Here's your place to come talk about sex and love whenever you feel like it.
God, I am an idiot.
The first time the star of a hugely successful science fiction TV series suggested I come back to his hotel room with him, I stared at him blankly and blurted, "Why?"
I'm an entertainment reporter who mainly covers the Cons; Comic Con, Wizard Con, Monster Con, Sci Con, Para Con, Con Con...there is a zillion of them every year. I've been propositioned at least once or twice by a "celebrity guest" at every one of them. I'm not an 18-year-old Victoria's Secret model. I'm pretty enough to be a TV reporter, but I'm a couple decades north of 18 and my beauty pageant days are gathering dust along with those godawful evening gowns.
But since we all see each other regularly, the celebs and I develop a kindred sensibility over cocktails in the hotel bar. They know I'm not going to post anything unduly revealing about their behavior. So, it's a comfortable place to ask me for a "back rub" after a hard day of signing autographs at the convention hall.
But, I always said "no." Usually with a smile, occasionally with an eye-roll if it was some D-list douchebag getting really crass. But, no freaking way.
Because celebrity sex is disgusting. It’s always impersonal, usually degrading and there's no limo ride home the next morning. He'll let you know it's time for you to leave because he has to "run lines for this new project" early tomorrow. Even though you programmed your number, email address, home address, and blood type into his cell, he's never going to call you. Why should he? He's going to get laid by someone else the next day. Maybe three or four someone elses. And a poodle.
See, when you can "get it" any time you want "it," the sex gets weird. Because your Woman of the Evening is pretty much willing to do anything with a Big Star Like You. The guys get jaded, and it takes more and more weirdness to shock or intrigue them. And frankly, it makes you "nothing special."
(I actually sat on a barstool next to two handsome co-stars from a couple of big cult films in the early 2000s. They were comparing notes on the "Weird Sex" section of the Urban Dictionary. And between them, they'd done them all. I then made the huge mistake of looking the section up when I got back to my laptop in my hotel room. Ever heard of the "Kentucky Klondike Bar?" No? Don't look it up unless you plan on weeping softly huddled in the cold spray of your shower. Because some things just don't scrub away.)
So, I've heard the stories from these men, tongues loosened by an extra vodka or six, and I knew better. I never said yes.
Until I met my Action Guy. He's been in the business forever; started out big, sagged in the middle and was shooting back up, thanks to the Con circuit and two good story arcs on a hugely popular Sci-Fi series. He was short, like all of them. Action Guy was funny, sweet, surprisingly intelligent. He didn't hit on me. We talked.
Action Guy texted me when he was back on the road to another Con and I was on my way to Amsterdam to cover a video game release. We talked every day. For hours. I loved his honesty about his brutal childhood, the intense poverty and alcoholic parents. I adored that little boy who was brave and resourceful. I loved the man he became.
He told me he loved me first, over the phone in New York City. He'd had a little too much to drink and when he called me the next morning, I said "You can take it back."
"Why? I meant it."
My heart melted. We talked about everything in the world, sent naughty pictures back and forth and eventually started phone-sexing furiously. I initiated it. We'd feverishly compare notes to see where we could see each other.
"Are you covering 'Nightmare in the Hills'?"
"No. Crap! Don't they have you booked for 'Creature Con' in Jersey?"
"Not this year. Sonaofabitch, woman! When am I going to see you?"
My heart melted again. I loved it when he called me "woman!" in that manly, resonant voice of his. We ended each conversation post-orgasmic and whispering "I love you" to each other. Because damn, that man could talk sex! Years of voice-coach training for the perfect raspy growl, an endless imagination and thousands of pages of sex scenes from old scripts to work through -- Action Guy was the master. (Plus his knowledge of good lighting and camera angles always gave me some great pictures of his anatomy to work with.)
After four months of this amazing, giddy communication, we finally got scheduled for the same Con. I'm walking down to the lobby to meet him and my legs are shaky from nervousness and three hours of surreptitious Kegels on the flight. I see that rakish smile and I'm just mush. We don't even make it to the restaurant for dinner.
And, it was...impersonal. Perfunctory. He didn't speak much and came on my stomach quickly, cleaning me up and carefully rinsing out the washcloth. He kissed me and told me he'd see me tomorrow. And all I could think, still sitting there in my LaPerla push-up bra was, "What in the hell just happened?"
I woke the next morning to a text that said -- and I quote -- "know that you R very cool. But we can only B friends." I've smiled on camera through a miscarriage and the swine flu, so I managed to keep my composure during work the next day. I did all my interviews and waited for the convention floor to close.
Texting Action Guy. "I don't remember discussing what engagement ring I wanted, so I'm not sure why the 'Just Friends' text was so quick. What happened?"
"No, it was fine. UR very cool."
"Seriously? This is where you're leaving us?" I turned off my phone before I could add, "And who ARE you, you shallow asshole? Where is my Action Guy? The one who cried when he told me about his mother's death? The man who comforted me online for a terrifying 45 minutes when the plane lost a tire on my flight?"
Later that night, I spotted him ushering two girls out of his hotel room. (And no, I wasn't stalking him. Press and "Celebrity Guests" were booked on the same floor. I just happened to be getting ice from the dispenser down from his room. It was only the 15th, maybe 16th, trip.)
And I realized I was nothing special.
My ability to erase the existence of former lovers came in handy, since Action Guy and I never spoke again. We'll pass each other after an actor's Q & A or coming out of a photo session. I don't look at him. And he wears sunglasses all the time (even indoors -- especially indoors) so it's hard to know what he looks at. But after he's had a three decade-long parade of women, how could I be special? How could anyone?
The thing that makes me most angry is that sometimes, I still miss him so much. But the vulnerable, funny, sexy voice I fell in love with on the phone isn't Action Guy. It's just another part he plays.