Six well-connected women introduced their well-connected friends to some other women last night, women who as it happens are running for Congress and need lots of money.
This is commonly referred to as the good-old-girl network in action. Last night, it was also called the Georgetown dinner party as pre-theater benefit for the Women's Campaign Fund.
There were four dinners, to be exact, all as different as cold cuts are from fettucine in basil sauce (a few samples from the menus) but similar in their distaste for the male political opponent.
"So he said," said candidate Claudine Schneider, who's running for the House as a Republican from Rhode Island, "'Don't worry, in a few months you'll be back scrubbing floors and doing dishes.'" This comment she attributed to the incumbent, Edward Beard of Cranston. She does not consider him the most enlightened of modern men.
This political sniping was occurring at the home of Teresa Heinz, a Women's Campaign Fund board member and wife of John, the Repulican food products heir and the wealthiest man in the Senate.
Heinz's party attracted other Republians as well, including Keke Anderson, wife of the Illinois representative who's running what everybody calls a darkhorse campaign for president. She arrived fresh from the stump and kicking, so to speak.
"How's he doing in New Hampshire?" called a guest nearby.
"He's taking off his gloves, that's what he's doing," she replied, then launched earnestly into The Wonders of John Anderson.
Aside from Heinz, the rest of the dinner hostess line-up went like this:
Polly Fritchey, all-around fund-raiser, at her home on P Street. Co-hosted by Li Stevens, wife of the former American Film Institute director. Featuring creamy chicken, candelabra, chandeliers, veteran Washington socialites, Rep. Les Aspin (D-Wis.) and Sen. Thomas Eagleton (D-Mo.), the long-time Jimmy Carter supporter who was immediately asked what he thought of Ted Kennedy's speech the other day.
"Decent speech," he said, "but I don't think the Carter game plan was changed one whit by it."
Donna Shalala, an assistant secretary at HUD, at her townhouse on 33rd Street. Co-hosted by Carol Randals, the former executive director of the campaign fund and now executive assistant to Shalala. Featuring cheese chunks, a warm fire, young administration people and Pat Hendel, a Democrat who's running for the House from Connecticut.
"I think registration is probably a good idea," she said, answering the question about women that everybody asks her these days. "I have three draft-age kids, and probably they should all register."
Pam Fleischaker, the campaign fund's political director, at her home on 36th Place N.W. Featuring quiche and political consultants.
After all the dinner parties, everybody went down to the Kennedy Center to see "West Side Story" and then eat some more at a reception afterward.
The campaign fund, which has been around since 1974 to provide money for viable campaigns of women politicians, hoped to net $20,000 from the event.