Now, I was told a limo would pick me up Monday morning at 8:15am to take me to set. What pulled up was a passenger shuttle with one other actress inside. She was cute, long brown hair, sunglasses and very grouchy. I said, “So this is the limo . . .”
She said, “I am regretting ever taking this job.”
There were small bottles of water stuffed next to the seats.
I said, “So is this what you do? Are you an actress?”
She said, “Um, sometimes. I do whatever I feel like doing. I hate that question.”
Well, ok then.
She complained about the heat, the volume of the radio and the songs on the radio, but she was actually kind of funny.
We arrived at a mansion in the valley and went up to the attic and saw only a few folding chairs, one full length mirror and one small rack to put all of our clothes. We were asked to take 12 changes of clothing, including a towel and bathing suit.
The Producer, a middle-aged short man with a few buttons undone to reveal a bad tan and some chest hair came up and asked, “Can I get you anything? Are you cold? Hungry?”
I said, “Yes. Yes. And I am on my period.”
He ignored that and we were given a couple granola bars.
The Cute Grouch said, “I have sugar issues and I didn’t have breakfast. I am very concerned that this is ALL we are given.”
I asked, “Can I have a cup of coffee and she needs food, since she has sugar issues.”
The Button-Down Producer said, “No problem. How do you take your coffee?”
I said, “Black. Like my men. (beat) Let me get all the bad jokes out of the way before the cameras roll.”
Button-Down Producer called out to the PAs, “Can you get her a cup of black coffee . . . like her men.”
I said, “The blacks are so adorable. And they suffer.”
Well this was going well.
They brought me a tiny, styrofoam cup of coffee and I said, “Oh wow. Very small and in styrofoam. Mother Earth will forgive us.”
I chugged that thing down in two seconds, and asked the cute PA named Chris if I could have a bigger cup. He said, “Sure. How do you take it?”
I said, “Just black.”
He said, “Easy.”
I said, “That’s right. I am easy in lots of ways.” He laughed. FINALLY.
When Chris (tall, white and 22) came walking up with two cups of coffee in each hand and one large one hanging from his mouth, I said, “I will take the one hanging out of your mouth.” He laughed again and I said, “Oh, that one must be yours.” Damn it. I seriously needed more coffee than this pint-sized, truck stop bullshit.
Two other girls arrived, one around my age with knee high boots and skinny jeans, and one very short, blond in a sundress and uggs. She looked like Skipper with peace fuzz on her jaw. We all sat on the floor.
Cute Grouch asked the PAs, “Have you seen the guys on our show? Are they white?”
The Girl PA said, “Yeah, they are cute.”
I said, “Do you only date white guys?”
Cute Grouch, “Well I told them I date whites and Pacific Islander so I wouldn’t sound racist.”
Skipper was sprawled out on the floor running her fingers through her hair and said, “All my friends told me if I moved out of LA, I would be engaged in 3 months. All my friends are engaged or married.”
Boots said, “Yup. That’s LA. Men here don’t settle down, they don’t have to.”
Boots, “What is with all the cute boy PAs? Are they just trying to tease us?”
I said, “They are warming us up.”
Joey was 21, had big blue eyes and a sock hat on. He took our lunch order. Chris and Joey. MMMMM!
Boots asked Chris, “When do we get served the alcohol?”
I said, “Thank God you asked.”
Boots, “Oh good. I am not the only one. I just want a mimosa to soothe the nerves.”
Chris said, “After we shoot the introduction sequence, we will bring you into the mixer lounge where you can make yourselves a drink.”
We all lined up for our introduction shots, something to say to a camera so we are allowed entrance into the house by the two bachelors on our segment. I asked the girls if I should wear my hair up or down.
Cute Grouch said, “You should always wear it down. Why am I helping out my competition?”
Skipper said without looking at me, “I can’t tell with your sweater in the way.” HISS! Jesus.
