The Dog Princess of Tinseltown

I once moved to Los Angeles during a terrible Minnesota winter.  I told people I was moving there to become rich and famous, even though the real reason I was moving was that I hated Minnesota winters.

As soon as got to L.A. I geared up to take the place by storm. But something odd happened...I lost all my energy and became passive. Maybe it was because of the warm weather and perfect breezes?  Possibly my torpor was due to the fact I lived in West L.A.,  which at the time was an earthly paradise of pink haciendas, rustling palm trees and cerulean blue skies. West L.A. was the kind of place which inspired people to spend all their time sitting outdoors and soaking up creamy sunshine.

But I had no desire to go outdoors. All I wanted to do was stay in my room and paint large, gloomy paintings of nightmare scenes decorated with rats and voluptuous blonde women. The women were always lying down, dressed in ugly clothes and looking comatose with wide-open, big blue eyes. The only individual who was interested in these paintings was my sister's cat, who loved the pictures of rats and sometimes brought me dead rodents to use as models, much to my chagrin.

Eventually I ran low on money, so I got a job waiting tables at a jazz club near my house. I accumulated a small collection of friends, mostly other waitresses from the jazz club. At first they were all impressed by my commitment to working on my art, since that was the excuse I gave when I refused to go anywhere with them, but eventually they decided I  needed to get out more.  They suggested I get a new hairdo to boost my self-confidence and make me feel attractive and lively.

One of my friends drove me to a hair salon which a customer at the jazz club recommended because it  was cheap. The cheap salon was in the Valley. I was assigned to a stylist named Jorge-Jim who said he was a cousin of the owner.

After Jorge-Jim was done cutting and perming my hair, I looked at myself in the mirror...and realized I looked exactly like a poodle. Jorge-Jim was quite horrified at what he'd done and refused to take my money.

Yup, the hairdo was that bad.

I was so embarrassed about how I looked, I hid in my room even more than usual. My friends thought I needed to have more of a sense of humor about the hairdo. They bought a retro postcard of a poodle who had a long nose and big sad brown eyes and presented it to me, saying, "Nancy! You look exactly like this poodle. " They started  calling me "Fifi" and asking me if I wanted to go for a walk. 

I was NOT amused.

Eventually my friends got tired of me moping around and refusing to go anywhere with them. They  fixed me up on a date with a guy they knew, another painter, whom they described as   "gorgeous to look at but still a serious person".

The painter was a cocky, handsome man who looked like the young Richard Burton. He didn't seem to notice he was on a date with a poodle. He was very nice and charming and told me many stories about all the adventures he'd had all over the world. He told me half his body was reinforced with steel plates due to his numerous motorcycle accidents. He told me a lot of other stuff too.

Toward the end of our date he suggested I show him my paintings. Since I'd told him I was  living and working in my sister's spare bedroom, I assumed he was trying to seduce me, which I was very happy about. As we climbed the stairs to my sister's apartment and walked into my bedroom, I thought tonight was going to end VERY well.

"These paintings are interesting," he said. "Who is the woman you used as a model?"

"Myself," I said.

"She doesn't  look anything like you," he said.

"I looked like her before I got this hairdo," I said.

"Hairdo?" he said.

"Yes, this hairdo which makes me look like a poodle," I said.

He studied me for a moment. " You're right," he said. "You do look like a poodle."

I kicked him out immediately. I could never date someone who said I looked like a poodle.