The date: Aug. 6, 2007
The venue: Soho House, New York
The crowd: Tori and Dean, Oxygen's ad sales team and a whole room full of junior media buyers, median age 27.
The food: There was cheese, fruit and crackers for the light snackers, but the trays with mini-hamburgers, peanut-chicken crackers and roasted peaches seemed to be the most popular.
The bar: An all-you-can-drink wealth of cocktail combos and a few choice wines.
The swag: No gift bags, but a photo op with Tori and Dean meant you'd have something to show all your high-school friends who watched "90210" with you back in the day.
It's been a slow summer for Freeloader. After the upfront-and-awards-show rush of May and June, our inbox has been woefully low on RSVP requests that don't involve trekking out to the Hamptons. But nothing beats the August doldrums like a good ol' celebrity sighting, even a C-list one, so we leapt at the chance to hobnob with Tori Spelling and her new hubby, Dean McDermott.
You'd have thought the happy couple was expecting Freeloader's arrival, because there they were at the doorway, posing for the first of what were surely hundreds of pictures for the evening. But we quickly stepped out of the flashbulb's way so the air-conditioning could blast away the remnants of the New York concrete heat (another reason Freeloader's been MIA -- the heat is an instant buzz-killer when you're drying to get drunk on free booze).
As we cooled off over by the veggie tray, we couldn't help but notice how fantastic Tori looks, having had a baby five months ago. Our thoughts were soon echoed by Oxygen's new ad-sales chief, Mary Jeanne Cavanagh, who thanked everyone for coming and congratulating Tori and Dean on the second season of their reality series "Inn Love." It was cute to see Tori notably blush when Cavanagh mentioned how the star kept the ad-sales clients happy. Now that she's gone all domestic on us, one would expect Procter & Gamble and Unilever to be knocking down the door of her new bed and breakfast.
Still not cool enough to have our picture taken, but awfully thirsty, we ventured to the bar for Drink No. 1, where we were disappointed to learn that our only white-wine option was pinot grigio. Don't get Freeloader wrong -- we love a good pinot, but nothing gets a summer party started in our book quite like a nice glass of chardonnay. Still, we had a job to do.
Having made peace with our second-choice wine, it was time to eat. As we nibbled on a few slices of gourmet cheeses, a tray of mini-hamburgers began to bounce across the room, its contents dwindling whenever it passed a crowd of blondes. (Apparently the key to keeping that summer color is lots of protein.) After beating a group of junior media execs to the punch, we successfully managed to grab the first of what would be four mini-burgers for the evening. (Freeloader figures four mini-burgers had to equal about one quarter-pound burger, give or take a few ounces. We didn't care after the second glass of wine, anyway.)
Our food options significantly scoped out, it was finally time to suck it up (and suck it in) for our big Tori photo op. The trend of the evening, we noticed, seemed to be having your picture taken in a group with random people. But Freeloader has never been one to share, so we boldly stepped up to Tori and Dean solo.
"Is it just you?" Tori said sweetly as we tried to part the Tori/Dean Sea, so as not to play favorites.
"Yeah, I'm a one-man show. Plus my friends are all getting booze," Freeloader replied coyly, lest she think we were moving in on her hubby's territory (Dean, you've got nothing to worry about).
Just as we began to drape our arms around the happy couple, Freeloader's Oxygen friend materialized, so we hastily invited her to come join the fun. Having elbow-jabbed our fair share of bystanders during upfront season to get our picture taken with Parker Posey at the Fox after-party, we figured it was only fair to make exceptions and share every once in awhile.
But after the photo, it was time to swipe the last mini-burger from the nearby tray. A Freeloader's work is never done.