July 19, 2003

Kate came home from a premier party and called me, ecstatic. “I met the most wonderful guy. He’s a literary agent—Matt Lipstein.” At least she didn’t use the word, love.

 “Who? From which agency?” I asked as I tightly twirled the phone cord around my finger.

Matt Lipstein,” Kate repeated, annunciating. “I can’t remember the agency. A good boutique one.”

I had gone on one date with Matt Lipstein. He had asked me to massage his groin because he could tell I had good hands. It had been one of the worst dates ever. We had gone to Asia De Cuba at the Mondrian. After dinner, Matt asked me if I wanted to check out one of the suites. He said it was for one of his clients. I had never been in a room there, so I naively said yes. And that’s when he attacked me.

“You remember my almost-date-rape story?”

“Yes,” said Kate not paying attention.

“That was Matt Lipstein.”

“No, it can’t be the same one,” Kate screamed. “This guy was so sweet, and he listened to me talk for an hour. Matt asked me questions for an hour!”

“Kate—I told you to stop disclosing so much. It makes you too vulnerable. Guys get bored.”

“He wants to take me to dinner at the Omni downtown.”

“Yeah, so you’ll get stuck downtown with him. The Omni is a hotel. Did Matt invite you to the spa, too?”

“Don’t be so negative, Tiffany. You’re filling my head with bad thoughts. Maybe he’s changed.”

“In a year and a half?” Images of Matt being the charming snake he was went through my head. Matt didn’t believe I wasn’t interested in him and had kept calling me. He left a slew of similarly themed messages: “I know it’s last minute, but would you like to join me a at spa opening?” “My friends have a chateau in France the month of August. Do you want to go?” “How does the Toronto film festival sound—all expenses paid?” “Skiing in Whistler for a week after Toronto?”

“Matt said he did The Forum, and it changed his life. I’m thinking about doing it,” Kate continued.

Oh no, not The Forum.

“Kate he’s a total creep.”

“Well, I’m sorry you feel that way,” Kate said coldly.

“This will be the most stupid thing you’ve ever done,” I sighed inaudibly.

“I have to go,” Kate said and hung up.

                                     ***

“Veuve Cliquot, please,” Kate said while rubbing on suntan oil. The champagne was seventeen dollars a glass poolside at the Mondrian.

“Flat water with lemon,” I ordered.

Kate had talked me into getting to the Mondrian at 10am to lie out by the pool. Why lie out in my imaginary backyard or get sandy at the beach when I could lie out at a luxury hotel? Kate was lying out topless near the pool. Luckily, there weren’t many people out this early on a Friday. I was going to need a Mimosa very soon. I opened my book, The Devil Wears Prada. For a beach read, it was slow. For some reason, I had faith that it was going to get better in the vicinity of a pool.

I studied Kate. She had on large sunglasses and a pink canvas hat with a pink leopard printed bikini bottom. She daintily sipped her champagne and reapplied her Juicy Tube lip gloss.  Kate’s cell phone went off blasting “Material Girl.” I giggled at her new ring.

“Hello?” Kate said loudly after the third ring. “Oh, hi Matt,” she said, feigning boredom.

I gave Kate a look.  She swatted me away. “No, I am busy all next week except for Friday. What am I doing now?”

I slid my pointer finger across my throat.

“I’m at brunch with a friend.” Then she laughed, “It’s none of your business. Call me later. I don’t want to be rude.” Kate flipped her phone shut. “Three and a half minutes, baby.”

“I’m proud of you,” I said, not looking up from my book. That was the most concise Kate had ever been. There was a dog barking. I squinted in the direction of the lobby. It was probably some movie star’s pet. A bald man in a white terry cloth bathrobe was walking towards us with an ancient yellow lab. The guy took his time passing us, blatantly looking at Kate’s breasts, and then sat down at a right angle from us.

