Thursday, October 26, 2006

Where my Girls At

I love covering beauty events and product launches because undoubtedly there is always a very chic woman talking about natural ingredients and advanced science in a sexy and sweet accent, usually French, sometimes Nordic. (One time I went to a launch for a new line of French cosmetics on the penthouse terrace of the apartment belonging to the brand's impossibly chic red-lipped in-house publicist, with views overlooking Fifth Avenue and Broadway, right across from the Flatiron. It was outrageous. Then I walked home to my tiny unchic, unfit-to-bring-over-style-arbiters apartment with bars on the windows and the cat's litter box next to the sofa, because there's no place else you can put it when all you've got is 200 square feet.)

I also love these events (because you walk away drunk, with armloads of free stuff and) because they are always filled with women, since the beauty editor crowd tends to be exclusively female, with, like one flaming queen with a pinky ring at the next table for good measure. And I always find this to be a very inspiring environment. All these beautiful ladies, all career women, with glamorous lives, generally supporting and not being mean to one another, as I think is the common perception of women en masse.

Today I went to a cosmetic launch in a sparkling hotel penthouse, with delicious coffee and fresh-squeezed juices, where I listened to a lovely Nordic woman talk about rare berry extracts. Then I collected my Marimekko swag bag and headed to another luncheon in the same hotel, where 650 women (and five queens) bidded on handbags in an auction benefiting lupus research. I sat next to a soap opera actress originally from Texas (the daughter of a minister), whose life was nothing like my own. And I found our conversation to be engaging and genuine, and I learned something. Because you can learn something from everyone. ("Even a damned fool," as my grandfather used to say, but that wouldn't apply here.) And it's rather pleasant when you exchange thoughts on life with other smart gals in a room full of smart gals just doing their thing, just like you're doing your thing.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Bunny Bash Has Busty Babes

You've really made it when you Google yourself and discover that your profound prose--topped by the worst/best headline ever associated with your byline--has found its way (without permission even) onto the official Web site of Pamela Anderson. Stick a fork in me.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Lucky Charms

In my memory, it's rained exactly one time since I moved back, and it looked like this from my terrace right afterward.

In Which I Get my Slurpee On

One of the things that concretized my decision to move to L.A. was bougainvillea. I would come out here to visit and be reminded about how those pink vines explode all over and make everything look so lush and healthy and warm and decorated (and, not least, so pink—my favorite). So when I moved I made it my priority to go to Home Depot and buy three plants and set them on my terrace, and I gave them lots of love and the vines grew and grew like weeds, but the flowers never blossomed. Until. Last week I went out there to see the very beginnings of those pink flowers and I seriously just thrilled at that sight. (Apparently October is L.A.'s spring.)

In other news, shoot!, I have a cute dentist! No one has a cute dentist. And no one needs a cute dentist. But I have one. And he favors trance music in the office, and says things like, "So I'll pull that tooth out, and then I'll give you a bunch of Vicodin, and then you can have a Vicodin party and invite me."

On the way home from the cute dentist, I got my car washed. And while I was waiting for it to be dried, I went next door to 7-11 where I found they had Diet Pepsi Slurpees in the Slurpee machine. Anyone who knows me knows how much I love that zero-calorie ambrosia, and that love is made even more intense by the shocking, widespread unavailability of the Diet Pepsi Slurpee. (When Manhattan's first 7-11 opened right near our office on 23rd Street and Park Avenue, I obsessively went down there and pleaded with them to make D.P. Slurpees come out of the machine; but that spout was broken from day one—with an upside down cup over it—and they never did fix it.)

To recap, as of today I have:
  • bougainvillea buds on a sunny terrace
  • a cute dentist (not relevant or useful, just surprising)
  • a proximate 7-11 offering Diet Pepsi Slurpees

It's a beautiful day in L.A.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Zigzag Moderne

Do you know how beautiful the ceiling of the Pantages Theatre is? Well, it's really beautiful.

People come to L.A. for the jam too.

Update: Oops, I know that wasn't clear. I wasn't intentionally obfuscating; I just meant that there are a lot of spectacular things that draw people to L.A. from other far-away placees--things that are harder for me to appreciate since I grew up here. (I saw the equivalent spectacular things in New York with totally fresh wide eyes.) In this case, fabulous Deco venues on Hollywood Boulevard are the jam. Uh, I may be mixing too many metaphors, get the gist.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

It's the Thought That Counts

The other day my impossibly sexy, totally non-hippy vegan friend was talking about a nightmarish first date she'd had last week in which she received from the man a single long-stemmed red rose wrapped in cellophane, which reeked (if not literally) of beef jerky and lottery tickets from the check-out line at 7-11. Thank heaven he'd picked her up in his car, so she could safely leave the rose there on the seat instead of toting it mortifyingly around Oakland. I was very sympathetic to her horror. Like, hello, don't do that! Don't bring me a rose on the first date! And for the love of god, if you must, don't get it at Duane Reade or Wawa!

Another girlfriend had a similar freakout in college when a boy brought her a bouquet on her second date. She told him he was presumptuous and never saw him again. And then a year later, the man who would eventually become her husband and the father of the baby in her belly these days, sent to our co-op apartment in Berkeley a dozen cheesy red roses the day before he picked her up for their first date after they'd met (wait for it) at a rave. And she loved those roses and she was smitten.

