographer took a fancy to Fred. She was overwhelmed by his uncanny resemblance to Toby McGuire (which left the rest of us straining our eyes). “Click, click, click, flash, flash, flash” followed Fred around for the better part of three days.
On the final day, shortly after the ceremony, I was approached by the groom’s father who asked if they could borrow my husband because the photographer wanted to take a picture with him. As Fred patiently posed for wedding photos, I looked on with sympathy and sipped on a Rose Kennedy.
Less than an hour later while seated at our dinner table, I was approached again. This time by the photographer herself. She asked if she could take my picture. I assumed that she had recognized my Shannen Dohertyish (circa 1991) good looks and wanted a portrait for her portfolio. Finally my time had come. She told me that the sun was setting and the lighting was perfect. I must hurry if she was to get the shot! As she beckoned me towards the light, I heard the words: “And grab your husband!”