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Sarah Tomlinson

I’ve Been Going Steady With Los Angeles for Three Years

Surprisingly, the crystal tipped leather whip from Agent Provocateur, which their Web site describes as the “ultimate in feminine domination,” is not among the charming list of possible third anniversary gifts suggested by Sheri and Bob Stritof, who have been the Guides to Marriage since 1997.

According to the Stritofs, a leather desk set might make a nice gift for your spouse on your third anniversary. Although, (warning: intimate personal revelation to follow): the Stritofs, naughty, naughty, confess that a leather desk set would not be a good gift for them. They are both such filthy pigs – um, that’s a paraphrase – that the desk set would immediately be swallowed up by the mess on their desks. Oh Bob. Oh Sheri. Oh Bob and Sheri. I do like their suggestion, however, that you and your special someone, “plan a western themed evening together and listen to country love songs.” If Agent Provocateur made a lasso instead of a whip, I’m sure the Stritofs would be all over it. Or under it. Or however it is you lasso someone.

And the reason I’m turning to the Stritofs to help me pick out anniversary gifts? Three years ago, I was based in Boston, working as a freelance music journalist, living on free drinks and fumes. I decided I was ready for a grand love affair. We all know that we can’t control when we’re going to meet that special someONE, so I decided to fall in love with that special someWHERE. For a brief moment, I was having a ménage a trios with New York City and Los Angeles. But I’ve always thought New York was kind of a stuck-up status whore, which is sort of like a celebrity whore, except she dates men for their cross streets, not their celebrity. Los Angeles is definitely a celebrity whore. We have that in common. And Los Angeles has better hair.

Los Angeles also makes me feel all soft and glowy inside, like how it looks when they smear the camera lens with Vaseline. Or how it used to look when they still did that, before everyone had the appearance of having just stepped out of a softcore porn without the need for any special effects. But, in the case of Los Angeles, the camera lens is my heart. And the soft and glowy apparition is the man I caught urinating on the street one night when I first moved here, who followed me to my car. I assume he wanted to pay me for sex. At least I hope he was planning to pay me. He was driving a Mercedes Benz after all. Not that LA or I care about such fake status ymbols. I mean Leo drives a Prius, right?

Unbelievably, my three-year anniversary with Los Angeles has recently arrived, and it seems like the perfect opportunity to wax nostalgic about the classic hallmarks of any newbie’s magical early days in the City of Angels.

Like many, I have:

— Worked as a caterer at a “hoe down” attended by Harrison Ford and Calista Flockhart. Unfortunately, neither Harrison nor Calista rode the mechanical bull. Now that would have been a story. And I didn’t see Calista eat anything. Now that would have been a story.

— Drank too many sake bombs at a poor man’s Benihana (actually, maybe it was a rich man’s Benihana. I’ve never been to Benihana, so I don’t know). The real story is that I then went to a bar, where I met a Bulgarian musician with a ten-legged spider tattoo on his chest (he gave it to himself while drunk, of course). I knew about the tattoo because he took off his shirt and did the worm down the length of my table – it was a long table – and waved his shirt over his head while he had a dance off with someone in the bar. When he wanted to take me home at the end of the night, and I asked my friend if I should let him, my friend said, “Well, I don’t think he’s going to kill you.” That friend is now in recovery.

— Did my first cleanse.

— Had my first, second, and twelve thousandth conversation about cleanses. I don’t know, maybe it’s my “I cleanse, therefore I am,” T-shirt.

— Developed an unhealthy attachment to my acupuncturist, which necessitated that I stop being treated by him. So we could have sex. No, we didn’t have sex. I don’t know what it is about a man sticking needles in you, though. It’s just such a turn on.

— Saw a man dressed like Charlie Chaplin riding his bike down the street. Aw.

— Had a tire iron waved at me from the window of a passing car while I inched along Sunset, looking for parking.

— Had someone get shot to death outside of my house.

— Did my first wheatgrass shot.

— Had my car stolen. Yes, it was a ’94 Honda. Loud enough to set off car alarms for miles around and barely street legal. Just the way thugs like their rides.

— Had my stolen car returned without my spare tire or my Learn to Speak Italian CDs.

— Had to a pay a parking ticket the car thieves got while joy riding in my ’94 Honda. Come on guys, street cleaning, really? It’s so clearly marked. Just read the signs. They’re not even in Italian. If they were, you wouldn’t have any excuse, either.

— Had the LAPD call me to say they found the missing CDs that were stolen from my car. I swear to God. It’s like living in Mayberry. Unfortunately, when I got my CDs back, my Learn to Speak Italian CDs were not among them. Good detective work, though. They brought me down to central processing, where the undercover cops held up all of these stolen items, one by one, and asked me if they were mine: “Is this your bag of confetti?” “Why, yes, officer, that is my bag of confetti. Thank you.” It was my bag of confetti. I’d been really worried that I’d never see it again. Thank God they found it. Now if they could just find the murderer who guns down people on my street.

— Had one of my good friends call me from Boston and say, “Are you dating Craig Ferguson?” “What?” I said. “Well, someone came up to me the other day and asked me if you were. Apparently there’s a rumor going around that you two are a couple.” Now, full discloser, I did used to call Craig Ferguson my Scottish boyfriend. And, apparently, the good people of Boston believe every word I say. I should aim a little higher. “Uh, yeah, I was out with my presidential boyfriend last night.” Anyhow, I did recently get Mr. Ferguson to sign a copy of one of his books, “To Sarah, my American girlfriend.” This was right after the Letterman sex scandal, and Craig warned me not to try to blackmail him, saying we’d seen that it wouldn’t work anyhow. All I’m saying is he’d better not show up in Boston flashing his new wedding ring around. People will be all up in his grill if they find out he married someone other than me.

— Had a dinner date with one of the stars of an NBC sitcom. Watched his sitcom with him on the date after he cooked me dinner. Had Mr. Sitcom decline to call me again and start avoiding the friends he met me through. I don’t know what happened. I swear I laughed in all the right places. I think I was too plastic.

— Danced with Gwen Stefani and Karen O at a Grammy party while trying and failing to communicate to Nick Zinner from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs that we went to college together. I know. Stupid. After three years in LA, I deny having gone to college and maintain I was raised by wolves, an experience I’m turning into a reality TV show, memoir and perfume line.

— Met an actress I once loved so much that I still have her talking doll and, having consumed just the right amount of wine (for me, at least, probably not for her) asked her to do the doll’s sayings with me. As in: “Remember, the bigger the hair the smaller the hips look.” What? No one else has a talking Nanny doll? In the original box? Now whenever I see Fran Drescher, her boyfriend says, “Look, it’s Sarah, you know, the one with the doll.” That’s me the one with the doll.

— Looked at porn that my friend “borrowed” from Wilt Chamberlain’s house. It had phone numbers written on it, like it was a Chinese takeout menu, or a naked girl catalogue.

— Was asked by a reporter from the Boston Globe, a paper I used to write for when I lived in Boston, if I hooked up with Tila Tequila, while I was I co-writing her book, Hooking Up with Tila Tequila. I told them she taught me how to flirt. More than that, I can’t and won’t say. Los Angeles gets very jealous when I look at other women. And, besides, I would never write and tell.