Belle Michelle

UPDATED 02/27/1995 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 02/27/1995 at 01:00 AM EST

YOU CALL THIS A WHIP?" SNEERED THE ONETIME CATWOMAN, checking out the flimsy lash before playfully flogging the backsides of the two lads in dinner jackets who had just handed it over. Their reaction to the assault: a heartfelt thumbs up. "Now I can die happy," sighed 22-year-old John Berman, president of Harvard University's Hasty Pudding Theatricals club, best known for its annual musicals featuring male undergrads in drag—and for giving goofy awards.

In a not-so-dangerous liaison, three-time Oscar-nominee Michelle Pfeiffer, 37, visited Cambridge, Mass., on Feb. 13 to accept Hasty Pudding's 1995 Woman of the Year Award—a small brass pudding pot. Tom Hanks is scheduled to receive the Man of the Year Award this week.

Pfeiffer's day included a chilly parade, attendance at the obligatory bawdy show and a full-blown roast. The actress was called upon to "audition" for her award—in her case, by reading lines from 1982's Grease 2, as club officers mockingly offered pointers. Pfeiffer got her revenge—and brought down the house—when she was asked to demonstrate her skill with the lash.

On receiving her prize, Pfeiffer gushed, "I'm flattered and very honored," then added a practical note: "My daughter is starting potty training, and I thought I could get her started with this."

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