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Another Stellar Moment of Celebrity Gazing for Me

Karin Kallmaker Sisters of the Pen

See those shoes? They fit in my mouth.

At the opening of the Kate Clinton Friday night show, there were numerous VIPs being ushered to reserved seats. As I was chatting with Kate’s publicist, Michele Karlsberg, a distinguished looking woman paused, needing Michele to tell her where to sit. Clue one: this is someone who has a reserved seat. Clue two: she looks very, very familiar.

I lingered, like any networking dyke would, wracking my brain as to who this could be. Behind her, another woman I took to be a partner was also waiting. Michele began to introduce us, but didn’t get to the other woman’s name after saying mine. Instead she said of the mystery woman, “Well, you need no introduction.” That was clue three.

At this point, my brain was spinning in circles. I was thinking it was Roberta Achtenberg, but I hadn’t seen a photo of her in several years. I ought to have taken away several points from this guess as there was no reason other than the obvious ones for the out-lesbian, former Clinton administration/San Francisco Board of Supervisors member to be at Women’s Week. But once I thought “politician” I could find no other source for names.

There was no reason for politicos to be there, of course. There was far more reason for, say, a musician, say a prominent one, say, one I would be blown away to even meet, and, quoting Michele at that point, “Kick myself for not recognizing” ten minutes later. It quickly became clear that I was having a major lack of estrogen moment.

The woman laughed, the partner looked horrified, and I retreated a mass of blushes. At least I didn’t guess Roberta, I knew it was somehow wrong. I made it to my side of the room, asked those nearby –pointing– “Who is that?”

A chorus of voices answered, “Cris Williamson.” No wonder Michele had been sadly shaking her head.

I was a major doofus. This easily scored as my most doofus moment ever. It was worse than meeting Greta Cammermeyer, who upon saying to agog me, “I’m Greta Cammermeyer” received my witty response of “Yes, you are.”

This was way, way worse.

There was nothing for it. I went back across the room, entered the zone of reserved seating, and admitted that I was chagrined, embarrassed and feeling my lack of estrogen for not having recognized her. I think after I finished trying to get the feet out of my mouth that I was appropriately fan grrlish. Not sure I mentioned her music or what I liked most about it, having seen her perform live, how inspiring her courage to be an out performer was, nope, pretty sure most of that stayed in my head.

But I must have said something reasonably okay, because after Kate’s wonderful set, I found myself chatting with her again. We discussed writing. I think. I know my mouth moved, I know she spoke and I was listening. It’s all a blur though.

So that’s the story of how I met Cris Williamson. She was delightful and gracious and I was a doofus.

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