My girl Brooke

I never realized how fat Brooke Shields was until she became my traveling companion last Christmas. That little heifer is so big that if you try to stuff her in your suitcase she’ll push you over the weight limit at the airport.

What a bitch.

And the worst part about it is I wasn’t even supposed to be traveling with Brooke Shields. I should have been with Isabella Rossellini, and we all know Europeans are skinnier than Americans, so I would have had no problem getting her to fit in my luggage. Hell, she could probably even squeeze into my carry on.

But in the end, that’s not the way things worked out.

Last Christmas I was in the Philadelphia area visiting family and friends, including my best friend Jane. We’ve been best friends since we were 11 years old and she’s more than aware of my mild obsession with Vogue magazine. For my Christmas gift she decided to find a copy of the magazine that was on the newsstands when I was born and have it framed for me. She spent weeks hunting down a copy of the November 1983 issue of Vogue.

I was born in November 1982.

Jane was also born in 1982. We’ve been the same age for at least the last 12 years that we’ve been friends. I guess that’s just one of those things that’s easy to forget, right?

I started to become suspicious about my gift when Jane called me as I was driving to her house. After wishing me a merry Christmas and questioning me about when I’d be arriving, she asked, “Hey, Zsa, how old are you?”

“Twenty-three,” I said. I didn’t even ask why she wanted to know. With Jane the random becomes the predictable.

“Shit!” she said, before letting out a long sigh. “Well, just remember it’s the thought that counts.”

When I arrived at her place she didn’t give up any more hints about what my gift might be, but as soon as I unwrapped it I realized what she had tried to do. I was looking down at a Vogue from the early 80’s, but I knew that it wasn’t my Vogue, my birthday Vogue, because if it was, then Isabella Rossellini should have been looking up at me. I’d looked up my birthday Vogue before in library archives (this is where the mild obsession comes in) and this wasn’t it. But it was close enough to the right date that I knew what she was aiming for.

And it was the thought that counted. And I loved my gift for its well-intended thoughtfulness.

When the holidays were over I packed up my bags and said goodbye. I’d exchanged the gifts that I’d come with, light items like t-shirts and paperback books, for the gifts that I’d received, heavy monsters like bottles of body wash, pounds of candy, and one Brooke Shields Vogue – the entire magazine encased in a deep wooden frame.

I could feel the difference in weight as I pulled my suitcase behind me and I entertained the same paranoid fears that I always do when I’m traveling, that my luggage won’t meet the requirements and I’ll be forced to leave my precious possessions behind. The airplane will be taxiing down the runway and I’ll have my nose pressed against the window crying as I watch my luggage growing smaller in the distance. I’ll be filled with the same emotions as people who helplessly watch their house burn to the ground. It’s pretty serious stuff.

This had never actually happened before so I was surprised to hear that I was five pounds over the 50 pound weight limit after I dragged my suitcase onto the scale at the ticket counter. The AirTran employee told me that I could either remove the extra weight from my bag or pay a fine. I’d already spent more money than I wanted to over the holidays so I zipped open my suitcase and dug around until I found the heaviest item in there – Ms. Brooke Shields herself.

I didn’t have an extra bag to put Brooke Shields in and she didn’t fit in my carry on, so I had to carry her around in my arms. We made a pretty handsome couple, actually. I think our lip glosses matched. God help you if you’re traveling through airports around the holidays and you don’t match your pretty baby. You know what will happen, don’t you? Former Vogue editor Grace Mirabella will drop down out of proverbial fashion heaven and bitch slap you right where you stand in the Philadelphia International Airport.

Luckily we didn’t have those problems and Brooke Shields, or B.S. as I started calling her, and I were free to move around. When we got to our gate B.S. got her own seat to wait in before our flight arrived, which I thought was b.s. But what can you do? Super models are full of attitude.

When we got to the end of our trip I realized that traveling isn’t about the expectations you bring with you but the memories you bring back. And about the overweight celebrities that follow you home.

Note: Starting with one from the archives to fatten up the posts. This one is circa 2006. I write better now. kinda.

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