They say that beauty is only skin deep, which is indeed true. Case in point: Joan Crawford, the original "hot mess." I find her a very sympathetic character, despite being an abusive nympho alcoholic with major control issues. In a nutshell, she was molested as a child by someone she really trusted, and that translated to her acting out sexually for the rest of her life. She believed all she had going for her were her looks and her body, and when both started to fade, and her career began to skid, she unraveled into a morass of booze, wire-hanger massacres, and B-movie roles.
Plus, she was just sort of a bitch.
But beauty is still fascinating, no matter how far below the epidermis it goes. With new seasons of both America's Next Top Model and Make Me a Supermodel upon us, I've been soaking up beautiful people for a few weeks now.
Top Model recently held casting calls in the Bay Area, and if I didn't know better, I'd swear a gaggle of hopefuls was sitting behind me at Lime on Market Street. They were tall and extremely thin: one blond, one brunette, and one with short dyed black hair. They were all stunning. In fact, looking around Lime, it seemed everyone was attractive and chic. Wow. I read the society pages of those glossy local magazines, and I always feel like I'm looking at a different city. Who are these fancy people, and where do they hang out? Well, apparently they go to Lime.
The place is long and sleek, with fuchsia lighting that glows into the street. If it weren't for the pink aura, the place would be overly sterile and cold. As it is, I found it strangely warm. The rosy hue is contrasted with crisp white seating and an expansive marble bar that has tiny TV sets built in. You sit in a Jetsons-esque chair in front of the images. The bartenders stand on a raised area about a foot above you, looking down on the customers as they take their orders.
My TV set was fuzzy, as were the ones next to it, but a few seats down I could see an anime cartoon playing perfectly clearly. At first I thought having sets on the fritz was part of the design plan, but after I noticed more that were actually working, I realized the TVs were just a chink in the armor.
When I first walked in, I had a small bit of trepidation, which means the chic police were doing something right. When you enter, you immediately ask yourself, "Do I belong here?" It also didn't help that the door is massive and wooden, and it slammed shut really loudly behind me, announcing my arrival to everyone. They proceeded to check me out from head to toe. I was wearing an old faux-fur coat from Sears, circa 1965; corduroys; and ancient Converses with my toes sticking out at the sides. Très jolie! I quickly shuffled over to the bar and took a seat.
The music was superloud, and they were playing mash-ups. If the decor seemed a bit five years ago, the tunes damn sure were. I heard a ghastly mix of "Super Freak" and "Roxanne."
The door slammed again, startling everyone.
I perused the beer selection, which wasn't very inspiring, and settled on a Prohibition. The bartender was nice enough, and I spent the better part of the evening trying to figure out if he was gay or straight. That's always a fun activity when you're in a mixed bar in the Castro.
Three chicks were sitting two seats down. I tried to make eye contact and smile, but all I got was a genuinely snooty stare. Sheesh. Lawrence of Arabia was on the TVs now. I could make out a camel through the diagonal lines fizzing in front of me. Over the speakers came a mash-up of Phil Collins' "I Can't Dance" (ewwww!) and Diana Ross' "Upside Down."
It's always interesting to see places like Lime that are trying to be pristine and cosmo, but have pretty glaring flaws. The TVs not working was problematic, but the door was a big one. Lime really should have that fixed.
I glanced at the women next to me again, and was again vibed out. They were dressed yuppie hip, with expensive shoes, and drinking brightly colored concoctions from martini glasses. Oh my god, I thought, I'm in a Sex and the City episode.
I got up to use the restroom, walking through the crowd. There were two bathrooms with unisex signs. I tried one door, and it was locked, so I tried the other and went inside, only to find that there was no lock on the door at all. It had been completely ripped off. I decided to risk a superquick piss anyway, but saw that there was no toilet paper. Argh! I opened the door and waited for the other bathroom to be free. And waited. And waited. I was just beginning to wonder whether anyone was actually in it, when who should emerge, but one of the babes who was next to me at the bar. She had an odd look on her face, sort of an embarrassed guilt, with a certain defiance. When I got into the bathroom I knew why: Sista had destroyed the place. The toilet-seat cover was halfway in the toilet, and liquid was all over the seat. An avalanche of paper towels was scattered all around. And do I really need to add how bad it smelled? Homegirl tore it up! I grabbed some TP and headed back to the baño with no lock.
When I got back to the bar, other customers had taken my seat. Whatever; I was ready to go. I glanced over at the cast from Sex and the City, who were talking to some guys who had just come in.
Beauty is only skin deep, and it is also in the eye of the beholder — but here's another thing to remember: Everybody poops. I gave the culprit a knowing smile on my way out.