Monday, November 14, 2011

George Clooney is magic


Every year on the first weekend of November I travel to LA to interview some of my favorite actors for the Day of Days event. I go specifically for the event, which is always amazing. But it’s the things that happen during those hours when I’m not in soap opera mode that are truly magical, and what I’ve come to love the most.

Despite the fact that the weather wasn’t much warmer than Seattle—in fact, Mr. W and I got caught in a torrential downpour like nothing Seattle has ever seen while we were at Hollywood & Highland—LA treated me as well as it always does. The event on Saturday went better than I expected. Some of the cast couldn’t make it, but we got to interview everyone who was there (which never happens). The show brought back some old veterans recently and I found myself sitting across the table from a couple of stars I was enamored with as a kid. It doesn’t get much better than that.

But it did get better. Later that night Mr. W and I hit Citywalk in Universal Studios and drank giant drinks at a bar with a mechanical bull with friends we don’t get to see often enough. Our friend A arrived from Sacramento that night and we spent Sunday exploring the city (he’s considering relocating). On Sunday night, I suggested we go back to the amazing restaurant Mr. W and I had tried on Friday, a charming little Argentine grill in a strip mall.

As we drank our bottle of wine and waited for our dinners, we discussed A’s possible upcoming move to LA. Somehow the topic of celebrities came up. The streets of Hollywood are lined with brochures for tours that will take people to celebrity “hot spots” and past their homes. In reality, celebs blend right in with everyone else (as someone I follow on Twitter put it, they look like well-dressed homeless people) and every place you go is so crowded you would be overwhelmed if you tried to spot them.

“Besides,” I said, swirling my wine. “None of us watch enough TV to recognize half of them. They’d have to be, like, Jennifer Aniston famous or something.”

“Yeah, and what if you did see one?” A said. “I wouldn’t get starstruck. They’re people too.”

We talked about it for a few more minutes, and then I started to give A a wine-induced pep talk about how he should follow his dreams. As I lectured, a shiny Lexus pulled into the strip mall parking lot and stopped, waiting for the valet driver (yes, in a strip mall). A woman got out, decked out in a long fur coat. I looked her up and down, admiring her outrageous outfit. I was so busy looking at her that I didn’t see who was stepping out of the driver’s seat.

“That’s George Clooney,” Russ said matter-of-factly in the tone of voice that told me he wasn’t kidding. I looked over just in time to see George Clooney flash a sexy smile at the valet driver, toss him his keys and walk the young woman into the sushi restaurant next to us. I looked back at Mr. W and A. And we instantly became the people we were mocking, starstruck and ridiculous.

“Holy shit, that was George Clooney!” I kept saying, and we’d laugh. Not only did we see a celebrity, we saw the celebrity. I know people who don’t own TVs and all of them would recognize Clooney. It was as if the Universe was purposely bitch slapping us for thinking such a thing would never happen.

After dinner we headed to Howl at the Moon Piano Bar at Citywalk, where Mr. W and I had gone last year discovered the drinks were three for one, which made for a terrible Monday but also a great time. This year the special was still on and we took full advantage. The bar was crowded, so I couldn’t see much of the stage where the piano players were rocking out.

“That singer looks kind of like Zooey Deschanel or Katy Perry,” A said. Mr. W and I looked at each other, then tried to see the stage.

Last year, our waitress was the young Katy Perry look-alike. Mr. W and I had gotten chatty with her as a result of all our drinks. That night she ended up taking the stage and belted out “California Girls.” She said it was her first time up and it hadn’t been rehearsed, and that she really hoped to do more of it. One year later she was the star of the show, playing the piano and belting out song requests like she’d been doing it all her life. She sounded amazing and looked like she was having a blast.

And it really made me think. Who in the hell are we not to follow our dreams? No matter what they are, we should be. I started watching a soap opera when I was 11 years old because my life sucked and I wanted an escape. And it led to me getting the privilege of meeting them and interviewing them. I mean, really, who gets to do that? And what could I accomplish if I got out of my own way and really tried? I don’t want to be a piano bar singer but maybe I could run a 5K or something.

The first year I went to LA, I wound up getting dressed up like a Barbie doll by a gay boutique owner. The next year, the most unfortunate looking gentleman I’ve ever seen accosted me during Day of Days, absolutely insisting that I had to be on the show (because I’d come from the press room) and forcing his resume upon me. His resume was one giant run-on sentence in all caps about how he was going to “make it big” as an actor. I swore I couldn’t get him an acting job, but he didn’t believe me. This year, George Clooney got out of a Lexus in a strip mall and ate sushi 100 yards away from me.

Just when I think LA can’t top itself… it does. Every time.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

How NOT to get attention from a female: a cautionary tale

I don’t know if it just seemed extra-awful because I’m spoiled by the amazing men I surround myself with or if I just haven’t been out in awhile, but recently I was exposed to the most pathetic male I have spoken to in years. And it made me realize… for as much time as men in their 20’s spend trying to get sexual attention from females, you’d think they would actually put some effort into learning what works. And I’m not talking about taking seminars from sleazeballs or buying a bunch of drinks and hoping. I’m talking about acting like a decent human being.