All the girls took about 6 takes to say something highly lame, “Hi Guys, surfer girl here, would really like to be let in so I can show you the time of your life.”
Skipper, “Hi, guys. A Southern girl here, would love to be let in. Please, please, please.”
My turn, I said, “Hi Gentlemen. I am a down-to-Earth girl who loves body hair and I’m a cheap date.”
The Associate Producer broke out laughing. Button-Down Producer came up and said, “We don’t want to offend any of the men with the body hair statement.”
I said, “But don’t you want something different? All the girls are saying the same thing.”
So we agreed on, “Hi Gentlemen, I’m a down-to-Earth, quirky girl who really wants to hang out with some nice guys.” SNORE!
I got it in one take, though. I was the only one. Let me take that small victory.
Then we were escorted into the mixing lounge where they had every form of alcohol known to man. I made mimosas for me and Skipper. Cute Grouch didn’t want to be off her game, so she chose not to drink.
Boots poured herself about 4 glasses of wine.
Skipper said, “I am not nervous at all. I am not competitive.”
I said, “I don’t get that from you at all. I think you are competitive.” The way she told me my sweater was in the way of my hair really bothered me.
She said, “Maybe that’s from Cheerleading. I don’t know.”
Skipper said she calls her Dad ‘Pookie’. She spoke about her Dad a lot, which was a little alarming since she looked to be about 12 years old (and dressed like it too). She wasn’t friendly with me, so I was not friendly to her.
I said, “You call your Dad Pookie?”
She said, “Yeah, because he has a hairy chest like a teddy bear.”
She looked out into the backyard.
Skipper, “He would love that water slide by the pool.”
I said, “You mean Pookie?”
She said, “Yeah, Pookie.”
I sipped. I really wanted to wrestle this bitch.
We cheersed our drinks and Boots said to Skipper, “You should always look someone in the eyes when you salute glasses.”
Skipper said, “Oh, let me do this again then.” Clank. Stare.
Boots said, “If a man doesn’t look at me when we cheers on a date, its over for me. I don’t trust him.”
I said, “Are they older men?”
Boots said, “Yeah, they are. I just don’t like the older men very much. Conniving.”
Skipper said, “I love older men. My last boyfriend was 47.” Was his name Pookie?
Boots continued, “They are just sleazier . . .”
I said, “More calculating.”
She said, “Yeah. Manipulative. Young boys are sweet.”
I said, “And I think internet porn ruins them as lovers, whereas Chris here is probably an intuitive lover.”
Chris said, “Very intuitive.”
I said, “Did I overhear that you had a girlfriend?”
He said, ” . . . yeah.”
I asked, “Are you in love?”
He said, “Um, no, not really.”
Me, “How long have you been together?”
He said, “7 months.”
I said, “After 7 months? That would probably end it for me.”
Boots said, “Really?”
Maybe I start off intense, and that is my problem.
Things start getting foggy around here. They had Chris fill up our drinks when they got low.
I was shamelessly flirting with him and Skipper said, “You have been a horndog since you came in here.”
I said, “Well, I am peaking sexually and at the end of my ovulation cycle.”
Chris came back, “So, do you have any tattoos?”
We all went over it and he mentioned he had a family crest over his back.
I said, “Why don’t you show us?”
He stood up and took off his shirt to reveal a large tattoo across his shoulder blades. The other girls smiled at me.
My eyes hung heavily over my glass. Bright white boxers were crawling up from his baggy jeans.
Skipper said, “Two words I can’t stand is tits and urinate.”
I said, “What about cunt?”
She said, “I don’t mind that word.”
I said, “I don’t like the word pissing, that is crude.”
Skipper said, “Yeah, I don’t like that word either.”
I said, “So what, you say peeing?”
I said, “Pookie is peeing.”
The Associate Producer said, “They are still reviewing your tapes from the audition. Then they will select which two girls to cut.”
We all freaked out. The casting session was cut into an audition tape for the GUYS!?!? All of us started getting very anxious about what we said and what was used.
