Buckle up, buttercups. This is a wild ride that follows two different actors across three different TV shows. As always, it won’t make sense if you haven’t seen the shows, and spoilers abound.
My digging around for Samantha’s nude photos had started her reminescing as we walked through Charlotte’s gallery, taking in an exhibit of finely curated photographs, unlike Samantha’s nudes, which Charlotte had declared “not very arty.”
At the studio, the photographer had let Samantha know that his assistant, Tiger, was ready with some music to help her ease into the shoot and feel more comfortable in the nude. Samantha immediately disrobed, leaving Tiger frozen speechless at her full-frontal unveiling.
“We had a lovely chat, once he recovered his power of speech,“ Samantha explained. “Tiger was an RN at an chemotherapy clinic and worked as a photographer’s assistant on the side. I tried to track him down when I underwent chemo for my breast cancer, but he had moved back to southern California.”
“What music did he cue up for your nude photoshoot?” I asked, never one to handle Samantha’s brush with cancer very well.
“Steely Dan,” Samantha guffawed her open-hearted floozy laugh that I love so very much.
“A band named after the dildo in Naked Lunch?” I whispered, incredulous.
“I thought it was an inspired choice,” Samantha said. “One of my vibrators is named Plasticky Dan.”
“I still think you should meet the Rabbit,” Miranda interjected.
“I told you, I’m not interested in a sex toy named after a cute, fluffy animal.” Samantha rolled her eyes.
“Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!” I quipped.
“Speaking of tigers,” Miranda continued, “that exhibitionist guy I dated in 1999, Jack, had a brother he called Tiger.”
“Oh, did Tiger also catch you two having sex?” I asked. Miranda had been relieved to finally have sex with Jack in a bedroom and not a Landmark Society alley or Central Park restroom, only to discover that his parents were visiting when they walked in on her in flagrante.
“No, but do you remember how we only discussed books—in, like, the most obnoxious way—and we were so consumed with name-dropping titles for historical biographies that I neglected to ask what he did for a living?”
“So what?” Samantha shrugged. “You were busy fucking him in taxis all over Manhattan. I hate when men expect you to get to know them.”
Miranda shook her head. “I ran into him at another bookstore, and it turned out he was an FBI agent!”
“A female body inspector?” I snorted, and Samantha snickered. We high-fived like 22-year-old frat boys at the Playboy Mansion.
“The real Federal Bureau of Investigation,” Miranda scolded, her scowl reading us our Miranda Rights. “Those weren’t even his parents that walked in on us—they were state’s witnesses he was in the process of relocating. His real parents are some big-time real estate developers in southern California.”
“Sitwell Enterprises?” Samantha asked. “I handled some PR for their alopecia charity.”
“No, that doesn’t sound right,” Miranda shook her head. “Jack never seemed like the family type, anyway. He completely abandoned the kid he had with another FBI agent, this woman who posed undercover as a personal shopper in New Jersey.”
“Who would fall for that?” Samantha asked.
“Not me,” I declared. “Shopping is my cardio.”
“You’ll never guess who she befriended on that assignment,” Miranda whispered. “Christopher Moltisanti’s fiance.”
There was that name again. “So he’s not single?” I asked, leaning back and smacking my lips.
“I don’t know if he’s single, but Jack’s baby mama got pulled off the case for giving Moltisanti a hard-on,” Miranda said.
“This Christopher guy sounds like a total catch,” I said.
“Jack said they hauled in the fiancé and her little dog, too. She threw up all over the table when they asked her to turn informant. And when the FBI finally thought they had worked a deal, she vanished.”
I perked up. “So he is single?”
As we nibbled our canapes, Miranda told us how the shake-ups at the bureau ended the romance between the two agents, especially after Jack’s baby mama got promoted over him. Jack the exhibitionist decided to pull a vanishing act of his own and quit the bureau to pursue his dream of becoming a famous magician.
Miranda ran into Jack while he was selling all his historical biographies to The Strand’s used book buyer, right before he moved back to southern California. He said he wanted to be near his dysfunctional family, including the brother he called Tiger, who had worked as an oncology nurse and moonlighted as a photographer’s assistant before joining the military.
The three of us stood there, contemplating a new work by Maria Diega Reyes, Samantha’s ex-girlfriend, whose career resurgence had made her an art-world darling beloved by Charlotte’s power-lesbian clientele.
“Stanny!” I cried, seeing my long-suffering gay husband and his gay husband across the room. The only two gay men to consistently remain in our lives, they had naturally married each other, despite a less than fortuitous first meeting. As I watched them cross the room toward us, I couldn’t help but wonder: What the fuck ever happened to Stanford’s beautiful boyfriend Marcus?
“Is that Bobby Fine?” Samantha asked, looking to the other side of the room and waving to Bitsy von Muffling. “He’s talking to the two gay men I almost had a threesome with, pretending to grate cheese on their abs.”
“I think I see the lesbian my co-worker tried to set me up with at the company softball game,” Miranda mused aloud.
“Isn’t that the pastry chef Charlotte dated who swore he wasn’t gay?” Stanford asked.
“I think I see the bisexual twenty-something I dated and his lesbian ex-girlfriend who looks like Alanis Morissette,” I interrupted.
It was as if the LGBTQIA retrospective at Charlotte’s art gallery had forced our long overdue reckoning with a parade of characters on the sexuality spectrum.
And just like that, Liza Minnelli walked in, trailing an entourage of hangers-on wearing vintage Halston.
“Liza?” Samantha and I asked simultaneously.
“It’s the law of physics,” Miranda winked. “Whenever there’s this much gay energy in one room, Liza manifests.”