The Monday after my birthday weekend, I made plans to have dinner with my dear friend Jeph, who I don’t see often. There are several reasons; he doesn’t own a car, he lives on the opposite side of Los Angeles, and I work too God damn much.
I told Dora I couldn’t drive her home the morning of that shift, then reminded her on our dinner break and then again as I left.
In one of our exchanges she said, “But can you just wait for me for an hour?”
I said, “I already won’t get out there until after 10, if I wait it won’t be until after 11 and we will both be so exhausted.”
She said, “Then do it tomorrow night.”
I said, “No, he works every night til Friday. Its for my birthday, Dora.”
And in a nasally, high-pitched drawl, she said, “But its not your birthday anymore.”
I remembered something all of a sudden, being 12 years-old on the basketball team. Something happened and I was talking to my coach, I must have been doing the same thing because he shoved his hands over his ears and said, “Stop whining! I hate whining.”
I did. For good. I should have said the same thing to Dora, but I am too God damn polite.
When I asked Baye to let her know I was leaving work, she turned to me with attitude, while still talking to Baye and said, “I know, I am taking the bus.”
I remembered what my therapist said, “She can get a ride by herself, she doesn’t need your help.”
So I said, “Ok” and left.
Then I heard her shout off the doggie playground, “She can’t wait for me like my mother and sister did when she didn’t have a car!!!!”
I stopped, then continued out the door.
I couldn’t wait. I need to think what is best for me and not run myself ragged for a little bitch who never gave me one cent towards gas, nor a “please” or “thank you.” I found my own rides when it wasn’t convenient for her.
I remember one time in particular she just told me flat out she was going out after work and couldn’t drive me home. I should offer her the same courtesy, but I was taught manners.
This seems petty in mentioning now, but its significant. Dora decided to give me the silent treatment for 10 days because I didn’t do what she wanted me to do, when she wanted me to. Brat bullshit, yes, but my motivation to book work and get the FUCK out of her life was building like never before.
There was a slew of model auditions happening because the Long Beach Hair Show was coming up. What sucked was you had to drive down to Long Beach for the auditions, which can easily take over an hour each way in Los Angeles traffic.
The week before, I was turned down from a mass casting at Sebastian Bach in Woodland Hills, where I have always gotten my model gigs before. (Gigs = 2 jobs).
The first audition in Long Beach, I walked on in, sat down and an older gentleman approached us and said, “I am just going to ask the people to leave who I don’t think would work for our product.”
He started behind me, “You . . . you . .. thank you. And . . . (looking at me) you.”
I had just sat down, kind of looked around and said, “Ok.”
He faced me with a tight smile, I got up and walked all the way back to my car in heels wondering if it was my age, my hair, the fact that I have terrible posture . . . what.
The next audition was an hour later just around the corner, so I waited in my car.
This would be a good moment to bring up someone who caught my fancy. I worked audience the week before and I found one of the audience fluffers to be rather funny. His gimmicks were different and I thought, when I walked in, I caught his eye.
That show in particular was odd because the majority of the audience was from some kind of inner city Church rehab group, so everyone seemed to be at poverty level (missing teeth and all) while a few of the black folks exhibited extraordinary talent. Why don’t whites falling on hard times have great talent too? All we really have is John Cougar Mellencamp. The blues performances I heard were some of the best I have seen in person, in concert or anywhere for that matter.
The rest of us sat around whining about food.
Anyway, the fluffer/comedian we will call Max, was good. Great actually. He worked hard, had original jokes and was just on top of it all night. So I made a mental note and added him on Facebook.
When offering candy for little trivia games to keep the audience entertained while the set rearranged and took breaks, one older Hispanic woman volunteered, walked up to play, took the candy and walked away.
I have never seen that happen.
She sat down right next to me and I laughed my ass off.
She shrugged her shoulders, “Free candy is free candy.”
Later, when Max was offering another prize, she walked back down and just stood next to him, staring at him.
He said, “Uhhhh, this is awkward. Um.” He turned away from her. “Is this a David Lynch movie?”
On Facebook, we had a brief flirtation before making arrangements to go out on a date.