Cute Grouch said, “I changed my mind, can I have vodka?”
Chris said, “Straight?”
She said, “Yeah. Ok, maybe a little red bull in it, too.”
I said, “Wow, jumping in with two feet!”
We were taken out of the room, and came back in with a camera following us. We poured more drinks for ourselves and sat down. A voice came on and said my name- then announced I was the first to be cut.
It was like the first chill you get from a knife on your skin. ME!? I was the first?
I wandered out of the lounge and started going upstairs to get my things when the producer said, “Um, most people leave a house through the front door.”
So I did. There, Chris was waiting.
He didn’t look me in the eyes, but was really nice. He asked me about Doggie Daycare. I was embarrassed.
My mind flooded with ideas about how awkward I must look walking in heels. How enormously freakish my smile was. How my hair never looks quite right on me. I couldn’t flirt anymore, my confidence was wiped out.
Then Skipper came out.
She said, “They didn’t like that I sleep with my cat’s ashes.”
At least she got a reason. Who knows why I was cut.
Immediately they got our reactions on camera. The champagne was in my head and I couldn’t think clearly. I don’t know how much I drank.
Button-Down Producer came down and said, “I am going to ask you questions and I want you to talk to me like I was the one that cut you.”
I said, “A blocky man cut me.”
He said, “You think I am blocky?”
I said, “You have angular features and probably work out every day, right? Button down top and some gel in your hair. You obviously care very much about how you look.”
He never looked at me again. I can be mean.
He asked, “What are the guys missing out on by cutting you?”
I said in two takes, “Awesome sex. I guess they don’t appreciate a woman with a great understanding of the human body.”
We were allowed back in the house to collect our things. I asked Boots to find me on Facebook and then finished my champagne.
Boots said, “Do it! Finish her drink too.”
So I picked up the Vodka red and Skipper’s red wine and downed them both. The Associate Producer laughed.
Boots said, “You are awesome.”
The passenger shuttle pulled up and we were taken away almost immediately. So I guess I am not getting lunch.
I asked Chris, “Can I bum a cigarette?” He gave me a Turkish Silver and I said, “Call me if you ever break up with your girlfriend.”
He said, “Ok.”
As soon as I slipped on my black heart sunglasses, I felt tears. I haven’t been rejected in a long time, and I felt ugly. This image was in my head of my big stupid smile with freakish teeth I had in high school, and my hunchback from poor posture. I felt like an idiot for ever thinking I was pretty.
Now I had to sit with Skipper in a van for an hour in LA traffic. I detest her company.
I said, “There is a burn with being rejected. I didn’t think it would bother me, but it kind of does.”
She said, “I am rejected everyday.”
I said, “You are? You’re not an actress.”
She said, “No, I manage a gym. I guess I am not rejected every day.”
We drove off and I said, “Ron Jeremy says men are not capable of physical monogamy, only emotional monogamy.Bill (the driver), is that true?”
He said, “I am not going to answer that question.”
I leaned back with my iPhone and said, dryly, “Great.”
Joel texted me that he was on my side of town and wanted to buy me drinks. I wrote back that I was already drunk.
He asked for my address. I gave it to him.
Skipper was dropped off and I told the driver, Bill, that I thought maybe I shouldn’t have agreed to do this show so close from breaking up with Abe. I confessed I was fired twice in my life and it still bothers me. The rejection was bringing everything up.
He said, “I think you give too much of yourself right away. We were talking for not only 10 minutes when you gave me everything about yourself. Maybe you should protect yourself a little more.”
I said, “But they are just my thoughts, not me. Why waste time not saying things? And this is a no risk situation. You and I will never see each other again.”
Bill said, “You asked me about monogamy. I have been married 30 years, and its a lot more complicated than yes or no questions.”
I said, “The men I fall in love with don’t want me, and then there are these married men that proposition me. Am I here, trying to become someone’s wife so that I can be on the other end of that in 10-15 years? So I can be someone’s wife while he propositions the younger version of me. I just need to know what I am fighting for.”
