“You know,” a doyenne of the Washington dinner party scene tells you, “this is a very dangerous story you are working on.”
“This is just not something people want to talk about,” a well-known host says.
“If you put my name in there,” a socialite tells you, “I will get [your editor] to kill you.” She smiles, sitting in the parlor of her lovely home. Then she rises, as powerful people often do when the conversation has ended but you do not know it, and you are cordially escorted to a grand door. You notice the maid, who announced your arrival, watching your departure.
You hurry in your conservative pumps down the broken brick sidewalk, perplexed. All you wanted was to find out what has replaced the legendary Washington dinner party — the fabled institution that rose to fame with the arrival of the glamorous Kennedys. The kind of party where a “real Washington hostess” with a champagne voice reigned supreme over guest lists, hoping that history might be made in her dining room. The kind of party that journalist Sally Quinn, known for her own glamorous dinners, declared dead in a 1987 article in this very Magazine. “The Party’s Over,” the headline read.