Skip to main content

PROMISED YOU AMERICA

During the 1980s there was a song called "Promised You A Miracle" but I always heard it as "Promised You America." And that is where my blog received its title from.  In the previous century, after the Second World War, many Europeans sought to immigrate to the United States. America was the promised land. It was a beautiful, safe country. And a free country, there was no welfare state. The immigrants that came to America had to work to survive, there was no alternative.  My father was one such immigrant after leaving Holland after the Second World War. He worked many odd jobs until he became his own salesperson, first selling Dutch chocolate from his VW van to supermarkets in the US, and thereafter, eventually by hard work, becoming a successful fine art dealer.  One of my first jobs after arriving in America in 1983 was that of a busboy at the Bankers Club Carnelian Room. Some people might look down on that but I was looking down upon them as the restaurant was on

SHE DROVE A CITROËN SM



SAN FRANCISCO 1983-85: One of my favorite places to go was a place called Dancers located on Harrison and Second Street. Dancers was a large, dark place with many colored lights flashing around as an industrial-beat of music kept breeding an inescapable aura of sexuality. At least this is what it felt like after several beers.

At Dancers the libido was liberated and celebrated, and girls were dancing everywhere, including on top of the bar. And it was there that I would meet my first girlfriend, Brishon. 

Earlier I had awkwardly asked some of these girls to dance but was rejected every time. And just as I was about to become discouraged, I saw an attractive female standing near the dance floor, leaning against a pillar with her arms folded. She appeared relaxed, confident and very attractive. She looked Mediterranean with her long, curly hair that fell over her bare shoulders. Her eyes were large and brown under thick, manicured eyebrows. 

But when I approached her, she too would decline my dance request. Oh yes, rejection, always. But refusing to be dismissed, I had asked her a trite follow-up question: "Do you come here often?" in the hope of receiving a more responsive answer, albeit a negative one, but anything to keep her attention. 

It turned-out we had something in common: she too had worked at the Carnelian Room, and we knew some of the same people. This led Brishon to change her mind and dance with me. Soon thereafter she wanted to leave the club and asked me if I wanted to come along. It was an invitation I couldn't refuse. 

Brishon's car was parked under a bright street lamp. It was a Citroën, my favorite car. I was surprised to see one in the US and had never seen this particular model before. It was a Citroën SM. I was in awe and so was Brishon: I with her car and she with me for knowing about them. Always important to impress the woman.

The nicest one I had seen in Holland was a Pallas. My friend's father had one, and drove us to a tennis tournament once at about 180 km per hour (110 mph) over a country road. The car would cut through the wind like a space ship, as its hydropneumatic suspension automatically lowered the car at higher speeds. The Citroën was one of the first aerodynamic cars, and first to have front wheel drive. And it had many other ingenious inventions, such as the swiveling headlights that simultaneously turned with the steering wheel, allowing the driver to see in advance the road he was turning into.

It was slightly past midnight when we drove off in Brishon's car. But besides entering a new day, I felt like I was entering a new world. Instead of walking home to my basement apartment on Larkin Street or having to take a trolley bus home, I was now sitting next to a beautiful woman who was driving me down the streets of San Francisco in a Citroën. Life was beautiful.

While Brishon's eyes were on the road, mine were on her. It seemed that with each passing moment she was becoming more beautiful as the fast bypassing streetlights on Van Ness Avenue seemed to be taking snapshots of her, as if there were paparazzi everywhere.

Brishon was a good driver. The Citroën’s leather interior was hugging us in comfort as its Maserati engine was purring us forward. At some point Brishon glanced over and asked me: "So, where do you want to go?" I decided to take a chance and said: "Let's go to your place."

She smiled and blushed while looking at the road ahead. Moments later a garage door rose as the Citroën dipped under it into a large pool of darkness. This night the gods were on my side.


Brishon Drove a Citroën SM

The large underground garage where Brishon had parked the Citroën was dimly lit. As we walked over to the elevator, Brishon pointed at a black Porsche 928 and said: “See that car? That car was in Risky Business. Did you see that movie?” 

