Les Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders are the relentlessly stunning women with fetching drawals and correct posture at the table for 13 near the stage at La Nicoise.
La Nicoise is the moderately expensive French restaurant and cabaret up on Wisconsin Avenue where the waiters wear roller skates.
Weesconseen Aveneau. Rulla Skeet .
And Raymon Losito, 39, is the restless, curly-haired fellow with Italian blood and blue eyes. He and his partner Jean-Louis Martin, 37, run the place. Everybody, she is French. And when it comes to charming beautiful women, those Frenchmen -- well . . .
It is Wednesday night, and eight chaperoned cheerleaders have come for dinner and the cabaret performed nightly by the La Nicoise staff. The cheerleaders spent the day at the Pentagon (where they received a plague for their USO work overseas) and at the Capital Hilton (where they performed at a good-will party thrown by the Dallas Convention Bureau).
At La Nicoise, they are a table of blown-dry blond and raven-haired apparitions; there is more fat in any single salad on the table than there is seated around it. A couple of bankers from Richmond come by to ask, in polite Virginia drawls, who they are. Two women seated right next door studiously ignore the commotion. The women say they work at the State Department. They think football is "brutal."
"The girls perform all the time -- we wanted to take them to a place where they could enjoy someone else perform," says Ed Simmons, a Rich Little look-alike who is director of sales for the convention bureau and tonight's group leader, having been to La Nicoise several times before. He is seated next to Suzanne Mitchell, 38, the cheerleaders' fasttalking, fiery-eyed den mother. She points out that these are but eight of the 36 cheerleaders, and that they ironically will be headed back to Dallas before Sunday's big game against the Redskins.
"They appear at home games only," she says. "And the Super Bowl."
She says this as if the Super Bowl is part of the regular season.
Anyway, those looking for a performance will not be disappointed by Losito.
He kisses each cheerleader as she enters and is introduced, all the while maintaining his wry, french-acented patois.
"Angela, mmmmm, hello. Ah Sonia --- a Russian. [Giggles all around.] Toni, hello, hello. You know, it is okay for me to kiss you because I am gay, I really don't like women," he lies happily. He stretches a facetious arm toward Jean-Louis. "May I present my wife?"
One cheerleader scrunches her brow, and whispers something to another.
Later, losito is parked temporarily in a chair next to Sonia, conversing intensely. He is sitting smack in the middle of one of the two linoleum-lined fast lanes that bear most of the roller-skating traffic on either side of the dining room, and the waiters have to squeeze by him.
Waiter Gerard Daver is skinny and dark-haired and swift. Someone asks him what would happen if he collided with Losito.
"I will get fired," he says. He takes off after one of his customers, who is headed for the ladies room.
"You know how those Dallas people talk," Losito says later of the tete-a-tete with Sonia. "I talked to her for 10 minutes. I don't think she understood a word I said."
He is kidding. He is also kidding when he sends the maitre d', his younger brother Christian, out to take the cheerleaders' order dressed as Joe Theismann -- shoulder pads, helmet and all.
"Hard to find, those helmets," says Martin. Herman's has them, though.
"He's perfect, says dark-haired, throaty-voiced Doris, 22, speaking of Raymond Losito. "He fits the whole atmosphere of the club." Losito keeps asking her if she's Jewish. She keeps saying she is Italian. Her last name is Boettigheimer.
They love the show -- during which, at one point Christian Losito returns dressed as a Redskin for a takeoff of the famous Mean Joe Green Coca-Cola commercial. When Losito whips off his jersey to toss to the little kid who offers him a soda pop, he is wearing a brassiere.
Several customers come up to ask the cheerleaders for autographs, and to welcome them to Washington. And to gaze.
Jane Fulkerson, 19, does not think the cheerleaders are being exploited for their looks. "It's thrilling," she says. "None of us have to go on these trips. We all work full time or go to school. We should be glad that people pay attention to us, ask us for our autographs."
Has she ever been on television?
"Yes," she says. "I was in a 'Love Boat' last year. A leading role."
Oh -- an actress, then?
"No," she says.
Ah. Adieu .