Celebrity Sightings - NYC Edition

I stopped subscribing to US Weekly as soon as my kids recognized the cover from the supermarket. They’d yell, “Mom, stop reading that stuff and help me [insert task here].” Sure I need to feed and bathe them sporadically. But I still love me some good celebrity dirt. This past week in New York, I sighted Tony Soprano’s TV sister at a downtown cheese shop. Emboldened by my success, I thought I recognized an actor from HBO’s “Girls.” Among friends and family, I’m well known for my accurate celebrity sightings. To my credit, that guy in my running club did kinda-sorta resemble Apolo Ohno. Both are dark-haired men.

Here’s the problem with my celebrity sightings, especially in New York. (1) I routinely identify celebs incorrectly, even in my own community. One summer, Giada De Laurentiis visited our Healdsburg Farmer’s Market. I thought she was that finance whiz from HBO’s “Newsroom.” (2) My distance vision stinks. Please refer back to reason #1. (3) New Yorkers are famously forward. If you mid-identify a random guy as a purported celebrity, he wants to know whom you think he resembles. And what if that character isn’t the hunkiest gentleman on the program? And what if that “kinda looks like that guy on TV” guy is seated at the same wine bar where you’re hoping sell your pinot noir? This is a pickle.

Last week, my fabulous NYC distributor Michael Riahi and I strolled into a stunningly beautiful and very hip downtown wine bar. As soon as we arrived, I spied an orange knit hat and a ratty, half-beard across the bar. Any New Yorker worth her salt will tell you that guy (knit hat/facial hair) fits the description of every man in Williamsburg. But I am a county gal. I am clueless. I think he must be the only guy with a knit cap and hipster facial hair, and thus he must be “Hannah’s” apartment mate.

“Michael. Look! It’s that guy from Girls. The one who lives in Hannah’s building. The one who is having a baby with Adam Driver’s sister. You know the one."

But Michael doesn’t know. He only knows Allison Williams, because she is stunningly beautiful. Alas she is not at the bar.

“Oh my God, if I get a picture of him holding a Bruliam bottle, we can post a funny bit and ask people identify him. And we can donate the money to Laird’s charity.”

Notice how fiction and real life have collapsed. I’m just like Hannah (Lena Dunham?), except I’m twice her age and pay mortgage. Full disclosure: I had to google “HBO Girls guy who lives in Hannah’s building and is having baby” to come up with “Laird.” Now I’ll have to google “actor who plays Laird” to identify the man.


I get so excited that I blurt out my revelation to the beverage manager.

“Hey isn’t that guy at the end of the bar the one who lives in Hannah’s building? Hannah on Girls. HBO Girls.”

I am distracted and exuberant. But I am meant to be selling wine. This is why I am a lousy saleswoman.

The wine buyer says, “That guy? No he’s an art dealer in Williamsburg.” And when he is finished tasting my wines, he ambles over to the Laird-alike to say, “that lady thinks you’re on TV.” Then looks-like-Laird alights from his barstool and walks back to me, and together we google “image Laird HBO Girls” on his big screen iPhone 5.

“Yeah,” he says graciously. “I get the resemblance. Knit hat, cropped beard.” He does not tell me I look like that winemaker on TV, the one from The Bachelor, season 16.