Last night I was at a boutique opening on Robertson. As I idly watched The Hills cast reapply lipgloss and take tiny single bites of cupcakes, my friend Catie told me about her latest conquest:
“So he was so cute! And we kept running into each other all over town, like five times. He was nice and funny and successful and sweet. It seemed like it was meant to be!”
I nodded. “Like serendipity?”
“Exactly. Then up at his apartment, I asked him if he ever watched True Blood. He said, ‘No. I try not to do anything Satanic.'”
It’s hard to know about people’s hidden psycho until it slaps you in the face. Like tonight, when I went out with Josh – yes, that’s his real name, he deserves it. Admittedly I had a little heads up he was going to be, shall we say, interesting, during our phone call earlier in the day.
He said, “oh my god your accent is amazing!”
I laughed, “well just so you know, I always tell people not to imitate me because I hate it. Ha ha.”
“Oh good that you told me that because I love imitating people! Now say a few words so I can guess what city you’re from. Go on.”
“Well actually” I said, “I don’t have a regional accent at all. A lot of British people don’t, even a local person wouldn’t be able to…”
“Birmingham!” he shouted.
“Er no, as I was saying, you can’t tell which city I’m from, no one would be able to tell from my voice.”
“See?” He said. “I listen to the Rolling Stones and I always try to gauge it off of the way they talk. It’s a really deep British accent they have.”
What? Ok, think of the blog, think of the blog. I have to do this date.
“So what’s the plan? I can do Tuesday drinks or tonight early evening.” I said.
“Let’s do tonight. I want to get it over with.”
Yeah I can’t wait to meet you too.
But I tried to keep an open mind, and when I saw him, he seemed nice enough, ok looking, close-cropped hair, big blue eyes, looking older than 34, but decent. A little short for me at 5’8″ but whatever, I could maybe have a fun chat with him. He might just have been nervous on the phone before.
Then as we sat down with coffee, paid for on his expense account (“if anyone asks, we talked about business! Haha!”), a woman wearing a headscarf walked by, talking to herself. She seemed a bit eccentric, so I smiled at her craziness in an ‘oh, Hollywood!’ way. Josh then opened his mouth and said the following:
“Yeah I hate all those people too.”
“I’m sorry, what?”
“Yeah all Muslims. She was probably saying she was going to bomb us all. You know, suicide bombers and all that shit. I’m Jewish so I have feelings about it.”
I stared. I believe non-fat latte may have dribbled from my mouth.
“You’re a liberal aren’t you?” he said.
The blog the blog the blog. “Really? That’s interesting, what made you realise that?” I asked, sweetly.
“You have tattoos.” He pointed to my wrists. “You’re in the business of entertainment and let me tell you, Hollywood is crawling with liberals, with too much facial hair. And the Jews in Hollywood! They’re the worst. My god, so fucking liberal.”
“What else makes me a liberal?” I asked.
“You’re offended. See? I could tell you were a liberal. I could tell by your face when I said that thing about the Muslim woman.”
“Yes, you deeply offend me. But go on, I’m curious. What else told you I’m liberal?”
“It’s a feeling. I bet you have gay friends.”
I sat on my hands so as not to smash his face in. My heart was pounding. My legs ached to walk out the door. But I stayed. I wanted to understand this prejudice, to tackle it.
He was still talking.
“I mean I’m conservative, but I’m not that conservative. I’m not the Christian Right.”
“You are very conservative,” I said.
“No I’m not.”
“Yes. You. Are.”
He ignored me and said, “Look, I actually know a few gay people. I mean I wouldn’t go for a coffee with one, but my mom’s decorator is a fag and sometimes I let him hug me.”
I tried to gather a response, but he was going on.
“Let me tell you, you flew into Los Angeles with all the other little birdies and you took on their liberal ways…you got sucked in like everyone else in the industry who’s trying to be cool, liking Obama and all that environmental shit. My buddy drives a, what do you call it? A Prius? He tried to give me a ride. I said I’d rather walk.”
“So you don’t care about the environment?” I was busily pulverising my empty cardboard cup.
