How to be Lost by Amanda Eyre Ward
published 2005 chapter 16
[Caroline, Winnie and Peggy are cocktail waitresses in New Orleans. They have been told to ‘glamorize to the max’ to impress a client interested in buying the bar. They are getting ready in the ladies room.]
…“Do you mean to tell me you could have spent the whole day in bed with an Italian?” said Winnie, applying glitter to her eyelids. I shrugged, and the feathers at my neckline tickled my chin. “You need some sweet loving, girl” said Winnie, “or some therapy.”
“Did you ever feel like [your boyfriend] Kit was too good for you?... Like he wanted something from you that you didn’t know if you could give?”
Winnie snorted. “Kit? Too good for me? Are you drunk?”
I was a bit, but I said “Forget it.”
“And what’s up with that dress? You some sort of bird Caroline?”…
Peggy burst into the bathroom. In her gold lame dress, she looked fabulous. “Check it out” she said, lifting the hem to reveal gold, thigh-high boots. “They were having a sale at Naughty Nancy’s.” She looked up, her brow furrowed. “Are you wearing that?” she said….
Winnie said “Did it fly here itself?” and they both laughed uproariously….
Nick Hornby wrote about this novel: “it’s not one of those irritatingly perfect novels… it has a slightly ungainly, gawky shape to it it, and slightly more plot than it can swallow without giving itself heartburn” – but he recommends it whole-heartedly, and it is indeed a weird, funny and involving book. The scene dealing with the evening in the bar - it’s actually New Year’s Eve - is short, and almost completely irrelevant to the plot, but it is also completely hilarious. The feather dress (which came from Caroline's mother) is never described. The important client has brought supermodels with him. They demand a certain brand of vodka, which leads directly to Peggy, in her gold dress, discovering her boyfriend is unfaithful. “Why is that stripper crying?” the supermodels ask, then befriend her. Presumably Amanda Eyre Ward had the scene in her head and couldn’t miss it out. Peggy ends up working in a lingerie shop called Nipple News, selling panties to the supermodels. Have you been to the shop, Caroline asks Winnie. “Hell yeah” said Winnie. “Got me a purple thong.”
The picture is by Whistler: Harmony in Green and Gold, the Gold Girl, Connie Gilchrist. It is featured on Wikimedia Commons.