In the meantime, I had to go in and sell myself as a model. I have to get the hell out of Sylmar.
I smoked a bowl and then walked into the Hyatt.
This casting call was bigger.
They took my picture and gave me a badge, so when casting they could easily reference my availability, height and look.
After the Polaroid found my face and filled in color and shadow, I thought, “Damn it, I look stoned.”
I walked in and was immediately approached about how much leverage I would give them with my hair. I asked them to keep my length but was totally open to dye.
There were so many castings, I couldn’t keep track of what client paid how much. Some of the gigs paid up to $1,000 and others only $200.
I sat down, when a short, kinda buff dude with a 90s jett black hairdo and a gotee came in. I could tell already, he was getting his rocks off judging pretty girls. He didn’t like me, for whatever reason, but my height qualified me for the catwalk, so he pointed at me and said, “You are kinda tall, come over and stand with the others over here.”
I joined all the other tall models in the corner for catwalk consideration. My face crumpled, “Kinda tall? Um, I am taller than two thirds of the models here.” Maybe I was slouching- hard to do in heels, man, you slouch you tip over.
I stood there in heels for 2 hours, as every other model in that corner was given a call time and information. I stood there and read my book.
The dude, who I will call 1991, passed over me and started casting the shorter models for other slots.
I stood and I read.
A girl asked who got me the audition.
I said, “All Around Talent . . . of which I don’t have really.”
She offered a polite smile.
1991 flirted with some models, chatted with others, my ankles started burning and I began to feel dizzy. I realized I hadn’t eaten. Whether its subconscious or not, you don’t eat when working in the model world.
The last thing you want to feel is bloated, especially if I had to pass in a size 4. That said, I could feel the flush in my cheeks, similar to how I felt both times I collapsed last year.
I stood and I read.
The audition was at 6:30, which I thought would give me plenty of time to go up and meet Helen for a concert her brother bought her tickets for. It was now past 7:30 and I was concerned.
1991 came over and said, “We are now at eye level, that must be from standing in heels for an hour and a half. Go ahead and sit down.”
I did. 25 minutes later, I got a call time.
The guy assigning spots said, “What are you reading?”
I said, “James Baldwin?”
He shook his head.
I continued, “Gritty 60s New York literature.”
He politely smiled and returned to the complicated layouts in front of him.
Then I booked it out of the hotel and ran to my car, called Helen and told her I was going to be late.
I could tell I was causing her some degree of stress. She needed to go to bed early since she had a contortionist job in the morning. She kept apologizing that we had to cut out of the concert early but I said, “We are in our 30s, we need our beauty sleep. We can’t bounce out of bed like we used to, our face will fall. Its important, I understand.”
She said, “Its true. When I was younger it didn’t matter, but now it shows.”
She was feeling low, she is fresh of her second break-up in one year’s time. She liked him. Now, she was getting skinnier. As a survivor of anorexia, she has to stay on top of her weight. Her head hung down like a heavy blossom teetering on the end of a delicate stem.
I haven’t been feeling particularly entertaining lately, since there has been so much resentment tossed around from Alan and Dora. I was so focused on saving myself, that my wit was dulled. I just grabbed her arm and told her she was going to be ok. She collapsed on my shoulder and hugged me. People really do need people.
We got inside of the Exchange, which was a cool little club downtown, but everyone around us looked to be early to mid-twenties. They were dressed like sluts with their vodka sodas, laughing too hard, sticking their asses out too far, and just being obnoxious in general.
On the main floor, the kids were better behaved. Its just a different vibe. Though Helen was cast as a high school student last year because she looks so young, and I could pass for 26 most days, there was no reason to feel out of sorts- but we did. We were both tired and distracted. Neither of us wanted to drink. We were getting old.
The act came on and this adorable skinny boy came out to DJ. He was so passionate, it stole my attention and I thought, “Now, I want to have sex with him.” Last weekend I had sex with Abe, and wanted to have sex with Alan . . . now I wanted to have sex with this guy. I must have been ovulating.
We danced for a bit, looking up I saw a sea of cell phone camera screens and thought of Alan’s speech about the human experience now existing only through a lens. Then we left so Helen could get her beauty rest. We later found out we missed the main act entirely, that was the opening act Zedd. He was . . . ahmazing.
