Photo by Jessica CalkinsBefore she single-handedly inspired The Simple Life drinking game (thekicker.nymetro.com/archives/000223.html), before 15-year-old boys worldwide caught a glimpse of her impressively multitasked romp in the sack, Paris Hilton had the pleasure of washing her hands mere inches away from moi in the ladies' room at the Viceroy Hotel in Santa Monica.
It was the night of the premiere party for The O.C., Fox's then-upcoming—and at the time, by all accounts destined-for-Chevy Chase Show-ville—TV series about our beloved county. I'd spent the warm July evening guzzling free whiskey-Cokes, juggling oranges with Phantom Planet and slurredly commenting on Peter Gallagher's latent homosexuality within earshot of his wife. All that drinking drove me—not soon enough for Mrs. Gallagher, I'm sure—to the loo, so I took leave of the lonely Registerad rep dweeb I'd been chatting with out of politeness and stumbled inside.
That's when I spied the twiggy, bleached-blond B-list socialite—oh, the days when Paris was just a B-list socialite! She was washing her hands while chatting on her cell phone (it's no exaggeration: impressive multitasker she is, always!). And then she whispered to me, cell phone still cradled between her shoulder and her ear, that she "loved" my black and white polka dot dress.
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I was floored. It was, after all, the closest I'd ever been to a real-life, bona fide, twiggish, bleached-blond B-list socialite.
Four months later? Not so floored. In November, Rollingstone.com ran a feature story on Hilton in which a reporter revealed that Hilton's sartorial exclamation "I just love your dress!" was her way of politely calling me a "Debbie." That's Hiltonspeak for a "desperate" or "hungry" person in search of "fame and attention" who "can't yet figure out how to get it." I winced, remembering that I'd replied to Hilton's faux compliment with an enthusiastic, albeit slurred, "Thanks! I got it at Loehmann's!"
I winced, realizing the awful truth: Paris was right. I'm soa total Debbie.
But all hope isn't lost. What with my meteoric rise in 2003 as a tirelessly bar-hopping J-list alternative-weekly hack, I'm sure it won't be long until I run into Hilton again. And then, I'll celebrate by inviting her to join me in Gawker.com's Paris Hilton drinking game: "Every time you see her, throw your drink."