Posted by amybou on:
When a soon-to-be-famous dashing actor whose first film will be released this spring—Jay Ali, for example, of “Darling Companion”—invites you to hang out after enjoying your post about his SBIFF opening night film and mentions that you should “give him a shout” if you ever make it to Los Angeles, and upon your response that you come down to LA often and will indeed give him a shout, he tells you to “make sure you do”—well, who wouldn’t follow an intriguingly succinct command issued from such a handsome and charming individual?
So you follow his instructions to give him a call when you get into town over Presidents’ Day weekend (resisting the urge to call from the road and/or the night before to set the plan in motion). A series of phone calls and text messages are exchanged about when and where to meet—he generously offers to come meet you in Santa Monica, although you wouldn’t mind heading to Hollywood. So the venue is left TBD, and you spend the afternoon wondering what an appropriate but still fun activity might be.
As a reader of Vanity Fair and Vogue, you are aware that the locations of celebrity interviews and first dates have a lot of overlap. Drinks at the Chateau Marmont, a trip to a museum, perhaps a hike somewhere with a scenic view.
You’ve observed from your new friend/interview subject’s Facebook page that he likes to hike in Runyon Canon. In the December Vogue, you recall that Charlize Theron and the man who interviewed her went hiking in Runyon Canon and had their photo snapped by the paparazzi, prompting Charlize to joke that they would soon be rumored to be an item. Hiking could be a fun adventure, you consider, although you couldn’t wear your new towering red espadrilles.
Perhaps should you propose a film-appropriate activity for your meeting with Jay Ali. Take a dog on a walk, for example, or spend the afternoon volunteering at The Humane Society? (Then again, due to a mishap—your distractedness—you failed to actually see the film in question.) Wherever you decide to meet—if you do decide to write about the afternoon—make a mental note not to carry on about the uncanny similarities between your childhoods and/or personal lives, so that the interviewer and celebrity are mere foils to one another. But this is starting to feel a bit complicated—perhaps best to keep things simple and let him suggest a venue? You are relieved when he changes the location from a lunch spot called Basix on West Hollywood to the Rosewood Tavern, as this means that alcohol will now be involved.
If nothing else, it’s a helpful distraction to be meeting up with a handsome soon-to-be-famous man and to barely even notice when you've just passed exit signs directing you to where your recently broken up with lover now lives. And while seeing Hebrew signs in West Hollywood would’ve until recently made you feel terribly wistful, serving as a reminder of the now-former lover with whom you clearly have no future, you are hardly fazed when making a short-cut through the Hassidic shop on your way to Rosewood Tavern. Perhaps this serves as a reminder not to get too carried away today over drinks, emboldened by improbability though you often are.
You arrive at Rosewood Tavern nearly an hour late, prompting your new friend/interview subject to send a few playful texts as you're on your way, including one text in which he says he's beginning to feel like Jim Carey waiting for Mary Swanson at the bar in “Dumb and Dumber.” After explaining that you're stuck in gridlock on Fairfax and assuring him that you're almost there, he responds by saying “good! people are starting to feel sorry for me!” When you finally arrive, he is sitting at a corner table in the dimly-lit, nearly empty bar, finishing up an important-sounding call on his cell phone, wearing a light blue denim shirt unbuttoned just a tad, his artfully tossled hair less tossled today as it was at the "Darling Companion" premiere, but swept back in this sort of handsome James Dean-like wave. So he gives you a hug and a kiss on the cheek, not at all perturbed that you are so late, and you order drinks and he asks “How have you been? How was the rest of the film fest?” as if you were just old friends catching up though in truth you hardly know each other at all.
Before the meeting, you did your research, like any would-be celebrity journalist would do—but like a woman who reserves the right to consider drinks with an attractive man as a date, don’t reveal that you’ve actually done any research; refrain, for example, from quoting the complimentary Variety review he mentions which you know very well calls him “charming but underutilized.”
Refrain from bringing up any personal details you’ve pieced together from his Facebook page. After he mentions that he used to play cricket in England, go ahead and ask if he still plays, although even a cursory glance at his profile would reveal cricket-related photos on his badge (as of press time, he doesn’t yet have the timeline). Ask when his birthday is after he makes you guess his age, though you are well aware that he is an Aries—and, given your well-documented history with foreign men with great hair and a tendency to jaunt in and out of the country, it's probably a good idea to remind yourself that you are not compatible with fire signs, though you find yourself re-reading the Aries man/Cancer woman compatibility forecast just in case—never hurts to have a refresher.
Over drinks you exchange origin stories and the conversation ranges from the intriguing supernatural script he has written, to the death of pop stars, to the upcoming film being made about Joseph O’Neill’s novel Netherland. After he expresses surprise at your familiarity with cricket, you mention that you dated a British man who played the sport and he asks how you met and so you tell him about meeting the British man at a poetry reading and how you reconnected a few years later when you were staying at the Chateau Marmont and ended up reuniting which made absolutely no sense. “Why not?” your interlocutor presses you, as the table turns and he begins interviewing you—“Well, he was totally emotionally unavailable for one thing,” you tell him, after moving on to your second pint and feeling a bit tipsy, as Fish & Chips are ordered for you to share, and he considerately suggests then insists that you take some chips before he douses the entire lot of them with half a bottle of vinegar, then he asks about your novel and how you and your narrator are different and you reveal that you have similar (i.e.: identical) taste in men, then add quickly that you don’t necessarily have to write about every man you get involved with. (In truth, there’s a bit of a back-log at the moment.)
Then you say something about the British ex-boyfriend character in your novel and he leans in closer and says: “Would that be the 'emotionally unavailable' British man you mentioned earlier??”
Do you hear him say something about how there will surely be other British love interests in your novel? Or is that your own interior monologue? After nearly two pints, it’s hard to know for sure. (You don’t ask him anything about his love life, past or present, having remembered that his friend mentioned that several women were vying to accompany him to the “Darling Companion” opening night at SBIFF—isn’t that really all you need to know?)
Does he mention something about “damn LACMA” when it comes time for you to leave to meet your friend at the museum? Or did you hallucinate this as well? (“Darling if you only knew all the things that float through my mind…”) If only your cell phone battery weren’t dead, you could text your friend to postpone the surrealism exhibit—damn surrealists busting up your fun! Surely given the surrealists’ fluid sense of time, you could get away with being a little bit late…?
EDITOR’S NOTE: Stay tuned to see whether the soon-to-be-a-star’s handlers intervene and put an end to the fun of a fiction writer with an overactive imagination as she moonlights as a would-be celebrity journalist with nary a tape recorder in sight, spending far too much energy planning her outfit and ruminating about her love life--and whether the actor in question will remain eager to "read future installments" now that he--like the darling listener in Mariah Carey’s “Fantasy”—knows all the things that float through her mind…