August 6, 2012
A Guest Post by LASCIVIOUS ARIEL
When I first moved to LA, I was working as a bartender (days) and was broke as a joke. I hadn’t really considered the “industry” when I got here…OK well yes I did. Because you can’t miss the goddamn “industry”, it’s in.your.face. 24-7. And your options are either that industry or the other industry, tucked away in the valley (wink, wink). So I was trying, like everyone else, to get a job in THE “industry.”
Through a friend of a friend (that’s always how it works in this town) I got an interview to be a personal assistant for an actor. No names – I’ll just say he was an actor on a critically-acclaimed series on a premium cable channel. No, sadly, it wasn’t “Gigolos.” He wasn’t D-list or C-list, but wasn’t A-list either. You’d know him, but you wouldn’t see his face plastered in the tabloids.
As it always happens, my friend called to tell me the interview was that evening, at a Starbucks in Hollywood at 6PM – right when I got off of work. No heads up, no time to change, so I did what and enterprising young gal does – grabbed a Sharpie, colored in the bleach stains on my black t-shirt and covered up the scuff marks all over my shoes, ran into Sephora and doused myself with perfume and quickly used every possible sampler to make up my face in less than five minutes.
I booked it to Starbucks – no sign of him. So I ordered some Earth-friendly green tea and waited. And waited. And waited. Finally he shows up, looking good, casual, almost ordinary. He gives me a wary look as I stand and smile, hand outstretched. “Ariel?”
I gush and stammer about what a pleasure, is this table OK, do you want me to go and order for you? And he waves me away. “This is fine, lemme go grab a drink.” So I sit and fidget while he stands ten feet from me, waiting to order, then stands seven feet from me, waiting for his drink. He’s texting on his phone the whole time, with absolutely no interaction for ten minutes. Trying to play it cool, I check my phone every thirty seconds. Nope, no one’s called or texted. Finally he comes and sits down, then stares coolly at me. “Tell me about yourself,” he barks.
I clasp my hands in my lap, sit up straight and proceed to recite my college degree, my previous work experience, etc.
“Uh-huh.” he murmurs. He looks bored. “How well do you know the industry?”
Oh Christ, I have no idea – the industry is powerful? Sacrosanct? So I just start babbling about studios and movies and celebrity culture and understanding the need for privacy and discreetness, confidential and highly-important materials, matters of top priority, which I assume would be the key words he’s looking for. My bullshit must have worked because he relaxes and nods. “I’m going to need someone who can anticipate my needs, have intimate knowledge of my schedule and routine and be ready at a moment’s notice – think you can handle that?”
Of course, I say a bit too eagerly – always the people-pleaser. After a few more minutes he suddenly stands up. “Let’s get out of here. I live right around the corner, where you’d be working. Ready for a tour?”
Jeez. I get to see his house! I follow him out, quite chuffed to see a few heads turn in our direction.
We go to a beautiful bungalow tucked away from the street behind artfully-landscaped trees and bushes. Inside it’s dark-dark-dark. I squint to adjust my eyes from the previous glare of relentless LA sunshine.
“I keep the curtains drawn at all times to keep it nice and cool in here,” he remarks by way of explanation. He lights some candles and offers me a drink. I nervously decline. I’m not nervous to be alone with him, I’m nervous because suddenly this feels like a date. And I’m kind of excited by this.
He sits next to me on the couch, close enough so our knees almost touch. He asks me about where I grew up, my family, my interests. This definitely feels like a date. I sink into the cushions, look dreamily into his eyes and chatter away. He tells me a little bit about himself, but not too much. I only realize this later; after all, it was still an interview. “How are you about traveling? We’re going to have to go to a lot of award shows…” I’m giddier than Mary Lou who just got off the bus from Topeka. Award shows? Gee Golly Williker, sign me up!
This just might've been the bulk of my work day if I'd become his personal assistant.
Hours seem to pass until suddenly he stands up and stretches. “OK Ariel, I have to go get ready for a premiere tonight, so I’m sorry but I have to wrap this up. Thanks for coming over.” He smiles and gives me a hug (a hug!) then shows me out. I stand outside the bungalow, starry-eyed and wiggly all over. After a few days of calling everyone I know and screaming, “I’m going to work for ___________!!!” (a tad presumptuous), one of the bartenders at work sat me down and kindly, gently explained the realities of being a personal assistant: on-call 24-7. No life of my own. Very demanding and tedious, and while surrounded by glamour, I will never truly be a part of it. It was the kind of talk I needed. Because, I realized, I WOULD sleep with my boss. There would be absolutely no question about it. As soon as he lit one of those goddamn candles I would be ripping my clothes off, Sharpie stains et al. And there’s no job security in star fucking.
I heaved a sigh and called _____’s cell phone (I had his cell phone number!) I explained that I so appreciated the opportunity to meet him, but I had decided that I was not a good fit. “Oh, no,” he said, sounding genuinely disappointed (he is an actor, after all). “You were one of the best candidates and I was about to call you for a second interview. Are you sure you won’t reconsider?”
Gaah. “N–no, I’m afraid not.”
So that was the end of my brush with fame, or possibly with a famous penis. I’m proud to say I now have a decent job, steady income, benefits, a 401(k) plan, and am completely bored out of my skull and celibate. Yay, here’s to being sensible and responsible! Hoo-Fucking-Ray.