So, most of you have heard that Andi and I did not win the Best Lesbian Erotica award at the Lambda Literary Awards on Monday night for All You Can Eat. It’s okay because it’s really cool that we even made the finalist list. As they say, it was an honor just to be nominated. I mean, I’d be lying if I said I’m not a little disappointed. It’s only natural, isn’t it? I mean, everybody wants to win, right? But I’m proud of our book and I’m going to be proud of it always.
The evening was interesting right from the start. For several days prior, the weather had been perfect—sunny and warm. Stunning, really. Then, on Monday, the weather decided to be a bitch. The temperature dropped and it rained. So what, you ask. Well, when you’re dressed up for an event, it’s a pain in the ass. First off, I wore a dress with strappy high heels. I was taking the train into Manhattan, where the event was taking place, so I had planned to wear sandals, figuring that if I had to get comfortable, the sandals would look, if not sexy and stylish, then at least acceptable.
But it was raining. So sandals were out. Instead, I had to wear sneakers with socks. Very sexy. I stuck each shoe into a plastic bag and stuffed them both into my purse, which was large enough to hold them (the shoes aren’t that big). Like a brave soldier, I endured the misty shpritz on my carefully coiffed hair and made-up face, and when I got to Cooper Union Hall, I changed into my nice shoes. I swapped the sneakers for the shoes in the plastic bags. But the sneakers are bigger than the shoes, so I stuffed one in my bag and Andi was kind enough to stuff the other in the courier bag she was carrying.
In we went, and we found our way to the basement, where the cocktail reception was being held. We were greeted by three trays of cocktails, all made with Kettle One vodka. I spotted several tables of delicious-looking food and awkwardly took a few things (ever try to get food from a buffet table while holding a jacket?). It was good for about 5 minutes, and then a throng of people arrived, and before I knew it, it was packed wall to wall. I could’ve used more food but I simply couldn’t get to it. I threw longing looks in the general direction of the mozzarella balls and olives, but I was destined to go without.
The ceremony itself was fun, greatly due to Kate Clinton, who really made us all laugh throughout the evening. Awards were presented by and/or given to the likes of Susie Bright, Alison Bechdel, Katherine V. Forrest, and Alan Cumming. I was blown away by the amazing singing voice of Toshi Reagon, and got to hear a song from the new Broadway musical Fun Home, based on Alison Bechdel’s memoir. Liz Smith gave a little speech as an introduction for John Waters. Waters was hilarious, but Smith was adorable. At 94, she was sharp and witty, and when she said “fuck,” I think that was the highlight of the whole ceremony. Gloria Steinem introduced Rita Mae Brown, and it was such a thrill to be in the same room with both of them. (I apologize for the crappiness of the photos.)
Of course, I watched the entire thing from behind a column. Luckily, there were screens that I could watch. Andi and I lost out to The Lesbian Sex Bible, and I think I blacked out for a bit after that.
Then it was time to go to the after party, which was in the Scholastic building, several blocks away.
Did I mention it was raining?
So, the idea at this point was to catch a cab. Who wants to walk in the rain? And walking would have required me to change back into my sneakers. But when we exited the building, I realized that we were facing the wrong way to get a cab and we would have paid several dollars more just for the cab to go around to head in the right direction.
“Do you want to walk up to the next block?” Andi asked me.
“Yes,” I said, and proceeded to walk the streets—the WET streets—of Manhattan in my heels. Relatively speaking, my heels weren’t that high—I’ve seen women walking around and standing on the train in higher heels than mine and, frankly, I don’t know how they do it. My heels are usually no more than an inch.
I clung to Andi’s arm for dear life as she gallantly tried to shield my coif from the downpour with an umbrella. When we got to the next street, I stepped off the curb and raised my hand to hail a cab. But it was raining, and when it rains, it’s almost impossible to get a cab. Andi kept joking that I should show more leg, but I think my annoyed look stopped her cold. Sorry, Andi.
Others from the event had come to do the same thing, and one person came and stood right next to me, and as God is my witness, if a cab had pulled up and she’d taken it, there would have been a death—hers. Fortunately or unfortunately, it didn’t come to that because no cab stopped. So we had to walk. Which is why I then stood at the side of the nearest building, holding myself up against it as I tried to change my shoes right there on the street, in the rain. My feet were wet, my shoes were wet, and my coif was less that alluring.
We got to the venue and I changed my shoes yet again. The space was tight, but not as tight as the cocktail reception area. At one point, I found myself standing right next to Rita Mae Brown and wanted very much to speak to her, but she was talking with others and I didn’t want to interrupt. There was lots of alcohol, but very little food, so let’s just say that my train ride home was a little rockier than usual.
Overall, despite the rain, shoe fiasco, and lack of access to food, it was a fun evening and I’m glad I went. Who knows if I’ll ever get the chance again, especially as a finalist? I saw some cool people, hung out with old friends and met some new ones, and hobbed some impressive writerly nobs.
The Lambda Literary Foundation did a great job with the readings, the ceremony, and the parties, and I’m thankful to them for letting me join in the fun. I hope to do it again someday.