Sunday, December 14, 2008

A Hungry, Horny, Desperate, Pretty Mess

Take smart, frustrated lapsed Catholic girl from the Midwest. Subtract job, friends, family and most importantly of all, food. Add a heavy dose of loneliness and libido. Shake violently, heat to boiling, and you get who I was at age 25, when I first met Stripper Pimp, a "talent manager" whose real talent was convincing girls to dance naked on tables and pay him a commission.

I can't blame Stripper Pimp for turning me into a slut. I was already a slut. I had waited until age 19 to lose my virginity, but man, oh man, and a few more men, I had made up for lost time. My sex tally now included more than a dozen lovers, including three married men.

At this point, the only thing I hated more than men was being a woman.

I felt like my brain was at war with my cunt. And my cunt always won.

Stripper Pimp entered my crazy, sexed up life at a particularly vulnerable time.

New to L.A. and Dealing With Family Trauma
I had been in Los Angeles for four months, and I was eking out a miserable existence in a tiny, blue hell. The walls, the carpet, the sheets on my twin bed were all a lovely shade of powder blue. I lived in Southwest L.A., in a neighborhood that had once been quite nice, with an 88-year-old great-aunt who had once been quite sane.

Now the thin veneer of gentility had more than crusted over. The neighborhood, only a few miles from the epicenter of the 1992 riots, was now crack-infested. And my great-aunt, a woman with a Master's degree from the University of Michigan, had sunk into an Alzheimer’s, alcoholic stupor.

She had no short-term memory. She didn't know what year it was. Sometimes, she didn't know that her loved ones were all dead. Even her mother, who had died 30 years ago, was sometimes resurrected long enough to want to go out to dinner. She didn't even know who I was or why I lived there. The only thing we could both agree on, memory or no memory, was that living together was not such a good idea.

The idea hadn't been mine. It had been my aunt's, my dad's sister. Great Aunt was getting up in age, she was lonely, she drank a bit too much, but her health was fine, she just needed some company. Aunt would pay my way to Los Angeles, and I could stay with Great Aunt rent-free, while I pursued my acting career.

It sounded like a great offer. I could leave Charleston, S.C., where I was starring in Piggly Wiggly commercials, doing community theater and working as a secretary, and try to succeed on a bigger stage.

I could also escape from my mom. She had just had a major manic episode. My older sister had locked her up in the loony bin against her will, and my sister and I had been arguing for days. When I decided to move to L.A., my mom was still incarcerated in the county crazy house.

My absolutely furious sister accused me of "running away from home" and leaving her with the dirty work. My mom – still manic underneath the heavy doses of medication – was equally furious that I was going to live "with the half-white side of your daddy's family that never cared about you anyway."

I arrived in Los Angeles emotionally spent, with no money, no friends and no support system, to a crumbling Great Aunt who needed a live-in nurse, not the live-in companion I thought I had signed up to be.

Desperate for a Break and Looking for a Shortcut
I responded by throwing myself headlong into my acting career. I started auditioning for anything and everything within six days of my arrival.

Four months later, I had no money. Every penny that I got (sometimes from Great Aunt's purse) went to headshots, acting class, stamps for my headshots, gas for my car.

I was going to make it if it killed me. After all, I had something to prove to my mom and my sister, who seemed secretly glad that L.A. was giving me my well-deserved comeuppance. And the sooner I landed that TV show or commercial, the sooner I could move out of the living mausoleum that was Great Aunt's house.

I was barely eating. Being in my aunt's company consisted of answering the same three questions over and over and over and over – please, dear God, don't ask me that again – and over and over and over. So I avoided being home. I had no money to eat out. And I needed to be skinny anyway. So I just didn't eat.

I had been in town just long enough to learn that I wasn't as good as I thought I was, and that being good wasn't even enough. Some of the people in my acting class were pretty damn good. And they were Hollywood nobodies that got a line here and a gig there.

I didn't want to be like them. There had to be a shortcut, and I was going to find it.

Enter Stripper Pimp and the casting couch.

(Stripper/Casting Couch Diaries Part 3 of 17: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17)
(Stripper/Casting Couch Lessons Learned 1-2: 1 2)

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4 comments:

Big Black Buddha said...

this is a real good blog...i'm bookmarking...keep writing..

The Black Sphere said...

You have a real talent. You are speaking from the heart and it's evident. I will definitely be back, and would like to keep in touch. I wrote a book about my dad, and am having trouble "finding" what I read in yours.

My political blog is much easier to write, and has a good following for much the same reason.

Cheron L. Hall said...

Awh shnaaap! Here it comes...on to the next entry...

Blogger said...

I have just downloaded iStripper, and now I enjoy having the best virtual strippers on my taskbar.

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