FRESH YARN presents:

The Last Time I Wore a Micro-Mini Skirt
Or Notes from a Hollywood Glamour Girl

By Lauren Tom

"Lauren, there's a casting director I'd like you to meet." Paul, my talent agent, calls me with an appointment.

"Oh great!" I squeal. It's 1997, I'm pursuing my career as an actress in Los Angeles. I have experienced a modicum of success in the film The Joy Luck Club, but I'm still looking for that "big break" to propel me from D List to A List.

"He's a great guy named Jeff Dean over at Fox. He casts a ton of things, good guy to know."

This is it. Never again will I accept a bit part as a laundry owner in a student film. So long Charlie Chan's granddaughter, hello Nicole Kidman's career complete with gift bags and walks down the red carpet where my couture is critiqued by Joan and Missy. "Am I supposed to prepare something to read?"

"No, Honey, it's just a general meeting so he can keep you in mind for future projects."

"What should I wear?"

He laughs. "Just look cute, like you always do, and be yourself. He'd like to meet you an hour from now, do you think you can get over there by then?"


"Look cute and be myself," I chant over and over as I rifle through my closet searching for the perfect outfit. I pull out a lime green Lycra jacket with a matching skirt; hold it up to myself and look in the mirror. What was I thinking when I bought this? No wonder it was 70% off. It's butt ugly. I look like a Martian in drag.

Next I try on a chocolate brown suit in a size 0 that fit me six months ago. My weight tends to fluctuate up and down—I'm prone to binging on pints of Haagan Daaz when I'm stressed. When the pants get stuck mid-thigh, I abandon ship-the stuffed sausage look is definitely not the way to go.

A red silk Changsam that I had custom made in Chinatown comes next—too ethnic. What if one of his future projects calls for a blond? I can do blond.

Finally, I don a turquoise skin-tight shirt cropped just above my belly button, my lucky black micro mini skirt, and black stiletto-heeled boots. The skirt flares at the bottom making my thighs appear smaller, and the 4" heels on the boots elongate my corgi-like legs.

I suck in my breath and tighten my stomach muscles. I'm 37—am I too old to pull off this super-trendy-slightly-slutty-look? I don't care, this is my lucky skirt: I booked a movie-of-the-week in this skirt. I am invincible. I am she-woman-hear-me-roar. I am Anna Mae Wong and Julia Roberts rolled into one and dipped in hot and sassy sauce. I let my stomach go. It flaps a bit before it settles. Okay, maybe not Julia Roberts, maybe more like Paula Abdul, but she's sexy in a sort of desperate chipmunkish way, isn't she?

I suck my stomach back in and strut over to the bed where my fiancé, Curt, is still asleep. I shake him. "Honey, do you think this outfit looks like I'm trying too hard?"

He rolls over, looks me up and down with his soulful blue eyes and utters, "Mmmm."

"Not now sweetie, I have an important meeting in a half an hour. I just need your opinion on this."

He smiles and I melt as he pulls me into bed.

Running late now, I attempt to untangle and smooth down my hair which looks like a tumbleweed has been Velcro-ed to the back of my head. I reapply my Clinique Black Honey lipstick as I drive to my appointment. I hate being late, it's so unprofessional. God, I hope I smell alright.
The Fox Lot spreads out like Jabba the Hut across several blocks on Pico Boulevard. I drive past a 40 foot fountain, pull into the lane marked "Visitors" and wait to pick up my parking pass from the guard.

"Name?" the guard asks.

"I'm Lauren Tom. I'm here to see Jeff Dean."

"Do you know where you're going?" he asks, slapping a permit onto my windshield.


He hands me a highlighted map.

"Thanks so much!" Stop it, you don't need to suck up to the security guard. You were in the "Joy Luck Club," remember?

I park, then clutching my map, begin the trek towards The Executive Building. On the way, I pass an ATM and a coffee cart with snacks. I would kill for a Ho Ho but I trudge on. My fame is just around the corner, I can smell it. I pass Ralph Macchio walking the other way. I feel queasy. He used to be in those Karate Kid movies. Is he the ghost of my Christmas future? I look up at the sky and mumble "Nicole Kidman, not Ralph Macchio."

As I enter the air-conditioned Executive Building, the cool air slaps my skin. I take the elevator to the fifth floor and approach a young female receptionist. She wears black rectangular glasses, black Doc Marten boots and her red hair in pigtails. She directs me to a chair and offers me a bottle of Evian.

