Have you seen The September Issue, the behind-the-scenes sort-of documentary about the inner workings of Vogue? If not, you need to do so immediately, as it is RIVETING. Not simply because you get to see plenty of lasers of doom shooting from Anna Wintour’s eyes and more Andre Leon Talley balaclavas than you can count, but also because it is seriously fascinating in its own right. It’s like the nonfiction companion piece to The Devil Wears Prada. There’s even a vaguely similar scene to the one where Meryl cries to he Hathaway about her crumbling marriage, where we see some tiny hairline cracks of vulnerability in A-Dubs’s frozen-solid demeanor.
Anyway, I digress. A new deleted scene has just been released, and it is funny. And of course, it ostensibly serves to further underline the thesis that A-Dubs is an evil, soul-crushing fashion world Maleficent. But I’m not so sure I buy that narrative. I think she might actually be kind of nice. Not only because of the evidence in this clip, but also because OHMYGOD I FUCKING HAD A CONVERSATION WITH HER IN STARBUCKS TWO WEEKS AGO OHMYGOD!!!!!111!!!!
First, the clip:
Bless that designer’s heart! He’s all about to crap his I’m-guessing-Belgian pants and stuff. Bless.
But here’s what’s sort of confusing. The different blogs and websites that have posted this clip have of course spun it as a new glimpse of Anna intimidating underlings. But am I alone in feeling like she was kind of good-natured and sweet to that adorable little Swede (I looked it up)? And am I wrong to get the impression she has a sense of humor? And am I wrong to assume that anyone who spends THAT MUCH time with Andre Leon Talley cannot possibly be as dour as we all think?
But the hell with all that. Let’s talk about how I FUCKING HAD A CONVERSATION WITH HER IN STARBUCKS TWO WEEKS AGO OH MY GOD and how absolutely LOVELY she was.
Picture it. Starbucks, Delancey St., 2010. A lumbering blond idiot (me) six months late for a haircut and looking like a homeless Goth (out of control hair + head-to-toe black restaurant uniform beneath long black too-big overcoat. But the overcoat was Jil Sander!) lopes in for a pick-me-up and gets on line. He glances at the woman in front of him. He’d know that mushroom-shaped hairdo anywhere. Could it be? It must be. But it couldn’t be. Or could it?
OH IT MUH-FUCKIN’ COULD BECAUSE IT MUH-FUCKIN’ WAS. She glanced my way, as you do at times when a person appears behind you in a line, and I saw the face—that classic pinched British face and then—THEN—you know what happened?
Do you? Do you do you do you DO you?
SHE SMILED AT ME.
Yeah, you heard me. Not only does A-Dubs smile, but she smiled AT ME. Sure, it was just one of those friendly, neighborly perfunctory smiles that you do that acknowledge your share experience—“Ahh, yes, hello, I see we both enjoy overpriced coffee. Enjoy yours!”—but still. Anna Wintour doesn’t NEED to curry goodwill with strangers at Starbucks like the rest of us do. SHE IS ANNA WINTOUR.
But then something even more amazing happened. After she paid for her coffee, she handed the cashier a $5 bill and ask her to break it. The cashier, clearly unaware with whom she was dealing, heaved a barely concealed sigh of exasperation and said, “I already closed the drawer.”
I froze. The air froze. The universe froze. I frantically tried to make eye contact with the cashier and communicate with her with my mind. “No! You can’t TALK BACK to Anna Wintour! She is Sissy Spacek in “Carrie” and Drew Barrymore in “Firestarter” ALL IN ONE and she will BURN THIS MOTHERFUCKER TO THE GROUND WITH ALL OF US IN IT! ABORT! ABORT!”
But unfortunately, I’m not psychic and the cashier was stupid. Anna paused, gave the briefest of icy stares, and said, “So you cahn’t give me change?”
The cashier sighed again. “Hold on,” she sniffed. She returned with a key, opened the drawer, and handed A-Dubs five $1 bills. “Next time, just let me know before I close the drawer if you can.”
I shat out my spine. YOU DO NOT GIVE DIRECTION TO ANNA WINTOUR! She is Zuul from “Ghostbusters” and that fucked up bullshit from “Cloverfield” all in one and she will STOMP THIS MOTHERFUCKER TO THE GROUND WITH ALL OF US IN IT! ABORT! ABORT!
And then, the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen happened.
Anna Wintour fixed her eyes, held up two $1 bills, and said, “Well I was ahsking for change so that I could TIP you,” and, elegant as anything and pointed as an icicle, stuck the two dollars in the tip box.
In my head, I hollered, “I! KNOW! DAT’S! RIGHT!” while snapping my fingers to emphasize every word. In reality, I just pissed down my leg.
She disappeared around the corner to wait for her coffee and I approached the register. I ordered my own coffee and, as the humbled cashier swiped my debit card, I glanced down. There, on the counter, like a little blue treasure chest, was Anna Wintour’s battered, cracked, taped up RAZR cellphone. (Sidebar: Yes, A-Dubs still carries a RAZR, and it is battered, cracked and taped up.)
I picked it up, felt its weight in my hand. I could slip it in my pocket and no one would ever know. IT CONTAINS THE TELEPHONE EXCHANGES OF EVERYONE EVER. Madonna and Posh and Jesus are probably all in there. I could just drop it in my pocket and chit-chatting with Oprah inside of 15 minutes. I cannot stress enough that THE POWER TO RUIN LIVES WAS IN MY HANDS. Finders keepers, losers weepers.
And then I realized something: snagging a famous’s cellphone is psyhotic and disturbing. So rounded the corner to where Anna—we’re on a first-name basis now—was waiting and approached. How should I handle this? Should I genuflect? Curtsy? Do I need to ask permission to speak? Do I call her “Ma’am” or “Ms. Wintour”? I AM NOT EQUIPPED FOR THIS.
In the end, I just opted for “Excuse me,”—for a tiny split second she betrayed herself, her face giving a minuscule flash of an annoyed preparation to be fawned over that instantly vanished as quickly as it came—“you left your phone on the counter.”
“Oh!” Her mouth curled into a wide smile, the ascending apples of her cheeks narrowing nearly to slits her eyes as she fixed them on mine, and I realized—happily—that Anna Wintour hasn’t had a lick of surgery. Her smile amassed her face into an elegant assemblage of crinkles and crevasses, and her words glided from her lips, all British and stuff. “Thaaang kyou SO muhhuch!”
My eyes held hers, and my soul had an orgasm. And then, coffee in hand, hair fallen forward, sunglasses ingesting her face, she merged into the Friday night mass on Delancey St., and was gone.
Evil? Perhaps, but I’m dubious. My experience with A-Dubs was one in which she remained civil in the face of plebeian rudeness, tipped $2 on a $4 coffee, and cheerfully smiled at me even though I looked like I lived under an overpass and made sculpture out of chicken carcasses and old boots.
Say what you will, ladies and gents, but as far as I’m concerned, she’s America’s Sweetheart (who will cut a bitch).