As she got out of my car to slip into her apartment building, I said, “Have a good day contorting.”
She said, “Story of my life.”
I said, “That’s a Helen-ism.”
The next night, I had a date with Max. Now, initially, he asked me out for pie- which I thought was sweet.
Then he FB pinged me, “I’m a super private person though ok?”
I wrote: “I see, so not FB posts tagging you, illustrations of our night together”
Max: “Ill explain later”
Me: “Do you have a girlfriend?
Me: “ . . . grand.”
Max: “Exactly, lets get coffee and talk later. No pressure.”
Me: “Can’t go out with you but we can chat over coffee. I am not that kind of girl, the side order. I prefer to be the entree.”
I really don’t understand what about me tips men off that I am dying to be their poor, under-privileged mistress. Why would I want to fuck someone and make them happy so they can provide for some other chick who doesn’t have three dogs? I deserve it all, you know? I do.
Max: “only in movies is timing perfect, and then, in most movies, timing is off as well. it’s just life”
Oh . . . he’s good. He has done this before.
I did my laundry and he texted me that he wanted to meet, so I figured there would be no harm if he met me at the laundromat.
There, I learned that Abe wasn’t going to see me that week, when he had asked so tenderly a few days before. He needed a day to “take care of [his] shit” and then he had a 3 day bachelor party in Vegas with his cousin. I was done. I rarely texted him and didn’t bother to call.
I did text Alan a picture I found on Facebook.
He texted back: “No this is the best picture ever.”
(That’s my ass) ( . . . not bad, huh?)
Max showed up and didn’t like the lighting in the laundromat. He didn’t feel like it was flattering, so we sat in his car. Yeah, people in Los Angeles are that neurotic.
So we sat there and spoke for a little while.
Turns out he is married.
And then he pitched me the usual sob story about how he wanted to make it work but (fill in the blank). I have really heard it all. They are either a) insane – which seems to be a personal favorite among men b) selfish and cheating on them c) in an open relationship where we have to be discreet anyway or d) dumb.
Max selected d.
He kept saying, “Don’t get all Sisterhood on the Traveling Pants with it, like you have to feel bad for her. She’s fine. Don’t worry about her.”
I said, “I am not worried about her, I am worried about me. I don’t want to get involved and I won’t get what I want.”
He was getting touchy feely at this point, and kept reiterating that he would probably end the marriage, but he deserved a little bit of fun.
Can I take a moment to scream, “WHAT ABOUT WHAT I DESERVE!!!??”
WHAT ABOUT ME?
Guess what Married Man, FUCKING YOU ISN’T ANY KIND OF INCENTIVE FOR ME!
Like, really let it sink in for a second. I don’t want to fuck you.
I don’t desire to have sex with some mildly bloated, aging, balding guy who only intends on sticking his dick on me while giving his wife flowers and children, not to mention all the emotional and financial support. Now, why would I say, “Oh, a home, a relationship . . . nahhhh, I just want dick.”
That is not me. That is not women. That’s men, and that’s why I am so often fucking disgusted with the dishonesty, the selfishness and the flat out disregard for everyone else not connected to their balls.
I have sex with single men because they have the capacity to love me. And even if they don’t long after orgasm, the possibility is there, and that, my friends, is worth everything.
He spoke about how this was all “new” to him. Bullshit.
And said he “never thought about anything like this before.” Bullshit.
I told him about my ex-husband, and my divorce and about the Prophet. I said, “Its hard no matter who you are in the scenario, its not a road I need to go down again.”
We spoke about drugs, not sure how we got on the topic.
He said, “Back in the 90s, in Los Angeles, coke was popular on the comic scene. Its not like it is now, where everyone acts like its taboo. A bunch of comics lived in this building and we all had our own stash. I remember I had just finished mine, and I was so congested, it was a bloody, snotty mess. I was having trouble breathing. Then, I went down to my buddy’s place and he was cutting his lines and offered me one. I will never forget it, my nostril just popped open. Like (then he used his hand to slowly open up as he made a sound similar to a car tire popping and slowly deflating). Its funny how close the body and mind are, my nose opened up for that line.”
