Archive for Hollywood

Dating A Minor Mogul

Not long after moving from New York to Los Angeles, I met a Minor Mogul (MM) in an upscale grocery store, first hearing his voice before actually turning to look at him. He was speaking loudly for what seemed to be my benefit, complaining about the half-and-half. Where was it? Did they even make it anymore? Where the fuck was the half-and-half? This is what powerful men in their 40s are like in Los Angeles, in the new century, traipsing through grocery stores in Hermes sandals, with messy hair and beautiful skin, speaking loudly, pretending to make fun of themselves. He could make half-and-half appear if he wanted to. He just wanted to groan about it. He just wanted to hear himself, alive, in a grocery store, momentarily powerless, knowing that would be the essential ingredient to attracting someone like me.

I moved on to the cheese counter. I didn’t like that kind of powerful man. That had never been what I was after. But I did like brains, and passion, and men with style. I ran into him again near the nutrition bars, and he looped me into conversation about his favorite brand. We talked greens and phytochemicals, then started touring the store together, discussing the merits of meatless sausages, the glory of butter, how we would never stop drinking, not even for our skin. He watched me drop things into my basket. He was like a high school boy whose success is already secure, and I felt that old feeling, as he walked me to the checkout, that he was walking me to my locker. I liked the way his eyes gleamed behind his expensive Teutonic gold-frame glasses, the way his hair stuck up on one side. He didn’t tell me, until just before I was leaving, that he had recently been partners with one of the most powerful men in Hollywood but now had set out on his own. This was not surprising, and I couldn’t deny that it turned me on.

I didn’t call him until several weeks had passed. He called me back on a Saturday afternoon, the kind where I’m trying to work and am utterly relieved to have a reason to stop. We rendezvoused at the Grove, an outdoor shopping area situated conveniently halfway between Beverly Hills, where he lived, and my place in Los Feliz. He was waiting for me, perched on the stone rim of an obnoxious replica of Las Vegas’s Bellagio fountain, knees tented and feet side by side, like this was college now and, having broken up for a while after high school, we were now getting back together. His hair was even more unkempt. He must really like me, I thought.

We had only walked and talked for a handful of minutes when his fingertips started to brush my forearm, then, in the Apple store, they began to nip puppyishly at my hip. We ran into a woman he knew who talked a lot and had just gotten back from Sundance where she and he mutually knew people. At the end of their conversation, he repeated to her something I’d said jokingly about the fountain, which made her laugh, and I felt a thin blanket of approval settle around my shoulders.

MM and I then found our way to a small restaurant and weaseled a table, even though we were only ordering coffee, and talked about our ex-spouses, how friendly we were with them, and how great it was to “get to the other side of it,” meaning you no longer wanted to have sex with them and you no longer cared whether they were having sex with anyone else. He asked me at the end of coffee if I wanted to have dinner, and then there was some blackberrying to be done to find a table at a decent spot at such late notice, but this was his kind of challenge and he reserved one with no great effort at The Little Door.

During dinner he went to the restroom and kissed me on his way back to his seat. “Am I allowed to do that?” He paused, his eyes shining again behind those glinting frames. “I guess I am.” When he sat down, he took my hand and held it between the two of his in a warm, pressed sandwich.

The next morning he called and invited me to “swing by” his apartment—a large and bland and faux Spanish style monstrosity, just around the corner from Rodeo Drive— for coffee. I made an excuse about having to drive west anyway, and I refused to even look in the mirror before I left. I wore low-slung jeans on and a tight nipple-popping top, and he came to the door in Adidas sweatpants and no shirt. We almost looked like teens with nothing better to do than curl up in a deep expensive couch and keep each other aroused all day. As soon as we kissed, he got hard. I clutched his dick like a bouquet while I licked and sucked his ribbon lips, but it wasn’t long before I was ready to leave. The luxe apartment, or maybe it was the entire neighborhood, was killing the vibe.

It took, in fact, a few more dinners—a tower of smoking ice artfully encrusted with lobster and crab legs, then an Italian feast drowning in olive oil that made his small mouth glisten—before I found myself below him in his California King, watching his compact, smooth body banking against mine. And it took him stopping and asking with likable directness, “This isn’t doing anything for you, is it?” before I let myself admit that sex with a minor mogul was not as exciting as I’d hoped.

