Several years ago I was in a gas station, minding my business, buying a forty and a pack of cigars. (Or maybe it was a pack of sour gummy worms and a Mountain Dew...whatever you need to tell yourself.)
I had the classic stoner (gummy worm addict) look going on – frizzy hair piled into a disheveled bird’s nest on top of my head, big sunglasses covering red eyes, and a t-shirt with a fraying decal on the back of a naked man and woman running under big letters spelling “Carolina Streaker”. Real jizz in your pants kind of stuff.
I paid for my contraband, went out the door and back to my car. I was smoking a cigarette and staring at the front of a huge black bus when I reached for my drink and realized it wasn’t there. Cussing, I got out and headed back toward the gas station. But as I reached for the door handle, someone yelled and I glanced back.
I collided with a man coming out the door, dropped my cigarette, and, if my muddled memory serves, shouted “Fucking Christ”. He apologized and grudgingly so did I, still looking down and brushing the ashes off my pants leg. Then we did the dance. You know the one? Left, left, right, right, sorry, sorry, left, left, right, right, pause, um ok, I’m going to go this way while you...no I said this way...ok...goddamn it, just be still!
The whole thing probably only took 10 seconds, but in my memory it slows down to a crawl. I suppose it’s my subconscious way of torture. Because during that last pause, before we went our separate ways, I finally looked him full in the face and noticed...
I’d been door dancing with Edwin McCain. Cue open mouthed shock and staring at suddenly VERY visible side of black bus with his name in GIANT letters and, oh yeah, his FACE on it. *slow clap*
That was my first disastrous brush with a celebrity. I mean, unless you want to count the time before that when I got so drunk I made out with a guy in a bar because I thought he was the front man from that band. You know the one? With the tattoos and spiky hair? And the ripped arms and holey pants? That guy.
And maybe also a girl that looked exactly like Kerri Russell. If Kerri Russell wore fishnets and rubbed her nipples suggestively in bars, which I’m sure she doesn’t. Not classy, fake Kerri Russell.
Oh, wait, and there was that time two years ago when my favorite band in the entire world, Ludo, was playing at a local tavern. It was a small place that my best friend and I frequented so I was positive I’d finally get to meet their lead singer Andrew Volpe. I’d already gotten two of the members to sign a CD at their last show, but somehow I missed him. And don’t get me wrong, I love them all, but Andrew Volpe makes my nipples hard.
Anyway, while waiting for the first few bands to play I got epically hammered and left for a quickie with the fireman because he lived in an apartment right next to the bar. All I remember about that was showing up, bouncing around on top of him and laughing for what I thought was about 15 minutes but turned out to be a lot longer, and hauling ass out the door still pulling on clothes and screaming, “I’m gonna miss Ludo!”
By the time I got back they were almost through with their set. I wrapped my arms around a wooden post between the stage and the bar and sang along with my favorite song and one other and it was over. A little while after they packed up, Rachel had to pry my grasp open and half carry my ass out the back door. And while she was helping me stumble across the parking lot I was shouting, “FUCKING LUDO WOOOOO! WOOOOO! YEAH!”
“Hey...you know they’re standing RIGHT there”, she said, embarrassed and irritated I’m sure.
“FUCKING LUDO WOOOOO!”
There they were, Andrew Volpe and the lot of them, standing in a group outside by themselves loading up and witnessing my embarrassing drunken display. Rachel knew better than to take me over there and hurried us to the car.
So apparently I’m terrible with celebrities. So terrible, in fact, that when my stepsister Jess told me we’d gotten VIP passes to meet Kendra Wilkinson and sit in the holy grail of club seating, I was a tad nervous.
Every summer, while I’m vacationing in Oklahoma, we go out drinking and dancing at least one night. This year I spent almost the entire week ping-ponging between my bed and the pool so I was happy when she finally said, “Friday night we’re going out”.
Friday afternoon we went to a movie and then did a little browsing for shoes or maybe a new shirt to wear out that night. I was relaxed, full of Chili’s chicken crispers, and aimlessly wandering the aisles flicking through racks, when I heard Jess talking excitedly on the phone. I made my way over to her just as she was hanging up.
“My friend got us VIP passes in to hang out with Kendra Wilkinson tonight, but we’ve got to dress up and wear something with pink in it.”
