A Manhattan Woman
Paris Hilton is my lover. You might as well know it. And, as you might know, she is always with me, even though she lives in Los Angeles and I live in New York City. I recently visited her at her home in Beverly Hills.
The houses of her neighborhood appear almost too big for the parcels of land allotted to them. They are faced with stratified rock, lightened with big windows, surrounded by shrubbery, and lined up in propinquous ranks like yachts at a pier.
I have visited the Hiltons' home several times, and I remember it in blueprint detail. You walk in the front door. The dining room is on the left-hand side. The living room is on the right, and beyond it a den. Behind the dining room, the kitchen. Big backyard. Four bedrooms. The Hiltons' living room shelves are filled with photos, in place of books. The room has big furniture, big couches, big easy chairs, big lamps, big coffee tables. Mrs. Hilton is a large woman with a strikingly attractive face, curiously like Paris's, and she, too, is a dieter of ferocious discipline.
My lover can barely read and write. In her own simple way, though, she is very broadminded. She is receptive to new ideas—she has an iPhone. She shows little concern for social conventions. She is a benevolent woman, with all that entails. She gives money and clothing to the poor. She says "per se" a lot. So far as I know, she has never bought a bottle of liquor. She does have homemade wine—peach wine, blackberry wine, etc.
Every Sunday Paris had to go to the Beverly Hills Baptist Church. She refers to the experience as "a chore." "It's very tough to tell a young blond girl that the Christian religion is for her," she says. "She just doesn't believe it. When you start going to church and you look up at this picture of Christ with brown hair and blue eyes, you wonder if he's on your side. When I got to college, I quit going to church. I go once in a while now, out of curiosity." The ceramic Christ on the wall of her bedroom has blond hair and green eyes.
Paris's Manhattan pied-a-terre, on East 86th Street, is trim and orderly, with comfortable, new non-period furniture and a plasma TV that rolls on wheels. Jorge Prado designed the apartment. The door is made of steel and has a peephole. Paris has been reading "No Country for Old Men" ("just for trash"), "The Efficient Executive" (because that is exactly what she would like to be), a biography of Richard Nixon, "Watership Down" ("I love rabbits"), and "The Pro Quarterback."
When Paris's alarm clock goes off, she gets out of bed, goes sleepily to her bureau, picks up her bottle of Jean Paul Gaultier's "Le Male," squirts herself twice under the arms, and says, "What's happening?" This occurs every morning. Sometimes she stumbles as she crosses the room, because any number of objects may be on the floor. There is always an open half-filled suitcase somewhere. "I hate orderliness," she will say. There are piles of unanswered letters. Her conscience tells her to answer them all. Ripped envelopes are so numerous that they should probably be removed with a rake. On my most recent visit, we drove to Rodeo Drive. We left separately.
A Bronx Woman
Lindsay Lohan, glamorous and low-key as always, waited in line for the China Express bus from New York to Boston. She looked at me with bloodshot, slitted eyes as if to contain some inner turmoil that flashed across the screen ever since I first saw her, in the manner of Hayley Mills, in The Parent Trap.
Regarding Freaky Friday for its graphic representation of the myth of the eternal return, I knew that kind of beauty would never die no matter how old she was, as long as blue remains the color of dreams.
Lindsay is always handing me jars that I can't open. "Open this jar for me," she says. Then she leaves the room and I twist and twist. The jar never opens. She comes back in a few minutes, and without saying a word she takes the jar from my hand and opens it. Then she goes about her business until there is another jar to open. "Open this jar for me," she says. She doesn't do it on purpose. Not Lindsay. I don't know why she does it. I know her in person after worshipping her in Get a Clue, Herbie: Fully Loaded, Just My Luck, and Mean Girls.
Lindsay has always been a tomboy after my own heart, and no one has been more vilified than she in show business. You wouldn't expect her to have the problems of middle aged and elderly depressives, would you? Where would be the sense in that? Seeing her made me realize my childhood dreams of being a man about town, a trendsetter, icy, elegant, and imperturbable, always having the situation in control, even if losing.
How to begin? I sometimes try to have a little chat with her, talk things over, but she is so acute and quick that the subject is soon changed. I'm left feeling I haven't said what I wanted to though by no means sure what that is!
Lindsay was visiting me in New York City. The snow was fine and dry, the temperature slightly below freezing. We walked past the skating rink at Rockefeller Center, and a Christmas tree which the Rotary Club had caused to be hung with lights. We had finished our Christmas shopping. Lindsay suggested we have a drink at a nearby Olive Tree. Day by day we have been together and the love within my heart grows stronger with each passing intimacy.
The demands of fame are inexorable. For Lindsay's fans, no matter where they are, the entertainment lies in the low-class argot of her expressions. In New York, Los Angeles, and Miami she is always there as my BFF, lover, sex object, office boy, waitress, goddess, and advisor. She has saved my life, as I repeatedly tell her.
My emails to her contain mostly complaint, and hers to me, warm emoticons. She often sends me hugs on Facebook and is attuned to my depressions, anxieties, and addictions. Federal Communications Commission. The relative whisper of her unamplified tones. Imported bread sticks, three or four times a day.
