Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Outfitting the Doctor

The first blogger I saw stumble off the shuttle bus was Joe Speaker, his arms outstretched in victory, a shit-eating grin that could have lit up the Sunset Strip stretched across his face. BG was next to enter the frame of my rear-view window, his head thrown back in laughter, as a thoroughly soused Chad weaved around, only minutes away from puking up every drop of Hugh Hefner's alcohol that he'd consumed in the last six hours. Even good-boy CJ had tied a few on and his face lit up as I turned my car around and parked behind the departing limos and town cars that had just deposited a slew of partygoers back at the UCLA parking lots after a long night at the Playboy Mansion.

I jumped out of the car and hugged CJ, who just couldn't stop smiling. He giddily showed me a set of photos he'd snapped at the mansion on his spankin'-new digital camera. My jaw hit the floor when we hit the Ava Fabian-Tiffany Taylor shot. I could already hear Otis crying.

Spaceman appeared from behind, grabbing my shoulders and bearhugging me. I swear I heard him squeal. Chad stumbled over and fake-puked on the roof of my car in an eerie act of foreshadowing. And a thoroughly jacked-up Pauly flew to my side, warning me that Al Can't Hang wasn't just drunk, he was "Top 5" drunk.

But my eyes fell to Speaker again, puffing contentedly on a Parliament from my purse, that movie-star smile back on his face where it belongs. Where it had been far too absent as of late. The genesis of this entire weekend had been about doing just that, and between two wild nights in Vegas and one in Hef's backyard, I'd say we'd hit our mark.

* * * * * *

"I want to get this over with."

You'd think he was facing dental surgery or something, but we had only been in the Ceasar's Palace Forum Shops for about twenty minutes. I had convinced Pauly that none of the nearly-identical lightly wrinkled button-down shirts that comprised a good portion of his traveling wardrobe would cut it at the Playboy Mansion, and that he should suck it up and pull out the MasterCard in the name of all that is good and holy and buy a hot outfit for the party.

"Do it for Hef," I pleaded.

Our first stop was Hugo Boss, where Pauly declared everything gay. Next was Armani Exchange, where he took a liking to a textured blue button-down, but not the indigo hipster jeans that were paired along with it.

"$115 for jeans? Are you crazy?"
"These ones I'm wearing right now? $145."
"Working in Hollyweird has warped your brain."

We declared that the "fail-safe" outfit, the one you go back to if nothing else in the mall suits your fancy, and continued onward. We hit Ralph Lauren next. Sending an unemployed studio executive with a fashion-induced credit card addiction into Ralph Lauren is like handing Robert Downey Jr. the keys to a suitcase full of blow. The temptation is almost too much for one human being to handle. I buckled down and fixated on men's shirts. A snazzy violet-hued one caught my eye, but Pauly looked nauseous when I pointed it out to him.

"Fine then, what would YOU pick?"

His eyes tracked along the rows of shirts, stopping on a white one with blue stripes.

"What about this?"
"It's exactly like the JCrew one you already have."
"Or this one?"
"Dude, it's exactly like the one you have on RIGHT NOW."

Ralph Lauren was a bust. So was Diesel. Pauly grew anxious and I was resigned to the Armani Exchange shirt when the Kenneth Cole store peeked out at me. Showcase always seemed to find cool shirts there. I led the Doctor inside.

Our salesman was tall, black, handsome, and very very gay. Pauly gravitated toward one shirt almost instantly-- a soft linen button-down with light green stripes accented with silver and navy-- while I tried to tear my gaze away from a flawless lightly ruffled eggshell trenchcoat that would look so good aginst my $145 jeans. The shirt fit him perfectly and I smiled my approval. The MasterCard came out, the shirt was purchased, and he'd go on to grumble about the $198 price tag all afternoon.

Pants were next. I'd been hard-selling the virtues of perfectly torn hipster jeans, but Pauly wanted nothing but class. How could I disagree with that? We settled on some slick black pants and a matching belt from Banana Republic.

"Try them on with the shirt," I pleaded.
"Come on, we can do that later. I'm hungry."
"Just do it. You have to see the whole picture. You won't regret it."

Two minutes later, a changed man emerged from the dressing room. The same mischief flashed in his eyes, but the scruff of his Old Navy checks and schwag-bag T-shirts had evaporated, replaced by $400 worth of couture. He stepped up to the three-way mirror and took a look at his new, improved self.

"Now this is a man ready for the mansion!" I declared.

And I swear I saw him blush.

To be continued...


Gene said...

I am disgusted at how interested I've been in reading about these newby clothes-horses outfitting themselves for the Mansion. For Chrissakes, I'm from Pittsburgh. I drink beer. I'm a bit overweight. I do not easily fit into the target audience. Yet here I am reading this and practically screaming, "Dammit, Pauly, check out the Armani! What the hell!"

When I was in Vegas in December my brother and I strolled through the Bellagio and passed their Armani shop (I'm pretty sure it was Armani) and I saw this silver-and-blue striped shirt that just stopped me in my tracks. It was beautiful. With my blue eyes, I would've looked absolutely fabulous in it. I knew that if I looked at the price tag I'd be risking a broken heart. I lowered my eyes and trotted after my brother, Dionne Warwick singing "Walk on By" in my head.

AlCantHang said...

Shit, that wasn't even a top 10 drunk for me. Maybe "Top 5 drunks that Pauly has seen from me, but not close to the top 5 of my all-time.

St. Patty's Day, now THAT was a Top Fiver.

John G. Hartness said...

Note to self - do NOT let the wife go shopping with Change100 this summer after the WPBT gathering. At least not with my plastic :).

Joe Speaker said...

I think I like "movie star" smile better than "giddiot grin." Of course, you get copyright credit.

Thanks for your role in what was an awesome weekend and I'll be happy to apply for the next change100 Blogger Makeover trip to the Forum Shops. We'll show these pussies how to SHOP. Er....

CC said...

For your humanitarian work with Dr Pauly, we are forever grateful.

Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Great post, Change. I love reading your writing and look forward to more of the same in Part II of the story.

iamhoff said...

Eagerly awaiting part deux, Change. As always, great writing. Mother Teresa has nothing on you, for the charitable work you've done. And I must agree with a few of the comments here. I'm too fat right now to fit into most of the clothes you've described (Kenneth Cole is always cut on the slender size for bastards like Speaker!), but I love the clothes and I was right there with Gene on the Armani. And thanx to Falstaff for the WPBT tip. Looks like the GF might attend, and she and Change will NOT get to go shopping together!