Singapore Adventure

Friday, September 15, 2006

by venitha

Women wear black and necklines plunge. Men sport The Hard Man and dress shirts cling. Wine flows freely in a most unSingaporean / très French manner. This may be heaven.

"Can I get you another drink?"

"But, of course!"

"A refill, madame?"

"Ah, oui! Merci!"

I have only once in my life been this good a host at a party of my own; I was labelled a beer wench, and at least one guest threw up in the gutter outside our house. But tonight's supercilious French crowd is far more sophisticated than my usual clique, and, to my knowledge, no one vomits on the gallery's centerpiece, a bronze cast of Rodin's that just sold for US$1.8 million.

We chat pretentiously ...almost episcopalian in its predictability... We feel severely underdressed ...V: Your hair could do that. J: Stay away from my hair.... We enjoy both wine and art: an I-like-it-but-I-don't-know-why Miro [pictured], a this-is-the-one-I-would-buy Kisling [pictured], a woo-hoo-I-know-one-without-looking-at-the-name-plate . We discover , we of course love Monet, and neither of us understands Chagall in the least, not even after downing a very enlightening amount of free red wine.

Fast forward one year. Subtract one opening party, several dozen members of the Alliance Française, and - sob! - all traces of good French red wine. Replace Rodin's pensive poet with Dali's melting clocks. Add one man ranting loudly on the phone in English with a French accent so caricatural it must be a joke.

Hold constant, however, the tour de force that is the Opera Gallery's artwork. It charms and seduces, amuses and perplexes. We easily tune out Gaston as we wander in spellbound silence.

On our way home, we practice our outrageous French accents and compare notes. They've sold my Kisling. Zut alors! I absolutely adore the modern-day , Botero [pictured]. We both prefer Dali's sketches [pictured] to his sculptures. And Jim is starting to appreciate Chagall. Mon Dieu!