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Cad: Confessions of a Toxic Bachelor

BY RICK MARIN | Half the female magazine editors in New York were gathering intelligence and recruiting on my behalf. I went on a nightly montage of one-drink stands. There was the wafer thin beauty editor who brought a miniature blender to my apartment because it was time for her protein shake. The ad-agency account exec who told me, "Last time I was in this bar was when I kidney punched my boyfriend." The former Saturday Night Live comedy writer starring in a one-woman show called It's Not Me, It's You. All brokered by their agents d'amour as smart, successful catches who just really needed to meet a "nice guy." Translation: "Self-destructive basketcases who always date assholes." But I made the calls, went on the dates, dutifully worked my material, then went home and thought about Marisa Tomei.

Allure wanted me to profile her. This was a biggie: photos by Herb Ritts, possible cover. My first. I began the ritual preparations, poring over a thick sheaf of Lexis-Nexis'd clips sent by the magazine's research department. Every night for a week, I rented her movies. A screening of her new one, Only You, was held especially for me. I watched jealously as Marisa lapped at Robert Downey Jr.'s chest so furiously I expected her to cough up a hairball.

Our arranged romance began, aptly enough, at a Valentine's Eve theater benefit. I watched her play a bit part with a sexy French accent, but, despite lingering in the lobby like a stage-door Johnny, scored no face time. Date two was a bizarre off-Broadway meditation on homophobia, cannibalism and the films of Katharine Hepburn. Again I'd hoped to nip backstage, but Ms. Tomei fled the theater before I could offer my congratulations for her double role as a porn star and a child psychotic. I wasn't worried. These stalkings, sanctioned by her publicist and my editor, were just to gather background material for the interview itself.

The consummation of our hitherto one-way relationship was set for Café Mogador, a hummus-and-couscous dispensary in the East Village. She arrived a little after 4:00, only half an hour late, and kissed my cheek hello. I forgave her instantly. Her navy pea coat, white jeans and black combat boots was hardly the Halloween costume you'd expect from someone who made People's Worst Dressed List.

I put my microcassette recorder between us and jumped right in with the tough questions.

"So, tell me about Only You."

Marisa took a deep breath, like someone about to burst into a complicated yoga pose.

"It's about—the theme of it is, like, can you find your true love and should you hold out for that?"

She bubbled out a squeaky giggle and blinked at me as if I had the answer to this question. Viv might have pointed out the inherent contradiction in rejecting crazy and/or annoying women while lusting after Marisa Tomei. But how easily is the seducer seduced! I knew, objectively, that she was playing me. I also believed she was truly interested. Whoever defined intelligence as the ability to hold two contradictory ideas in your head at the same time was wrong.

A nose-studded waitress moped over.

"I'll have the Moroccan hot cereal," Marissa said.

"That's on the brunch menu, and we stopped serving brunch at four."

"We were hereat four," Marissa said.

A glimpse of the diva.

"I'll see what I can do."

We were alone with our pita bread again.

"She didn't seem to recognize you," I said, slipping accidentally into journalistic mode.

"I did one fuckin' movie!" Marissa said, slipping accidentally into My Cousin Vinny mode. "Why should she recognize me?"

But she soon regained her composure and was bubbling and squeaking again.

"I've met, like - I've gotten to be introduced to the cream of the crop of really talented people. And that makes me, like totally—it sets me on fire…. You see how much people attack each other and forget that this is about everybody's growth."

"Did you do a lot of … research for the role?"

I recorded her acting theories, her arc and charts and her graphs, as I looked at her insouciantly cropped hair and giant dark eyes. She asked me questions, too. The smart ones always do. What other magazines I wrote for: How long I'd lived in New York. Whether I had a girlfriend. We got along … famously.

Famously enough for me to walk her home. And for her to linger in front of her West Village brownstone, telling me about the playwright she'd dumped while shooting Only You in Italy. I pressed as hard as I dared but she refused to divulge his name. So I shifted the conversation back to me.

"Yeah, I don't really like to talk about it," I started to say, reaching for my horn-rims.

I noticed she was staring at my jacket pocket. All of a sudden, she took a step back.

"You're tapin' this?" she said.

My Cousin Vinny again.

I looked down at the telltale red REC light. Damn. A truism of the celebrity interview game is that you get your best stuff before and after the official interview. I always kept the tape rolling. The thing must have shifted in my pocket.

"I can't fuckin' believe that," Marisa said.

"I know. I mean, I guess it was just on."


Her black combat boots stomped up the steps of her brownstone.

"Don't worry, I won't use it!" I shouted after her.

Even at work, I was in Bachelor Hell.

Excerpted from Cad: Confessions of a Toxic Bachelor by Rick Marin. Copyright © 2003 by Rick Marin. Published by Hyperion.


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