He said, “Did I have sexual relations with other women who are not my wife? Yes. Did I have affairs? No. Do I have any regrets about that? (pause) No. I think it helped me even though there were no emotions involved.”
I said, “On your part. Women are more vulnerable in that regard.”
He said, “True, but the women I was involved with I don’t believe were invested in that way.”
There was a silence. He said, “Uhh, hold on. Now I am lost. Talking to you is like walking and chewing gum at the same time, young lady.”
He continued, “I can’t believe I am telling a stranger things I haven’t told anyone about in 30 years.”
I said, “I am glad you are telling me. Maybe what I want doesn’t exist. Maybe I am wasting my time and chasing a fantasy.”
He said, “I would say you are a little further ahead than everyone else. At least you have an idea of whats out there . . . what it means.”
My heart was sinking.
He said, “There is a woman I was in love with before my wife. She lived in Venezuela, and I remember the moment I decided to get married was the moment I realized this woman was too career-driven for me. Her career came first. I had very deep feelings for her, but I went back to the States and proposed to my wife.
She is a good wife, a good person, a good mother. There is nothing wrong with our relationship. Is it the happiest it could ever be? I don’t know. I think about this woman from Venezuela. She recently found me on the internet, and we have started talking. Obviously, its too late to start that back up again. But I wonder what it would if I stayed with her.”
I said, “Great. So you didn’t ask her to marry you because she was career driven?”
He said, “Yeah, I wasn’t the priority. I don’t know if I made the right decision, but I have a good marriage. We just celebrated our 30 year anniversary and its been a solid road. Then you end up in a car with a stranger for half an hour and tell them things you don’t tell anyone.”
I said, “Its a beautiful thing.”
He said, “Well, I hope you can take some part of what I told you and it helps you. Tuck your heart back in from your sleeve. It might save you some of the hurt. You know, most people aren’t like you.”
We stopped in front of my place and he pulled out my luggage and couldn’t look me in the face. We said goodbye, but I felt badly. I think I deserved a hug or at least a handshake.
I went in and threw my clothes on the bed and smoked a bowl immediately. Joel was there 10 minutes later to take me out for lunch.
We drove and he said, “I need a place with a full bar.”
I suggested PF Changs, 3-5pm Happy Hour. I said, “I am the master of Happy Hours.”
We arrived and once we stepped out of the car, we were in a firey conversation about my talk with the driver.
Joel, “I am in two sexual relationships with married women.”
I said, “You are? Right now?”
Joel, “They are out of state, so not recently. But I don’t take emotional responsibility for their marriages.”
I said, “You SHOULD take responsibility. Sex is mutual, you are participating in the act as partners. You should take responsibility for their marriages.”
In this moment, I realized I was talking very fast and Joel was raising his voice and talking faster, too. Adrenaline. I needed to lay off and relax.
He said, “Can I just say your place is way dirtier than mine? You acted so appalled by my place, and its nothing compared to yours.”
I said, “You must be joking.”
He said, “Your place is a WRECK! Sink piled with dishes. Clothes on the floor.”
I said, “Those dishes are clean.”
We sat at the bar and he kept saying, “Order what ever you want. Money is no object.”
I laughed, “Really? Is this for a favorable blog posting?”
He said, “I can’t read your blog anymore. I won’t read it anymore.”
I ordered food and sake. He got a rum and coke.
He said, “Isn’t it possible that I didn’t take you to the movie on our date just because I wanted to keep talking to you?”
I said, “The point is some exhibit of romance. Romance shows that a woman is worth the effort. I am worth the effort.”
He looked down at his drink and said, “I think you hate men.”
I said, “I don’t hate men. I love men. I just think they are interested in conquering.”
Joel said, “What would I conquer? I already got what I wanted from you, what else do I need?”
I said, “You want to conquer my mind and my heart.”
