The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on December 7, 1997 · Page 78
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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 78

West Palm Beach, Florida
Issue Date:
Sunday, December 7, 1997
Page 78
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Page 78 article text (OCR)

F THE PALM BEACH POST SUNDAY, DECEMBER 7, 1997 7D i Sally's dream bash: Fun folks, plain food, Ben not underfoot Yes, the Sally Quinn on . . . Marriott name ! adds value to Assisted Living. But value doesn't mean it costs more. DIANA, PRINCESS OF WALES: 'The whole notion that the press killed her was preposterous I liked her. I thought she was a neurotic mess.' BARBIE, who's being made over to look more average: 'That's real sociology. I don't have any daughters, so I've never been into the Barbie thing. I feel very much that Barbie reflects the state of womanhood in this country, so when they make a change, it's a big deal.' BEING A MOTHER: 'I think if I had had a normal life, if I had started having children earlier, I'd have had more. I think I'm a good mother. I like being a mother. Ben already had three children by two other marriages, and he was 60 when Quinn was bom, so that was a factor. Sometimes I feel a little sad, but I've certainly been fulfilled.' NOT WORKING FULL-TIME: 'I like the idea of being able to stay home and write occasional pieces for (The Washington Post) but not be obligated. I've been asked to do a number of TV shows, but I've turned them down; I don't want to be a regular on anything. I don't want to have to say something if I don't have anything to say.' THE PRESS: 'What bothers me is preconceived notions, when people go into a story with their mind made up. I know there's no such thing as total objectivity, but when I did stories, I tried to erase the chalkboard and not see what everybody else was seeing.' GROWING UP IN A MILITARY FAMILY: 'I moved every year and a half and went to 22 different schools. I think that military brats are either extroverts, like my sister and me, or introverts, like my brother. There's no in-between. You learn to hit the ground running because you're not going to be there for any length of time. Or you just don't play.' V. ;C i - J The truth is, Assisted Living at Marriott's Brighton Gardens is more affordable than you think. With Marriott's unique "Levels of Wellness and Care" program, residents receive (and pay for) only the level of services they require. Let us show you how fair and competitive the costs really are for your loved one. A Licensed Nursing Center is also available on-site should it ever be needed. Please call or mail the coupon now. -J)ltes a ; mi: pi - - ' TO ADVKSTUmil ( ' ju. ffcM'ii'm'v., 1 425 S. Congress Ave. 2090 N. Congress Ave. Boynton Beach, FL 33426 W. Palm Beach, FL 3340 1 (561)369-7919 (561)686-5100 Yes! I'd like to know more about Brighton Gardens. I'm inquiring for self parent other Name: f V -s its Address: BRIGHTON GARDENS ASSISTED LIVING tivarnott ZIP: City, Statc: Phone: PB-SU-12077-A Assisted Living Facility 8186 & 8367 Senior Living by Marriott. Peace of mind when you need it most LORETTA From ID "The whole point of this book is to dispel the notion that everything has to be perfect," says Quinn, 56, over lunch at the Sheraton Biscayne in Miami. "Having a party is about having fun. It's not about having a lot of money and the perfect china and the perfect silver. "How many dead parties have you been to where it's the perfect everything? Some of the best parties I've been to are where you end up eating spaghetti in somebody's kitchen." , , That, Sally, describes MOST parties I attend. However, hon, I'm open to state dinners if you can wrangle me an invite. 0 "This business of making your guests feel uncomfortable because everything has to be just right defeats the whole purpose. A narcissist cannot be a good hostess." , She picks at her vinaigrette-topped cobb salad ("I had breakfast 20 minutes ago, corn flakes and a banana") while I dissect a club sandwich and disguise my glee at having her all to myself. A grown-up Army brat First lady aside, here sits one of the most powerful party-givers on the world stage, an issuer of rabidly coveted invitations. A woman who, when I was a Washington Post intern 10 years ago, was legend not just for chutzpah, but also for snagging the boss (she's wife No. 3), whom she married in '78. ' Like me, she's a Georgia-born Army brat groomed in Southern graciousness (listen and nod politely whether you give a hoot or not). Unlike me, she attended boarding school and rarely gets rattled or so she says. - "I never get nervous," says ,Quinn, who sports a cuff bracelet ;watch that you have to open to read ("I don't like to see my life ticking away"). "Unless it's something for Quinn, that is. Then I'm a wreck, a total wreck." Like any parent ; The Quinn in question is her only child, a son who'll be 16 in 'April ("he's obsessed with driving, : totally obsessed, but he's not getting a car"). 1 The tale of his fourth birthday bash is just one of many candid accounts in The Party that reveal all-too-human insecurity. ; "Shortly after the cake and ice cream, I was walking across the lawn when I overheard two 6-year-old girls talking," she writes. ;"One of them turned to the other and said, 'This party is boring, boring, boring.' I died, i "This was every, hostess' nightmare only worse, because j had obviously humiliated my child, and he would never recover socially from his mother's incompetence." Oh please, these were KIDS, for Pete's sake. But she's serious. Forget impressing presidents, heads of state, envoys and "rich, powerful and famous" men (including one, whom she won't identify, who silently sings "Everybody loves me, nobody hates me" to reassure himself before entering a crowded room). What parent, pray tell, can't empathize with her kiddie birthday angst? Adult fests, on the other hand, "are never an occasion for anxiety because if everything's not perfect, it's kind of a gift because then your guests can identify with you." The toughest party chore (after all, rich people can pay for the right food, flowers and forks) is deciding who sits where. "That's what makes or breaks a party," says Quinn, whose third-floor home office "hiding place" overlooks