Literature In Los Angeles

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In LA DATE ME (NOT) by Irina Svistunova on November 15, 2011 at 2:00 pm

Once upon a time a social animal from my Muscovite childhood took me to the Santa Monica’s Promenade to hunt her husband-to-be-in-less-than-one-month.

Roxy had always been looking for “fortune and love” (to be read as “green card and capital”) but, lately, a sudden rush had been driving her search.

The winter was almost over and, by September, she had to accumulate enough “fortune and love” to import her most precious Russian treasure:  her beautiful teenage daughter.

Whoever stated that haste makes waste must have seen us that day. Walking up and down. Down and up. Until we finally run into our goal.

Well, to be true, he run into us. He almost run us over as we were trying to cross at the light on Arizona.
He was staring so hard at the naked girls on Skin & Ink Magazine in the Barnes and Noble display window that his big black Range Rover almost missed our “overdressed” bodies.

But, he did not; as soon as he noticed them, he pressed on the brakes and jumped out offering a basket full of smiles and apologies.

So, here we go. A couple weeks later I’m invited by Roxy and Mr. Big Black Range Rover to celebrate their speedy amorousness at Locanda del Lago, a nice Italian restaurant down the street from our little accident.

I could have said no to the boring groundings of their new relationship, but I could not say no to Italian food.
Plus, Roxy and I had to accomplish the last part of the mission: put enough wine into Mr. Big Black Range Rover and make him follow of our ultimate logic: sex in change of marriage. Da da.

Two hours later, based on his drunken ramblings, at age fifty-six and an indefinite number of marriages and kids he never sees, family is still the main value in his world (as he really didn’t realize much else); so, he got convinced to give it another shot. With Roxy.

Vegas. Married. Three months go by and he starts to disappear every night to reappear in the morning with an always more sophisticated excuse: first business meetings, then business dinners, then business plane crashes.
When there were no more safe airports to take off from or land at in the whole LA County, he went back to the old habit to go work (from Beverly Hills to Santa Monica) with his beloved big black Range Rover.

That’s when, one night, Roxy called him to find out where they were parked – since, as usual, it was already two o’clock and not at home.

Finally, he admitted it: the LA night is so overwhelmingly crowded that somewhere on the road he always needs to stop… just for a regenerating nap in his car.

This is how, day by day, night by night, nap by nap, Mr. Big Black Range Rover has been giving Roxy the chance to collect a Vouitton after another, fly in her beautiful daughter, roll her in the best school, apply for her green card and, of course, start looking around for a lighter love.

After fifty start looking up at God, they taught me in Russia.
Start looking up at God and stop looking down between your legs, I learnt in America.

Story by Irina Svistunova.


In LA DATE ME (NOT) by Irina Svistunova on October 21, 2011 at 2:14 pm


Should I start my column by ordering them by age?
Well, another number has always counted more in my selection of men: their income.

To be fair, I’ll start from a middle case: Mr. Middle Age Middle Income.
We are in Los Angeles, so middle age has to be read thirty-five and middle income means sixty thousand a year, two cars including a sport BMW and a house in Bel Air.

One evening two girlfriends of mine, a broke writer of Angeleno Magazine and a broke ballerina of the Los Angeles Ballet, call me from a party at the Woman’s Bay Club in Santa Monica.
It’s a fund raising for an independent movie and, since they’ve looked into their pockets and found no funds to raise but really need a free dinner, they think that by adding a third pretty and broke to the table their embarrassment will be half sized.
I’m sure they never excelled in math at school because, pretty soon, our discomfort has increased so much that we’re moving our three shy asses down the stairs.

That’s when a dreaming Mr. Middle Age Middle Income makes his entrance. An entrance that takes my breath away.
As if the gaffes for the night haven’t been already enough, we rush back to the seats we’ve just left.
And we set up a few cheap tricks to attract him to our table.

He comes over interesting, different and crazy attractive.
After a brief chat mainly about the reasons he is there – he is a costume designer for movies – right before leaving he gives me an unforgettable look and his business card to each one of us.

That’s how it started. Well, that’s how I started.
Since I do not find a better way to see him again, I decide to use his business card and write him an e-mail.
After all, how can he contact me, if he didn’t ask my number?

He writes back and invites me out to dinner at BOA.
Too bad it’s Saturday night and he has forgot to make a reservation, so I have to secretly hand my last hundred bucks to the hostess to get to know my Mr. Middle Age Middle Income in front of a steak that I won’t even eat, since I’m vegetarian.

A few months go by and I get to the point to leave him because I’m still the leading force of our encounters – and, I’m tired of it.
We go up to the Huntley Hotel Penthouse for a drink and, overlooking the sunset on the ocean, I explain him that the male part is not really adapted to a tall, thin, blonde female Russian model. So, bye bye boy.

That’s when he comes out with the story of “the sacred and the scared.”
Scared – that’s him: scared of my beauty, scared of my rejection, scared that I would leave him.
Sacred – that’s the card. He proudly asks me to compare the card he gave me to the one he gave my two girlfriends. He says mine was laminated and graced by the image of the most beautiful angel he ever drawn; that angel is actually hanging on the walls of the Vatican, as of today.
My two girlfriends, instead, got the plain card he uses for his Hollywood meetings with square-minded, dry-soul studio producers.

Everything had been planned. He chose me, despite of what I’ve been thinking; despite of the reason I want to leaving him for.
So, he suggests to call my two girlfriends right now just to prove it.

But, you know what?
1) if not for me, you would have never come to our table.
2) if not for me, you would have never called first.
3) if not for me, we would have never had our first date at BOA on a Saturday night.

So, if you didn’t notice yet, I’ve trumped your card a long time ago!

Story by Irina Svistunova.

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