Sunday, October 31, 2010
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.