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My Quasi-Celebrity Girlfriend, Part II
“What are you? Like a large? Medium?”
“Large is fine.”
The Land O’Lakes Girl looked through a stack of clothes–men’s clothes–in her top dresser drawer.
“Here, try this.” She tossed me a long-sleeve t-shirt promoting some coed beach volleyball tournament sponsored by a University of Buffalo fraternity several years previous.
You should always be a little concerned when a girl has plenty of men’s clothing in her house. “What size?” is not a question you want asked, as in she has such an abundance of clothes left behind from lovers’ past that she can accommodate a medium or a large or even an XXL in a pinch like she’s running a Salvation Army or is the wardrobe girl on a film set. She might as well just reveal what her “number” is.
Our initial one-night stand had some how become a one-day stand which had then punched a hole in the sky into the ultra-rare two-night stand. I was the Johnny Vander Meer of bar pick-ups.*
Everyone knows the morning after a one-night stand can be fraught with regrets and excuses. Or, at least, trite sitcoms would have us believe that they are. I used to be like that myself, making any dumb reason possible to jet. Then, I invented the straight-shooting, “So how you want to end this thing? Handshake? Hug? Kiss on the cheek?” shtick which has begun to serve me quite well. Both sexes wrongly always assume that they want out of the situation more than their counterpart. This is not true at all.
However, something about the Land O’Lakes Girl and our magnetic rapport refused to let us separate. We woke up that first morning euphoric, giggly, hooking up some more. She offered to make me an omelet. I don’t turn down an omelet. We laid in bed all day watching classic movies in the dark. There was nothing odd about it. Uncomfortable. Awkward. Neither of us wanted to part. We were having a great time, almost instantly soul mates it would seem it could be said if we were the kind of banal morons that said such silliness. But we weren’t.
We were simply lonely.
As darkness fell and night two approached, I broached the subject of finally leaving.
“It’s late and you live on the other side of town. You don’t want to deal with that. Might as well just stay again.”
I laughed at her reasoning. I did hate late night commuting across town. She was right. I told her we were now in two-night stand territory. She laughed. She didn’t know who Johnny Vander Meer was. I was glad of that.
I told her, so long as I’m gonna stay, why don’t I grab a shower and then we can go out and grab a bite on the corner.
After my hose she lent me a previous lovers’ clothes, though, by now, she thought we should nix going out and just order in. It was late and I was dressed like an asshole repping some frat I was never a member of, whose members had never teabagged me nor pissed on me at all during hell week. She didn’t understand why I wanted to leave the house so badly.
“Because neither of us has been outside since like 1 AM.”
This would become a standard refrain.
For soon, I would see the first chink in this seemingly great girl’s armor. She never left the house. But I didn’t notice at the time. Or, I didn’t care. Because I really dug her.
She really never left the house.
She thought she was too famous for that shit. Seriously.
I didn’t realize this was the reason until afterward.
She thought everyone recognized her. Especially tourists. Huuuuge Land O’Lakes enthusiasts. I would learn that was why she had no interest in going to my just-off-Times-Square Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood.
She never left the house. Worked from home. Maybe would go out once a week to get drunk alone. Like when I met her.
I didn’t realize it til during my post-relationship analysis, but the Land O’Lakes Girl was batshit crazy.
On the second consecutive morning together, we finally parted ways for the first time. She told me to come back later that night if I wasn’t busy. I wasn’t. Whatever. I had nothing better to do at that lonely time in my life. This time, however, I made sure to stuff a bag with with essentials: my non-frat-promoting clothing, some craft beers, some classic movie DVDs.
I recall a story about Scorsese and Robbie Robertson from “The Band.” This was during both men’s heavy drug usage days, we’re talking post-”The Last Waltz,” pre-”Raging Bull.” So apparently the two move into some hovel together where they blacked-out the windows, did a ton of blow, and watched classic movies all day. That was my life with the Land O’Lakes Girl for the next week, minus drugs, plus sleeping together, minus me making a concert film about her.**
We got drunk every night on good beer. Plastered. Stuff like Founders Dirty Bastard, the first “wee heavy” I’ve ever had in my life as far as I can recall. An absolutely delicious Scotchy brew full of caramelized malts and a smokey booziness which still goes down quite easy. We watched movie after movie after movie. I was a better film buff than her, but she was no slouch. We’d alternate between watching a favorite of mine, then a favorite of her’s. Then, we’d discuss them. We were like Siskel and Ebert, minus the bad sweater vests and turtlenecks, plus cuddling during screenings, minus sexual tension.
She liked movies about celebrities, movie stars, divas, crazy women. “All About Eve,” “Sunset Blvd.,” “A Star is Born,” “Day of the Locust,” “The Purple Rose of Cairo,” “The Player,” “Singin’ in the Rain,’ and Bunuel’s “That Obscure Object of Desire.”
She had wanted to be an actress once. Right after she’d gotten out of school. In fact, she had been “discovered” while waitressing at a Penn Station area coffee shop waiting for her thespian career to be handed to her. At that coffee shop, a marketing director for Land O’Lakes had found her. This was back at the turn of the millennium.
That first and only week between us passed quickly. We’d blown through dozens of movies, done little to no work or anything productive, created an epic pyramid of beer bottle empties, used Seamless Web so much that we actually got an e-mail from customer service making sure that someone hadn’t stolen our information to order piles and piles of food delivery.
On Friday morning, the Land O’Lakes Girl sweetly and earnestly asked me if I would go on a date with her that Saturday. I smiled. Why of course I would. Ha, we had been essentially living together for the past week and we still had never gone on a date. On that first date. We had skipped the courting stage and gone straight to the relaxed, lounging around in sweats stage. Or, maybe we were both ashamed with each other, might as well keep our lives together private.
I asked the Land O’Lakes Girl where she wanted to go on our de facto first date, suggesting some of my favorite restaurants, bars.
No, she explained, she already had a place that she wanted to go.
(That she needed to go to is what she should have explained.)
Saturday afternoon, after a quick shower and change of clothes at my place, I returned to the Land O’Lakes Girl’s building to pick her up. She was in a bathrobe when I arrived. I sat on the couch watching some college football. She took forever.
Finally, she emerged from the bathroom.
She wore a brown suede and fringed dress covered with ornamental beads, moccasins on her feet, necklaces and bracelets aplenty, her hair in two Willie Nelson-esque braided pig tails supported by a feathered headband.
Clark Kent had just gone into the phone booth and become Superman.
The Land O’Lakes Girl and I were going to a trade show where she had to work.
*Nothing but love for you if you got the reference. A regular Bill James you are.
**”THIS FILM SHOULD BE PLAYED LOUD!”