…CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT ‘EM.”
Or so the saying goes. It’s true, but there are better ways to finish that sentence. I tend to say, “Women! Can’t live with ‘em…” and then quietly trail off. And just the other day, someone said to me, “Women! Can’t live with ‘em. Can’t shoot ‘em.” Also true. Unless you’re Phil Spector.
I got in around 11:15 last night and saw that Nick was on Gmail chat. Before I forget, he too was at the Comix show this past December. Though neither of us had our best night ever that night, his not-best night was better than mine. I’ve attached his performance to the end of this post for your entertainment.
Anyway, Nick and I got to talking. He’s moving into a new place in New York and starting law school in the fall, and I’m recently single and employed part-time (in addition to comedy, Nick is also beating me at life). He told me how easy it is to hook-up in New York, and I mentioned I have a few prospects on the horizon myself. I followed that up with, “So, I just got back from dinner and drinks with this male model…” He said, “Whaa?” and I quickly realized I’d told the story out of order and it sounded like I was coming out of the closet to him on Gmail chat.
I can be bad at talking to girls. Not all girls and not all times, I just find it tough to start a conversation with someone you don’t know about nothing and keep feeding the conversation more nothing to keep talking about, unless said girl is literally unable to leave. My best case scenario is a pair of adjacent seats on a cross country plane flight. Second best is a night out with friends of friends. Worst case is trying to pick up a girl who’s out jogging; even if she’s not jogging the moment you start talking to her, she can interrupt at any point and say, “Excuse me. I need to run away from you now.”
But give me months, years, or decades to develop a romance and I’m set. I would’ve done well back in the ‘30s. The 1830s.
The biggest problem is that I’m too cautious in conversation unless I know how far I can push it. A month back, I was visiting Connecticut and was out for drinks with Pete, Glenn, and Nick as well as Pete’s cousin Carolyn. When they walked in, Glenn was raving about how Carolyn was a cool chick because you can talk to her about anything and she won’t get offended.
It took me five minutes. Here’s a transcript of that conversation, as best I can recall:
“So, Carolyn, Nick and I were talking about a short film we could make. We just need a girl to act in it. Would you be interested?”
“What’s the film?”
“It’s a fake trailer for a porn website called ‘SnuffGirls.com.’”
“You know how a lot of premium porn sites do those 30-second trailers where they do an interview with a girl followed by assorted footage of her getting fucked?”
“Well, they do,” said Nick.
“Anyway,” I said, “Ours would start with a girl being interviewed by the camera guy about her porn experience. ‘I’ve just done one or two,’ she’d say. And during the interview, we can edit in fuzzy images of her walking around a house in clear high heel shoes.”
“Now remember, the website is called ‘SnuffGirls.com.’ The camera guy then asks, ‘So, like, is there anything you don’t do on camera?’ And the girl says, ‘Oh, I’ll do anal, and ass-to-mouth, fisting…’ Camera guy: ‘Wow. You’re pretty adventurous.’ The girl pauses and says, ‘Well… the only thing I don’t want to do on camera is… be murdered. That’s my only hangup. I don’t want you guys to kill me at any point, during or after sex.’ And the camera guy says, ‘No, no, of course not!’ — but you can see the camera moving up and down as if he’s nodding, ‘yes.’ Then there are a few shots of sex — nothing graphic — and maybe at one point the gun starts fellating a gun that the porn star puts in her face– again, nothing graphic.”
“Then, we cut to the finale, with the girl very enthusiastic, post-coital, post-money-shot. She turns around to see the porn star pointing the gun in her face again and says, ‘Wait; I thought I said I did not want to be killed.’ Then it cuts to black as you hear the gunshot.”
“The logo pops up: ‘Snuffgirls.com,’ and you hear a group of girls yell, ‘Snuffgirls.com!’ followed by the sound of a firing squad. Then eerie silence. So, what do you think?”
In my defense, I could tell Carolyn was disgusted within fifteen seconds of beginning that conversation. But once you get this ol’ train rolling, you don’t stop. Funny thing is, she was a cool chick and you could talk to her about anything, just not that.
For example, we went on to discuss an idea she and Glenn had for a calendar called “Big Gay Glenn’s 2010.” We were six months past a 2010 calendar being useful, but “2011″ doesn’t rhyme with “Glenn.” The plan was to get Glenn — who is very straight, but could potentially be attractive to gay audiences for his bear-type body — to pose in a variety of sexually-suggestive positions according to the month. April would feature Glenn on the cross (for Easter) in nothing but a diaper, and the wound on his abdomen from the Roman soldier’s sword would be spilling out dicks.
“Too many dicks to count,” I added.
We also tried to come up with a good cover shot, and settled on Glenn sitting in a bathtub with a hoagie sandwich floating in front of him and rose petals falling from the ceiling. They wanted the sandwich to be floating on a silver tray, but I wanted it to be floating by itself: “It would just be this disgusting, waterlogged sandwich.” Being a writer is great because you can suggest awful things knowing that if someone is going to do it, it won’t be you.
And on the topic of “writing,” I will now return to this story.
I wrote a script that’s in the process of being produced. It’s based on a true story about a Black female coach at an Historically Black University who’s put in charge of the men’s golf team, but when she can’t find enough Black golfers for her team she recruits White and Asian golfers from all over the world. We were put in touch with a successful model/actor in New York who was interested in one of the roles and is also an incredibly talented golfer. He just arrived in Los Angeles to meet with some of his West coast representation and do some auditions. We planned on getting dinner and drinks to discuss the script, his future acting plans, and anything else.
