Ditching Beauty


Last night, around midnight, I got a ride request in a swank beachfront condo community.  My passengers were waiting outside the building when I arrived.  Three men, two women.  This was going to be a problem. Only four seat belts.  This happens from time to time and I’m obliged to explain seatbelt law and liability to intoxicated people, with very limited success.

But only two of the men and one of the women get in the car. The third man remained on the sidewalk talking to the second woman, sitting on the front stoop. Even in the dark, I can see she had a terrific profile.   Everyone is a bit wired.

“Okay, drive around the corner and wait.”

I drive around the corner and wait.  Much texting ensues between passengers and the guy talking to the woman in front of the condo.

“We’re trying to ditch “XXX”.  You know who she is, right?”

They named an adult film star who is broadly famous for being famous in and out of the porn world.

We waited.

“This is a kind of a reverse Ray Rice situation,” they explained.   “We’re doing an extraction.” XXX’s boyfriend had summoned them to his condo to witness her outlandish behavior and help him get her out of the building with a minimum of drama.  They told her they were all going out to a club together.  A reverse Ray Rice situation sounds like the shadiest wife beaters defense ever. But what can one make of claims to which one is not a witness?

Finally, they called the fourth passenger on the phone.

“Just pretend we’re the neighbor calling, complaining about the noise. Tell her you’ll be right back.”

The gambit worked.   He jogged around the corner and squeezed in, all steroid biceps and tribal tattoos. Off we went.

“F**k, that was intense.  Thanks for coming.”

“How many glasses of wine did she have?”

“Only four, I thought.”

“That’s not that much.”

“Not if you do them in a row,” said the girl, in pre-cancerous tones.  “Older women can’t hold their liquor. They get cray-cray.”

I drove them to a friends house while they discussed the pornstar in disparaging terms.   Earlier in the evening she gave the boyfriend a DVD of her reality show appearances.  As a relationship builder.

“You’ve seen the worst of me, now see the best.”

The four of them found this very amusing. Pathetic was the consensus verdict.

When I got home from my shift I Googled her.  She was raised by her grandparents. She started out in ballet. She went to college. Then she started stripping. And so on….and now she was a tangle of capped teeth, platinum hair and pneumatic breasts sitting on the curb on Saturday night, deserted by people who knew her well enough to no longer desire her company.

Adding to my karmic deficit, I was the wheel man.

I thought of the boyfriend, hitting the weights with youthful ardor, crunching, taking stock of himself in the mirror, dreaming of the hotties to come, who knows, maybe even a porn chick, and now he had obtained her, finding out she was more complicated than she looked on video.  Worse, old. In her thirties, practically Betty White years by industry standards.

And I thought of her appealing to her reality show appearances as a selling point: You’ve seen the worst of me, now see the best. On the face of it, yes, pathetic.  At the same time, sweetly hopeful, in my imagining.

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