He said, “I am not having sex with you. Ever. Again.”
He continued, “Where do you draw these conclusions from? Men who had intercourse with you and didn’t call you back?”
I said, “There are four men I have had sexual relationships with in the last six years and none of them try to contact me. The Prophet, Abe, this Irish Guy I dated for 3 months during my off period with the Prophet and this porn guy for 3 months, also when I was with the Prophet. Then there are men that I dated without ever touching their penis, who continue to pursue me after 2 years and 4 years, or this married police officer I know, who has been calling me for 10 years. 10 YEARS! Would he be calling me if I slept with him?”
Joel, “Wait a minute. You are basing this off of The Prophet, who you have a restraining order against, Abe who you broke up with, and two guys who you left to go back to some other guy.”
I said, “That’s right.”
He laughed. “They didn’t conquer you. You rejected them.”
Oh my God. He is right.
I said, “You can’t deny that men seek to conquer. In many ways, that’s why we are so evolved. But I don’t like it. I worked on this documentary series about legal prostitution and got close to the prostitutes. I thought of them as my friends. I had to set up interviews and ‘dates’ with these johns who would come in. And these girls are basically recreating scenarios from their childhood, abuse. They were trapped in the cycle of repeating abuse, and its like . . . hell. After shooting, when I told the johns about how they were hurting those girls, how I didn’t think it was sexy at all, they didn’t care. They tapped those women and walked away without ever thinking about it again.”
I was crying.
I said, “And I understand, man conquers. Its part of our species and our evolution. Just like animals hunt and eat other animals. I just don’t understand it and it makes me feel like I don’t belong here.” My face was soaking wet from tears. “I have to go to the bathroom and clean my face.”
Joel said, “You look beautiful.”
I said, “Yeah, right.” I went into the bathroom and started washing up. I was all pink, tears on my face, swollen eyes, swollen lips. I looked at myself, “Jesus, woman, pull yourself together.”
When I got back to the bar, he said, “You know you don’t need a man.”
I said, “Of course not. Its not about needing a man. I have good friends in my life, some of the best friends I have ever had. Em and Lana . . . but Abe and the Prophet, they were . . .” I just looked at him and pressed my hand against my heart. “They were . . .”
He nodded and looked down. “I know.”
I can’t remember what inspired him to start telling this story, but he spoke about how he loved these two cats, moved to a new place with them and said, “I didn’t know there were wolves in the area.”
My head was throbbing with alcohol and misery. I kept crying.
He said, “I am sorry they had to die like that. If it was of old age, I would be fine. But I took them somewhere, and I wasn’t there to protect them.”
I said, “I have nightmares about natural disasters when I can’t get home to my animals in time. And I force myself to understand that everyone leaves this life alone. They die alone. We all do. And I can’t protect them from it, animals are just so innocent . . . I want to protect them from everything.”
He said, “You are talking about yourself.”
I said, “I am not innocent.”
The second drink the bartender said was on her. The third I didn’t even ask for and was maybe the perfect margarita. Joel said, “It must be great to be you. People just give you free drinks, guys and girls.”
I rolled my eyes. Yeah, its great to be me.
I said, “I can’t believe I was rejected. I haven’t been rejected in years. I mean . . . I am way prettier than those other girls.”
He laughed and said, “I know.” He fed me compliments for the evening which genuinely made me feel better. And then we went back to my place and had unprotected sex . . . cause I am a train wreck!
Eye contact. Sex. Orgasm.
Oh it gets better. Then I break down crying again.
I buried my face underneath the pillow and said, “I’m sorry. But now you have to hold me until I fall asleep.”
He said, “I can hold you for a little while, but then I have to go meet my friend.”
I said, “Can’t you cancel?”
He said no. He held me. Then he left.
Around there, I got an explosive migraine.
He texted me, “Thanks again 4 sharing ur mind and body with me tonight.”
I texted back, “All the dishes in the left sink are clean.”