As a kid, I distinctly remember a dear friend of mine, Jennie, was completely obsessed with Michael J. Fox. She had posters of him plastered all over her bedroom walls (and I think there was one in particular she used to kiss goodnight – ha!). I didn’t quite get it. I mean, I loved Back to the Future and I could see that he was a good-looking guy, but this obsession…these pictures…I couldn’t grasp it.
My mentality stayed relatively unchanged as a grew up. Don’t get me wrong – puberty kicked in and I had the odd, fleeting crush: Andrew McCarthy (remember Mannequin?), Antonio Banderas (yes, seriously!!), Matthew McConaughey (yes, yes…I’ve heard) and Arnold Schwartzenegger (my brief interest in muscle-y men) to name a few (and yes, I do realize that I have eclectic taste). But I’ve never cut out a photo or rushed to the tabloids to read the latest “news.” In fact, my friends have sometimes smirked at my lack of knowledge in the latest Hollywood happenings.
I guess I just can’t bring myself to care enough much about these overpaid, skin-deep personalities who live in a reality so far from my own. Brangelina is fighting again? Oh NO…but they’re supposed to be in looove! What happened??!? Selena Gomez didn’t wear the right dress? Oh, the HORROR!!
It’s all a bit annoying; the only time I peek at the tabloids is when I’m at the hairdresser, which is about four times a year (yep, I’m pretty lazy about my hair, too). Otherwise, I can pretty much always find a more productive use of my time.
Considering I’m such a kill-joy, celebrity cynic, I was pretty surprised at how much fun it was to stake out the homes of the stars in Beverly Hills last summer. It was the first day of our 10-day trip, and we’d flown into Los Angeles the day before. After breakfast, my husband went around the corner from our hotel and picked up a ‘Map of the Stars’ from some overpriced souvenir shop, and off we went to Beverly Hills in our uber-cool Ford Fiesta (I’m pretty sure we blended right in!).
Following our over-sized, cartoon-ish map of Beverly Hills felt a bit like a star-studded scavenger hunt. As Ian cruised down Sunset Boulevard, I navigated the various milestones printed in bubbly text on the map. Every couple of minutes, I’d call out something like, “This intersection is where Lindsay Lohan crashed her $100k Mercedes over the curb, on the wrong side of the road!” or, “The restroom of THAT park was where George Michael was arrested for performing a lewd act!”
Ours girls, who are mostly (blissfully) immune to Hollywood gossip, were slightly bored with our driving adventure. But with their unique outlooks, they did notice a few interesting things. For instance, Lily noted that the fire hydrants in Beverly Hills were painted silver. That’s right, no unsightly red or yellow here…even the hydrants must sparkle in Tinseltown!
When we stopped momentarily – to take a quick picture of a street that was home to several celebs – Elissa noticed an amusing contradiction in signage; located just a few feet from a regular stop sign was a sign that read, “No stopping any time.” She found that pretty funny. Clearly, we weren’t the first family in a poorly-constructed, domestic rental car who had stopped to gawk.
The problem was that you couldn’t really get anywhere close to the celeb’s homes. You could drive up their street (or what our map claimed to be their street), but every property was gated by a massive, 15-foot gate and an astounding amount of high shrubbery. So most of my photos ended up with captions like, “This is the gate to Danny Devito’s house!” or “This is a picture of the street that Ellen DeGeneres lives on!”
There is something a bit thrilling about the fact that it was possible that Danny DeVito could have stepped out of the gate, wearing a housecoat, to get the morning paper. (I’m kindof glad that didn’t happen, however, as I don’t think a lifetime would be enough to get that image out of my mind!)
When we’d had enough of looking at famous gates and shrubs, we headed to Rodeo Drive. While our bank account didn’t allow me to re-enact the spiteful shopping scene from Pretty Woman, it was fun to window-shop outside the stores of the rich and famous. The kids kept asking why we weren’t going in any of the stores.
“Sweetie, we can’t afford anything in any of these shops…and I have the feeling the clerks wouldn’t be very friendly to us,” I explained. But we did partake in some Hollywood ice cream – from a very lovely chocolatier located just off Rodeo Drive.
I bet Danny and Ellen go there all the time.