Day 200: Be a Winner.

Isn't winning such an awesome feeling? I particularly like winning a prize in a raffle drawing. Something about being chosen and rewarded at random as being more special than the people currently surrounding you who by cruel default are losers can secretly brighten anyone's day. I won a raffle contest once and fought the urge to feign modesty and that I thought someone else deserved it. When it comes to raffles, it's fair and square where winner takes all, or at least all that's being offered. I've always loved the feeling of hoping to win something but after this weekend's experience, I will never enter my name in a drawing again. These life lessons are really kicking in before the new year, leaving no stone left unturned.

So the first time I won a raffle was at a Franco-Soiree in New York where the prize was an imported French cheese platter. While I was delighted with my three week's supply of cheese from select regions of France, the commuters on the the J/M/Z subway failed to share my joy. I was dumb, I should have taken the L Train where the hipsters would have appreciated my Euro-initiative and probably would have pretended to know which region each cheese came from after proclaiming that they spoke French "un petit peu". The passengers on the J/M/Z, a more authentic BK ride weren't impressed with my non-pasteurized authentic gems from France and weren't afraid to vocalize their disgust. Something about the melange of the pungent smell of the Brie de Meaux, the equally aromatic Camembert and the force not to be reckoned with, Vieux Boulogne warranted a "Yo, that bitch stinks!" comment from a young boy who went by the name, Little Papi. How did I know that was his "name"? Little Papi spoke in third person. Seriously. I raised the volume on my headphones to block out the comments of Little Papi whose second concern after his disgust for my cheese platter was complaining to his "dog" that he needed a bag of chips because he was 'mad' hungry. If he was nicer I would have offered him proper sustenance that I was clearly in abundance of. Tant pis pour lui! My roommate Claire also didn't appreciate the platter that stunk up our entire apartment for the proceeding weeks. Life was hard being a Francophile in the hard, cold neighborhood of Southside Williamsburg. There was just no love. 

My second direct raffle experience was with Aurelien this weekend. We went down to Fontainebleau for a 30th birthday celebration of Davide, a friend he went to high school with. This would be my first time meeting Davide because while him and Aurelien have been good friends since childhood they seldom see each other in their adult lives. Ca arrive. We arrived at the catering hall and Davide attentively introduced us to each guest during cocktail hour. It was overwhelming. Let's do the math here, 50 French people times one kiss on each equals 100 kisses, add 12 more kisses for the group of Swiss extended family who gave three kisses, minus 4 for the Germans who don't kiss at all and add 16 more for the expressive Italians who gave 4 each, totals to about 120 kisses. I had to listen in on their accents to forecast where my mouth was going to go after the initial introduction. After the kiss fest, I was dizzy and in need of a drink. Me needing a drink? What else is new...

The theme of the party was black and white where there were white candles set on black tablecloths, white drapes hanging from the rafters decorated by black balloons and the guests were in one color of the other. This was a little detail Aurelien failed to remind me of and not only was I not wearing black or white, I was wearing a bright Marc by Marc Jacobs plaid dress. A dress that is cute for the day or a ride through the pumpkin patch in Upstate New York but ridiculous for a themed black and white gala in France. It was actually the first time I was pissed at him because I stuck out like a sore thumb. Leave it to a guy to neglect dress code details.

After cocktail hour, we were invited to find our seats for dinner. I was thankful to finally sit down because my bright purple wool dress in a sea of sleek black and white made me feel like what I can imagine reality stars feel like when in the company of accomplished and celebrated A-list actors; ridiculous and out of place. Not even the wine got me out of this one. Davide's uncle who doubled as the DJ and referred to himself as DJ Uncle Bou Bou came around with a bag to collect the place-card settings for a raffle drawing that would take place later in the evening to win cash and/or prizes. With confidence that my luck had worn out with the cheese platter victory of 2008 and the number of guests present, the probability of having my name drawn would be close to inconceivable. I was more than happy to sit this contest out, I didn't need any more attention drawn to myself.

After dinner and making "party-friends" with a sweet couple from Lyon who was sat next to us, it was time for the contest. DJ Uncle Bou Bou pulled a card out of the bag and my name was called. My name?! Come on. There was a table of fun prizes like bottles of champagne, wine, mini Christmas trees and ornaments that lured me in to accept my fate. I smiled, mouthed 'merci' to DJ Uncle Bou Bou and walked over to the prize table to collect my winnings. 

