European at the Grammys


“We’d never known loneliness until we moved to Los Angeles,” the rail thin, very dainty Parisian woman with a chiseled jaw line shares as I add more hot water to the mug of jasmine green tea she holds delicately in her slender hands. Juliet nestles her flat ballet styled sandal along the calf of her also-Parisian boyfriend who rubs some stubble on his jaw and nods his head in disappointed agreement.

“People act like they’re your friends, but you find out later it’s all a big act,” Juliet adds in her musical, French accent while peering up at me with her purplish eyes: the color of sand in Barbados. If Juliet were an instrument she’d be a harp. One bought in an antique shop somewhere in Europe, the kind of quaint little store that has a doorbell, where smoking is allowed by only the certain savvy locals, and where the owner is an eighty-year-old woman wearing a knitted sweater and Charles David shoes.

“So much — how do you say — insincerity?”

I think about this as I suck my tummy in, arch my back, and make sure this plum-stained dress I’ve picked out to wear to the Grammys will allow me at least a little breathing room. I think about loneliness and how I too have never known the kind that Juliet spoke of until I moved to this city.

So many nights dreaming of big things and eating ice cream in my pajamas and striped socks. But it got better with time. I mean, I’m going to the Grammys!

“Everyone’s always in a rush here. Where is everyone going?” She’s sincerely asking.

“Oh honey, that dress screams red carpet!” The high-pitched man wearing pointed dress shoes screams and touches his thighs as if it’s my tenth birthday and it’s presents’ time.

Not that I’ll be walking the red carpet as a date, but still, it’s fun to pretend.

“It’s not too short?” I ask with raised eyebrows.

“Oh honey, puh-lease! With those stems you’ll have to fight the men off you!” He may have just clicked his heels together, but then again I was angled away and could be wrong. I unzip the back and chuckle a little under my breath: “The things salespeople say to make the sale….”

Thank God for credit cards.

I decide to take Fountain.

I watch a man on a bicycle: He’s running late – it’s obvious. He’s sipping a coffee out of a to-go cup in one hand and smoking a cigarette with the other. This makes me think of Juliet’s words. There’s got to be a way to bring Europe here, bring a little more sincerity to Los Angeles. A petite brunette zips past me on a lime- green scooter. She’s in heels. She looks like a magazine ad. She looks European.

That’s it: a scooter. Maybe I can start there? Maybe I’ll ride a scooter to the Grammys? How so European…

Alice can be reached at

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Tales of a Toluca Lake Actress

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