Before I could answer, she hit the elevator button. I hadn't seen the movie, but the elevator we entered seemed very risky. It was a small antique, mahogany cubicle. Brishon closed its door and slid a copper screen across. The elevator went up slowly as we saw numerous doors slide down below us until we reached the top one. The thought of kissing her then and there had never occurred to me. 

Outside the elevator, immediately to the right, was apartment 704, and the moment Brishon opened the door a four-footer approached me with a smile. I had never seen one of those before. It was a Russian wolfhound also known as a borzoi. The dog was very tall, skinny and furry with an arched back and blended well with the art-deco black leather couches, sleek lamps, vases and statues. It was as if Erte’ had decorated the apartment himself.

In the corner was a bar built from glass bricks and was lit-up with different colored lights. The shelves behind it displayed a collection of liqueurs, and above that was a large black sign that read in pink neon light: Who is John Galt? I didn't know who that was but pink was not my favorite color. 

I was relaxing in a black leather couch just letting the evening unfold as it kept getting better. Brishon had brought me a glass of wine and I continued to sip it as our eyes remained locked, but I couldn't help notice the ABC Lexicon of Love album which was my favorite New Romantics band from the eighties. 

ABC the Lexicon of Love

Next thing I know we were watching the James Bond movie Octopussy. Bond was in bed with Magda, drinking Don Perignon champagne and notices the little tattoo on her lower back and asks: “Forgive my curiosity, but what is that?” Magda answers: “That’s my little octopussy,” and then they kiss, and then we kiss. It was a beautiful thing. I remember thinking: The eagle has landed. But that was a different movie.


When we woke up the next morning together I was looking for my PPK but then remembered I wasn't James Bond. I just felt like him. It was a good feeling. Brishon opened-up the refrigerator and introduced me to a fruit I had never seen in Holland: mango. I thought it had a strange looking shape and a very large pit, but I did like its aftertaste.  

"My goal is to marry this man," Brishon told me, pointing at a leaflet on the refrigerator. I looked at his picture and didn't find him particularly handsome. He also looked much older than her. The name under the picture read: "Dr. Leonard Peikoff, Capitalism versus Socialism Debate."

I asked Brishon why she wanted to marry him, and she said that he was the greatest man in the world. 

Popular posts from this blog

THE STARCK CLUB -- BEING THERE

Inside The Starck Club DALLAS, TEXAS -- 1985-89: My favorite place that I would frequently visit in Dallas was the Starck Club.  It was located in the old part of town, where the once life-sustaining warehouses were abandoned and crumbling, right past the forgotten railroad tracks of the forgotten Industrial Revolution.  But this one particular warehouse was adopted and remodeled by the French architect and designer, Philippe Starck. The Starck Club was owned by numerous people, and one of them was rumored to be Grace Jones but this may not have been true. Getting into the Starck Club wasn’t easy.  There was always a long line and the club’s doormen were very selective about who they allowed to enter. Since I was in my early twenties with bleached blond hair, I was hip enough to pass.  I also wore black parachute pants while standing in white leather shoes -- all very Duran Duran like. The first time I entered the Starck Club I was in a state of shock and awe.  It wasn’

Meeting Wolfgang Puck and Robert Duvall

Crescent Court Hotel, Dallas, Texas DALLAS, TEXAS -- 1985-89: Luckily, a new hotel had opened-up in Dallas, and I was able to work some banquet shifts there.  It was a 5 star hotel called The Crescent Court Hotel. Its banquet manager, Jorge, had previously worked at the Anatole Hotel as an assistant banquet manager with Charles Lorenzi.  The banquet facility at The Crescent Court Hotel was minuscule in comparison to the Anatole Hotel, but the money was much bigger. Jorge was originally from Bolivia, was medium built and had wavy black hair, which wasn’t bad for a man in his forties.  He also had a big black mustache and a very large oval head that seemed out of proportion to the rest of his body. Before the banquet commenced, Jorge was always nervous and overly serious.  But after serving the dessert and coffee, he became relaxed and charming.  And as a banquet waiter, the money was always very good and so was the employee-cafeteria food.  And I was always grateful when Jorge in