Yesterday's post about entertaining reminded me of one of my favorite movies, "Rear Window". One thing about that movie that has always annoyed me, however, was how Jimmy Stewart's character was always critical of his girlfriend Lisa (played by Grace Kelly) as being too perfect. Now tell me, what man would not be head over heels crazy over the fact that he was 1) dating a woman who was as gorgeous as Grace Kelly; 2) dating a woman who brought over a Mark Cross train case with a silk peignoir set in order to spend the night (I'm more taken with the Mark Cross train case but obviously the man would be excited about the overnight stay part); and 3) dating a woman who surprised him with dinner from 21! Scenario #3 really gets me because here was Grace with a waiter from 21 in tow with dinner for two. Lobster, no less. And all Jimmy Stewart could do was make a snide comment about how perfect everything was as usual. What a fool. Wouldn't you want someone to show up at your door with lobster from a fabulous restaurant- with a bottle of Montrachet no less? That's what I thought.
A little perfection never hurt anyone as long as you strive for it in moderation. So, if I were Lisa and I was surprising my significant other with such a feast (in my case it would probably be from La Grotta seeing that it's next door to my building), I'd go for perfection in my tablesetting too and perhaps set a table like these:
The dark colors of Lee Radziwill's vignette adds just the right amount of masculinity for a table for two. Vermeil chargers and flatware; Le Tigre cushions on the chairs. Ostentatious? You bet, and I love it.
A casual table by Elsa Peretti. I wouldn't serve lobster from 21 on this table; a bit too casual, and after all, you're not ordering dinner from 21 every night. Still, it's romantic.
Betsy Bloomingdale was being thoughtful and included a small TV on the table so that her husband could watch a game. I wouldn't include a TV on the table during my little dinner, but if you do decide to do so, expect to have to wear that peignoir set to get his attention.
And you know, TV trays are not tacky. Just look at what the late Nan Kempner did to hers. If my dining companion complained about things being too perfect, I'd show him the door and console myself with my Flora Danica plates.
(All table images from The New Tiffany Table Settings)