Dancing and Drinking My Way into 4 Stitches on My Butt

Au Bar Monday nights … a mix of models and people who want to be — NY Times

We were getting ready to go out. Monday night. NYC. I loved going out in NYC. I loved a lot of things about NYC. I was a fashion model back then. I remember that I liked the way I looked. I did. There were many times in my life where I hated the way I looked. Like junior high, where I got teased and bullied, and wore braces. Like High School, where I always felt ugly, because I never once got invited to homecoming, because I didn’t go to junior prom, because I was given a nickname, that at first I hated, but later learned to love, because, because, because. That’s another story. But anyway, it felt good to go from that to being a model. It just did. What can I say? And when you are a model your life and livelihood revolves around how you look. So it was good that I liked the way I looked, it was good that I took the time to do all those things models do like yoga 6 days a week, like never eating fried foods, like shopping all the time. It was good. THANK GOD I’m not doing that anymore. You see when I write no one knows if I’ve showered, if my hair is properly colored, if I have makeup on (which I don’t), if I’m 15 pounds overweight. No one knows. THANK GOD. But, at that moment, in NYC, I was a model, and it mattered how I looked, and I made sure I looked good. Let’s face it, I liked the attention. I’m not going to lie. I did.

At this particular moment in my modeling life, I was sharing an apartment with one of my agents, along with her sister, and my best friend, also a model. Four of us in a two-bedroom apartment on the Upper East Side — far up, 96th between 2nd and 3rd Avenue. Every Monday night, we rode the subway down to 59th street. I was 22 and married. We had an apartment in LA, where my husband resided. I lived and worked in New York, at least at that moment.

That night, we decided not to take the subway and shared a cab instead. I could smoke, it was better. Camel, no filters. That was my brand and style. No filter. No filter for life, no filter for my mouth, no filter for my spending, no filter for my lavish lifestyle. No filter. Why should I? I was young. I was free. I was thin. I was hip, beautiful. I was a model. If you’ve got it, flaunt it. Right? Why the fuck not? 5’10” 125 pounds, long blond hair “Claudia Schiffer style” down my back — strutting my stuff. It’s fun to be young. I wouldn’t want to do it again. But, it was fun then.

Like every club a model went to in NYC, as long as you showed up with just your girlfriends, the red sea parted. Keep in mind when I went to a club with my husband, we NEVER got in, or we had to WAIT unless my name was on a list. They liked the ratio of three girls for every guy. Fucked up right? Anyway, that night, we waltzed right through the line, past the red velvet rope, through the looking glass.

Tonight, it was Frankie’s night. He ran the list. We beelined to his table at the back of the club. You couldn’t smoke anymore inside — I don’t remember when they passed that law, but all that was left to do was drink and dance. So I drank. Vodka and pineapple. A model’s drink of choice. The vodka because it’s low calorie (or we believed it was) and pineapple because it was like a laxative. Gross I know, but the truth isn’t pretty.

The alcohol flowed, bottle after glass bottle, delivered to the table. We would chat for a bit, dance, and then smoke outside in the freezing cold. The dance floor had a stage, a couple of speakers flanking, left and right. I don’t remember at what point I felt confident enough to climb on top of a speaker, but I did. The stage was packed, and so was the dance floor. I just wanted to be free to dance without getting prodded, pulled, bumped or stepped on. So, up on the speaker I went. There was already someone on the other one, so I certainly wasn’t starting a trend. I think I danced for one song when I saw a large bouncer heading my way. They didn’t like it when people danced on the speakers. He was definitely going to tell me to get down. It was at this moment when I decided to squat down, to jump off, that it happened.

“OUCH! What was that?”

It didn’t really hurt. It was just a surprise. I wasn’t expecting something to hit my butt. I had squatted down fast, yoga came in handy, to jump off the speaker before the bouncer could reach me. What I didn’t know was an open bottle of beer was standing upright on the speaker. My left butt cheek landed on the bottle opening, creating a vacuum of some sort. No it was not a broken bottle. I believe it was the speed at which I landed on the opening that caused the suction.

The dull throbbing didn’t stop me. I hopped off the speaker, and the bouncer stopped heading my way. No one saw a thing. No one. No one saw me land on a bottle. No one batted an eyelash. No one lifted a finger. I was good. I was adept at camouflaging my clumsiness. I was adept at recovery. I was adept at pretending nothing happened. The slight pain I felt was certainly not as great as my desire to dance, to party, to have fun. I assumed I would arrive home later and find a nasty bruise on my butt. I was certainly not expecting what I saw in the bathroom mirror a few hours later …

It was 4AM when we headed home in the cab. No subway at this time of night, or morning or at least not one you wanted to take. It was in the bathroom of our apartment, on the 18th floor where my best friend noticed the small tear in my pants. My metallic stretch pants I had just purchased at Intermixx layered on top of black opaque tights. It was cold in March. I think the tights are what kept me together, kept my butt together. Did I have a bruise? I was two sheets to the wind, so it was one big joke to me. I peeled off my pants, then my tights. Nothing left but a black thong. My friend’s jaw dropped the moment she looked at my butt. She ran out of the bathroom screaming.  I turned my butt to the mirror and there it was. A gash. Not for the faint hearted. The consensus was a trip to ER. Back on with the tights. Back on with the pants. Back on with the boots. Cabrini Medical Center was empty at 4 AM on a Monday. I didn’t wait long.

I think explaining to the young, not so bad looking doctor how I sliced my left butt cheek was more entertaining for him than me. He and another doctor were making jokes about how me lying there with my g-stringed butt in the air reminded them of an episode of “ER.” Priceless. Other ER doctors were stepping in and out of the room. What was this? A teaching hospital? First a shot in my butt cheek, then five stitches. I was as good as gold.

His parting words — “Come back in 10 days, they aren’t the dissolving kind.” We laughed out the door, my friend and I. It had been a long night.

As for the removal of the stitches, long story short —

Twelve days post-ER, I was heading back from the Hamptons, at the end of a three-day bathing suit shoot. We were traveling with the team in a motor home, and, fortuitously, the stylist offered up her veterinarian husband. I didn’t have medical insurance, so who was I to argue. He was a doctor, right? So I jumped out with her at the corner of Madison Ave and 64th. Ten minutes later in a prestigious Lenox Hill Veterinarian office, I dropped my pants. Voila! Stitches gone, no charge! We won’t talk about that awkward moment where one of the veterinary assistants walked in with my pants down. Ugh. I still have a scar. It’s little, just above a normal, “decent butt coverage,” bathing suit line.

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