Georgia and I are in Cannes to meet the owner of our rented Paris apartment, taking a break from our research into the life of Ballet Russe great Roman Jasinski.
Having just arrived from Monte Carlo, we stumble from the train station into the bright light of Cannes, and never having met our hostess, look around in confusion. One tall good-looking forties-something blonde man makes a beeline for me. “Are you an American?” he asks. Yes, I say, American. “Are you meeting someone?” he continues. Yes, I say, a friend. Crestfallen, he looks away, and I turn my back.
“Is that our host?” asks Georgia. I follow her gaze out into the street, and a man in a Volkswagen is waving happily at her, grinning. Someone honks at him, and he drives on. “I’m from Kansas,” says the tall blonde man behind me. “Where are you from?” Tulsa, I say, not turning around. “I hear that’s a pretty town,” he says to the air between us. I raise my eyebrows but do not speak. The Volkswagen man has arrived again in the queue, and once again he is smiling and waving at Georgia. “Is that her husband Jacques, do you think?” she says to me. Not sure, I say, peering out into the street. “Are you staying here in Cannes?” asks Mr. Kansas with determination, to my back. Nope, I say. What does it take for this guy to give up and move on?
He is still chattering behind me when the Volkswagen man arrives for the third time. “That’s got to be him,” says Georgia, as she walks toward the car, smiling and raising her hand in greeting. I look more closely at the man in the Volkswagen. GEORGIA, I yell, STOP! She turns to me, surprised. Take another look, I say. That guy is not wearing a shirt.
We burst out laughing at our predicament, stuck between Mr. Kansas and the Gigolo, enjoying every moment, as we hear a voice say, “Are you two ladies from Oklahoma, by any chance?” We turn to greet our hostess, a former diplomat, married to a Frenchman, a former coffee broker, here in Cannes. Off we go into a sun-filled day of fabulous food, quaint villages, and camaraderie, leaving two disappointed men in our wake.