Not so fast, Missy! Unfortunately for this round, the prize was not offered at the winner's table. The prize was to give a speech in honor of Davide; the birthday boy. Are you kidding me? I had to give a speech?! In a room full of close to 70 people. 70 people that I didn't know. Give a speech - in French?! I saw the gates of hell open before my eyes. I hate giving speeches. I hate giving speeches in French even more. I took a public speaking class in high school in an attempt to improve projecting my voice before a crowd but walked away with a lazy C- and never thought about it again.

I looked at Aurelien who told me that I didn't have to do it but when the room started chanting my name and tapping their wine glasses with their knives, I felt that I had no choice but deliver what the people wanted. I'm a shameless people-pleaser. So it was decided, I was going to give a speech on behalf of someone whom I've known for an hour and 45 minutes and it painfully went something like this: "Thank you for to have me invited at your beautiful party. The food is good. I hope you will all have the best night of your life. Davide seems kind. Your town is special. Happy Holidays. Thank you. Thank you very much." I sounded like an idiot. The speech would have gone like this even in English. I can't blame this one on French being my second language, it was just ten times worse with my horrible accent and shaky voice.

"Ma chou!!!Aurelien said with his arms out as I went back to the table feeling like an idiot. I didn't exactly feel as cute as a little cabbage but accepted my boyfriend's affection. As it was later revealed, the first drawing was supposed to be for Davide's father who was dressed in a tuxedo and had prepared a speech for his son but DJ Uncle Bou Bou had a few too many glasses of Sancerre during dinner and forgot that he was supposed to grab the card hidden in the interior pocket of the pouch to rig the contest for the speech. Of course, he pulled my name at random out of the bag.

Because Davide's family felt bad about what had happened, they sent us home with two bottles of champagne with their sincere apologies for DJ Uncle Bou Bou's drunken oversight. Sincere apologies? Damn, my speech really was that horrific.

I learned two things this weekend: 1. Sometimes winning sucks and 2. Purple plaid doesn't translate after 5 pm.


  1. Well I think the purple plaid dress is awesome and so cool :) I'm getting more into dresses now and I have 3 that are like knee length that I wear with my boots and tights and after the initial self consciousness has warn off then I feel fab in my dress lol.

    My favourite reddy-brown polka dot dress got wrecked in the wash - I nearly cried (Actual tears! Over an item of clothing - I think I'm going nuts!)

  2. Oh no!!!!!

    And I <3 the dress!

    P.S. Haha your bf calls you cabbage.

  3. I LOVE this post and will have to restrain myself from writing a really long comment about all the stuff that I liked about it.

    Sorry that you and your cheese didn't get any love from Little Papi but I can really relate to the kissing scenario at the party. Since we moved here from the French part of Switzerland, I always look a bit overeager in Paris when I give people three wet ones on their cheeks. Much to my chagrin, it's something that I never remember until after they start looking awkward and try to avoid my lips.

    Public speaking in French (or in English!) - what a nightmare but how brave of you to have actually done it. If it had happened to me, I would have nominated Stephane as the new "winner" and then cursed him the rest of the night for taking me to his friend's party. Bravo.

    And finally - enjoy the champagne. You earned every drop!

  4. @Han - Thanks! I love the dress too, I just felt out of place at this particular party but it was fine after an hour or so. Everyone was so drunk no one noticed. : ) And I'm sorry to hear about your dress...i know the feeling. : ( It went on to dress heaven...I have faith that in your fashion lifetime that you will find something even better. But i understand your pain!

    @Dana - With all the eating I have been doing, I'm starting to feel as round as a cabbage! : P

    @MK - Thank you!!! Glad you enjoyed it! I got a kick out of writing it! My Mom just called and reminded me that Little Papi is a J.Lo song!! How awful! Little Papi was the joke of 2008 between my roomie and I. Damn J.Lo has to ruin everything!

    The speech was horrible...but I got through it!
    I'm really glad you enjoyed the post! : )

  5. God... Are you just making that stuff up, now?! LOL!

    I totally feel your pain, trust me:)

  6. @Duchess - I know, right? I actually hold stuff back. There's a whole other story that I haven't written to you guys about. I hint about it a lot but haven't fully shared because it's so disappointing. C'est quoi ma vie?! Have you ever had to do a speech in English and freeze up like this too?

  7. Love the blog! You're hilarious. I read your simply solo guest post and just had to check it out :)

  8. I don't recall having to give a speech in English when I spoke very little of it, but I had to speak in front of the class a few times in college - classes full of unilingual English speakers who laughed at me... My language skills were also ridiculed when I worked in retail... However, I always knew I'd get the last laugh... and I did;) Trust me;)