The fateful meeting occurred at a nightclub in Portland called Dirty. Despite the unfortunate name, it’s actually a pretty nice place. I was there celebrating a new start in life with two of my dearest friends, my sister wife and my ray of sunshine G. One of them asked their awesomely generous guy friend if he would cover the cost of our VIP table so we could have a place to sit when our heels started to hurt. He said yes. He did so out of the kindness of his heart with no expectations, which automatically makes him cooler than 99% of people in general. But I digress.

So there we were, three chicks all dressed up and looking our best (thanks to G, the stylist), sipping champagne and dancing while our resident male sat in his seat with a smile and cocktail. G mentioned that she had invited one of her friends out and she was going to stop by. The friend arrived shortly thereafter, but she wasn’t alone. The girl is engaged, but she brought her fiance’s best friend with her. I hope I just misunderstood, but apparently that’s the only way the girl was “allowed” to go out… if she had the guy with her. Yikes.

 So the guy sat down, looked all three of us up and down and immediately settled in on my sister wife. He bombarded her with questions while staring at her chest, all while doing that creepy half-smile half-smirk that for some reason that gender think is irresistible. In fact, it looks like they’re about to sneeze.

My sister wife is an instructor at a pole dancing school. Our VIP booth conveniently contained a dancing pole. One of her favorite songs came on as her champagne kicked in and she jumped up to perform one of her many acrobatic routines. Of course, the guy’s jaw dropped open and was rendered still by the unforeseen amazing thing that was happening right in front of him. He looked really douchey just staring at her open-mouthed and it started to get awkward… for me. I felt a little bad for him.

Trying to help him look like less of a weirdo, I leaned in and smiled. “She’s pretty amazing, isn’t she?” I asked.

Swear to God, he looked me in the eye, grinned, and said, “How do I get in her pants?” He then reached his hand up to smack her butt, but stopped when he saw the look in my eyes.

Holding back laughter, I debated on what to say. I didn’t want to come across as what the men folk call a “cock block” and I certainly didn’t want him to assume I was jealous because he wasn’t focusing on me. But I knew my sister wife would kill me if I encouraged him in any way, and rightfully so.

“Um, I think she’s actually pretty satisfied in that department,” I said, trying my hardest not to laugh in his face. “But I’m sure she’s having fun talking to you.”

The guy scoffed. No, really, He actually scoffed. Then he said the words that every single douche bag I’ve ever met in my life has said at one point:

“She hasn’t met me. I’m not like all these other guys. I’m a nice guy.”

Oh, brother. I bet you have lots of money, too.

The general truth is: if a man has to say it, or brag about it, it simply isn’t so.

I didn’t know what to say. So I turned to our resident man friend and said, “This guy is a total tool.”

Sure enough, when my sister wife ended her performance and returned to her seat, the guy went right back to it. This time I decided to listen in for fun. He went on and on about his big house in Beaverton and all the fun things he had there.

“So if you ladies want to come back and drink there later, that would be cool,” he said, nodding in my direction.

Once again, I tried not to laugh. “Why do you live all alone in a big house?” I asked, feigning interest.

“I’m remodeling it as a favor to a relative, so I get to stay there.” He began to tell me about his remodeling projects, but I was already bored. I wandered away and went back to the champagne and the good company. The douche asked my sister wife for her number. She said he was seeing someone. He said that didn’t mean they couldn’t go on a date and get to know each other. She declined.

When it finally became clear that Mr. Nice Guy simply wasn’t going to get anywhere with anyone, he stood up, did what appeared to be some jerky dance moves with the same smirk on his face, nodded his head to the music, and disappeared with his friend’s fiancĂ©e at last.

When they disappeared from our sight, G let out a huge sigh of relief.

“I don’t know if you all noticed,” she said, “but that guy was a total tool.”

I’ll be the first to admit that as a married woman I’m out of the game when it comes to getting picked up. I probably couldn’t advise a man on how to actually get laid. But I can certainly explain how not to:

  1. Immediately tell her you’re a nice guy, and somehow “different” from all the others.
  2. Brag about your lifestyle and how much money you have. Put a douchey twist on everything… not “I’m living rent-free so I can fix up Grandma’s house for her” (which is actually very sweet), but “I have this huge crib stocked with tons of booze and I’m making it even more awesome as a favor to someone in my family far less fortunate than me” (douche). As a double bonus, spend a long time bragging about your money and then make her pay for her own drink.
  3. Ask her friend how to get in her pants.
  4. Immediately- when you’ve known her for no more than five minutes- invite her back to your place when the bar closes to “kick it.”
  5. Be insistent when she refuses your number. I mean, why wouldn’t she want to spend more time with you?
  6. Dance with a constant fist pump.
  7. Smirk.

Do all of those things and throw in a few words like “sick” and “tight” and you’ll never have to worry about things like STDs… or first dates.
 
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