I said, “So did you take the line?”
He said, “Hell yeah, I took it. I can’t do that anymore, the come down is too rough.”
I said, “That’s why there is xanax.”
He raised his eyebrow and said, “Maybe its worth another try.”
I leaned back now that his story was over, “No, its not.”
He said, “I wouldn’t know where to get it though.”
I was quiet.
He said, “You do.”
I said, “Yeah, but I am done with that.”
He stroked my face. I crumpled my brow and sat back.
I said, “I am not comfortable getting physical. I prefer getting to know someone first.”
He said, “We did get to know each other. I opened up about my marriage, you identified with some of what I am going through. We talked about drugs and your roommate.”
I said, “That was 30 minutes. I don’t know you.”
I then told him I was no longer comfortable hanging out in his car with him in a parking lot.
He asked, “Why not?”
I said, “I am just not comfortable with it.”
He said, “Can I buy you a drink?”
I said, “That’s exactly what I need right now.”
So we went to a place in North Hollywood called the Tiki No. And though everything was telling me to cut short the evening, I was curious.
We ordered some exotic drinks, the place itself was cool though there was some kind of hula hoop contest happening with the female patrons, and the men all crowded around and stared at their hips and asses like it was a gang bang.
I got a text, it was from Abe: “I want u”
I smiled. No response.
Meanwhile, Max crawled closer to me and asked me if I did leg modeling.
A man in a wheelchair rolled by.
I said, “No, but he does.”
Max, “Do you not believe in deodorant?”
I melted and shoved my nose as close to my armpit as possible, “Why!? Do I smell?”
He said, “Just a little like sweat.”
I said, “Oh, no I wear deodorant. Its just been a busy day.”
He said, “Well I didn’t know if you were into the crystal or some shit like that.”
I said, “Why, because I am a vegan? I must not believe in deodorant. Geez.”
Then he put my hand on his cock and said, “Say you are going to go fuck someone else. Say, ‘I am gonna fuck someone else, loser!”
I said, “I don’t want to say that.”
He said, “Don’t worry, it won’t hurt my feelings. Its just fantasy.”
I removed my hand and said, “I don’t want to say it.”
He really wasn’t hearing it: I as in ME DID NOT WANT TO DIRTY TALK TO A COMPLETE STRANGER WITH MY HAND ON HIS COCK.
Have I reached my all caps limit?
We closed out the tab and he drove me back to my car.
I thought he was funny, but there was really nothing in him for me. I know you all must be wondering, why I didn’t cut out early? Why did I stay there and endure his sleazy yet awkward advances? Really, all I can say was curiosity. It may not be a good excuse, but I like spending a little time with random people. It feels good for the soul, in this case, I felt dirty.
I said goodnight and drove home. At least my laundry was done.
The next day, I had another Long Beach model audition. I thought about not going, I already booked a gig with 1991 but it only paid $200. To do more would either require walking the catwalk or getting a major hairstyle change.
After taking a poll on Facebook, I decided it was better to get a complete hair change and cash in so I could just . . . get the fuck out of Sylmar.
I was late for the first audition, so I sat and waited at the second one with my Baldwin book. Girls collected, they all seemed to know each other and none of them knew me.
A short, gray haired English gentleman walked in, followed by two very young male assistants with large, square glasses.
He said, “Is this the casting?”
He walked down the aisle and a girl up front gave him the page her agent passed on to her.
He said, “No this is wrong. WRONG!”
She apologized and he said, “Its not your fault. Its your agent.”
Then he asked for someone else’s casting call, and a girl gave him her cell phone.
He walked off with it, conferred with his assistants and then made an announcement, “I don’t like wasting other people’s time and I loathe people that waste mine. Now, what this comes down to is two things, length and money, right? Nobody cares about dye, because dye can be easily restored. We care about length, yes?
Now, the catwalk models will be getting $800 if they don’t have an agent and the demo models $400, again with no agent. If you do have an agent, that trims it significantly. Demo is $333 and Catwalk is like the devil . . . $666. Now, the food they serve here is inedible, so in addition to your fee for the day, we will be offering you a $40 per diem to buy yourself some decent food. The food here is not something you would eat, its something you would poke.
