“GoLightly, young man, and grow up in the material world …”

“GoLightly, young man, and grow up in the material world …”

SALLY TOMATO: Some day, Mr. Fred, you take this book, turn it into a novel. Everything is there. Just fill in the blanks.

HOLLY GOLIGHTLY: Would be good for some laughs.

ST: No. No, I don’t think so. This is a book would break the heart. (READS ENTRIES) “Mr. Fitzsimmons, powder room, $50. Less $18, repair one black satin dress. Cat food, 27 cents.”

HOLLY: Sally, darling, you’re making me blush. But you’re right about Jack Fitzsimmons. He’s an absolute rat. but I guess, of course, I don’t know anybody but rats. Except, of course, Fred here…”

From the film “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” adapted from the Truman Capote novella by George Axelrod

It is a story to break the heart, indeed.

Last night, I had a coffee date with a real life Holly Golightly, author Truman Capote’s famed gamine immortalized by Audrey Hepburn in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” Although, as I wake up to write this recollection, I now see shades Lorelei Lee, the famed blonde mantrap vedette from “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.” Either way, I write this of two minds.

I admired his pluck and honesty when he hurled statements like, “I don’t want to work to sustain myself. I want someone else to take care of me. My mom did that. So did my grandmother. I guess it runs in the family.”

I am also saddened by the harsh reality of his worldview. It was disconcerting to see how a darker shade of self was hiding beneath those incredibly green eyes. Yet, moments occurred during our two hour conversation where it was apparent said eyes could turn icy blue with determination.

God, he was beautiful. He had this classic Pepsodent, that all-American, clean cut look reserved for those who are the physical manifestation of manifest destiny. He knew he had the power to pillage and conquer souls and grab all the riches of the land. It would happen without him ever having to do or give anything in return, a fact he made quite clear.

I was never one of those boys. I never had that power. I was the friend. The confidante. The one that went with you shopping. The one that would hold your hand and console you when you would cry or rage over the one you’d rather be with treated you wrong.  I don’t know what it’s like to wield a sexual power so strong, that men would become automatic teller machines to sustain even the most tenuous of connections. I was never the boy who looked like a teenage dream.

During the course of our time together, I had visions, strong sexual ones. How could I not? I recognized the signs from day one. His careful banter, always appealing, almost demure, was seductive. But as our conversations, or rather marathon text narratives, evolved, an edge was starting to make itself known. Sitting with him at this Starbucks at Downtown Disney, it became apparent to me he knew what he had to say to draw a man in. Shrewd sincerity always wins in the conquering game.

It was fitting that our meet and greet happened at a place where artificial beauty runs rampant and costly dreams of fun and adventure are sold. This temple of cartoon consumerism only compounded my resolve not to engage with this boy again. Clarity hit as I drove by the 605 freeway on ramp. The role models provided by Holly Golightly and Lorelei Lee haven’t lost one iota of their potency.

But I shouldn’t be surprised.

Madonna’s seductive and telegenic anthem “Material Girl,” itself a variation and homage to these archetypes, has never been more resonant than today, where a generation refuses to do the hard work or take pride in making their own success. It’s about the instant gratification of it all, of getting and wanting all you desire.

Bartering with sex is nothing new. From the moment we learn to covet, we will find the right selfie angle with which to succeed of obtaining our heart’s desire. Yet something else is in the mix when you’re beautiful of face and body. I’d like to think a high cost exists to trade one’s souls to appease a hunger for Vuitton.

Lorelei Lee exalts near the end of “Gentleman Prefer Blondes” how “a man being rich is like a girl being pretty? You wouldn’t marry a girl just because she’s pretty, but my goodness, doesn’t it help?”

It does help, Miss Lee. But when all you can do is show your price tag like I was shown last night, I realized the cost would not just be a monetary one. I don’t have the funds to become a sugar daddy for someone who may just walk away when a fuller bank account comes into play. I would never want to pay to make someone love me. I want parity. I want equality. I want to share whatever I have with someone who understands the importance of giving back and not just in a financial way.

Want to know the greatest irony in all of this? He worked at a bank.

It took me a while to fight my way to the middle in this world. I am not going to be a rich man. I’ve pretty much squandered most of the riches of my perceived Hollywood life anyway in a lifetime of unbridled spending. That emotional void I’ve fought most of my life is no closer to being filled, although I recognize the danger of giving it power. It’s a hollow space. Period. What surrounds it, however, is something that keeps me from falling in.

I tire of this app fueled world, where you swipe by thumbnail portraits of the desperate and the damned. It’s a virtual Serengeti. Here, a generation of men, predators and game, roam the space in search of something that can stave off the inevitable, even it’s just for a moment. It’s a network for the anti-social, where you trade innuendo and salacious photos in acts that approximate connection and intimacy. No one ever really wants to go beyond the chat box. Somehow, that’s just inviting the danger and risk of having to actually relate to somebody. (Side note, maybe we ain’t talking, but a lot of us are still fucking the pain away. Which may account why STD and HIV infections are on the rise.)

