Each August, I breathlessly await the arrival of the gazillion-page September Vogue, not for the fashion, silly, but to answer the question that flits among my neurons all summer: Who will editrix Anna Wintour anoint as her new TB (tennis boyfriend)?
For as I said in a post on this site last winter about Maureen Dowd, RGIII and Jane Austen, an accomplished woman of good fortune must be in want of a PB (pretend boyfriend).
Or, in Anna’s case, a PTB or just TB. As we all know, Anna – who has featured many, mostly male tennis stars in the pages of Vogue – has been pretend-dating Roger Federer – aka Feddy Bear – for years, sending racks and racks of clothes over to his hotel suite when he’s in town for the US Open, presumably while Mrs. Fed looks the other sartorial way.
Then in 2011, Anna’s journalistic instincts got the better of her and she decided to play the hot hand and feature in May Vogue a man who may be as far removed from Fed as you can possibly be and still have an X and a Y on your 23rd pair of chromosomes – Novak Djokovic. In an electric spread that opened with a two-pager of Nole in a black Speedo on a springboard looking down into a Miami pool as a phallic diving tower rose behind him, it was suddenly clear what was going on: Feddy was the weekday TB or even the TH (tennis husband). Nole was the weekender, the one you sneak off to the Hamptons with for days (and nights) of unbridled passion.
Anna – the cagey minx – is still having her cake and eating, well, she would never eat cake, so nix that metaphor. Anna’s still having it both ways. On page 536, there’s a feature on the new Mrs. Nole, the former Jelena Ristic, and how she came to select the divine Sarah Burton of the House of Alexander McQueen for her stunning Empire-style wedding gown. The story was obviously prepared before the July event, but note how the article keeps referring to her as Ristic rather than Djokovic or Mrs. Djokovic. Perhaps it’s for professional reasons. Mmm….
Jelena was Vogue It Girl last September, an issue that once again featured that pix of Nole in the Speedo. (The New York Times’ Style section was so grateful for the Nole beefcake, it gave Vogue a shout-out.) Double mmm….. (All kidding aside, Anna has been a huge help to the Noles in promoting the Novak Djokovic Foundation, which is doing wonderful work by giving Serbian youngsters a head start in education.)
But now the plot thickens. As I paused to read about how Jelena selected the divine Sarah for her bridal gown, my hands trembled for I knew I was getting closer to Page 794, when I would come face-to-face with Anna’s new love.
And the winner is…Grigor Dimitrov, who is known as – Baby Fed.
Is this perfect, or what? Couldn’t you just die from the synchronicity of it all?
To say the rakishly handsome Grigor – aka Serena Williams’ former lover, aka Maria Sharapova’s current beau, aka No. 8 in the world – is a guy guy is like saying New York is a glamorous city. In the no-doubt Anna-approved story by Molly Creeden, the author meets him in L.A.’s Manhattan Beach, where he lives with Maria, for one of those trendy omelettes people who never eat are always eating. Now for the real meat:
“Ten days earlier, the Bulgarian-born 23-year-old dismantled defending British champion Andy Murray in straight sets at Wimbledon – in front of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, no less – before meeting number-one seed Novak Djokovic in the semifinals. (Big-serving 23-year-old Canadian player Milos Raonic, the other young gun in the semifinals, folded against Roger Federer.) With bravura court coverage and flexibility, Dimitrov then pushed the famously fit Serbian to two tiebreaks in four tight sets. Forced to defend three set points in the fourth-set tiebreak, Djokovic let fly audible growls of frustration before pulling through to take the match. ‘I was playing against a future star,’ Djokovic said.” (Nole has also called Grigor “the best-looking guy on the tour.” That as he interrupted one of Grigor’s press conferences to ask him provocatively what was his favorite flavor of Sugarpova, Maria’s candy brand.)
Whew, I don’t know about you but I need a cigarette or a shower or something after that, what with all the young-gun folding or forcing of famously fit people in tight sets. Anna may pay lip service to brides in her magazine, but we know she prefers the couplings that take place within the tight tiebreaks of the men’s game.
So how did she display Grigor, whom she’s presented several times before? Remember, he hasn’t had a Nole-like breakthrough yet, so he only got two pages. But one was a full-color shot of him under a pier in Ralph Lauren, the tux shirt un-tucked and unbuttoned just so.
Now for the pièce de résistance: Guess who could meet each other in the US Open semifinals? Oooh, it’s too good. Feddy Bear and the man who has patterned his game after his. It’s like “All About Eve,” except with tennis rackets.
More to the point, how will Anna survive? Who will she root for? The Dismantler or the Young Gun? We may have to supply her with a Dolce & Gabbana fan for the occasion.
Truth in advertising: In my upcoming novel “In This Place You Hold Me,” I pay homage to the notion of the editrix who lusts after athletes. But this is no “Devil Wears Prada.” In almost 35 years in the business, I’ve known too many such editrixes.
I daresay, I’m one myself.