The following morning, trying not to judge it too early, I curled up patiently in his spa-sized bathtub, the faucet a slit that poured water in a long rectangle, waiting for a reasonable amount of time to pass before I could ask him to take me home. I focused on the positive, on making the glass half-full. I liked watching him reach his tanned hand into his boyish jeans for his blackberry, his small keen eyes darting around the room as he listened to someone on the other end who was at last saying something interesting. I liked the way he rested his hands on my hips as if we were posing for prom pictures while we waited for our table. I liked meeting him in bars full of men and find him all to himself, seated on a sofa wearing the softest sweater you ever felt with a stark white origami collar poking toward each shoulder, two martinis untouched on the low table, and the way he looked up at me from his leather-bound notebook, stood, and kissed me until he felt sparks, after which he would do that rare thing—look me straight in the eyes—and say, “did you feel that?”

I wish I could say something more substantial, like we had great conversations, but we never really conversed. He constantly jumped from one subject to another, stories from his life, details about various competitions with his friends (this week it was vintage golf wear), all the while taking calls from his celebrity clients, patiently discussing something mundane in their lives, which they could disguise as something significant because they were discussing it with him, yet (yet!) still “conversing” with me, indicating with a touch to his free ear that he was listening, that it was no problem, he was very good at this. He would joke with me that I was the adult, and I laughed but didn’t argue. His mania made me feel as deep and wise as the sea.

So, even though I knew this kind of man would never truly be interested in me, beyond his claim: “I’ve always wanted to date a woman like you,” I found myself unable to break it off so soon. It had only been two and half weeks, and he had yet to take in a single nonphysical detail about me, still, when he called to invite me to a dinner he was throwing for a his newest client, a body-conscious 22-year-old with mounds of red hair, I said yes. The guest list sounded interesting. One of those two tall Russian boxer brothers; the boxer’s wife; the MM’s brother; Kate, a fellow agent; his best friend, who was not aggressive enough in the business and liked art (“he’s perfect for you, unlike me,” the MM said); and a brooding German promoter and his party-hearty son.

I had nothing to wear, as freelance life and writing don’t exactly leave enough cash for shopping, especially when I am never willing to sacrifice things like fresh fruit, good wine, and color-enhanced hair. So I wore a black Donna Karan skirt with a simple, tight-fitting top, good quality, and heels that showed off my legs but which weren’t really in style. It was an outfit that would pass in New York City; people there could interpret from this outfit some of the choices I’d made in life, but here in LA, fashion equals “the newest things,” meaning that style buys you stature, not understanding or camaraderie.

The MM looked happy to see me, and to his credit he commented on my legs not what I was wearing. It was a certain kind of honesty. He couldn’t say he liked my outfit—he didn’t. He didn’t hate it. In fact, he probably liked that it was not what women who date minor moguls in this city would ever wear.

At dinner, we sat next to each other near the middle of one side of a long table, like we were the bride and groom. He stroked my thighs and kissed me throughout dinner, which I liked. I’m proper in certain ways but never modest. I talked with his best friend about the art scene and with the new starlet about her Dolce & Gabbana jacket. I thought perhaps I was going to make an effort to strike up a conversation with Kate, the other agent, who was about 50 and had also moved to LA from New York, but I’d no sooner had the thought and she began telling a story about a homeless man asking her for money in the parking ramp and how she’d screamed at him that she’d just totaled her BMW—asshole! So I picked at my seabass instead.

When the MM asked me to step out onto the adjoining balcony, I eagerly took his hand. We stood for a few minutes talking, looking out at the cars streaming up and down Sunset Boulevard, and because there was nothing else to salvage the evening, I made out with him there in full view of the table. This was it, I couldn’t do it again, unless by some miracle the sex would improve. And as I pressed my lips against his, waiting for “sparks,” that little fact gave me hope, was the very reason, perhaps, I soon found myself half-naked in his giant SUV, skin to skin with its cream leather interior. I just needed to see if sex between us might be any better a second time, without having to make a repeat trip to Beverly Hills.

He was handsome, rich, well-dressed, and sometimes even funny. He was a minor mogul but I drove home alone that night, panties in my purse, wandering in that middle ground of the psyche that is flat, bare, and lifeless, except for a pit in your stomach and half a smile on your face. I hadn’t been to that exact place since I was a sophomore lying in bed at home after being finger-fucked by a supposedly dazzling senior guy: simultaneously wishing the fantasy was still alive and deeply gratified by my own power to kill it.

This piece originally appeared in the Montreal literary smut zine Black Heart Magazine.