My first reaction was excitement - Holy shit! VIP? Really? That’s fucking awesome! Ooooh, Dave is gonna be so jealous when I tell him I met her! Go Kendra! Go Kendra!
My second reaction was panic - Wait? Dress up? Ohmygawd, I’ve got nothing to wear to a VIP party! I have no clothes! Nothing pink! SHIT! Wait...all of the girls there are going to be a size two with gigantic fake breasts and wearing pink see-through Band-Aid with built in herpes repellent! I don’t know if I want to do this.
In reality, I had a suitcase with six and a half dresses shoved in among the t-shirts and shorts that say COCKS across the chest or ass, and a firm grasp on how to avoid anything herpes related. (What? It’s a college sports team. Scouts honor.) I say six and a half because one was actually a skirt that I briefly considered turning into a strapless dress in the event that I wanted the natives to see how tan my ass cheeks have gotten this year. (For the record, I now have the ass cheeks of a Mexican. Just like my boobs. Ole motherfuckers.)
We spent the next few hours frantically trying on dresses and shoes. I suppose it was a bit more frantic on my end because I’d found the most beautiful bright blue stilettos that I was sure I couldn’t live without...yet also sure there was no way I’d manage to pair them with anything pink without looking like Malibu Barbie – the cracked out version. Somehow knowing that didn’t stop me from trying anyway.
In the end Jess threatened to leave me there, so I settled on buying two pairs of the same stilettos – one in black, one in silver – and waved a longing goodbye to their shiny blue sisters. I found a strapless dress with a tight teal bodice and a flowy skirt with swirls of different colors, including pink. It was a bit louder than my usual style. I’ve always been a bit of a solid colors, straight lines, lot of black type of girl. But it was crunch time and everyone else seemed to think it was perfect. (Or they were tired of my bitching and I actually looked like an over tropical, special needs tourist.)
We got ready at Jess’s house in record time, just taking quick showers and retouching makeup. I threw some mousse in my hair and decided to just let the afro go. By then I was less anxious and more resolved. I wasn’t going to suddenly get better looking. Best to just say fuck it and drink a lot.
We got to the club around 10:30, sat down in a booth and had a few drinks before making our way to the VIP area. And it was insane.
The tiny section was surrounded by people – baby hookers in skin tight dresses everywhere! There was a low wall around the area with two roped entrances guarded by men with their arms crossed in an imposing manner. Chases and couches with pillows and a few low tables were stragestically placed and men and women, dressed from skater pro to Las Vegas hooker, buzzed with anticipation. There was even one girl who had a dress cut down to her waist...and the boobs hanging almost as low to match.
It wasn’t what I expected and I was relieved. From the phone conversation with Jess’s friend, I thought it was supposed to be a more intimate affair. The word “table” was tossed around and I was afraid I’d be stuck next to some bunny with a double decker bus on her chest and a penchant for calling me “Excuse Me Peasant Please Move”.
Not at all. There were probably about 30 or so people in our little box and the rest of the hundreds were looking out from the balconies, the stage, and pressed up against the barriers like bloodhounds scenting a bitch in heat. They were salivating, I tell you. And from my perch on a low couch near the dividing wall, I could feel their hot breath on my neck. It was a little exciting. Not the hot breath part, that was kind of gross. I mean the atmosphere – knowing that I was sitting in a place they all wished they could be sitting.
When they announced her entrance the crowd went nuts. She went straight past the rope and stood on the lower deck of the VIP section, taking pictures with the people pressed against the edges and waving to those further out. I was proud of myself for not being all “WOOOOOO” or “Ohmyfreakinggawd you’re, like, so awesome” when she finally made it to the inner sanctum. I was actually completely calm and collected when we spoke, shook hands, and took a picture with her. And after having a bit to drink and going from past experiences, I’m thankful someone slipped me a chill pill. She was very down to earth and gracious, which made it easier I guess.
Even those people that say “If I ever meet a celebrity I’ll be totally cool and calm, unfazed...they’re just people” have those moments. Obviously. But maybe I’m finally growing out of my crazy fan stage.
Or maybe, three hours later and in a different club, I flew off a bar stool and busted my ass on the wet floor because I may or may not have heard someone say something about Ryan Reynolds being there and I was drunk enough to believe it AND attempt a gymnastic leap from a sitting position. Possibly. And maybe I blamed it on the slippery dress and a handsy skeezeball to my right wearing too much Axe.
The world may never know.
1 week ago