I’m staying for a couple of nights in gray, rainy hollywood.
I’d like to say that I’m here for the oscars, which are this coming Sunday and for which several blocks of hollywood blvd are blocked off; but no, I’m here instead to enjoy a wednesday evening show of Wicked (which in itself is a good thing)
I’m staying in hollywood’s gothic glory, the Chateau Marmont (or ‘chateau marmot‘ as my mother and and children would have it); site of John Beluhi’s tragic death, and setting of episodes of Entourage, recordings by Anthony Kiedis and Ville Valo, and where bad girls like Britney and Lindsay get themselves in trouble.
It’s a hotel with a past; the kind of hotel where people look at you as you walk in and out to see if you’re anyone. It’s been here since the early part of the century, and one cannot help but wonder, who else has slept in this room.
I’d like to say I’ve been in the bar, drinking with people who make too much money and spend too much of it on cosmetics and cars; but alas, most of my day I’ve been working, solving all the problems that followed me out of work on a tuesday. I’m not out long enough to have actually nailed anything down, as I did when I went to fiji five years ago, nor even long enough that I needed to tell anyone but my boss; so of course my phone has rung a dozen times, and in the hour I spent in the air with my iPhone switched off, I got 10 emails I needed to answer and a half dozen texts.
Still; working in a king size bed at the Chateau beats being in my office.
It wasn’t all work today; I managed a very fine lunch and several martinis at one of my favorite restaurants, Musso and Frank; the kind of place that reeks of ambiance, the kind of place where cops and writers, stars and moguls, politicians and gangsters, strippers and hustlers, tourists, locals and as-beens all step in for a perfectly grilled steak and an ice cold martini. It’s the kind of place where the characters in my head meet and talk, brood, or seduce one another.
I also managed to have one of those moments I’m prone too, where I encounter a woman who gets into my head in a huge way.
Hollywood blvd is lined with sleaze, and I mean that in both the very best and very worst way. Cheap, glittery sex stores, tee-shirt emporiums, the kind of shops that have name brands on everything they knock off. The too-beautiful and the broken down, the very rich and very poor, the shiny and the tarnished meet in mid-block, the lines where one becomes the other never close to sharply defined. This means it’s both a great place to shop for things you can’t get anywhere else, and a great place to watch people.
Case in point; where else could one find, not one, but many places to buy thigh-high, florescent green plastic platform boots with seven-inch heels – in a men’s size fourteen.
These sorts of stores draw me in; places that sell cheap leather and the sort of lingerie you’d only see on someone paid to wear it, or someone who can’t tell the difference between whore-hot and whore-sleazy. The sort of stores where the shoe soles are not made for walking, but for pointing toward the ceiling.
We were browsing in one such store – my youngest daughter in a frenzy of fashion-shopping, finding the innocence and charm in all that vinyl, my older one trying to look pointedly away from all that funk and sleaze only to find it’s every single place she can think of to look.
I was admiring a rack of stainless-steel-and-leopard-print stiletto heels (wondering vaguely what they’d feel like walking up and down my spine) when I noticed a very pretty young woman trying on a pair of shoes in the back of the store.
Now, I’m not really a foot fetishist; I love women’s feet in that I love every single thing about women’s bodies. Feet are important because they are connected to ankles, calves, knees, and on up, every inch being something love. But – well, some things make a fetishist of me, at least for a moment.
She was trying on the sort of shoes no one – at least no one I’ve ever known – actually wears; this sort of thing.
“Those shoes look incredibly good on you,” I said to her, as she got up and wobbled across the store.
“Thanks; I don’t know if I can walk in them though.”
I looked at her feet, at the six inch spiked heels, at the impossible arch of her instep in them, like a body stretched just short of breaking on a rack; that perfect point of tension that’s just short of too much.
She had tattoos on her feet and ankles, lovely curves to her calves, and these shoes did things to her legs and feet that would break hearts and start wars.
I couldn’t take my eyes off her.
“They’re not really made for, you know, walking,” I said.
She smiled at me in the mirror, then went on practicing walking in them, wobbling around and looking at herself. I helped her look.
I made a vague attempt to leave her alone, but found couldn’t. “They just look make your feet look incredibly sexy,” I said, and she smiled and thanked me; it was the kind of smile I’ve seen before from women who make a living being sexy, but it was also real, with barest touch of self-consciousness about a compliment from a stranger.
“I’m used to platforms,” she said. And I began to visualize tucking dollar bills in her g-string.
I had to walk away from her, my kids interrupting me before I could say more; I was going to ask to see her tattoos, to give me a chance to look at her feet some more; maybe ask her is she was a dancer, and more importantly (since I already knew the answer to that), where she danced.
I lost the moment though, and when I looked back at her she’d decided against the shoes, walking away with empty hands and flip-flop clad feet.
“I don’t think I could walk in them,” she said to me, as se left the store.
“too bad,” I said to her back. Too damned bad.
I was distracted for a good hour, thinking about it, as I found Musso and Frank and ordered lunch; my mind filled, not with images of her hips, or thighs, or face or breasts, as would usually be the case after such a moment, but with images of her feet. I could not get them out of my mind.
Fetishes are funny things.