Photo by Matt O'Callaghan for Blacktressworld

It is 9:45pm on a Saturday night.    Blacktress has plans to attend a birthday party, at a bar in Hollywood, and should already be circling the spot looking for parking.  Instead she’s still in the shower casually belting (off key) the soundtrack from Dreamgirls.

In LA, parties are already kicking into high gear by 10pm. This is a hard thing for her to get used to.  When she lived in New York, it was a rarity for any of the good people to arrive at any of the good parties before midnight.  And they didn’t make the so called “walk of shame” back to their apartments until dawn.

But in LA the rules are all different.  These assholes are actually on time to bars, clubs and mixers, and they’re all cleared out by 1:15. Blacktress thinks no bar, club, or mixer worth its salt rimmed margaritas should be all cleared out with the night a mere fetus.  And for her, this is merely reason  #115 why LA is bullshit.  But what are you gonna do? So to save time, she decides to shave her legs only to where the hemline of her dress stops.  Her upper thighs will be fuzzy, but fuck it, she thinks.  Who’s gonna to see them anyway?

As Blacktress looks down at her legs, equal parts shaggy and smooth, she recalls what Iyanla Howard told her two weekends ago in the bathroom at Rush Street in Culver City.

You have to take short cuts on the road perfection,” Ilanya said very matter of fact, while adjusting her wig in the mirror. “I don’t have time to fool with my hair, so I buy it from this place in Leimert Park.”

Blacktress was shocked.  She’d been jealous of Iyanla’s luscious mane since she met her at an audition six months ago.  As Blacktress reached out to touch the spiraled enigma, Iyanla drew closer, her eyes foreboding, and her tone deadly serious,

“Girl. You don’t eeeeven. Want to see. What is up under here.”

Blacktress believed her.

Thanks to Iyanla’s sage advice, by 10:45pm, Blacktress is seated in a banquette, celebrating the birthday of a girl she knows, surrounded by a bunch of people she doesn’t.  The garden variety of Hollywood types are nice enough, but they all fail the shallow test by asking what she did within the first 45 seconds of meeting her.  Blacktress plays the six degrees game.

“ Oh you went to (fill in the blank) theater school?  Do you know (fill in the blank)?

“Omigod! Yes… It’s such a small world.”

“Blah Blah Blah… (fill in the blank)”

“Blah Blah Blah”

Later she meets Alex Mitchell, a metro-sexual, wearing studded jeans, a tightly fitted vest, and Dior shades he has borrowed from his roommate.  He better be stoned, Blacktress thinks.  No one is allowed to wear shades at night or indoors, unless they are very famous, blind, or stoned.

“ You look amazing”, he coos.  “Save me a dance.”

She throws an awkward grin in his direction then quickly turns her attention to the birthday girl.

By 1:00 am, everyone is saying their goodbyes and hustling out the door.  The bar is quickly becoming a ghost town.

“Where’s the fire?”  Blacktress asks the birthday girl.

“You know how it is.   Everyone gets up early to go work out.”

Blacktress now notices a chubby girl fleeing for the exit.

“I don’t think so.”

Blacktress pauses to take the last sip of her lemon drop.

“ I have a theory.  I think everyone in LA has to hurry out before 1:30, because when their I-phones strike 2:00 they all turn back into pumpkins.”

“You might be right.”

The two women share a real laugh.   Alex Mitchell, one of the last stragglers, and apparently an eavesdropper, interjects.

“No!  Everyone heads to house parties after  1.  LA is all about the house party.”

Ignoring him, the birthday girl, who has been smiling all night, makes a sharp detour from levity.

“I can’t believe I’m twenty-fucking-nine.  I’m a fucking dinosaur.” she grumbles, then tears, while staring out despairingly over the emptied dance floor.

Yikes, Blacktress thinks.  I thought this was supposed to be a party!?

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