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Roderick Spencer

Roderick Spencer

Posted: January 20, 2010 11:31 PM

Notes on Double Handbagging at the Golden Globes

What's Your Reaction:

My daughter, Mavis Spencer is 18, six feet tall and size zero. She's got the long-limbs, big eyes and head-of-hair kind of beauty that causes people to stare and ask, "Are you..somebody?" When she and her mother - who is 'somebody' (Alfre Woodard, two-time nominee, winner 1998, Miss Ever's Boys) - walk around together, especially all dressed up like they were on Sunday night at the Golden Globes, it's a powerful sight. And speaking of the Globes: because of aforementioned limbs, eyes, height, hair, not to mention uncanny poise and celebrated mother, Mavis qualified for, and then was chosen to be, Miss Golden Globe, 2010.

So, picture this: Two generations of gorgeous, big-eyed, multi-talented babes, seemingly impervious to the raindrops, bringing the glam, one interview after another, on their way down the crowded, soaking wet red-carpet toward the glittering ballroom.

Now picture the pair of sweating, tuxedo-clad umbrella bearers behind them. That's me, and Mavis' brother, Duncan. If we seem less than dazzled by all the eye-candy and fame around us, it's because we're working.

Handbagging is an honorable profession. We're the non-celeb companions who guide and provide, deflect and protect, amuse and excuse the well known and well lit women to whom we are attached. I've been at it for decades, but this year's Golden Globes would have been my first double handbag assignment. Thank God Duncan was there because...well, let's just say I was really glad Duncan was there.

As he and I elbowed our umbrellas into position, in front of one microphone jockey after another, we chuckled and muttered with fellow handbaggers about the thankless nature of our work. And we played the old handbagger game that I just made up called "Real Answer."

Red Carpet Question: "Are you excited to be here?!"
Daughter;"YES! I'm here with my mom, and it's such an honor to have been chosen, etc. etc..."
Wife, "YES! Especially since I'm here with my daughter, and it's a chance to celebrate, see friends, etc. etc..."
'REAL' (WHISPERED) ANSWER:
Husband: "Sure, walking around in the rain wearing a gown made of Kleenex is awesome."
Brother: "Yeah right, grinning and wobbling on stilettos wondering if my hair's gone all Bride of Frankenstein is totally G."

Oh how we chuckled. Oh how they glared. Oh the humanity.

Once inside the situation improved, slightly. Mavis was relieved to get through the chatter-gauntlet and go do the actual job of being Miss Golden Globe: A combination of award-bearer & onstage traffic cop. And Alfre, Duncan and I got to enjoy a well deserved quaff and eat some food...or so we thought.
Picture us arriving at our table just as polite, hardworking and very speedy wait-staff whisk away all food and booze, except for one bottle of champagne.

Pause.

(Toootally understandable) celebrity reaction:
Outrage. Indignation. (Momentary) loss of perspective.
Handbagger reaction:
Dude, there's champagne.
Yeah, and we're not being glared at. Wait, yes we are.

So now we're sitting at our table, which seems Siberian in it's remove from the most hotly lit part of the room, but is, in fact, the best seat in the house.

Why? Okay, you know how the winners finish - or are musically obliterated if they take too long - and then have to leave, right? So imagine being at the very first table they pass once they step off stage. It was perfect. We got to say hello to friends who won, applaud others we liked, and express wilted enthusiasm for those we did not. Note: Only handbaggers get to express wilted enthusiasm. It's part of the job actually, to proxy frown on behalf of a celebrity who must express delight no matter how she really feels. Handbaggers are free. We express truth, like poets.

And best of all, on Sunday we got to salute Mavis every time she made the u-turn back onto the stage. In hindsight whoops and fist-pumps was probably too much, but it was a Magnum of champagne, and the only food that wasn't cleared away was chocolate. You do the math: Two squirrelly handbaggers, one table, three hours, and nothing to sustain us but the ingredients for a truly delicious speedball. We deserve medals is what we deserve. Medals.

The GG's are more fun to attend, and to watch, than all the rest of the award shows combined because it's an actual party. On Sunday it got close to becoming a Partaay. We did our best.

A word about poise: Some are born with it; Obama, Streep, Buddha. Others acquire it over time: McEnroe, Lassie, Palin. (Kidding, sheesh.)

Mavis got it at birth. As a baby she even drooled elegantly for chrissake. So, on Sunday, all Duncan and I got out of her, no matter what we did, was an occasional discreet eye roll.
Well done, Mavis.

From a professional handbagger's perspective, the night was a home run. No screw-ups, a lot of useful loot in gift-bags, warm acknowledgment from our clients, and the usual silvery laughter when we mentioned that a nice tip might be in order. Why is that funny?

The fact that, after we got home, the hem of Alfre's dress may have accidentally lingered in a tiny pool of urine left by Mavis' adorable brain-free dog can hardly be blamed on either of us. She was wearing it at the time, after all. The Dress. Not the dog. The dog was not wearing... the dog never got anywhere near the dress, okay?