11/17/2004 AT 10:00 AM EST
On a crisp October night, a crowd of smitten socialites flocked to Manhattan's hip Soho House for an invitation-only screening of Alfie and – for the cherry on top – a glimpse of its star. "It was like a casting call for Desperate Housewives," says Debbie Bancroft, a society columnist for Avenue magazine, who had just celebrated a special occasion. "I went up to him and said, 'You want to give me a little sugar for my birthday?' He leaned in and gave me a soft, sweet kiss on my cheek. I was in heaven." Law's costar Marisa Tomei witnessed the encounter "and arched her eyebrows at me," recalls Bancroft. "I said, 'I'm shameless, aren't I?' and she said yes." Bancroft didn't care: "I walked away covered in goose bumps."