Monday, September 30, 2013

Diary of a Beverly Hills Matchmaker by Marla Martenson




I’ve taken off my Jimmy Choo eight-strap platform pumps that originally cost seven hundred dollars—and that I bought online for only a hundred fifteen bucks after I got my signing advance on my first book—and put on my walking shoes from Target. I’m just about to shut the computer off when my email chime sounds. Why do I even bother looking in my inbox at this hour?

Hi Marla, Scott here.

I’m still waiting for the 10+ lovelies you promised.



Dear Scott,

Our 10+ young women are very popular and booked well in advance, or they often date one client steadily—which is what we want for you too, right? I’m sure I can have a name for you by tomorrow though.


There’s a second email. It’s cc’d to me, but primarily addressed to Gary.

Gary and Marla,

None of the twenty-three women I’ve dated through your service are up to my standards. I demand that you cancel my contract and give me my money back immediately or I’ll see you in court.


OgodOgodOgodOgod. I blow my breath out about a dozen times. I know Gary will handle this if it gets really ugly, but I’ll have to try to talk the guy out of it first. Shit!

Dear Nathan,

Picture if you will the jurors listening to you plead your case: six horny guys slobbering over the gorgeous women you turned down, and six women who must be restrained from forming a lynching party. See what I’m saying, Nathan?

I start to write a foray into an amicable resolution, but you know what? I can’t deal with this tonight. Nathan will just have to wait. I shut down the computer, turn off the lights, and lock up.


Do I really need this job? I ask myself as I head up Rodeo Drive toward Wilshire. Enough to put up with all the crap?

I hated being a waitress. I made a solemn vow to myself that I would not still be waitressing at forty. My thirty-five-year-old self would think I was so dang successful now, I should stand up and cheer. I make good money and have sold two books. The first one is just about to be released, so it hasn’t earned enough yet to allow me to focus on writing full time.

Is Bobbie right? Is my soul limping? Right now, I’m fondly remembering my waitressing days in Chicago, where I had more time for creative pursuits before and after work. Or are my Oak-leys too rose-tinted as I glance into the past?

Wow! Isn’t that Reese Witherspoon in that Rolls driving by? I walk a little faster and almost catch up at the light at Wilshire. The Rolls turns and I follow. I can see it turn again onto North Canon. I bet she’s going to Spago. I walk a little faster and am half a block away when I see a swarm of photogs, their cameras flashing like firecrackers. I can see a blonde making it inside the restaurant before being totally mauled.

I have to smile as I head back to Rodeo. She’s living the life I was pursuing. At the age of twenty, I left Washington and moved to Los Angeles to pursue my dreams of an acting career—along with thousands of Kelly McGillis wannabes and Don Johnson posers. People used to mistake me for Molly Ringwald and even ask me for my autograph. I would walk down the street and hear, “Hey, Molly!” I’d wave and blow kisses. When I was waiting tables, a few customers thought I was Molly. I went along with it at first and signed their napkins. Finally, I asked the obvious. “Why in the heck would Molly Ringwald be waiting tables in West Hollywood?”

I have pictures of me playing up the Molly look, but I also loved Madonna. The photos of me dressed in her “like a virgin” days: hilarious! None of this got me anywhere in show biz, however. So to pay the bills, I moved on to waitressing along with the rest of the dreamers—just until I landed a part in some big movie that would make me famous. And rich. And allow me to live in Beverly Hills.

Not that doing anything in Beverly Hills isn’t a trip, if you know what I mean. In one of the first of my many stellar jobs, which was just across the street from where I’m right now, fogging up a window—sighing over a red Louis Vuitton handbag that I’ve already priced at $1,110—I often worked the busy Saturday lunch shift where I lost some of my naiveté very quickly. Ron, the manager-host, told us to seat the “beautiful people” outside on the patio so that passers-by could see them frequenting his dining establishment. The “less attractive” tourists were seated inside upfront, and the uglier ones, as he called them, were “positioned in the back.” I felt sorry for those poor schmucks— because they also got the slowest service. And the smaller portions. Sometimes they even got the least appealing or slowest selling food items. “What do you recommend on the menu?” the ugly folks would ask in good faith. “Oh, the dirt sandwich with onions and sauerkraut is my favorite. You’ll enjoy it.”

I begged to wait on the outdoor diners—celebrities, the rich and famous, the spoiled patrons juggling Chanel, Gucci, and Armani shopping bags. I was a bit jealous, of course, of all these privileged people, shopping and dining in Beverly Hills while I worked my ass down to a size zero at two restaurant jobs just to get by. I was waiting on Joan Collins, who came to the restaurant with a party of six. Dynasty was a top-rated TV show, and I did my best to please its star villainess, pouring more of this, fetching another that. And then disaster struck. She called me over to her table. Her fork was missing. “This is an outrage!” she barked.

For all my work, she left me a $2 tip on a $120 tab. The woman was clearly typecast as Alexis, right?


Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Memoir

Rating – PG13

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