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Hollywood bodies 

What to let go and what to keep

Grant says he has to get his "Hollywood body" back, but I don't remember him ever having one. I've been to Hollywood with him plenty of times, and he didn't look any different then than he does now. But he says everyone in Hollywood is beautiful, and you'd think he was exaggerating but he's not. Just the waitress who served us our eggs in the coffee shop attached to our motel was so pretty it was hard not to stare. She had big fake knockers that looked like they'd been built with the help of a bicycle pump, too, and that didn't help.

"Bitch," he said to me at the time, "you should get yourself a pair of those."

I would have slapped his huge head if I didn't know he was joking. Grant is aware that I am an opponent of the fake-tit militia, mainly because I'm too noncommittal for all the care and polishing that goes into a shiny new set of artificial boobs. But otherwise I am seriously considering getting my own Hollywood body back, ever since my hot-ass high-school boyfriend heard I was coming back to California and tracked me down to threaten to have sex with me once again. At present I can't bear the thought because the person I am now is so different from the 17-year-old girl he must be expecting to see that I'd rather just let him live with his memories than shatter them with reality.

"How did you two break up?" Grant asked.

"The usual," I said, and I don't have to say any more. Grant has seen it before, when someone wins you over by courting the qualities that distinguish you from all the others, only to immediately set about pasteurizing the very attributes that attracted them to you. In the end it's up to you to decide what to let go and what to keep.

But that was a long time ago, and Chris, my boyfriend from high school, says he wants to meet up with me when I go to Los Angeles next month. So maybe I should join rank with Grant, who is planning to embark on another of his "cleanses," which are periods during which he will, for example, drink only lemon juice and vegetable oil, or olive brine and bong water, or the reconstituted steam from a big pot of boiled car batteries or whatever. In the end Grant's purpose is to loosen his waistband and hopefully hallucinate as an added perk. Afterward he'll flit around like a moth exclaiming how great he looks and how good he feels and how easy it all was to accomplish.

Today Grant is ranting about the need for his Hollywood body because my third book, titled Trailer Trashed: My Dubious Attempts at Upward Mobility, is coming out in a few months, but beforehand my publisher is showcasing it at the Book Expo America in Los Angeles at the end of May. So of course I'll have to be there, and Grant of course will have to go with me, because Grant is nothing if not freakishly adept at horning in on any peripheral success. I remember when we were at the Warner Bros. Studios last year, where I'd been invited to discuss a TV series based on my previous books, which in turn were based on this column, and Grant had been sitting there right next to me for an astoundingly long time before someone finally inquired as to the purpose of his presence.

"Who are you?" they asked.

"Rasputin," he quipped, and we all laughed because it was funny, but to this day I don't know if it was a joke.

The ensuing negotiations were difficult for me because, for one, I know myself and I would have worked for free on this project if it were just left to me, but it was not just left to me. I had other bodies to consider, and I wouldn't sign anything that didn't ensure the participation of Grant and the other two people, Daniel and Lary, who comprise the gaggle of bottom fish who make up my cast of characters. Grant, for one, wanted to be a consultant on the series. "What does that mean for you?" my entertainment attorney kept asking him, to which Grant would respond at times specifically ("I want to design the font for the title sequence!") and other times vaguely ("I gotta make sure everything feels right.")

"And Lary, by the way," I'd interject, "doesn't need a salary, he just wants to blow things up."

In the end, a contract was drafted and a deal was closed and there turned out to be room for everybody as long as nobody was a hog about how much room they took, which is fine by me. After all, I know how it is with these Hollywood bodies. They win you over by courting the qualities that distinguish you from all the others, only to set about pasteurizing the very attributes that attracted them to you in the first place. In the end, it's up to you to decide what to let go and what to keep.

Hollis Gillespie authored two top-selling memoirs and her third, Trailer Trashed, is due out this summer. To attend Gillespie's Shocking Real-Life Memoir Writing workshop in Charlotte April 13, go to www.hollisgillespie.com.

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