Monday, December 1, 2014

Tonight She Called Me Cesare

For someone as borderline crazy as I, those rare moments when he can sit himself down, give himself a good talking-to, and then proceed actually to behave differently, at least for a while, are real life-savers.

The first Christmas Eve after the breakup of my first marriage, I was pretty well resigned to being in agony over the fact that I wouldn’t see my little girl, then three, until late Christmas afternoon. Then it occurred to me that I had a choice in the manner, and chose, instead of being in agony, to taking myself to a movie and for a look at the bay from the top of Telegraph Hill. It turned out to be a fine Xmas Eve indeed.

I’d originally conspired to become a rock star primarily because I understood rock stars not to have to approach females, which I couldn’t conceive of ever failing to be too shy to do. I had some traffic-stopping girlfriends in my 20s, but continued to feel inside as I always had — woefully undesirable, and just generally…wrong somehow. But then, at 32, I decided to take myself in hand and finally do something about my shyness. I put on clothing in which I imagined myself to look my best and headed for Century City, where I lurked for a while in a boutique, Heaven, that sold fanciful greeting cards, T-shirts, and coffee mugs — that sort of thing.  I saw a gorgeous young blonde, immediately began to recite to myself all the reasons I shouldn’t Go Through With It, somehow mustered the wherewithal to tell myself to shut the fuck up, and — with my heart pounding like the bass drum on a disco record — forced myself to go up to her and blurt, “Why don’t we get acquainted?” She scowled at me (women can’t be seen to be too eager), and murmured, “OK.”  The chain that had so long constrained me turned out to be mine to break!

She turned out to be really young — 11 years my junior, and I was wholly unlined at the time myself — and endearingly na├»ve. She’d just run away from her father’s home in a Minneapolis suburb to Los Angeles, where she lived with her mother. She worked as a receptionist in an escrow office in which Mom was one of the bosses, and dreamed of becoming a model. And she was skinny enough for it! When I bought her a pair of leather-look stretchpants, the shopkeeper warned me that whomever I was buying them for would almost certainly be unable to get into them. They were loose on her!

She called herself Debbee, with all those e’s. Our first kiss was the least pleasant of my life to that point, and even now I have never experienced a more unnerving one. I’d given up smoking the previous spring, right around the time she’d taken it up. What was that line of Kim Basinger about playing tonsil hockey with Mickey Rourke in 9-1/2 Weeks? Like putting my tongue in an ashtray.

She had a cat she called Sweet-Sweet, to my considerable dismay. I came over to the apartment Mom rented for her on Beverly Glen Blvd. to have sex a couple of times a week. She’d spent a great deal of money at Trashy Lingerie in anticipation thereof, and how not to love such a gal? But I was disinclined to have a full-blown relationship, and she started dividing her own attention between me and a Rodeo Drive hairstylist whose name she yelped in ecstasy one night during our lovemaking. “Dear Diary,” I observed tartly when we were spent, “tonight she called me Cesare.” [Pronounce it CHEZ-a-ray.] That made her laugh, and became one of the theme-phrases of our brief affair.

Because her maiden name was Brown (“like the color,” as she explained, heart-meltingly, during our first telephone conversation), I have had a world of trouble finding her. Indeed, she is one of the very few former lovers I haven’t been able to contact via The Social Media. I am offering an opened package of Nicorette gum to anyone who can put me in touch with her.

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