Before I speak, I have something important to say.
On Saturday night I went to an event with one of my oldest and best friends. He also happens to be well known in the world of TV right now.
There were quite a few famous people at this event but my friend is one of the hottest people in TV right now and I think at least every third person stopped him to have a word, offer their congratulations or whisper about him as we passed.
People change around celebrity. Doors were opened, photos were taken, people wanted to know me. Who was I? Why was I with him? How did I spell my surname? Women looked at me closely, judging me and it was hilarious. It didn’t help that he is a shameless flirt and worked it to the max, confusing the hell out of everyone except me, wise as I am to his ways after thirty years of friendship.
I saw familiar faces from the world of TV and film, whose names have slipped past me, as their careers went down the slope over the years. TV soap stars, a onetime rock star whose face I knew but his and the name of his band escaped me, one unfunny half of a funny comedy duo, an ex- TV hostess in formal short shorts, heels and Botox, and family of a meth-od actor whose only claim to fame is seemingly turning up to events. The list goes on and the wheel of fame turns.
My friend does a great job of grace under observation but after the event we bypassed the afterparty and went to a bar instead. He didn’t want to be harassed and I understood. One evening of being in his world, and I was tired of the ever-present scrutiny.
So we sat at a bar nearby, French champagne for me and double Bourbons for him, and talked about life and love, moving countries, UFO’s, depression and James Bond. The best kind of end to an evening.
This morning when I woke, I thought it would be very hard to be the partner of someone famous. This is why famous people date each other. The meeting of the egos that understand the game.
And it would be tiring to constantly be the donkey to your racehorse. It takes an enormous dose of self-esteem and your own brilliant career to be okay with people ignoring you or dismissing you.
Very few in Celebrity-ville have been able to have successful marriages to ‘civilians’, as Matt Damon calls us. In the marriages that have worked, usually the non famous one has a very satisfying careers of their own. Sculptors, artists, doctors, lawyers, publishers.
As we wandered through the streets of Melbourne towards my car, my friend asked me why I would plan to live overseas when I have everything I need in Melbourne. Because I can, I told him, because I want to try it, because I can go anywhere and start a new life and there will be no expectations or scrutiny. Because I’m not famous and if I fail, then nobody will write about it in a magazine and hopefully Schadenfreude will be somewhat lower, since I’m unknown.
Because I can do what I like and nobody cares and this is the advantage of not being famous.
I’m lucky that way.
On the way back to my car, we ran across the road, against the lights, where a group of young police were handing out tickets to jaywalkers like us. I wondered if they would give us a ticket. They didn’t. Instead they complimented my friend on a recent performance. This is the advantage of fame.
He’s lucky that way.