 Baldy sighed loudly. He crossed one leg over the other and snapped his fingers. There wasn’t anyone around to be snapping to attention. Kate gave me a knowing look, and I rolled my eyes. Momentarily, a waitress in a short sarong and a belly- baring shirt set down a glass water bowl for the dog and a food bowl containing bacon and eggs.

A few minutes later, she came back with the same breakfast and the LA Times for Baldy. It was exactly 10:15. “Thank you, Cassie. Do you mind if I bounce this quarter against that,” he said pointing at her belly. Without waiting for a response, he did it. Gross. Baldy handed Cassie a hundred-dollar bill.

He turned his attention to Kate:  “You have great tits.”

Kate beamed. “Thank you.”

I laughed.

“What’s so funny?” Baldy demanded.

“Oh, nothing,” Kate said. This sent her into hysterics. I held my book in front of my face.

“Are you even a guest here?” Baldy asked with a red face.

“What, do you live here?” Kate asked.

“Yes, actually.”

This sent us both into hysterics. My throat was hurting.

“Why don’t you go back to your West Hollywood studio apartments? I could get you thrown out of here in a second with a…”

“Snap of your fingers?” I said.

This was not good. Now there were people gathering around us. We were making a scene.

“You may have great breasts, but you are no Pam Anderson.”

I glared at him. “That was original.”

“I’m ready for the pool,” I said, getting up. I really wasn’t. I figured I could splash water on him. I pulled out Kate’s top from her bag and threw it at her.

I slowly dipped my leg into the water while Kate went to the deep end and dove in. Of course her top came off. Kate’s head popped up, and she giggled while pulling her top on. I took a deep breath and went underwater. I forgot about Baldy, except for a brief fantasy about him being gone when I came up for air. Kate splashed me and I splashed her back.

Back at our lounge chairs, I had managed to talk Kate into keeping her top on. Baldy had miraculously left. A B-list star was sitting to Kate’s left. It took me a second to figure out who it was—Daniel Gonzalez from Goddess. Kate’s eyes got big.

“Hi, I’m Kate.” Daniel didn’t look up from reading US Magazine. Yeah, I’m sure he was just looking for a picture of himself or his wife. Kate lied, “You’re such a great actor.”

Daniel stared at her, “Do you mind? I’m off right now.” I marveled at how he said this so matter-of-factly. Daniel almost didn’t sound like a dick.

“Kate, he’s TV,” I said, just loud enough for him to hear me.

“I don’t do TV anymore. I only do movies,” he snarled.

“Major or indie?” I asked. This would get him. I had never seen him in a movie, which equaled straight-to-video.

I caught him off guard. “Well, I am about to work on a major,” he said.

“Oh.” Kate snapped open her phone to pretend to check her messages. “Matt Lipstein called.”

Daniel set down US. “He’s a slime ball. I wouldn’t be smiling if I were you.”

Kate rolled her eyes. “Why?”

“Come on. Everyone knows he raped a girl last year.”

My face was feeling flushed. No one had told me. I had only gone on one date with him. It must have been one of those Hollywood rumor mill things that hadn’t been mentioned in the tabloids.

“Excuse me,” A man with a German accent and dressed head-to-toe in white said. “What is your room number?” Damn that Baldy.  He was standing at the hotel entrance smiling.

“I can’t remember,” I said, on the ball.

“Mr. Miller seemed to think you weren’t hotel guests.” Now Kate was looking panicked, and I was concerned about how we were going to leave inconspicuously with her sans shoes. Kate had done her toenails right before I picked her up. I hadn’t noticed that she was barefooted until we had arrived. Luckily, the hotel was busy, and no one had noticed.

“They’re my guests, “said Daniel. Ok, maybe he wasn’t a dick.

“Oh, I’m sorry Mr.Gonzalez.”

After the guy left, I turned to Daniel. “Thank you. That man in the robe--”

“Is an a-----e and a nobody?” I nodded my head. Kate and I high-fived each other and Daniel.  

“Just another day at the Mondrian,” I said. “Next time let’s go to the Avalon.”