Mr. Right Now: A Retrospective

Miss World and I are thrilled to welcome you again to my new site According To Lisa.  

I launched late last month with the intent to re-energize my blogging goals and focus on more story writing.  To be sure, www.offmylist definitely had its moments; I actually did do some  storytelling over the years, including true tales about my experiences with psychics while living in Venice Beach and also about my days as a struggling actress.

But now it’s time to put the pedal to the metal and get on with it. 

If you read my inaugural post, then you learned that I actually started writing a novel some years back, an undertaking which was inspired by living single in LA.  After posting, it occurred to me that the next logical step would be to share my finished pages here.  It would do exactly what I wanted to do: steer new content toward this direction. 

Please remember that my original intent was to finish a fictional piece, so please note that what follows here may or may not have really happened and if it did, the names have been changed to protect the not-so innocent.  At any rate, I am pleased to now present a sneak peek of Mr. Right Now:  


I decided to dress up as Courtney Love for Halloween which was slightly ironic, since my name is actually is Courtney.  My few friends with children were appalled.

“How could you, she is such a terrible role model,” asked my old friend Julie, mother of three during a phone conversation we were having regarding Halloween night plans.

“Courtney is not for little girls, but I think she’s cool,” I countered.

“A foul and loud-mouthed, druggie street slut is your idea of cool?”

“No, but a strong willed, street smart girl making a name for herself in the oh-so-male world of grunge rock is.”  The line went quiet, silence driving my point home. We moved the conversation on to other topics.

I was inspired to choose Courtney for my costume more by her anti-beauty queen image than by her actual persona itself. The image on the album cover for Hole’s Live Through This inspires as well, as it pictures a beauty contest winner wearing an impressive tiara atop long blonde hair, mascara streaming down her cheeks while clutching a sad bunch of pink carnations to her chest.  Long having fancied myself an anti-beauty beauty queen of sorts, and now an aging one at that, this costume idea was certainly destined to be.  And I must admit that wearing a tiara all evening with the excuse that it was an integral part of the costume was for me an additionally compelling bonus.  I have a thing for sparkly crowns.

My cousin Mykael, more like a sister to me than a mere cousin since we had grown up right next door to each other, had flown down from Oakland for the weekend to accompany me to a Hollywood Halloween party being thrown by a television director/producer whom I did not know.  We sat at an outdoor café table in the sun on the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica the afternoon of the party, taking the tiny dresses off little dolls I had bought at Toys Toys Toys to compliment my thoroughly planned ensemble for the night.

God, he’s such a dick,” Mykael sighed sympathetically, as she tore the blonde head of a small plastic doll body.  A nosy middle-aged woman crept by our table on the sidewalk in wonderment and fear of what horrible ritual we might be performing in broad daylight at this public place.

“Why am I surprised is the real question,” I answered, referring to Alex, the current object of my resentment, whom I had known since before he hit puberty and had survived 2 separate romantic entanglements with.  I took a bite of my Caesar salad.  “He’s been this way since he was 10.”

“But for him to actually say out loud that “it just doesn’t feel right” – what? Not right to sleep with someone you actually know well and have grown over the years to care about? How could you continue to even look at him while he implies to your face that sex with a stranger is the preferred way to go?” Mykael glowered.  “Is it just some weenie excuse, or doesn’t he get that this type of dynamic is exactly what most romantics searching the world over for Mr. or Ms. Right are trying to find?”

“Alex’s perpetual search for perfection in the female form has jumped up a few notches since moving to LA,” I explained.  “The tendency to do this was always there, but unfortunately the cultural norms here only further encourage him.  Just because this town is full of Heather Locklear look-alikes, the Regular Joes who for the most part have recently moved here, think that dating anything less than that ideal is below their capabilities. Try living here, Myke.  It’s exhausting.  If you live in Nebraska, you go to the market wearing your fuzzie slippers and uncombed hair sans make-up; no one cares.  While waiting online to pay, you see glamourous photos of Sandra Bullock and Michelle Pfeiffer on the magazine racks.  But it’s not your reality.  You are so far removed from that world, as are your friends and boyfriends. But if you live in Los Angeles, you have to shop the market in lipstick, stilettos and Versace, because waiting in line in front of you IS Sandra Bullock or Michelle Pfeiffer.  And EVERYONE is looking!”

“You saw Sandra Bullock at the supermarket?” Mykael ripped the arm off of a red headed doll with a bit too much enthusiasm, and its little naked body minus its arm went flying across our table and bounced down the pavement, landing at the feet of a five-year old girl.

“Mommymommymommy!!!” shrieked the child, as she stopped dead in her tracks and threw her tiny hands over her mouth. The young, bewildered mother grabbed her daughter by the hand and yanked her away from the mutilated doll on the ground.

“Let’s go get that frozen yogurt, Sweetie,” cooed the mom of the terrorized child, throwing back a look that could kill over her shoulder at us as they hurried over to the other side of the Promenade.

“Come on Dahmer,” I started gathering the doll parts off the table and thrust them into my shopping bag. “We still need to find the most important part of my costume- Courtney’s party gown. And we’ve only got a few more hours until we need to be ready to go.”  We paid our check and headed south toward the mall.

Excerpt Mr. Right Now, Lisa Ihnken ©1996

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