Minutes later, a slightly paunchy, balding, middle aged man wearing blue tinted Granny glasses, jeans and a polka dot shirt, bounces into the room. I'm not the only one who's trying too hard. The three of us look like we're attempting to shave ten years off our respective ages.

"Hi, you must be Lauren," he says extending his hand. He has a warm smile and a huge gap between his two front teeth.

"Yes!" I beam, springing to my feet. At this point in my life I'm still speaking in exclamation points as if I am a teenager. I figure I have until my 50s before this starts to sound really pathetic. Like Goldie Hawn.

"I'm Jeff. Paul tells me wonderful things about you. Let's go to my office."

"Great! Should I bring my water?" What a dumb question. Why am I so nervous?

"Sure, you can bring your water."

"Great!" Stop saying "Great."

"Right this way."


His office boasts a view of Century City and beyond. Jeff gestures for me to take a seat on a navy blue couch spotlighted by a rectangle of sunlight pouring through the window. As I sit down I realize that the fabric on the couch feels cool and smooth against my bare legs. Is this satin? Who upholsters his couch in satin? I cross my legs and feel like a showgirl in a regional production of Chicago.

"Nice couch!" I say.

"Oh you like it? It's brand new, and cost a fortune but..." he trails off, taking a seat on a brown leather club chair across from me. I place my bottle of Evian on the coffee table.

"So where do you come from, Lauren?"

"Oh! You mean heritage wise? Or like, what state am I from?"

He smiles. "I meant what part of the country?"

"Oh! I'm Chinese," I giggle, clearly not listening. "From Illinois," I add.

"I'm from Illinois too. What part?"

"Highland Park! Do you know it?"

"Quite well, I have relatives in Evanston."

"Oh! That's great! I went to Northwestern." I sound like such a moron he probably doesn't believe that. "Did you go there too?"

I don't remember his answer. I am too distracted by an odd sensation occurring in my underpants. Oh my God, I'm leaking. Something is coming out. What the hell? What is all this fluid? Am I wetting myself? It couldn't be my period, it's not the right time. And then a faint chlorine-like smell drifts up my nostrils. My eyes grow wide.

"Oh that's great!" I giggle. Does he smell it too?

I've got to get out of here. Looking around the room I notice a computer on his desk. "Is that a computer?"

"Yeah," he says glancing over at it.

"Gosh, you know, I am so—can I see it?"

Looking puzzled he replies, "Uh…sure" as he stands and walks to the desk.

I spring up. My skirt is sticking to my underwear. With a sense of dread, I turn and look down at the couch.

There it is. As if Dali, painting in white goo, had laid down a melting butterfly. A gigantic Rorschach shaped cum stain. I watch, paralyzed, as it seeps further into the brand new, expensive, navy blue satin couch. Then, like a dog shaking water out of its ears, I snap out of it and run to the desk trying to block Jeff's line of vision with my body.

"This is a great computer, isn't it? I just bought the same one. But I'm so computer illiterate. Could you show me how to turn it on?" I bite my lip. I'm trapped in this body that keeps saying stupid things.

He glances over toward the couch. I snap my fingers in front of his face and move my hips as if to say "hey look at me, look how cute I am, see me smile…" It's not working. He's looking at me like I'm on crack. I wish I was. Someone take me out right now. A 9mm right between the eyes. He trains his gaze on mine, reaches around to the back of his computer and pushes a small button.

I shout, "Oh! That's how you do it! Duh," I say slapping my forehead with the palm of my hand. "You know, you're going to think this is so weird, but would you mind if we re-scheduled this meeting? I'm suddenly feeling a little woozy."

"Of course." He stands up and walks around the desk. "Can I get you anything? Would you like your water?" he asks making a move towards the coffee table.

"No!" I protest, putting up my hand and backing up towards the couch. "I think I just have to go. I'm so sorry!"

I'm hyperventilating as I dash for the door. Don't look back. Never look back.

The ride home is long. This is back in the day before I own a cell phone so all I can do is marinate in my own thoughts: This is the end of the line, you nincompoop. Forget Nicole Kidman, hell, forget Ralph Macchio, you're going to be lucky to book an industrial, you won't even work a car convention, you're going to end up back in Highland Park living with your mother because you left a gigantic wad of your fiancé's spuzzle on a Fox executive's brand new navy blue satin couch.

I never did hear from Jeff about any future projects.

But I did learn a very valuable lesson: That in Hollywood, there is no logic. You can wear your lucky micro mini skirt, meet the "right" people, say all the wrong things, and still not become a superstar.

But hey, that's life. Gism happens.

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