I would have thought it is not very advisable to make a girl a CD on a first date because, I mean, that should be creepy or something. But you know, if you get a CD on a first date from a man who makes your stomach do that thing, it doesn't feel creepy at all. And you want to listen to it first thing in the morning when you get up too early because you couldn't sleep very well because you had a really, really great time.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Tupperware Party

I was just thinking about how Docksiders used to like to go on lots of hikes in his Hollywood Hills neighborhood and beyond. And one time he brought home three tadpoles from a hike he'd done with some visiting house guests, and I thought that was pretty great. He put them in Tupperware and set them on the railing on the back porch. The little vessel eventually became a breeding ground for mosquitoes, duh, and I'm not sure what ever happened to the frogs, or if the tadpoles ever even became frogs. But still I think it's pretty awesome when a grown man does a little boy thing like covet a tadpole.

Update: It's also pretty awesome when a grown man does a little boy thing like spit boba beads from a fat straw onto high-up signs on the street and try to anticipate the exact targets.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

For the Sin of Envy

It’s been two weeks since my last confession. I mean my last blog confession. It’s only been one day since my confessions in synagogue on the Day of Atonement for the sin of…

…slander, and for the sin of gossip.
…for the sin of selfishness.
…for the sin of indulging evil thoughts, and for the sin of lust.
…for the sin of not hungering and thirsting for righteousness, and for the sin of being poor in spirit.
...for the sin of speaking foolish words, and for the sin of not controlling my tongue.
…for the sin of being proud and for the sin of lacking zeal.
…for the sin of not being quick to forgive, and for the sin of holding resentments.
…and for the sin of eating a peanut butter Balance Bar on the fast day so that I could file a story on deadline without fainting…

…and miscellaneous others. By the way, for high holidays services, we joined the congregation of the synagogue led by the cantor who married my sister earlier this summer. And it was such a rich, song-dominated, warm experience that evoked my eleven years of Jewish summer camp in Malibu—one of the great blessings of my childhood and adolescence—more vividly then anything else since.

(Something else evoked summer camp recently too: At the Abbot-Kinney Cool Kid festival, we ran into a fab girl who had been a fellow camper back in those days, who I always thought was like the best, funniest, most outgoing version of me on a good hair day. And she’s still as awesome as all that, so it was such a kick to see her.)

Anyway, I was moved to confess here again when I got delivered to my inbox today a Snapfish photo album containing pictures of a minutes-old child belonging to an old flame. By all rights, he shouldn’t even know how to reach me. But he still does, and here’s why.

To start from the beginning: In college, I spent a couple months dating (well, it was more like “hanging out,” since as close as anyone came to going on proper dates in Berkeley was having a face-size hummus sandwich at Intermezzo or sitting on Sproul Plaza and listening to the drum circle and talking smack about how passersby reeked of patchouli.) a fellow film student who I’d really started to like, by the time a mutual friend told me he’d had a girlfriend the whole time. Naturally it should have been over, severed cleanly, right at the moment I’d paged him 4-1-1 (ha!) to confirm that it was true. But it lingered on as things do, until it got really ugly, and we’d hiked up to the Big C one night, and he was distraught and told me up on that hill he’d have to tell her the truth, and when we came down, he went straight to her house, if I recall, and did just that. It was high drama, and she was beside herself, and moved away or something, and the details are sketchy, but he followed her out of town, and I didn’t have contact with him for years. Until.

It was winter in New York two years ago and I was cold and I was trolling Friendster, and there he was, married, with a baby. I wrote him to say it was nice to see him settled and happy. Within two emails it came out that he loved his daughter very much—a beautiful biracial girl with wild, light curly hair, huge eyes, and a Christmas birthday—but his marriage was a disaster.

He’d gotten that girl from our college years to take him back—and then he’d gone and married her.

I’ll have to skim over a couple months spent rapt by the weird sham of an electronic affair I’d had with him after we got back in touch, because I’m not proud of it. But I was lonesome, and I envied him his life: He drove his sensible sedan back to his family in his warm condo every night. And he envied me my life: single, totally unencumbered, responsible only to myself, spent money on shoe sales and not diapers, went to parties in New York for a living (never mind that I rented a frigid apartment where I lived alone and never had enough heat or hot water or enough electricity to run my space heater without blowing the fuse, and then when I invariably did, having to pray to god that my super was in town so he could unlock the gate in the sidewalk and flip the fuse box down there so the lights would come on again). It was a perfect storm of mutual jealousies and intense history.

I asked him one day why he married that girl, with whom he fought all the time, and who didn’t seem to make him happy, and who he didn’t seem to make happy, and who hadn't made him happy enough seven years earlier to keep him from cheating. “I just wanted so badly to win,” he said, about the years he spent monomaniacally trying to get her back. “I lost track of what it was I was fighting for.”

This weekend his wife delivered their second child, a son. They’d decided to try for another child when they had a period of upswing in their relationship in the winter. He doubts now that it was a good decision, but he will be a good father, I’m sure. Insofar as you can be a good father to a child while failing to communicate honestly with his mother.

From my reconnection with him, I've really learned the lesson about the grass not being greener on the other side. But an even more valuable one is the one about making sure you know good and well what you're fighting for before you dedicate your life to that pursuit—because you just might get what you fought for.