My sister-in-law Sandy and I were sitting in the Brasserie Le Bourbon near the Assemblée Nationale, a favorite restaurant of mine. Our dinner was a sautéed breast of chicken, thinly sliced roasted potatoes, tiny green beans, a petite salad, and un pichet (pitcher) of chardonnay.
There were two women sitting at the table next to us—so thin, so fashionable–and they told us they were from Chile. One lived here in Paris, the other in New York. They were both wearing white blouses tucked into pale blue jeans, wide belts, one wearing a gaucho hat, both smoking thin cigarettes. They turned toward us, smiled and one said, “May we ask you questions, because we never see you again?”
“Of course,” I said.
The one-sided conversation began, without waiting for our answers.
“Are you married? How many times a week are you together for sex? Does he use blue pill? My husband and I have not done that thing for four years. We are both 50. How old are you? Are you actually married or do you just live together? How did you meet your husbands? Was it a coup de foudre (love at first sight)? What do you do?”
Finally, the questions stopped, and the women took a breath and a drag on their cigarettes. Sandy told them she had been a teacher, and I told them that I was the chief historian of the ballet company in Tulsa.
One said, “Oh, I love the ballet! I always wanted to dance but my mother never sent me.”
“Should we move to Tulsa?” the other one asked.
“Yes,” I said.
“Because it is so green,” I said, “with sun almost every day, wonderful people, blue skies, and plenty of space; and because of the ballet, the museums, and the trails along the river, and also because of our award-winning new park, the Gathering Place.”
“What are the men like in Tulsa? Are they handsome there?”
“Yes,” we both said.
“Why?” they asked, simultaneously.
“We are a mélange,” I said, “a combination of many types of people.”
Sandy showed them a photo of her California husband, saying, “He’s very handsome, even though he is not from Oklahoma.” They nodded their approval.
One of them started singing “Lady Marmalade.” We paid our bill and left them, just after the other said, “I love that song!”
“Voulez-vous coucher avec moi, ce soir?” she sang. “That’s why we’re here!”
Oh. La. La.