You know, I think one of the qualities about Clay Aiken that makes him so attractive to so many is that you sense he's a kindhearted, honorable guy. The kind of guy who's good to his mom. The kind of guy who opens the car door for you, and who, upon stopping suddenly, would throw out an arm to keep you from hitting the dashboard. The kind of guy who'd never break your heart. Guys like that are few and far between...
Every woman I know has one fatal attraction in her past. You know -- the guy who breaks your heart, destroys your trust, wrecks your confidence, and lays waste to your self-esteem (and your checking account). The guy who’s POISON.
Remember in a previous blog entry that I cautioned against dating actors? Well, I’m glad if it worked out for any of you -- I certainly had no such luck. And from the very first time I saw...well, let’s call him “Jeremy” -- sweaty, shirtless and in tights, playing a swarthy rogue at the medieval fair, I was hooked. And doomed. And I knew it.
Jeremy was a tall, dark, strikingly gorgeous, talented lout. The kind of guy who makes Orlando Bloom look like Rush Limbaugh. The kind of guy who “borrows” money from you to tide him over until “payday” (haha -- what’s that?) and then uses it to take out another girl. The kind of guy who wakes up in the morning looking rumpled and adorable while hung over with a three-day beard. (While you, on the other hand, are Quasimodo in a Laura Ashley nightgown.)
The first time I introduced Jeremy to my dad at a theatre reception, my dad made uncomfortable small talk with him and then furtively took me aside. “Okay...no offense, but what does he want? “ he asked. “Because guys like him never date women like you unless they’re after something.” And of course he was right -- what Jeremy, the struggling actor, was looking for was...a meal ticket.
And, blinded by his looks, I served that purpose for a while, although my REAL friends did everything in their power to let me know he was using me; one of the bigger snarkmeisters regularly left cans of Alpo on the doorstep for my “pet.” It didn’t help that my mom called periodically to ask if I was “getting any,” and if so, was it any good? And if not, what was he doing there? “None of your business,” is what I said. “Is that all there is?” is what I wanted to say. Yep, me and Miss Peggy Lee.
Every time he and I went out, women would flirt with him, brazenly slip him their phone numbers, and make cutting remarks about us (“Oh look -- it’s ‘Beauty and the Beast!’), right in front of me. Their audacity was kind of amazing, but I think he liked it -- he certainly never told any of them to shove off. There was little harpy in particular, a real piece of work who used to practically shove me out of the way. He and I used to jokingly call her the “BBBB” (for Brainless Bottled Blonde Bimbo). Oh, we joked...but I saw him looking. And the more he looked, the more I ate, and the fatter I got. So I would slip him money in a desperate attempt to keep him around. I suppose a male escort would've been cheaper. But honestly, isn't that what he was?
About 8 months into this charming relationship, with Jeremy’s brief attention span reaching its inevitable limit, I was invited to a huge gala a few weeks hence. I begged him to go with me...I really didn’t want to show up to this shindig with no date. (Nowadays I wouldn’t give a damn, but it was important to me then.) He agreed, and then disappeared off the face of the earth for a week and a half. On the afternoon of the gala, after I had resigned myself to coming across his obituary in the newspaper, out of the blue he breezily strolled in as if nothing had happened, and, incredibly, seemed annoyed that I hadn’t had his tux cleaned.
Tower of jello that I was, I took him to the gala anyway. (Today, I would have hit him with a lamp.) Immediately after we arrived, I sensed something was wrong -- maybe it was the way everybody was treating me like the dying heroine of my very own tearjerker movie-of-the-week, a part usually played by somebody like Mare Winningham. Back at the apartment later, Jeremy confessed, of course, that he’d been off having a fling with -- you guessed it -- the BBBB. And apparently everyone knew about it but me. (More about my experiences with her in another blog entry -- let's just say that I later added another "B," for "bitch.") He still wanted to be friends, though. Wasn't that nice? Only not.
After I threw him out, changed the locks, tossed his belongings out the upstairs window, and lost a lot of weight in a dangerously short period of time, I did my level best to forget about him. And honestly, it wasn’t so bad -- it’s funny how someone’s looks can deteriorate in your eyes in response to how they treat you. And of course it works the other way, too...sweetness from a guy can go a long way toward enhancing his appearance. Don’t you think?
As fate would have it, shortly after that we were cast opposite each other in the leads of The Taming of the Shrew. Which meant we got to beat the crap out of each other for 12 weeks, something I didn’t actually mind too much, since the BBBB was often seen in the front row, watching avidly and chomping her gum. Over the course of the run, Jeremy and I seemed to morph into wild cave people. He began growing long unruly hair and a beard like ZZ Top, and I could easily have been mistaken for one of the wild-eyed Manson Family. To complete the resemblance, the day after the show ended, I marched into my hairdresser’s salon and forced him to shave my head. (I did stop short of carving an X into my forehead.) It was liberating to say the least.
A few days later, Jeremy called me. Wanted to get together. No doubt he wanted something of his that he thought I still had (hah!). Against my better judgment, I met him at our usual diner, a place with lethally strong coffee, numerous citations from the health department, and bad clown art on the walls. When I caught sight of him, I burst out laughing -- he had also cut off all his hair, the mustache, the beard, everything. We must have looked like two cueballs sitting there. Once I broke the tragic news that a homeless guy was probably wearing his Ralph Lauren pants, he was outta there. It was the last time I saw him. Just as well -- I was getting tired of picking up the check.
Several years later, I heard through the grapevine that he inexplicably named his only daughter after me. I wonder how that idea went over with his wife. Come to think of it, I wonder if he still has a wife. Maybe so, but I’m betting she’s probably not the same one.
And me? I feel like one of those lucky people who survived a natural disaster. Earthquakes, tornados, hurricanes...and guys like Jeremy.
The main thing I learned: Gorgeous guys are all very well, but why pay for the upkeep of a Porsche when a Volkswagen will suit your needs much better?
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