Life’s a Banquet … Don’t Starve: Valentine’s Day Edition

Paulo Szot

It’s Valentine’s Day, and a young lady’s thoughts naturally turn to lust ... Or do they?

At lunch with a group of women recently, topic A was, “Where have all the gorgeous men gone?” Our television screens and big screens are filled with men who look like they’d do a fine job rebooting our computers but do little for any other equipment.

Earth to Hollywood: Only in a vintage episode of the Twilight Zone, where aesthetic criteria have been turned on their heads, do attractive women hunger for pale, flabby men with jeans sagging below their pale, flabby bottoms.

In my personal quest for male splendor, I went to see Paulo Szot, the tenor whose Slavic good looks and South of the Border sensuality (he’s Polish, but Brazilian bred) launched a thousand sexual fantasies when he starred in the revival of South Pacific.

His booming tenor would be more suited to an outdoor amphitheater like the Terme di Caracalla in Rome than the carpeted confines of the Café Carlyle. But that said, he brought new life to Rodgers and Hammerstein classics like “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face,” ripped apart Cole Porter’s “So In Love,” and when he brought out the tango undertones of that old chestnut “Bésame Mucho,” you wanted to bésa-him mucho.

No, alas, dear reader, I did not go home with him. That’s MY Twilight Zone fantasy.

Instead I cabbed it down Park Ave. to catch Brooke Shields’s 10:30 show at Feinstein’s.

Brooke Shields? Cabaret? Yes, indeed, she’s a veteran of more than one Broadway show. She put her Lucille Ball–esque comic abilities and self-deprecating wit on full display as she wryly told the story of her extraordinary life.

She made you laugh at the tale of her “relationship” with, ahem, George Michael and cry when she sang lovingly of her fierce, determined, complicated mother. Thank god Teri Shields had her. SHE personifies beauty, inside and out.

Thought of the day: If you’re like me, a type A neurotic, you’re constantly cataloging your personal failings. This Valentine’s Day, let’s give our favorite form of exercise, self-kickboxing, a break. Instead, let’s practice a little remedial narcissism. Why should our crazy selfish relatives have all the fun? Today, fall in love with yourself.

Le péché mignon, the “cute sin” of the day: At some point today, I’m going home with some chocolate.

For now, it’s off to the Herrera show and then to lunch with the Divas at the Apollo in Harlem, so stay tuned.

Life’s a banquet … don’t starve!

Photo: Paulo Szot