A big development in the land of Muldo this week. One of my earliest celebrity crushes, Dominique Moceanu, is now following me on twitter little more than a year after I wrote this heartfelt article about her.
I’m honored and flattered as much as, if not more than the other 2,648 people she follows. I proudly told my coworkers and friends about my newest fan and they reacted with varying degrees of interest. One quote from my friend Joel stood out.
“This is the most exciting thing to happen since David Hasselhoff started following me,” Joel said.
It took one month to find someone willing to go on a date with me, and one night for them to decide they never wanted to see me again.
I had been in town for a few weeks and was ready to meet some ladies. After hearing all the horror stories about the pretentiousness of LA women and seeing the low dollar amount in my bank account, I was hesitant. Eventually, I met a nice girl while at a bar in Westwood. She was tall, attractive, and for some reason was interested in me.
A back and forth of flirtatious phone calls and instant messages ensued. Then, going against everything I ever stood for musically, I accompanied her and two of her friends to a line dancing bar deep in the valley. We continued to hit it off, so I made a move and asked her on an official date.
Of course, I wanted to keep it casual, so I used the term “hang out” just in case she said no. She agreed and I began planning for our night out. My main obstacle was money. I was working my first PA gig and had low funds. How could I woo my lady while pinching pennies?
Instead of coming up with something creative and romantic, I went with in-your-face frugality.
My date came to the frat house, ready for a night on the town. I told her I knew a place nearby with a great all-day happy hour on Wednesdays. She was game, so we got in my car and drove to Del Taco since it was 3 tacos for $1 night.
I ordered and ate nine soft tacos. She downed a modest three. Ever the gentleman, I paid for our bill which was about $7.50 after drinks and taxes.
Not ready for the night to be over, I invited her back to the frat house to continue the “hang out.” She agreed, so I figured my blatant poorness wasn’t a turn off.
I escorted her to my room and shut the door, wedging the Phillips-head screwdriver into the slot where the chain lock was supposed to be so we could have some privacy. The buzzing of a lit neon sign added extra ambiance. We sat on my air mattress and watched a “How I Met Your Mother” rerun that got minimal static when the rabbit ears atop my television were placed just so.
With all my ducks in a row, I made my move. We made out for a while until she was suddenly tired and had to leave. I walked her out and kissed her good night, suggesting another date. She agreed, then blew me off the next few times I contacted her before I finally gave up.
Disappointed, I analyzed our relationship and wondered why her attitude abruptly changed. The possibilities were endless, but in the end I came to the conclusion that she must have been a Taco Bell kind of girl.
Ask anyone who relocated to Los Angeles, and they’ll be able to tell you about their first celebrity encounter. Mine happened my second week in town, and was one of the most exciting moments of my life up until that point.[1. Honorable mentions: The time I won Penguins tickets from a TV sports talk show contest, sneaking downstairs to watch a few minutes of Showgirls while my mom was asleep, and scoring 31 of my teams 37 points in a game of 8th grade rec league basketball]
It was at a semi-intimate gathering with a lot of people I just met. Across the room stood a familiar looking woman making small talk with the party’s hostess. I recognized her as Nurse Olivia from “Grey’s Anatomy” (real name: Sarah Utterback). The character who famously gave George syphilis. This was the time in America when men and women alike were watching the show (or at least that’s how I justify it to myself), so it was tough to contain my giddiness.
I asked the hostess if this was, indeed, a celebrity drinking beer in the same room as us.
“Oh, Sarah? Yeah, she was on that show. We’re good friends.”
She took me over and introduced me. Just like that, I was mingling with a known actress. We made small talk for a few minutes and parted ways. She was nice, but unfortunately there was no sexual chemistry. I went around the rest of the night telling everyone who she was, but no one really cared. To them, she was just another working actress. To me, she was a star.
The next day, I told my mom and all my friends back home about my encounter. They were more thrilled about it than I was, and that’s saying a lot.
After 5 years, you tend to forget about all the famous people you see, and if I met someone like that today, it wouldn’t phase me. But at the time, she was a star in my presence, and the subject of a story I’ll never forget.
While driving cross-country, I imagined my first night in LA would consist of a hopping party at a glitzy venue with movie stars and high end cocktails. In reality, it involved sharing a bottle of Bacardi and an air mattress with my friend Jeremy while watching movies in a room with a spray painted penis[1. One of my biggest regrets in life is not taking a picture of the large cock n’ balls that was spray painted on the wall in my room. It fit the decor perfectly and really tied the room together.] on the wall.
We traveled for 4 days only to arrive at the frat house I was rooming in for the summer. A random person there took me to my room, which was completely trashed, had no lock, and was decorated with the aforementioned cock. I wanted to turn around and walk back to Pittsburgh.
My friend and I cleared three garbage bags of crap and made the room acceptable. We celebrated with a fifth of rum and our first Los Angeles meal.
With all the excellent Mexican food the town had to offer, we patronized the best tasting and most authentic one we knew: Taco Bell. I downed a couple Chalupas and a diet coke. Satiated, I was ready to hit the town.
Only knowing three people in town, I called them to find out what celebrity we’d be partying with that night. Nothing was happening, or, more likely, no one wanted to invite us, so we went with plan B.
We inflated my air mattress, turned on the TV/DVD/VCR combo that was sitting on top of my entertainment center/mini-fridge, and watched Sideways while laying side by side. Luckily we were both comfortable with our sexuality, since the bed wasn’t big and it was a tight squeeze.
It might not have been what was envisioned, but just by making it into town alive after 50 plus hours of driving, my first night in LA was a success.