Alright, I need everyone who is willing for a major change on this side of the room and everyone who isn’t up for a complete change on the other.”
I thought about it and went to the “not a complete change” side of the room. The reasoning was, if they spoke to me about it, I could find out how much of a change and for how much money.
He went through and immediately plucked a tall, skinny red head with pixie short hair and absolutely no waist line.
Then he spoke to two fresh faced brunettes and asked them about their limitations.
Then he pointed at me, “What about you?”
I put my hand to my chest, “Me?” My God, someone wants me.
He said, “Yes, you. What are you willing to do?”
I said, “I just want to keep some of my length if I can, but I am up for anything.”
He said, “Good, you go over there with them.”
I stood in the corner with a handful of other models.
One girl said, “I want her shoes. I want everyone’s shoes here. Well . . . not everyone’s.”
The girl next to her turned to me and said, “Not yours. Just kidding.”
I said, “I got these at Ross.”
I liked my shoes, and who the fuck cares? I mean, am I really going to believe that these girls could afford that much more than me? We were at the same audition.
The Englishman walked down and picked his catwalk girls, then asked us all to catwalk.
My heart started beating. I could feel the vein in my neck throb until it ached. I only catwalk when I am drunk and reenacting America’s Next Top Model for a small group of people.
Luckily, a friend found a video for me on how to catwalk the night before. A) Walk slowly and in a straight line, some models lift their knees high B) Keep your arms still by your side C) End with attitude
I did, and I kept staring at the Englishman and smiling because . . . gosh I liked him.
As soon as I finished and went to the corner, an Asian girl frantically nagged me, “How was I? Was I ok? Did it look alright?”
I didn’t see.
I said, “You were great.”
She said, “Really?”
I nodded. “Don’t worry about it.”
The Englishman stopped to speak to a model who brought her baby in. She apologized and said, “I am so sorry, my husband had a meeting at the same time and that never happens.”
He smiled and said, “Thats ok. I have two of my own.”
Blast. He was married.
The baby kept trying to shove Mommy’s cell phone down her revealing neckline.
Englishman, “Naughty naughty.”
Sex . . . appeal. Why can’t that married guy hit on me?
Oh right, cause he has class.
Long story short, the girl who “joked” about my shoes was excused. The Asian girl with the self conscious catwalk was excused. And I remained with about 10 other models.
He put his hands through my hair and said, “Looks like you already have some natural wave, can you take more?”
I said, “Totally can.” Maybe if I talk like a 25 year-old, I can pass for a 25 year-old.
I was thrust into the demo main stage group with three other girls, my hair would be done on stage.
The assistants told me that I would be hearing from them regarding prep on Sunday and the show on Monday.
Saturday came and went with no call time.
Sunday it was the morning, and there was still no call time.
Now, since I switched to Virgin Mobile, I get absolutely no reception in (fucking) Sylmar. So, when I walked my dogs, I tucked my phone into my bra in case I picked something up.
I did pick up a bunch of texts from Abe.
“U Just U”
No call though.
So I emailed my agent who gave me a number, meanwhile, my touch screen stopped working.
I had one voicemail and no way to check it.
On GChat, my friend Jerry, tried to key into my voicemail a couple times, and found that it was from my agent. He had a number for me to call about my call time.
Jerry then called the client for me and left a message asking to give him the details so he could forward on to me.
THEN, Jerry (Hearts, by the way) told me to take apart my phone and put a hair dryer on it but with a cool dry.
I did. My phone still didn’t work.
Somehow, my body heat had ruined the touch screen.
I had to be patient and not freak out! So I took a shower and came back.
My phone still didn’t work. And there was no word about my call.
I tried again and put the hair dryer on cool.
This time it worked. I thanked Jerry and headed off to get my $12 pedicure in Pasadena. I have to look spectacular for this show.
Around 3:15pm, I finally got a call, “Can you be here by 4?”
I said, “I can try.” What I didn’t say was, but you bitches are gonna have to wait for my toes to dry.
To be continued . . .