“I love animals.” He said. “If I saw a person shot in the head, I wouldn’t give a shit. But a little squirrel with a broken leg? I’d be crying, for real.”
“Right but what about the environment animals live in? If you love them?” I said.
“That’s all bullshit. That Al Gore movie? Bullshit. I never even saw it. It was just a campaign tool. We humans have no control over the weather whatsoever.”
I took a deep breath.
“Oh I’ve offended you again, haven’t I? I shouldn’t have brought up politics.”
Yes, bringing up Al Gore was the problem.
“What’s that thing that everyone talks about? That climate thing?”
“You mean global warming?” I said.
“Yeah. I used to work in real estate development and I loved facing down those stupid liberals with their facial hair, holding their signs to save their rare trees or their stupid insects in the rain forest or whatever. They were jobless you know? Morons. I love driving my gas-guzzling car. It runs on Iraqi oil. I love that!”
“So you enjoy fuelling the Iraqi economy?” I asked, confused.
“We took that shit over, we own it now!” he said.
“Not exactly, but anyway, let me ask you, why did you choose to go on a date with a liberal girl like me? I think it said on my profile that my beliefs were liberal.”
“Didn’t read it.” He said. “Look I only date liberal girls anyway. Conservative girls are boring. I once was on a date with a girl and I told her I hated Obama, this was during the election, and then she said she was working on his campaign. I screwed that one up. I should never have mentioned politics.”
“Maybe you should have read her profile.” I said.
“Yeah but then if I read every profile, that takes a lot of time and anyway, she was pretty.”
How did she react?” I asked.
“She got up and walked away. I don’t think she even said good bye…”
“So” I said, it seems that you’re very passionate about your faith. You’ve mentioned it a lot. Is it important to your family that you marry a Jewish girl at all?”
“Yeah, it is. I mean my brothers would kill me if I didn’t. But I don’t want to date Jewish girls.”
“Why not?” I said.
“By the way I’m in AA” he went on.
“I guessed.” I said.
“Wow. How did you know?”
“Well I offered going for a drink and you said twice you’d prefer coffee and it’s the evening, so you clearly don’t drink.” I said, knowing someone on a first date will mostly opt for mind-numbing alcohol.
“You’re quite a smart little thing, aren’t you?” He smiled.
I had had enough.
“You’re like a caricature of everything that’s wrong in society.” I said.
“What?” He smirked.
“First of all, there a huge chasm between someone living peacefully as a Muslim and the extremist suicide bombers you refer to, the two are not really related. Secondly I know people, and since some people are gay, I also know some gay people. Finally, Jewish girls are like any other girls, just like you are like any other guy. They are neither one thing or another, they are people. By the way I didn’t form my liberal opinions by living in Los Angeles either. I grew up in the English countryside, I lived in London, in Australia, in Paris…”
“Yeah but you know, that’s Europe, you people are all liberal.” He waved vaguely towards the Atlantic.
“I also lived in Colorado before here. My opinions were formed by meeting people with an open mind. I’ve always tried to be compassionate, so no, I was not sucked in with all the other ‘little birdies’. You are in the minority, that’s why you see yourself as surrounded by liberals. It’s because most people are more open-minded than you.”
“Wait” he said, “is that that actor? I know him! James Franco?” He pointed to a guy a few seats away.
“No, it’s not,” I said. “It’s people like you who cause problems for Americans in this world. You’re a terrible prejudiced stereotype.”
“You racist!” he said. “You made a generalisation about Americans!”
I laughed. It was true.
“But it’s funny you say that,” he said. “When I travel, I’m sometimes ashamed to say where I’m from. And when I go to places like Georgia, I hate saying I’m from Los Angeles. They all think I’m a fag.”
He went to the bathroom. I grabbed my bag and headed for the door, but he caught me.
“Oh there you are!” I said.
“There was a homeless person in the bathroom.” He said. “You don’t know what I had to go through.”
“I’m going now. This was hilarious.” I said. I sort of meant it. I was laughing. He looked confused.
Then I crossed the street to the Red Rock bar and downed a glass of wine like a shot. It was a night to forget all that is wrong in the world.
Did I mention it was Friday the 13th?