Girl, Don’t They Warn You

It’s Sunday night in Hollywood.  The last hints of day are long gone.  In the Parlour Room on Yucca, you wouldn’t know this.  Like any good former strip club (or casino), there are no windows or clocks to trouble you with the passage of time. 

Even the patio out back hides the truth after dark.  The only way you’d know it was outside, rather than some dimly lit fuck room VIP room is if you bother to look up.  But who does that when one stumbles upon a couple in mid-grope (or so it appears)? It’s beat a hasty retreat time for you, while the couple beats whatever seems most appropriate.

On this Sunday, it seems like that is the most action this bar will see.  It’s dead, except for a couple of tourists from Phoenix, basking in the mild weather of L.A. and the brief respite from the fact of living on Mars.

After a while, some locals stroll in; one’s a hipster waiting on a friend.  He orders a Schlitz “tall boy”.  

Schlitz:  why drink just 12 oz. of horse piss when you can drink 16?

The friend turns out to be a bit player on Sons of Anarchy.  He looks the part now, less the faux biker gang cut. The sunglasses and beanie sell it as much as his claim of Harley ownership.

On the other side of the bar is the production designer from SOA.  He’s talking to a twenty-something Asian girl who’s a little on the drunk and chunky side.

Her boyfriend is here, too, glaring into his drink while he listens to her flirt. His name is Robert, and he is a thin, dark haired 26 year old. Robert is a little bit drunk and intent on eliminating any question about that. He’s pissed off on this Father’s Day.

Pissed because his father was abusive when he wasn’t absent. The only thing consistent was the old mans complete lack of support.

Pissed because he too is a father.  One little mistake, as they say, and that hood rat joy ride became a lifelong baby mama shackle.  Every last dollar gets sent back east to her, ostensibly to support that sweet little girl caught up in the middle.

Robert is torn.  Yes, he’s got a kid, but she’s too young to be separated from mom .  No he doesn’t see her or call her very often. Tough shit kid.  Life is hard.  Better learn it early like I did. I’m 26.  It’s my time to make it.

One wonders though what Robert is making.  It’s not a life for his baby.  What about his life with his date? well that is a ball of fun right there. Robert is an intern during the week.  “Intern” is a nice way to say whipping boy for some arrogant producer.  That would be more than a full-time job – if it paid anything. Robert’s free time is swallowed by a second, “real” job in order to pay his bills and child support.

On the bright side, he lives at the girlfriend’s place.  She has a mercurial temper, which she happily displays while stumbling out the door at the end of the night.  And it gets better from there.  It’s after midnight and Robert is a bit fucked up, but still drinking.  He knows “tomorrow” will be a train wreck of grief and anguish: the usual browbeating harangue, filtered through the not that uncommon hangover.

He knows there won’t be a “happy finish” tonight at home or in the morning because he’s just not that into it right now.  No energy, no drive, no willingness to make another accidental kid and compound his misapprehended misery. The girlfriend is pissed about it, which may account for her spring loaded temper. At first blush, Robert seems better suited to living in WEST Hollywood. NTTAWWT.

It’s not clear if his life now is a facade borne out of financial necessity or self image. What is clear is that he came to Hollywood to make it big.  After years as a moneyless piss boy and resentful accidental father, it is clear that it his choices have been fraught with pain and grief.  It is also clear that he locked himself into a spiral of booze and regret in order to escape and scapegoat the pains and pressures of being an L.A. nobody.

And he’s chosen to show it here, at the Parlour.  It’s not a real dive, like Powerhouse. It’s part of a 5 bar chain of hipster joints. The authenticity is just a veneer. Somehow, 5 drunken hours from the Industry workweek that awaits, it fits the path Robert travels.

Fake sing Take us out Albert Hammond.

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