Last Time I Wore a Micro-Mini Skirt
Or Notes from a Hollywood Glamour Girl
there's a casting director I'd like you to meet." Paul, my talent agent,
calls me with an appointment.
"Oh great!" I squeal. It's 1997,
I'm pursuing my career as an actress in Los Angeles. I have experienced a modicum
of success in the film The Joy Luck Club, but I'm still looking for that
"big break" to propel me from D List to A List.
a great guy named Jeff Dean over at Fox. He casts a ton of things, good guy to
This is it. Never again will I accept a bit part as a laundry
owner in a student film. So long Charlie Chan's granddaughter, hello Nicole Kidman's
career complete with gift bags and walks down the red carpet where my couture
is critiqued by Joan and Missy. "Am I supposed to prepare something to read?"
"No, Honey, it's just a general meeting so he can keep you in mind for future
"What should I wear?"
He laughs. "Just
look cute, like you always do, and be yourself. He'd like to meet you an hour
from now, do you think you can get over there by then?"
cute and be myself," I chant over and over as I rifle through my closet searching
for the perfect outfit. I pull out a lime green Lycra jacket with a matching skirt;
hold it up to myself and look in the mirror. What was I thinking when I bought
this? No wonder it was 70% off. It's butt ugly. I look like a Martian in drag.
Next I try on a chocolate brown suit in a size 0 that fit me six months
ago. My weight tends to fluctuate up and downI'm prone to binging on pints
of Haagan Daaz when I'm stressed. When the pants get stuck mid-thigh, I abandon
ship-the stuffed sausage look is definitely not the way to go.
silk Changsam that I had custom made in Chinatown comes nexttoo ethnic.
What if one of his future projects calls for a blond? I can do blond.
I don a turquoise skin-tight shirt cropped just above my belly button, my lucky
black micro mini skirt, and black stiletto-heeled boots. The skirt flares at the
bottom making my thighs appear smaller, and the 4" heels on the boots elongate
my corgi-like legs.
I suck in my breath and tighten my stomach muscles.
I'm 37am I too old to pull off this super-trendy-slightly-slutty-look? I
don't care, this is my lucky skirt: I booked a movie-of-the-week in this skirt.
I am invincible. I am she-woman-hear-me-roar. I am Anna Mae Wong and Julia Roberts
rolled into one and dipped in hot and sassy sauce. I let my stomach go. It flaps
a bit before it settles. Okay, maybe not Julia Roberts, maybe more like Paula
Abdul, but she's sexy in a sort of desperate chipmunkish way, isn't she?
I suck my stomach back in and strut over to the bed where my fiancé, Curt,
is still asleep. I shake him. "Honey, do you think this outfit looks like
I'm trying too hard?"
He rolls over, looks me up and down with his
soulful blue eyes and utters, "Mmmm."
"Not now sweetie,
I have an important meeting in a half an hour. I just need your opinion on this."
He smiles and I melt as he pulls me into bed.
Running late now, I attempt to untangle and smooth down my hair which looks like
a tumbleweed has been Velcro-ed to the back of my head. I reapply my Clinique
Black Honey lipstick as I drive to my appointment. I hate being late, it's so
unprofessional. God, I hope I smell alright.
The Fox Lot spreads out like
Jabba the Hut across several blocks on Pico Boulevard. I drive past a 40 foot
fountain, pull into the lane marked "Visitors" and wait to pick up my
parking pass from the guard.
"Name?" the guard asks.
"I'm Lauren Tom. I'm here to see Jeff Dean."
"Do you know
where you're going?" he asks, slapping a permit onto my windshield.
hands me a highlighted map.
"Thanks so much!" Stop it, you
don't need to suck up to the security guard. You were in the "Joy Luck Club,"
I park, then clutching my map, begin the trek towards The Executive
Building. On the way, I pass an ATM and a coffee cart with snacks. I would kill
for a Ho Ho but I trudge on. My fame is just around the corner, I can smell it.
I pass Ralph Macchio walking the other way. I feel queasy. He used to be in those
Karate Kid movies. Is he the ghost of my Christmas future? I look up at the sky
and mumble "Nicole Kidman, not Ralph Macchio."
As I enter the
air-conditioned Executive Building, the cool air slaps my skin. I take the elevator
to the fifth floor and approach a young female receptionist. She wears black rectangular
glasses, black Doc Marten boots and her red hair in pigtails. She directs me to
a chair and offers me a bottle of Evian.