At 9:00 last night, I pulled up at this swanky restaurant, The Belmont, and the valet took my car (this will be important later). The model/actor — I hate to keep referring to him like that, but I don’t feel like making up a fake name — stopped at an ATM for cash for the valet and pulled up shortly thereafter. He looked every bit how a model/actor should look, if you catch my drift. It seemed like even the bouncer was flirting with him as we walked in. He charmed the hostess too and we got a table on the patio.
(As a side note, The Belmont didn’t seem to be anything more than a restaurant/bar — not a club, not a disco — yet the music was so loud I could barely hear anything that was said, even by people less than two feet away. It wasn’t “loud” music either — it was the new Radiohead album, which I consider pretty mellow — but they just blasted the hell out of it. Why must I leave a restaurant feeling like my ears just left a concert?)
Anyway, this guy told me that “underwear model” was just a day job. “Something to pay the bills.” He also owned a handful of restaurants, did mixed-media painting, and studied acting classically for the past eight years. This, in addition to his world-class golf ability and abs you could grate cheese on — I never saw them nor asked to see them, so I’m taking poetic license on that one.
He reminded me a lot of me, in other words.
We talked about relationships. He asked if I was married. I considered it an odd question, but then I remembered I tend to seem older than I am to people who first meet me, up until I say something about there being “too many dicks to count.”
I told him I wasn’t married, that I was newly single, and asked about him. He said he was happily in a long-term relationship. I was shocked a guy like him would be so conservative, but I didn’t say anything. Later in the meal, as if addressing that specific concern, he showed me a piece of artwork he’d created from the nude silhouette of a girl he’d “been fucking awhile back.”
After our meal, around 10:40, we left and handed our tickets to the valet.
As we waited, a girl walked up behind us and stood under the valet umbrella; a bleached blonde in a cocktail dress with a lot of eye makeup. She looked like someone who’d just arrived in Los Angeles, or had lived here her whole life — in other words, like most girls currently in Los Angeles. She wasn’t my type, but I figured I’m single and should be meeting new people, so I seized the opportunity by leaning against a parking meter and pretending to check my phone.
Like I said, I’m bad at striking up conversation. My new male model friend, however, wasn’t…
“How’s your night going?”
“Oh, just hanging out by a valet stand, hoping to meet a pretty girl.
“Where you from?”
“Just moved here from Boston. You?”
“I’m bi-coastal. I’m everywhere.”
“Wow. What do you do?”
“I’m into murders and executions. Mergers and acquisitions… you ever see American Psycho?”
“I was gonna say, I love that movie. You and I have, like, the same sense of humor.”
It wasn’t about what was said so much as who was saying it. She would’ve been captivated if he’d started pitching “Snuffgirls.com.” I guarantee it.
I wondered about this guy’s girlfriend back in New York. It must be awful hard to be that good-looking and remain faithful, so I couldn’t fault him necessarily.
As I listened to their lively conversation from the periphery, I checked that my phone was still working and I hadn’t missed any calls. Good.
The valet brought the model’s car. He shook my hand, waved goodbye to her, and left.
Now it was just the two of us. I clumsily tried to pick up from where they had left off. “So, Boston, huh? That’s gotta be an adjustment. How do you like LA?” I don’t remember why she was here, just that she was employed as a medical supply salesperson, was originally from Vermont, and had been a high-jumper in college. “I know someone who ran track at Miami,” I said, “You track people are nuts.” Yep.
The valet had been gone ten minutes at least. This kind of “captive audience” situation is usually when I’m at my best, but by then I was just wondering about my car. I started the conversation back up again out of obligation.
“So… what kind of medical supplies do you sell?”
“Oh, you know, everything: heart monitors, defibrillators, catheters…”
Why? Why did I ask that? I think I was hoping she would say something like, “Well, we’ve got these stethoscopes that are hot, and wet…” But no. No. No.
(I mentioned at one point I was a screenwriter and I’m getting a film made, but I realize I never use that to my advantage. Charles Bukowski, by contrast, wrote short stories based on his personal experience that almost always went like this: “The girl said she liked my writing. She had nice legs. I ran my hands up her skirt. We left the party and fucked that night.”)
The girl’s car arrived. “Nice talking to you,” she said, and left. Oh well.
Where the hell was my car?
I showed one of the valets my ticket stub and told him I’d been waiting “a very long time.” There was scrambling and confusion among the valet staff; never a good sign.
Five bleached blondes in cocktail dresses and a lot of eye makeup left the Belmont and waited a ways down the curb. I figured their car would arrive first. Instead, the valet pulled up my car in front of them. Los Angeles is sort of a status-conscious town, believe it or not, so I can only imagine their outrage when they were mistaken for people who might drive a dirty ’99 Honda Civic, by far the least attractive car being serviced at the Belmont that night. Maybe any night.
This is Los Angeles, after all. Even the panhandlers drive Audis.
I paid quickly, sped out of there, and got home. That was when I talked to Nick. Before I forget (again), here is his stand up:
Back? Good. There’s one last part of this story.
During my chat with Nick, I got a text message from the model/actor. I saw his name pop up on the screen and assumed it was the boilerplate “Great to meet you!” Instead…
He wrote: “Did u take that chick home with u?”
Then: “She was down.”
Then: “She wanted it. U should have moved in for the kill.”
I wrote back: “Been out of the game too long. Plus, you’re the murders and executions guy.”
He wrote back: “I have a chick. I’ll crack em open but u gotta knock em down.”
Son of a bitch. He wasn’t being unfaithful; he was trying to get me laid.
I showed Nick the last text and he said (I’m paraphrasing), “Crack ‘em open? You mean, like, their skulls? And fuck what comes out of their skulls? Their brains?” I said, “Sure. It’s all gravy. At least, it feels like gravy. On your dick.”
Why do I have trouble chatting with most women? Who knows?