In addition to managing an adult playground, I spend a lot of time
eavesdropping listening to women’s conversations at Pop Physique. I always hope I’ll hear some juicy gossip like, “Nancy’s husband is cheating on her with his secretary and the nanny”, or “Nancy’s husband is a prison guard and just impregnated one of his inmates and they are framing the creepy guard with the mustache for rape so they can live happily ever after.” (Sorry I just finished season 2 of Orange is the New Black). Usually the women just talk about work and their kids. For example, I learned that the second kid is easier to pop out than the first. Speaking of the miracle of life, there’s a birthing center upstairs from Pop Physique. It’s called ‘The Sanctuary’ and they do water births. I’ve never been up there but I imagine tons of neutral colors, Yankee candles, waterfall machines, and the echos of screaming mothers to be. Today I saw a woman go up to The Sanctuary wrapped in quilts and a tribe of hippies walking behind her including a man with a guitar. I could only imagine what kind of hippy seance style birth was going to take place upstairs. Later they came downstairs holding a baby with a peace sign on it’s forehead! Actually she came downstairs about an hour later, still preggos, false alarm.
Sometimes I wonder what my life would be if I had a child. In my ideal situation, my husband (James Franco) and I have busy Hollywood lives. We take our beautiful mulatto child to all our red carpet events. And Faith (that’s our baby’s name), is BFF’s with Blu Ivy and they grow up and start a girl group called Destiny’s Other Child. But seriously, everyone wants a baby but no one wants what that baby grows up to be. No one says; ‘I can’t wait to have a bratty teenager that hates me or a maladjusted 30 year old who moves back home”. Almost all my friends from high school have kids now so whenever we get together they share their birthing stories like they were in Nam (Vietnam) together. I try to relate. But period cramps are no match for excruciating contractions. So while I wait for James to determine his sexuality maybe I’ll go take a tour of The Sanctuary. I wonder if they’d let me play Easy-E’s “Boys in the Hood” while I give birth?
In case you couldn’t already tell, I’m an introvert. So of course working at a restaurant interacting with people all day is the perfect job for me. I honestly don’t know how I was hired. But it’s the best training for anyone who wants to work in Hollywood. Having a thick skin is required to deal with our clientele. It’s a humbling experience. But also a great place for a writer. Sometimes I feel like a psychologist examining human specimens in the wild. Here are a few archetypes you encounter while working in a Hollywood restaurant:
Let me preface this by saying this category isn’t meant to be racist. I’m specifically referring to the rich Persians who frequent my restaurant. They act as if I should roll out a red carpet and magically make available tables appear for them a la the Genie from Aladdin (okay, that was racist).
The Old Rich Guys
My restaurant has been in business for over 30 years. And some people have been coming since we opened. So you can imagine how old they are. For example, there is a group of old guys that come in on Saturdays that we refer to as: the husbands. They are only served by a veteran server who I’m told materialized within the restaurant the day it opened. They are her husbands. Most of them are sweet some of them are pervs. Actually most of them are sweet pervs.
We get a lot of random celebrities at my restaurant. And it’s just like US Weekly says: Celebs, they’re just like us. Sorry no crazy diva behavior to report. Well this one time Eric Benet asked for the WiFi password. I gave it to him but I told him the connection sucked. He tried it and said I was right, the connection does suck. So yeah they are probably the most normal customers we have.
Tourists ask me a million questions about the menu, what celebs I’ve seen, and how to get to the [insert tourist location]. And if they are foreign tourists they most likely won’t leave a tip. Because tipping isn’t a thing in their country.
The Gold Diggers
These are the girls who are freshly spray tanned, have on airbrushed makeup, a club dress and heels at 12pm on a Tuesday, and always ask to be seated on the patio (where they can be seen). I’ve been told by the rich old guys that we see these types in larger numbers around the end of the month trying to find a sponsor to pay their rent.
The Industry People
These are the people having business meetings talking about the new projects they are working on and artists they are looking at. I’m sure I’ve overheard enough industry conversations that they should have me sign an NDA.
The girl who decided to quit her day job to be a struggling artist. She pretends to be an extrovert. She struggles to keep a permanent smile on her face. And she is sometimes engaged in awkward conversations with customers because most of the time she has no idea what they are talking about.
When I used to temp in college I would temp for companies like Napster or Junk Food Clothing. Now, I temp for companies with acronyms like XPI and GWE (both totally made up). Companies that I couldn’t tell you what they sell, service they offer, or what those letters even stand for. They say they are ‘media marketing companies’. But I believe it’s just a fancy of way of saying; we don’t do shit here. I’m pretty sure if Tommy from Martin did have a job, he worked at one of these companies.
I’ve found America’s dirty little secret, adult playgrounds. Not adult as in something sexual. (Sidenote: I don’t know why the word adult is associated with sex anyway, since more non adults are doing it these days.) These companies are huge office spaces with fully stocked kitchens, game rooms, basketball courts, and TV’s. They basically look like Tom Hank’s Manhattan loft in the movie Big. And they aren’t fooling anyone with those all day meetings that are more like undergrad study sessions: coffee, junk food, laptops, and lots of time wasted. Some are even pet friendly. In my current temp job I work for a company that lets you bring your dogs to work. Which is always fun for me since I have a mortal fear of dogs. Part of my job description is to give the dogs treats. So I’m a dog sitter AND I have to sign for packages.
But don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining about these companies in any way. They have been great places to work. I am able to get a ton of writing done, including writing this post. All while making enough money to pay my cell phone bill. My point is why didn’t anybody tell me these places existed? I might have changed my major to like; marketing, communications, or some other bullshit major. To be fair, I majored in political science and I’m still not entirely clear how elections work. So I guess I’ll spend the rest of today updating my resume. I’m sure adding “stellar dog feeder” to my skills section couldn’t hurt.
About a month after I started working as a hostess I got another job working the front desk at a gym, or as my guy friend calls it, ‘ another hot chick job’. I always get blank stares when I tell people the name of the gym I work at. Probably because it’s so hip and trendy. Which obviously makes me hip and trendy for even knowing about it. To put it simply, Pop Physique is the 00’s aerobics. It’s like an evolved pilates/ballet class with a hint of yoga. The women who take Pop Physique classes range from the 20 something girls trying to lose 5lbs for Coachella to the kick ass grandmas who could probably do more push ups than me! Oh and there a even a few celebs who swear by the workout: like one of my comedy idols, Mindy Kaling.
I’ve been working here for about 9 months and have slowly worked my way up to taking an average of about 3 classes a week. I should should look like Beyonce by now, but my binge eating makes me look more like 3 months preggos (or fake preggos Beyonce). I would take Beyonce at any size, so I digress. The trainer’s here are in awesome shape. Probably because they all have dance backgrounds. If I were more physically inclined (read: not so lazy), I would have already put myself through the grueling 4 week training to become an instructor. But I’d much rather spend my time there surfing the internet, reading, and writing.
Pretty sweet gig, right? It would be even sweeter if I actually got paid. Yes, the struggling screenwriter works an unpaid job. However, I am paid in free classes. The monthly membership fee for Pop is about $150 a month. So I guess it’s worth it as long as it keeps me from becoming the before photo in a Hydroxycut commercial.