Minutes later, a slightly paunchy,
balding, middle aged man wearing blue tinted Granny glasses, jeans and a polka
dot shirt, bounces into the room. I'm not the only one who's trying too hard.
The three of us look like we're attempting to shave ten years off our respective
"Hi, you must be Lauren," he says extending his hand.
He has a warm smile and a huge gap between his two front teeth.
I beam, springing to my feet. At this point in my life I'm still speaking in exclamation
points as if I am a teenager. I figure I have until my 50s before this starts
to sound really pathetic. Like Goldie Hawn.
"I'm Jeff. Paul tells
me wonderful things about you. Let's go to my office."
Should I bring my water?" What a dumb question. Why am I so nervous?
you can bring your water."
"Great!" Stop saying "Great."
"Right this way."
His office boasts
a view of Century City and beyond. Jeff gestures for me to take a seat on a navy
blue couch spotlighted by a rectangle of sunlight pouring through the window.
As I sit down I realize that the fabric on the couch feels cool and smooth against
my bare legs. Is this satin? Who upholsters his couch in satin? I cross my legs
and feel like a showgirl in a regional production of Chicago.
couch!" I say.
"Oh you like it? It's brand new, and cost a fortune
but..." he trails off, taking a seat on a brown leather club chair across
from me. I place my bottle of Evian on the coffee table.
do you come from, Lauren?"
"Oh! You mean heritage wise? Or like,
what state am I from?"
He smiles. "I meant what part of the
"Oh! I'm Chinese," I giggle, clearly not listening.
"From Illinois," I add.
"I'm from Illinois too. What part?"
"Highland Park! Do you know it?"
"Quite well, I have relatives
"Oh! That's great! I went to Northwestern."
I sound like such a moron he probably doesn't believe that. "Did you go there
I don't remember his answer. I am too distracted by an odd
sensation occurring in my underpants. Oh my God, I'm leaking. Something is coming
out. What the hell? What is all this fluid? Am I wetting myself? It couldn't be
my period, it's not the right time. And then a faint chlorine-like smell drifts
up my nostrils. My eyes grow wide.
"Oh that's great!" I giggle.
Does he smell it too?
I've got to get out of here. Looking around the room
I notice a computer on his desk. "Is that a computer?"
he says glancing over at it.
"Gosh, you know, I am socan I
Looking puzzled he replies, "Uh
he stands and walks to the desk.
I spring up. My skirt is sticking to
my underwear. With a sense of dread, I turn and look down at the couch.
it is. As if Dali, painting in white goo, had laid down a melting butterfly. A
gigantic Rorschach shaped cum stain. I watch, paralyzed, as it seeps further into
the brand new, expensive, navy blue satin couch. Then, like a dog shaking water
out of its ears, I snap out of it and run to the desk trying to block Jeff's line
of vision with my body.
"This is a great computer, isn't it? I just
bought the same one. But I'm so computer illiterate. Could you show me how to
turn it on?" I bite my lip. I'm trapped in this body that keeps saying stupid
He glances over toward the couch. I snap my fingers in front
of his face and move my hips as if to say "hey look at me, look how cute
I am, see me smile
" It's not working. He's looking at me like I'm on
crack. I wish I was. Someone take me out right now. A 9mm right between the eyes.
He trains his gaze on mine, reaches around to the back of his computer and pushes
a small button.
I shout, "Oh! That's how you do it! Duh," I
say slapping my forehead with the palm of my hand. "You know, you're going
to think this is so weird, but would you mind if we re-scheduled this meeting?
I'm suddenly feeling a little woozy."
"Of course." He stands
up and walks around the desk. "Can I get you anything? Would you like your
water?" he asks making a move towards the coffee table.
I protest, putting up my hand and backing up towards the couch. "I think
I just have to go. I'm so sorry!"
I'm hyperventilating as I dash
for the door. Don't look back. Never look back.
The ride home is long.
This is back in the day before I own a cell phone so all I can do is marinate
in my own thoughts: This is the end of the line, you nincompoop. Forget Nicole
Kidman, hell, forget Ralph Macchio, you're going to be lucky to book an industrial,
you won't even work a car convention, you're going to end up back in Highland
Park living with your mother because you left a gigantic wad of your fiancé's
spuzzle on a Fox executive's brand new navy blue satin couch.
I never did
hear from Jeff about any future projects.
But I did learn a very valuable
lesson: That in Hollywood, there is no logic. You can wear your lucky micro mini
skirt, meet the "right" people, say all the wrong things, and still
not become a superstar.
But hey, that's life. Gism happens.
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