For a moment, I thought, “Maybe. Just maybe.” He was softening a bit, opening up more and more about his family life, later showing me pictures of his mom and sister on Instagram, which was unexpected. It was the most real aspect of our conversation, the only time I didn’t hear cynicism and contempt. Calculated, perhaps. Yet, an urgency could be heard in his voice, which would fall to a whisper. “This man,” I thought, “is lonely.” Despite the romanticism of a fireworks show in the distance, it was the spark of an iPhone 6 Plus screen that illuminated the truth — and path for my exit strategy.

He joked that he couldn’t live without his phone, a trait that goes beyond generations at this point. And quite a bit of life was happening while we sat together. He’d text and talk, talk and text. I eventually had to sneak a look, only to be rewarded by the sight of a distinguished, smiling gentleman with a beard. Older, like me. Smiling that smile of “Notice me, please,” like me. It was obvious that the Teenage Dream was hedging his bets alright. I was one of a group.

One final boom filled the sky and we began our walk back to our cars. He said he always loses his car in the Disneyland parking lot. Once found, we hugged and he allowed for three tender kisses on the lips. As he turned away, he asked, “Text me” in a voice laden with promise of future heavenly delights. Or maybe it was just polite indifference, the voice we use when we know won’t ever speak again.  Either way, I couldn’t really listen anymore.

This “date” cost me $29: $18, parking. $11 for two lattes, one with sugar and one without. But one thing is certain: his story will ultimately break his heart.

Mine won’t.

Written and posted from Wayne Avenue Manor on Sunday, December 13.

“Christmas wrapping…” — #bahhumbug

“Bah, humbug” no, that’s too strong
‘Cause it is my favorite holiday
But all this year’s been a busy blur
Don’t think I have the energy

To add to my already mad rush
Just ’cause it’s ’tis the season
The perfect gift for me would be
Completions and connections left from

Last year, ski shoppin’
Encounter, most interestingimage
Had his number but never the time
Most of ’81 passed along those lines

So deck those halls, trim those trees
Raise up cup’s of Christmas cheer
I just need to catch my breath
Christmas by myself this year

Calendar picture, frozen landscape
Chilled this room for twenty-four days
Evergreens, sparkling snow
Get this winter over with

Flashback to springtime, saw him again
Would’ve been good to go for lunch
Couldn’t agree when we were both free
We tried, we said we’d keep in touch

Didn’t, of course, ’til summertime
Out to the beach to his boat could I join him?
No, this time it was me
Sunburn in the third degree

Now the calendar’s just one page
And, of course, I am excited
Tonight’s the night, but I’ve set my mind
Not to do too much about it

Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas
But I think, I’ll miss this one this year
Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas
But I think, I’ll miss this one this year

Hardly dashing through the snow
‘Cause I bundled up too tight
Last minute have to do
A few cards a few calls

‘Cause it’s “RSVP”
No thanks, no party lights
It’s Christmas eve, gonna relax
Turned down all of my invites

Last fall I had a night to myself
Same guy called, Halloween party
Waited all night for him to show
This time his car wouldn’t go

Forget it, it’s cold, it’s getting late
Trudge on home to celebrate
In a quiet way, unwind
Doing Christmas right this time.

“A&P” has its provided me
With the world’s smallest turkey
Already in the oven, nice and hot
Oh damn! Guess what I forgot?

So on, with the boots, back out in the snow
To the only all-night grocery
When what to my wondering eyes should appear
In the line is that guy I’ve been chasing all year

“I’m spending this one alone,” he said
“Need a break, this year’s been crazy”
I said, “Me too, but why are you?
You mean you forgot cranberries too?”

Then suddenly we laughed and laughed
Caught on to what was happening
That Christmas magic’s brought this tale
To a very happy ending

Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas
Couldn’t miss this one this year
Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas
Couldn’t miss this one this year

 http://youtu.be/nud2TQNahaU

“If you want it…” — #change

“If you want it…” — #change

Sometimes I feel like I’m sitting with the audience, viewing my own life from a distance. I don’t pay much attention to their reactions. I’m only aware of my own judgments. As we are heading into the home stretch, I am starting to reflect on the peaks and valleys of 2014. Some images bring me great joy, while others carry a sadness that is truly profound and challenging to accept.

