WITH DONNA SHOR
MAN OF THE HOUR
How would you feel, as a handsome young male, if you were stripped naked in front of 100 people, dunked in rapidly cooling water, not once but three times, then bundled into an embroidered dress?
This fate befell Matei, the 8-week old son of Sorin Ducaru, the ambassador of Romania, and his wife Carmen, when Matei was baptized recently at Holy Cross Romanian Church, opposite Virginia's Skyline Plaza. Few realized there was a church there; from the outside it is an unobtrusive white cottage, but the interior is worthy of one of the Romanian mountain monasteries, with walls and ceiling covered by paintings and golden icons. Matei (Matthew to us) remained unfazed by it all, shedding nary a tear, even managing a smile for the crowd. Later at the embassy residence reception, as still more guests from diplomatic and social Washington filed past, he slept happily, ensconced on a sofa near the buffet table.
Seated near him was guest Bishop Irineu of Detroit, who brought a huge cake topped with a photo of Matei emblazoned on its surface-in buttercream.
WHY SHOULD PRESBYTERIANS GET ALL THE BREAKS?
Pamela Ferguson says one of the biggest laughs anyone ever got at the Alfalfa club dinner came when incoming Alfalfa president Sen. Mitch McConnell "quoted" President Bush as saying ‘Laura asked me if I couldn't open up Pennsylvania Avenue to pedestrians, but I told her I wanted it to be open to all religions."
AGE CANNOT WITHER HER
Shakespeare's tribute to Cleopatra was channeled byGloria Steinem who, on being told "You don't look fifty!" at her 50th birthday responded "This is what fifty looks like."
Today's sure and secure women, beauties like Kay Kendall and Grace Bender, now mark their milestones with publicly avowed celebrations. (One anonymous male reader called this columnist after seeing Kay pictured in Washington Life celebrating her 60th saying, "That woman can't be sixty. Are you sure it's who the caption says it is?")
Grace, hunting for the perfect dress for her sixtieth birthday party in May, went to scope out French couture with Paris-wise Corinne Bensahel (who writes for Madame Figaro) and came back with a goldtoned Elie Saab gown, saying, "He does the feminine and flattering styles that are part of the mystique of Jackie Onassis and my idol, Audrey Hepburn." When asked about her obviously slimmed-down self, Grace said "It was easy. All my girl friends got jobs, so I'm not sitting around eating hours-long lunches now."
BENAZIR WAS BACK
Hafizah and Ishaq Sharyar held a reception for Benazir Bhutto, who comes here annually for the National Prayer Breakfast. The former prime minister of Pakistan is trying to get permission to return to her country, with an eye toward the 2007 elections where she hopes to run for the same office again. Busy on the lecture circuit, and involved with women's issues, Bhutto spends her time between New York, where husband, Asef Ali Zardari is now living after eight years in prison. Seen: Jordanian Ambassador Karim Kawar; Rim Abboud, wife of the Lebanese ambassador; Bolivian Ambassador Jaime Aparicio and wife Pamela; Mobil Exxon's Daniel Nelson and wife Irene; Tim and Jan Haak; Tandy and Wyatt Dickerson (who reminisced with Benazir about old friends); Christine Warnke, Didi and Walter Cutler, Isabell and Ricardo Ernst, Robin and Ruben Jeffrey and the Sharyar's long-time friend, hair stylist Zahra of the Watergate, whose late father was Pakistan's president. "I came here with nothing left, speaking little English-so I could not work in an office-and had few funds after the upset in my country," Zahra said. "Then I realized I did not need perfect English to style hair, so I took a course, and made a life here."
ONE MORE CHANCE FOR A HANGOVER
The Russian New Year follows the Old Calendar, and is celebrated two weeks later than our New Year in the West. The annual ball to celebrate the occasion is always a hoot, as serenely garbed Russian nobility and other friends of the organizers, Prince and Princess Alexis Obolensky, are witness to some of the wildest entertainment in Washington. Some years it is sword dancers, sometimes a gypsy troupe; this year it was a spirited dance group whose star levitated himself five feet in the air, legs splayed out at his sides, by sheer strength. Always there is a marvelous balalaika band, and this year Herbert and Carol Traxler introduced a stately Viennese waltz group, whose pretty girls were white satin-clad, their escorts in black-tie.
The ball was attended by Yuri Ushakov, the ambassador of the Russian Federation, and Svetlana Ushakova. Others present included Georgian Prince and Princess David Chavchavadze, she wearing a glittering tiara, Gertrude d'Amecourt had four tables, over one of which son Guy d'Amecourt presided. Ambassadorial couples included John and Marie-Therese Lowell of Malta, and Helgi and Heba Agustsson of Iceland. Also seen were Lolo Sarnoff, Gen. Rick Lessey, Renee and Gen. Wallace Robinson, and Vera and Louis Emmerij. The evening was ended with the timehonored champagne toast.
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