the Potomac. "For me, the major concern is the people." Even so, there are occasional faux pas, like the night at Post publisher Katharine Graham's house when Quinn announced Graham's rule for seating her at parties: "Next to one good person and one dog." The comment left both Quinn's dinner partners wondering who was whom. Word has it she wiggled out of the gaffe by claiming she'd been surprisingly blessed that evening with "two good ones." Despite her open demeanor today, Quinn is far too slick to name "good" seats ("I might leave someone out") or "dogs." "The only things I say in the book that aren't nice are about dead people, like Jack Kent Cooke," whom she calls "one of the rudest men I ever knew." He's the late owner of the Washington Redskins who insisted on calling Quinn "Mrs. Brad-lee" despite her "good-naturedly explaining" that she'd kept her own name when she married. Ruckus in the box seats! And then there's Democratic social high priestess Pamela Ilar-riman, whose death this year, some say, allowed Quinn to How to party like Sally Here are some words of wisdom offered by Washington hostess extraordinaire, Sally Quinn, in her new book, "The Party:" 'MY PHILOSOPHY regarding dinner party conversation? . When all else fails, talk about sex.' 'IF YOU'RE A MAN, you shouldn't make physical passes at the women. If you're a woman, however, it's OK. 'JUST PUT ON A HAPPY FACE, stop thinking about yourself, and concentrate on making sure your guests have the best time they've ever had.' 'I HAVE ONLY ONE RULE about where to have a party. It should be someplace that's too small.' 'I REFUSE TO SERVE RED WINE if there's a crowd. I know this is mean, but I've actually had furniture recovered at great expense because of spilled red wine.' 'IF YOU HAVE TO INVITE someone you dislike, work them into a large party, hope they don't comer your prize guest and bore him to death, and forget it.' THE COCKTAIL HOUR should be 45 minutes long. You can't sustain polite, superficial chitchat for much more than that.' 'PEOPLE LIKE SIMPLE good food. Period. Wouldn't you rather have a great meat loaf and mashed potatoes than some badly done squiggly quenelles?' (Whatever they are.) 'ROUND TABLES Are best. The worst tables are those long narrow antique wooden refectory tables. They're conversation killers.' 1 Smooth Simply ' n k if 7 It only took about six weeks for Sally Quinn to write The Party. achieve top hostess status, an idea that reportedly irks her. Right out of the chute in the second paragraph of Chapter One Quinn says Harriman's commitment to a "serious agenda" at every party was "ridiculous." Ahem. Back to seating. "I sort of do a little analysis of each person what they're like, what they don't like, what their interests are, what their secret fantasies might be." At a recent Palm Beach luncheon, I was seated next to a prince ' a real PRINCE. Some guy named Jergen. Was it because the hostess knew my secret fantasy? Nice work on HER part. "Sexual energy is so important. That's why I want husbands and wives as far away from each other as possible. It absolutely deadens a table. "I don't want to sit next to Ben at a dinner party. I love Ben, but I see him every night. It's a lot more fun for both of us driving home if he can tell me so and so, and I can say I talked to so and so." An admitted "phone-a-holic," Quinn laps up gossip. "But it's high-powered gossip," she adds. Career-making gossip. In the spring of '69, Quinn who majored in theater arts at Smith College had moved to California and back, ended a love affair, and was living with her mom and dad (a well-connected Army general) in Maryland. The family had a party (go figure) for freshman U.S. Rep. Barry Goldwater Jr., whose father was a close friend of Quinn's parents. Ben Bradlee, now 76, was in attendance. The next day, Quinn, an aspiring actress who'd worked as a social secretary to Algerian Ambassador Cherif Guellal, got a call from Bradlee, offering her a job. Some time later, the pair he divorced began dating amid newsroom whispers and raised eyebrows. Was she a climber? Was he clamoring for a trophy wife? Guess you can't report gossip without makin' a little hay of your own. eh? vVhen I tell Quinn about interviewing Martha Stewart who advises searing the crust on creme brulee with a tiny blowtorch and cooking ham atop "fresh baby grass" she asks sincerely, "Are you making this up?" No, but it sure sounds like it to her. Quinn, you see, couldn't care less about such details. "The key to my parties is, I only invite people I like. I don't care who they are or what kind of power they have." Right, Sally. I expect to see your mechanic at your next soiree. "This sounds a little pretentious, bit in fact, it's the truth. , Lasting removal of un wanted hair cai be yourt with Softtfait's aser-based technology at Spa Thlra. Safely. : Gently. Conveniently. For all skin types. Spa Thira redefines beautiful skin and delivers the superb result! you've :: '"V.. always dreamed of. .(, Call us for your tompll- V mentary consultation and gift with purchase. A, 1 8 8 8 4 4 T H I R 230 WORTH AVENUE Madeleine Albright is the first secretary of state I've ever invited to my house. It's not that I didn't like the others. It's just they weren't really a lot of fun. "Madeleine I really like, and she's fun to be around. For me, it has to be a person who wants to come to play." It's ironic and Quinn knows it that she now hosts parties she once covered and welcomes guests she once skewered. Plus, it's easy to blab about loosening up on perfection when you can afford top-notch help. ("You're right," she admits. "But what I say in the book applies to whatever level you're at, even if it's hot dogs in the den.") Life has moved on for Sally Quinn, who doesn't apologize for her role au courant. She asks our waiter for hot water and retrieves a decaffeinated tea bag ("I bring my own") from her purse. "I've decided that there are a lot of worse things you can do in this world than give people good conversation, good food, good wine and a sense of well-being," she says. "If that's what it means to be a hostess, then you can call me that anytime." Just Aon 't call her Mrs. Bradlee. A PALM BEACH I" ''WWli iii. ft ill f,H ' ; MM H.J . .V

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