Friday, December 18, 2009

Passion, Pitfalls, Pumps and Pea Coats

“FRUGAL fatigue.” You have it? You know what it is, right? The condition – as defined by one of the commentators on CNBC's “Fast Money” – characterized by a weariness of being frugal and thus wanting to spend money. Of a great desire to pony up for something a bit more substantial than toothpaste and toilet paper. According to the “Fast Money” guy, many Americans are tired of T&T and crave SONY&DKNY&BMW&I-PHONE & the like. This being December, FF is probably taking a huge toll on lots of folk.

Yours Truly, on a strict money diet for many moons now, is not suffering from FF. But I would be remiss if I did not do my patriotic duty and lend a hand to my fellow Americans who are agitating to furiously and, no doubt, responsibly spend for the holidays. Over the next several days I will introduce a product (or brand) a day that I would buy for myself or someone else if I were spending (and could afford to, of course).

Let’s see, Gift No. 5:

One scene in “When Harry Met Sally” instantly turned it into a classic of the date-film genre.

It grew out of an innocuous-enough brainstorming conversation between director/producer Rob Reiner and screenwriter/associate producer Nora Ephron. RR asked about one secret that every woman has that men don’t know about. Her answer: they fake orgasms. He was incredulous.

RR stormed out of his office at Castlerock Studios and found a group of female assistants/secretary types and demanded an answer. “I thought they were going to lie, NE told ELLE magazine editor-in-chief Roberta Myers and others at Ann Taylor where over cocktails (prosecco) she was discussing another of her provocative works, “Love Lost and What I Wore.” “But they all admitted to it.” He was incredulous. She was incredulous.

And that is how the orgasm scene came about, and it was a group effort, NE disclosed. One person decided that the Meg Ryan character would let the Billy Crystal character in on the secret. Another decided that she would do a verbal simulation in a public place. Another that the character played by Estelle Reiner (mama of RR) would react to it rather than BC’s. And yet another that ER would utter that famous line, “I’ll have what she’s having” … NE said she’d seen the film on airplanes without that scene, thusly annotated “because kids might be watching.” And the result? “It’s not as good without the scene,” she said, producing a gale of laughter.

“WHMS,” NE acknowledged, spawned a motherlode of opportunities, including “Love, Lost and What I Wore,” the Ilene Beckerman best-seller that she and her sister, Dahlia Ephron, adapted to Broadway (Westside Theatre Downstairs) where it has been well-received. In the book, IB recounts the story of her life through frocks as diverse as a Brownie uniform and Diane von Furstenburg wrap dress. In the Ephrons’ hands, Rosie O’Donnell, Tyne Daly, Tracee Ellis Ross (daughter of Diana) and others in the rotating cast, tell via vignettes and monologues stories informed by the experiences of friends of the Ephrons through their clothes and accessories, including purses, which – like those of many women – are vessels containing all manner of flotsam and jetsam.

Last night, two people won tickets (currently as low as $75) to the night’s performance of the play. Not cheap, but a steal when one factors in that a portion of ticket sales go to Dress for Success. Shoppers who spent at least $150 at Ann Taylor were rewarded with a free copy of the book, which is currently available in hardcover for as little as $0.95, yes, 95 cents, on Amazon. This is a st/deal worth breaking my money diet for.

Learn more about the stage version of “Love, Loss and What I Wore,” including, ticket information, at ... Visit Amazon online at ... Learn more about Dress for Success at

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VEVLYN'S PEN: The Wright take on life by Vevlyn Wright is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License .
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