When the applause subsides after one of her performances, I realize the total adoration and brainwashing I am subject to, every moment I see her on screen, and off. From the second she deplanes to the unending household tympani she generates when visiting me, which sounds as though a sofa were being lifted and gently dropped, I remain a slave to her passions, knowing I am nothing to her.
A Queens Woman
The Sopranos, where Andrea Donna de Matteo's character is living with mob figure Christopher Moltisanti, amidst the palazzos of New Jersey and the cabanas of Cape May, yields in actuality a rather dead end to any civilian wishing to duplicate their frustrated actuality.
How touching Andrea is in one particular episode, when she confesses her cooperation with the FBI to Christopher, actually filmed at the Silver Cup Studios in Long Island City, New York. The store lights call out. Dress Barn. CVS. Talbott's. Chuck E. Cheese. Ruby Tuesday.
We see her crawling on her hands and knees, begging Silvio for mercy before he shoots her in the woods of New Jersey. A delightful place for camping in summer as well as in winter. Recreational vehicles welcome. Long-term parking.
A Staten Island Woman
Christina Aguilera arrived wearing a strapless cocktail dress looking true, truer. I peered over a bodyguard's shoulder and into her cleavage at the risk of entangling my eyebrows and jacket, cut, apparently, from the same bolt of fuzzy goods. Christina is drop-dead gorgeous, with a wonderful personality, lives in the moment, and she imparts that same happiness one might have experienced in ancient times at the sight of some choice goats' paunches roasting over an open fire.
Without a man, she may be lonely. Has her art been enough to sustain her, or does she look to her blog for gratification? The music of Christina is like the sound of an autumn gale sweeping down the Val d'Aosta. Her artistry is, in my opinion, and despite a certain tendency to mannerism, the closest thing to perfection.
I last saw her in Paris when we were seated round the peanuts and had ordered our drinks—"Deux Scotch" Christina had said to the comprehending and indifferent waiter. Christina gave me a brief resume of her "recent whirlwind and lightning concert tour." From Cooperstown to Harper's Ferry, with a brief side trip to Davenport to perform with Marilyn Manson, who is evidently beginning to find favor in Iowa—she held nothing back. She still maintains her usual discretion in that she has revealed to no one that I sometimes wear Wonder Woman underpants. From my observation of her behavior in public one could only benefit by her proximity.
Youthful vigor, a bronze tan, increased stature, a powerful jaw, a head of at times clean hair, and a boyish exuberance. As my niece, she has been a total delight, and I have never held it against her that she identifies herself sexually as a man who is gay. Only recently I made her a chain of paper clips to wear with her sweaters, instead of the usual pearls, and she shyly shook it lightly so that it danced back and forth.
Christina and her entourage are glorying and unrepentant. Her hangers-on include Pearl Hurlburt (nail concern), Cynthia Bonita (massage), Delza Arana (voice), and Alice Bridgewater (personal trainer). They siphon off the money of the performer. When I sat before Christina Aguilera and her four friends, one seat over from Britney Spears, and two from Paris Hilton, my lover, I felt I was in the New York of old, with the magic of El Morocco, the conversation of the Algonquin Round Table, with no sheepish emanations expressed from Lindsay Lohan, sitting in front of me, on Madonna's shoulders, or Beyonce, one seat to the right, who arrived late with Vanessa Hudgens.
The usually scruffy living room had been transformed into a sumptuously inviting salon, its centerpiece a kind of rose window of God knows what. We all sat there, the Queen and I, the stars, the different ISPs, the gossip columnists, the adoring eyes, the jealous looks, amid some leftover turkey and rosettes of pale green mayonnaise. Everything was there where it should be. I re-entered the TV and peace reigned in the desert of art.
A Brooklyn Woman
Now, Foxy Brown is a slutty goddess and a poisonous honey pot. Born Inga Marchand, she is of Afro-Trinidadian and Asian descent. Always glamorous and impeccably groomed, forward-looking and fashionable, she knows how to walk, how to talk, how to dance, sing, fence, and ride a horse without sliding off the saddle. Like Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Andrea Donna de Matteo, Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, Beyonce—she plucks her eyebrows, has her legs waxed, gets the occasional manicure, and has pretty plump lips. I still love her, but I hate her too, because the mirror image she holds up is irreparably cracked.
Miss Brown that evening was relaxed after just completing a terra-cotta passeboule of her manager at the moment that he, with tears in his eyes, was plucking a chicken. Born in Brooklyn, it's remarkable that Foxy hadn't earlier been remarked upon: remarkable, though not regrettable, because if she had been remarked upon, she wouldn't have become remarkable; her career would have ended, which would have been regrettable. It's remarkable that it might have been regretted and regrettable that it might have been remarked. I still don't believe she hit her neighbor with a BlackBerry.
My niece Inga, Foxy Brown, is a rapper known for her solo work as well as for her numerous collaborations. She favors light gloves, Fish House Punch, money shots, antique firedogs, and thick sheets of rain.
About the author:
Mike Topp lost his virginity somewhere between "The Andy Griffith Show" and the quick embrace of French theory by the American intelligentsia. Mike's SHORTS ARE WRONG is certainly the greatest book ever written, and probably the most sublime work of art ever produced by any civilization. Buy an autographed copy today for $12. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you're interested. Also available on Amazon.
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