I was told earlier this year that I am not good with change. I remember the distinct anger I felt over this statement. Perhaps my ire was raised because there is a bit of truth to it. Change has been working overtime this year. The abundance of hope and light that took me to Spain was replaced by repeated lessons on mortality and loss. I haven’t been able to process all of it, the extremes of it all have kept me in a state of suspended animation. Yet, a few things still broke thorough this barrier to force me to reconcile why living this way is not doing anyone any good.

My new boss sent me this track by OMD titled “If You Want It.” I had come home from from a set visit, my last as a freelancer. It arrived as I pondered whether or not to join his firm full time. The lyrics moved me, a sincere call to arms, to embrace the new. It was the reason why I decided to reroute my destiny to become part of this team. However, the static encountered near the end of summer only clouded my focus during these last months.

OMD sing, “Live the life you want to live, no point thinking about “what if?” 

I keep waffling between maintaining the courage to keep living the life I want to life, to cowering under the fear of “What if?” It is exhausting this back and forth. Like the weight I keep packing, it is just easier being in my herd of one, grazing my way through the landscape, ignoring all that is good.

I am sure I am going to remain in this state of reflection a bit longer, but I recognize things do have to shift into a more positive drive. If there is one lesson to be learned, it is to understand that when I do move past this sense of arrested development, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Nothing lost but all the tears and pain.”

 

IF YOU WANT IT by OMD

 

 

One by one the walls come down
Spread the word all over town
Kicking screaming like I’ll drown
Can’t you see I’m fallin
I want you, do you want me
What’s it take to make you see
Like bomb that ticking endlessly
Can’t you hear me calling

Will you, won’t you, come with me
Wishin hoping that you’ll see.

If you want it, it will come
Through the rain and burning sun
Over hills and far away
Nothing stops this, not today
Take a chance on me tonight
Baby it’ll be alright
Nothing ventured, nothing gained
Nothing lost but all the tears and pain

Give me all you’ve got to give
Live the life you want to live
No point thinking about “what if?”
Come on. Make my day
Tell me what I need to know
If you don’t want this then I’ll go
Insane but I won’t let it show
Don’t let me walk away

Will you, won’t you, come with me
Wishing hoping that you’ll see.

If you want it, it will come
Through the rain and burning sun
Over hills and far away
Nothing stops this, not today
Take a chance on me tonight
Baby it’ll be alright
Nothing ventured, nothing gained
Nothing lost but all the tears and pain

If I could make you start to understand
If I could only make you see
What this all means to me
Let it in inside your heart
Set your mind and spirit free
Show me

If you want it, it will come,
Through the rain and burning sun
Over hills and far away
Nothing stops this, not today
Take a chance on me tonight
Baby it’ll be alright
Nothing ventured, nothing gained
Nothing lost but all the tears and pain

 

“I still hear a symphony…” — #supremelife

“I still hear a symphony…” — #supremelife

When I first heard my first Supremes song as a kid, it was like stepping into a spotlight, one that revealed the sequined covered soul hiding underneath my skin. (Full disclosure: I held a hair brush as a microphone. Oh, and Mom? I broke your kitten heels, putting them back in your closet without fixing them. That’s why they fell off when you stepped into them. Sorry!)

Those first hits of that Holland-Dozier-Holland sound, the divine Miss Diana Ross’s breathy vocals and the knowing, “hey, girl” back-up of Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard packed a wallop that continues to reverberate for me today. It was my first taste of glamour, yes. But it was also my first real understanding of why it is we want to love “The Boy.”

Ah, love.

I mean, we could look to our parents as our first real example at what it is to be “coupled.” But, what fun lies in that? My parents were certainly demonstrative towards each other, but they parceled out their love and respect in tidbits. They offered each other little dashes of emotion to spice up the ordinary aspects of the day. A kiss on the cheek, another on the lips, his arm around her shoulders. It was Paul Anka sweet, not Supremes sexy.

In the end, it would be the music and lyrics of Burt Bacharach and Hal David that would comprise my most trusted primer on matters of the heart. Yet, it was the Motown Goddesses known as Diana Ross and the Supremes that would give my heart a voice in expressing the power of yearning, desire and the unforgettable impact of that one perfect kiss.

That first kiss.

It’s the one that makes your hands shake, where every sense and nerve in your body tingles with a carnal desire that renders you speechless. You don’t want that kiss to end, but you’re just as scared to let it go on. You’re powerful and powerless at the same time. Eyes open or shut, mouth closed or with tongue, each second that kiss stays alive validates every damn Supremes song you’ve ever heard. It’s the power of a romantic ideal. It can mend what is broken within because that kiss, especially when its strength is returned in kind, means you have connected profusely with another soul. What happens next, however, is on par with discovering what happens when the song comes to an end.

