The new LA Weekly has a sweet look at a handful of LA couples for Valentine's Day, including my husband, gallerist Julian Bermudez, and me.
Reporter Erica Wrightson details our meeting, almost a dozen years ago, at the late lamented Friendship bar in Malibu, in which Julian's friend calls me a hustler (emphasis mine):
Rabe bought Bermudez a $1 burger, and they were a half-hour into their first chat when the friend Bermudez had arrived with decided he was ready to go home. Rabe insisted that Bermudez give him his number first. "And don't give me a fake one," he said.
Bermudez's friend warned him not to get involved with the tall Midwesterner. He was obviously a hustler, he cautioned. But Bermudez ignored him. "You have a bad track record with boys in general," he thought. "I'm not going to follow your advice. I'll go with my gut."
The men dated exclusively from the beginning. Eleven years later and now happily married, "It's the world's longest hustle," Rabe jokes.
A word about the photos: Star Foreman spent an entire afternoon with us, shooting at Julian's downtown gallery, which has great light and (for the shoot) big blank walls. She was a lot of fun and immediately set us at ease. But she did say, "If you go nude, you'll probably get the cover."
I don't think Star was joking, and I was game for it, but Julian was reluctant, and since we didn't have a good nude concept, we went for the flirty/fun look you can see in the main article, and the session outtakes. I suppose my bosses, husband, and the world in general sigh in relief at this, but I'm not sure when the next opportunity for an LA Weekly cover will come.
Enough about us. Kate Burton and Michael Ritchie are one of the six other couples, and we learn that while they lead high profile public lives, their domestic life is just as mundane as anybody else's:
"Kate will save plastic bags from the grocery, and we'll have 80 of them," Ritchie says, in a voice that meshes his Worcester, Mass., accent with the nasality of Ray Romano. "There's not going to be a moment when we have to pack 80 plastic bags. Can we go down to 10?"
Dale Vaughn founded NextGent and Elizabeth Menzel founded the Women's Wisdom Community support group, and she is almost twenty years older than he is. (You go, Menzel!)
Menzel ... was dead set against romance with a younger man. Menzel is a holistic healer of the Barbara Brennan Healing Science school of thought. She is not a cougar. She'd once attended a workshop led by David Deida, one of the big names in the healing field, and someone complained about not being able to find "really conscious men."
Deida replied that younger men are so much more evolved than men 40 or older. "You might just have to settle for a younger man."
"That's never gonna happen," Menzel said.
"Well, then you might not get anybody," Deida said.
And attorney Shawn Chapman Holley and Tonight Show singer Dorian Holley go to great and slightly disgusting lengths for each other:
She called home to tell her husband that she wouldn't make it back in time for dinner.
"Next thing I know," Shawn remembers, "he shows up" — with burgers, fries and orange soda, braving torrential rain to wait with her.
And wait. And wait.
"We were there so long I had to pee in the Jack in the Box cup and pour it out in the rain," says Dorian Holley, laughing. Now that's love.
What I love about all the profiles is how they focus on how couples make their relationships work. It's not usually glamorous, it's often boring, but it's important.
Now, to the headline question. Is this a true "power couples" issue? Will it get us the Chaplin booth at Musso & Frank, or is it more like a scroll from the county, gratifying but not renumerative? If it's the former, I do promise to be a wise leader. But cruel. And if you ever see all twelve of us together, watch out.