Put your skepticism and your dark, jaded heart aside, and know everything you read here is indeed true.
(...Except some of the names. But keep an open mind, even though I just admitted I’m lying to you. But just about the names.)
Put some carbon atoms under pressure underground near a volcanic eruption, and you get an expensive little rock called a diamond. In 1966, a South African miner found one that weighed as much as my dog, and it was cut into a humongous, gawdy hunk of jewelry. A handsome Welsh movie star bought it for his equally gorgeous movie star wife, who wore it to meet Queen Elizabeth, who told her it was vulgar (which it was). Dame Liz Taylor replied, “yes, ain’t it grand?”
It was the most famous handful of carbon in history to ever hang on a woman’s neck—the 69-carat Taylor-Burton diamond. She ended up selling it for charity, so we can’t really be too jealous.
This is what Richard Burton thought when he first laid eyes on Elizabeth Taylor in 1952, nine years before they got together to film “Cleopatra.” She was 21 years old, poolside, wearing a bikini. He was “so awestruck that he almost laughed out loud,” according to his soon-to-be-released personal diaries.
Lizzy, you see, was what you might call an epic man-eating stunner of a babe.
They say this was the love story of the century, but let’s look back at what really happened: They got married, they divorced after 10 years, married again, divorced again in less than a year, and were more notorious for their vulgarity and boozy brawls than their films.
What kind of a bullshit love story is that?
There is a rare and exotic type of diamond, the Moussaieff Red Diamond, that is actually reddish-purple, and worth seven million dollars. Approximately one in ten thousand oysters produces a black pearl; they come from a species called the black-lipped oyster. But the rarest thing in the world may well be the element ununoctium; only three, maybe four atoms of it actually exist.
And what about true love?
Talk about rare, man.
There’s nothing better than a bona fide, fantastic love story. And movies are scripted, friends. They ain’t real and they don’t count. Perfect example: no one I know has ever been swept off their feet in the depressing factory where they work by a foxy but complicated Naval officer. (If you know me, you know I dig a man in a uniform.) I’ve never gotten it on with anyone on the beach while the waves came crashing down on us, and if I had a huge blue diamond that supposedly went down with the Titanic, you bet your sweet ass I would have sold it.
I came of age believing in love and all the groovy stuff that comes with it—the butterflies in the stomach, the mixed tapes, the wild stabs at poetry. I was brave and awfully reckless, and sweetly young enough to not know any better.
I had no idea the whole love racket was going to be such a let down. Aggravating. Hellish. I’m wondering if it’s a generational thing—my parents didn’t seem quite as vexed by it all. They were so happy, it was almost abnormal. A god damn Norman Rockwell painting.
Remember how you felt about true love, before all the heartache and immature nonsense? Love was your BFF. It wasn’t a vain, sarcastic, blameless idiot. It never bullied anyone. It didn’t dress like a trollop to get attention. It didn’t misbehave, or or forget to call, or fuck you over.
So you grew up, and had your first kiss, first love, and first bitter, life diminishing, god-awful breakup.
By the time you’re about the legal drinking age, you kinda needed a cocktail to erase the pain of it all, which works out pretty nicely.
Maybe you felt left out. Maybe you thought true love was an illusion, only for self-centered pill-popping fools who don’t know any better. You became cynical. You listened to The Smiths around the clock, and let your gym membership go.
Missy and Ward met in 1957. He had just gotten out of law school, and she, in fact, was not at all attracted to him because he was so white and pasty from being indoors for months preparing for the bar exam. They went for a cup of coffee, and were engaged six months later.
Ward went to Canada with The Air Force for a year. Missy waited for him, and in October, 1959 they had a lovely wedding ceremony at eight o’clock on a Saturday night. By the time he passed away, they were married almost 40 years… My parents may have set the bar just a wee bit high.
My friend Jessica was in a bar in Germany, not too many years ago. As she sat surrounded by beer wenches and lederhosen, she penned a letter to her boyfriend back home. She then tucked the letter behind a painting, where it sat for two years, waiting for him travel six thousand miles to the same bar and reach behind the same painting, according to the map she had lovingly drawn… And yes, the note was waiting. What it said, we’ll never know, but I’m sure it was sexy.
Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy spent 30 years together as lovers and co-stars, originally hooking up while filming “Woman of the Year.” Spencer was married to another woman the whole time, the mother of his children, who admitted to Katherine after the actor’s death, “I thought you were just a rumor.” Really? It’s cool with me though, because he looked like my dad.
My friend Anne Marie is married with two kids and lives in Bel Air in the huge house she grew up in. She met her husband back in the 80’s at a downtown L.A. club called Vertigo; we were both on ecstasy that night—my one and only time, actually. (My other friend also took it once, and only once, and ended up knocked up. Go figure.)
Maybe it’s not so rare. Maybe we’ve been sidetracked by divorce statistics and sad Johnny Cash songs. There is, after all, a certain amusement in all that silly, self-indulgent crap. And we all want to find our long lost kindred spirit. But, my little love junkies, it ain’t heroin, and I wouldn’t recommend eight trips up the aisle to chase it.
You never know, your story may have already begun.
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