The teen dreams of girl group pop were sonic blasts of what we often wished happened to us in real life. We weren’t aware that such Ideals are fantasy, but man, a lot of us hold onto these ideals like a wino with a bottle for a long time.  While I am not alone in floating in the romantic cloud of the Supremes and all of the other artists of the era that told us “it’s in his kiss,” I finally realized that not every kiss has an endgame. Sometimes a kiss is just that, a kiss. It really is a beautiful thing, though. Especially in those rare moments, where your heart is beating so fast it is like a drum beat. You’re so transported, you really do hear a symphony.

So, how do you not revert back to your teen self, where you were convinced such a kiss meant he was “The Boy?” How do you tap into your grown up rational self? Where you don’t self-sabotage it all by being too eager to communicate, beating him to a retreat to protect your own fragile heart? How do you stop that endless loop of thought where you meet, court, marry and break-up all before you have that second date?

God, why is this all so freakin’ frustrating a dance?

I remember telling my Ex at the beginning of our relationship, not every boy you kiss is going to be “The One.” And it is true, they’re not. I think fear of being alone is a lousy motivator in pursuing someone. It’s like binge eating, where you consume everything just to fill that emotional void. You can’t use people to fix what ails you or complete you in this state. It is an unfair expectation to possess, one that will certainly drive people away. And, if you don’t have a healthier attitude about your heart and your self-esteem, you will perpetuate that vicious cycle anew. The following quote is a testament to the dangers of being impulsive:

“Self-control is the chief element in self-respect. Self-respect is the chief element in courage.” — Thucydides

I think I’ve made great strides in not projecting expectations onto some of the men I’ve met in these last years. No expectations does mean no disappointments. Yet, can I say that it’s hard not to get Carrie Bradshaw’ed away when someone catches me totally off guard? It’s when you witness that certain smile or hear that easy laugh. Oh! And if they possess that tender touch and offer an inviting embrace that tells you, “It’s just you and me, pal?” MELT! I haven’t experienced that in a long while, but it happened to me recently. It’s the kind of stuff that propels you to a keyboard and here I am.

I know it can be all so fleeting, these moments. Yet, having the courage to let them happen is essential. I’ve enjoyed letting this little smile make itself known at stop lights, because it felt so good to let go of “The Eeyore Syndrome.” Too many weeks of having the mean reds can mess a bitch up! I don’t care to know what it means. That’s not this is about. I just want to let this feeling last as long as it is meant to because it is a wonderfully human thing to experience, like hearing that Motown bridge.

Besides, I have finally come to realize the only way for any relationship to take hold is for it to be a mutual want. (Because you can’t hurry love! Boom!)

As I was counseled by my fearless friend Heidi, in order to start a bonfire, you have to cajole the flames. When the time presents itself, just give it a chance to burn, don’t suffocate it. Let those sparks connect and ignite with all that is revealed to be combustible in those first electric moment. If it takes hold, that raging passion we wall want to sing about will grow with intensity. If it doesn’t? Well, you relish the glow of that initial bolt of lightning, because it happened and nothing in the world will ever diminish its impact.

No matter what our age and place in this chaotic world, that gift of making music with someone who cares is one our most defining traits. Never think to yourself, “This is my last chance.” That’s the beautiful thing about symphonies — and the Supremes.

We, too, are all classics that live to be heard from — and kissed — again.

 Thursday, November 20. Written and posted from Wayne Avenue Manor in South Pasadena, CA

How to Spot a Flake — #dating101

How to Spot a Flake — #dating101

The worst part of digital dating is that touch screens are about as connected you are going to get with your prospective Romeo. With a swipe of the finger, he’s courted, kissed and kissed you off before you even finish this sentence. Now, such behavior is nothing new, it’s just available on a new platform of communication. It has always been easier to process quantum physics than to understand the male heart and mind.

What the Internet has done is turn cruising into a veritable Sizzler menu, allowing for thumbnails to represent all that you are without nary a thought to your being a human being. Bad behavior has never been this bad — or ridiculous.

So, consider this a dash of Selsun Blue for your dating soul. Want to wash out the flakes? Offer this questionnaire based on the most common untruths that still exist today. (I mean, come on. Think of some new ones already. It’s 2014):

1. Do you have a sick family member or friend who needs constant care and will coincidentally interrupt all of your plans?

2. Does work control your life in that you are required to return to said office (or wherever) just before we are supposed to meet?

3. Have you been feeling ill lately and will somehow still choose the peak of your sickness to be when we plan on meeting?

4. Do the terms “meet,” “exchange phone numbers” and “hang out” trigger a stroke that causes you to go mute and disappear?

5. Will you, at any point, mention that you are actually seeing someone and his BF doesn’t actually know you’re “open?”

If they answered yes to any of these questions then please feel free to move on and talk to someone else who might give a damn.

Done. Right.

Tuesday, October 28. Written and posted from Wayne Avenue Manor, South Pasadena, CA.