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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Ekland, Britt

Back in 1981, I was 26 and single and living in Los Angeles. Nautilus machines were then the latest thing, so I joined a gym called Sean Harrington's Nautilus.

I was working out there one day when I saw a beautiful blonde who reminded me of a girl I'd had a crush on in college. She was using the machine the wrong way, so I told her what she was doing wrong. She looked up briefly but otherwise didn't acknowledge me in any way. I looked at her again and it struck me that she was better-looking than that girl from college. (I found out later that she was 39 at the time; if she wasn't quite at the absolute peak of her beauty, she was close enough.)

The policy at this gym was that you were supposed to put your card in the back of the machine you were using. A few minutes later I snuck a peek at the back of the machine that she was on. Her card said, "Ekland, Britt."

She was using that machine the wrong way too, so again I pointed out the right way to do it. Once again she looked at me with what I can only describe as a look of supreme boredom, and looked away without a word. I thought, well, that was my brush with a movie star.

A few minutes later I was on another Nautilus machine and looked up to see her looking at me. Somewhat chastened by her earlier non-response, I quickly looked away, not wanting her to think I was staring at her.

After I showered and changed, as I was leaving (there was about a thirty yard walk from the men's locker room to the exit), I saw that Ekland was standing by the exit. She was looking me right in the eye. I quickly looked away. When I looked at her again, she was still looking at me, holding my eye. I quickly looked away again, not wanting her to think me rude. When I looked at her a final time, she was still staring me in the eye. Supremely conscious of not wanting to be the kind of rube who stares at a movie star, I looked away again. As I walked past her out the door, I wondered who or what she was waiting for.

By the time I got to my car I realized what had just happened. I saw her walk to her car, get into it, and drive off. By herself.

Maybe I'm kidding myself. But I'm positive that if only I'd gone up to her and said something like, "Can I offer you a ride home," she would have said "Follow me" -- probably with that same bored look. And I'd have a much better story to tell.

But I totally John Craig-ed it.

The funny thing is, I've told any number of guys an abbreviated version of this story, and while none have come out and called me a liar, it's pretty obvious most don't believe me.

I never saw Ekland again after that day. But I can't even begin to tell you how many times I've kicked myself since for my lack of gumption.

Looking back, maybe it's just as well I blew it the way I did. Had I somehow managed to insinuate myself into her bedroom, I would almost undoubtedly have been so intimidated by the enormity of the occasion (for me) that I'd have been unable to perform.

And even if I had been able to perform -- and thus had a really great story to tell -- no one would believe me anyway.


Anonymous said...

That's the story of my life right there--not with movie stars but with various girls and business opportunities. But in my next life I'll be cutting a wide swath!

John Craig said...

I'm afraid that's THE story of my life -- meaning, the only one of its kind.

Given that I haven't exactly lived an exemplary life in my next one I'll probably be fated to cutting as narrow a swath as I did in this one.

dgh said...

I have to tell you that I relayed your story to my husband. He said that he saw Janet Napolitano at an airport and she made eye contact with him when he let her walk ahead. He didn't think anything of it because he doesn't find her attractive. So he wonders if you would have had the same impression if beautiful Britt was in fact Janet Napolitano.:) donna

John Craig said...

Dear Andy (via Donna) --

C'mon, can't you even let a guy dream?

Anonymous said...

John, these are the much better looking guys that Britt wanted to hang out with:

G ;)

John Craig said...

Guy -- I later read an interview with her where she said that she preferred "younger guys, because they have more energy." At least back in 1981 I fit that bill.

Anonymous said...

PS It's obvious that she only likes Britt-ish guys.

John Craig said...

Guy --
That pun is way, way beneath you. But you do have a point, her most famous boyfriend was probably Rod Stewart, another Brit. I'd ascribe that to bad taste, but she did prove otherwise, on at least one occasion.

Bernie said...

o.k., here's my female version of what happened. She was oviously annoyed with you for "pointing out" that she was not using the machines correctly. She saw it as another "come-on, lame pick up line". She gets them all the time you know! She was waiting at the door hoping you would say something, anything, so that she could give you good and proper shit. Sorry to burst your fanasty-bubble but it happens at the gym all the time. I know.

John Craig said...

Bernie --
That's entirely possible.

But I prefer to think Ms. Ekland had better things to do with her time than hang around to give shit to the myriad of guys who tried to pick her up.

Not quite sure why everybody wants to burst my little bubble.

Anonymous said...

I'm sean harrington and that was my gym. Britt wasn't even the best looking woman at that club Bo Derrick, Kathy Smith and many other great looking girls worked out there. I was the owner and never dated any of them either so if you think you have second thoughts how about me.


John Craig said...

Sean --
Yeah, I'd heard that Bo Derek went there, though I never saw her. I did see Ursula Andress there once, though she was well past her prime at that point. There was actually another woman who went there named Helen MacDonald who wasn't famous who I thought was better-looking than any of them.

Anyway, your gym was great, nice setup and amazing women. And it does sound as if you missed some great opportunities.

Unknown said...

Hi John,

I'm Sean Harrintgon and that was my gym. I believe you. At that time there wer probably 500 or more a class celebs that belonged to that gum. You are talking about the one on San Vicente right? bo Derick, Linda Evens and Cher belonged to that club.


John Craig said...

Hi Sean --
I don't even remember the name of the street, I haven't lived in LA since 1981, but it was the one in Brentwood, I'm sure we're talking about the same branch. I did hear about some of these other women, though I never saw most of them.

At the time Nautilus was the hottest thing going; it's funny how these things go in cycles, now everybody is back to free weights and body weight exercises. Your place was definitely the sexiest gym I've ever been to though.