It had been a ridiculously snow-drenched winter in Chicago, one that makes the tinsel in Tinseltown bounce off your dreams like reflective rays, calling you back for adventure. So as I walk through O’Hare Airport decked out in new Christmas clothes and carrying my trendy Von Dutch bag, I swagger.
Who will it be, I wonder. I reach my gate, destined for L.A., and see two possibilities. A blond gentleman, who in retrospect could very well have been Simon Baker pre-Mentalist (but memory needs a foundation, so perhaps he was just a look-a-like)…and a dark, handsome young man, the type who wears holey jeans and Doc Martens. That’s the one I want, I decide.
But over the loudspeaker I hear, “Flight 524 to Los Angeles has been changed to Gate 15A.”
“Crap,” I say out loud. I hesitate, to see if Doc Marten makes the move to the Los Angeles gate, but he stays still, long legs outstretched and head resting on hand in assumed thinker pose. Sigh, so sexy…
Secured safely into my first class seat—thank goodness for Daddy’s frequent flier miles—I let my mind drift to his unbrushed hair, patchy stubble, perfectly plucked brows (the brows are always perfectly plucked in my mind’s eye). As I debate the accuracy of my observational skills, Doc Marten saunters by on his way to coach. Our eyes meet…movie magic…he is smoldering…and yes, his brows are perfect.
I see him once as I wait for the restroom. I stretch so that he can assess my flexibility and form.
I see him twice when I look back from my seat. He is staring at me (still in thinker pose)…does not attempt to avert his eyes. He is burning an ulcer in my stomach.
As I walk to baggage claim I notice him miles in front of me. Another sigh…another man…gone…
Until he slides up next to me while I wait for my luggage.
“You’re very flexible.”
I smile. “Yes.”
“I don’t have any luggage,” he says.
“Then what are you waiting for?” I ask.
“Well, I don’t have a ride.”
“Why don’t you get a cab?”
“I don’t have any money.”
“Why don’t you call a friend?”
“My cell phone is dead.”
All this is said with a Josh Duhamel smile. He’s tall and gorgeous…the type of guy who puts the tinsel in Tinseltown.
I am gracious. “Would you like to borrow my cell phone and call a friend?”
“I don’t know anyone’s number,” he says, still Josh-like. “They’re all on my dead cell phone.”
“Then how in the world did you plan on getting home?”
“Well, how are you getting home?” One step closer. I had not yet learned of Ted Bundy.
A few minutes later we are cozied up in the Super Shuttle. I am twelve dollars poorer, but his thigh is touching mine and he is holding my hand. I know the game. I know what’s going on…I know he is taking advantage of the “rich girl in first class”… but I don’t care, because I’m not really a rich girl, I’m an actress, and I kind of like playing this part.
He asks me what type of car I drive—I am amused by his transparency but tuck the laughter away. He tells me that he doesn’t have a car…he gets around Los Angeles on roller blades. He works at a smoke shop. Will I take him there when the shuttle drops me home?
I invite him up briefly while I drop off my bags and grab my car keys. I want him to see that I am not really a rich girl, but a nice girl who lives in a studio apartment in Beverly Hills and drives an old, gas-guzzling Jeep Grand Cherokee…a plea for him to please be careful. My switchblade is handy the whole time.
In my car, the conversation flows, we are delightful together. He asks if he can kiss me. I point to my cheek. He is not as slick as he appears, and tastes a mouthful of hair.
“I’ll let you try that again,” I say, brushing back my locks.
This time, he pastes a nice wet one on my cheek. It is still there.
And off he goes to his smoke shop.
I hear from him the following evening…New Year’s Eve. I do not have plans. My taste for adventure has been satiated and tinsel has been replaced by tame.
He tells me he is working, that I am sweet, and that he’ll call me that week to set plans. The click of the phone tells me to know better. He gave me a first and last name, and so I use it.
Google tells me a secret: He is the poster child for a new website along the lines of sugardaddy.com. He is listed as a sugar daddy, the front man for gray-haired fifty-plus millionaires looking for pretty poor muses to turn into plastic paramours. Of course, I know Doc Marten is nothing but a sugar baby. I will never hear from him again…sugar babies stay away from sweetness they know they will hurt.
It is another Tinseltown adventure, a glittering illusion that fails to morph into anything concrete. But Los Angeles is also the City of Angels…and the angels are always there, wrapping their wings around you when illusion leaves you cold.