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"How I'd Greet Gwyneth Paltrow"

[written Feb. 10, 2001]

Anyone who knows me at all knows I've long had a crush on Gwyneth Paltrow to such an extent that I call her "my Gwyneth", in which the joke ends up being on me because it's a distortion of what is and will be reality. But I do it all the same, because that's what we call optimism and hope, and those are the sorts of dumb things that humans do. It's like a kid pretending he's in the Superbowl, or a teen saying he wants to grow up to be president...except there's the understanding of the futility of it.

Anyhoo, I make no claims to knowing what my Gwyneth is actually like beyond how she chooses to portray herself in the public's eye. Besides, perception is what the whole game is based upon, right? We know people we are interested in are not perfect people, but reality is not the point of the exercise. It's a forward-looking idealized thing that's one of the little perks that makes each day brighter. To a pessimist it is called stupid and useless.

So, with that aside, I think Paltrow is extremely good at what she does. She is by far my favorite actress. Her résumé is one of the few that is up to this point not tainted by a notoriously bad film. Nothing hurts a moviephile more than when a great actor/actress sets up an amazing career and then blows it with a terrible film. Anyway, my Gwyneth excels at playing her characters, from David Mills' only loving link to reality as his wife in Se7en, to a charming woman who deflects her insecurities upon those around her in Emma, to the cruel Estella in Great Expectations (nice promo shot), to the struggling Helen and Abby in Sliding Doors and Bounce, to Viola in that little-known movie Shakespeare in Love, to her role in the overlooked film Hard Eight, and so on and so on.

Few actresses today are consistently alluring with both looks and demeanor. Many get by just on looks. But my Gwyneth is instantly engaging (to me anyways) and sincere. I have yet to see her in a role which she just completely bombed at. And the long blonde hair, the elegant frame, the vibrant and adorable face. The demure glance down of shyness, the well-timed joke of charisma, the presence of a powerful person.

When I went to NYC for a week, I was so buzzed to find out that the day I was going to go to the live taping of Conan O'Brien, that she would be on there promoting Bounce. What luck! So I nervously waited in the standby line hoping there'd be enough empty seats for me to get in. And there was. She handled the interview with poise and grace, and Conan is usually pretty easy-going and non-businesslike when it comes to interviews so you got to see her enjoy herself. A wave to the crowd in deference was a nice touch.

So this brings us to the question, what would I do if I had the opportunity to talk to her? Well, realistically speaking, one has to first understand that he has nothing to lose talking to someone like my Gwyneth. I mean, the odds are that she'll be entirely creeped out by you, as celebrities are with any fans. Which is another thing. If you're trying to talk to a celebrity, you have to keep in mind that they must hear what you're about to say two million times a day.

Plus you have to factor in how it's so plainly obvious that celebs think that they should only consort with other celebs, for whatever reason...that only other celebs can understand their lives, that normal people just glom onto them, that anyone who's a fan must be bizarre and dangerous, you know.

Needless to say, you're kind of playing against card sharks using a loaded deck.

But if you suspend disbelief and disregard all of the above (ALL of it), we can thus proceed to the rest of my strategery.

Keep in mind I'm not after my Gwyneth just because she'd be a good lay or so I could tell my friends or all that. She just strikes me as a feminine yet strong woman who you could just hang out with and have comfortable silences with. ...if you're a hunky celebrity like Affleck or whoever. :P

Alright, so if I had the opportunity to talk to my Gwyneth (assuming I wasn't too shy and wouldn't run away), I would try to go right up to her and ask her if she'd like to hang out and do something. I figure the casual approach is the most honest for me, and the least of what she'd expect. Maybe I'm just wrong. But hey, I wouldn't talk to her about her celebrity life or movies; I think I'd just try to treat her like a friend. And man, this is sounding really pathetic... Uhh, yeah, but seriously though. I think my best chance would be to take her to do stuff she wouldn't normally do, and try to schedule it so that she wouldn't have a throng of people following her around. Try to find a quiet restaurant late at night when it's empty, and just talk. Ask her what she likes, tell her what I hate, etc. Then hang out and rent a movie or whatever, just to chill.

I gotta figure a simple, straight-forward approach would work best, and I would sincerely want to just give her a nice day where she didn't have to think about anything. I mean, what do you give someone who can get anything they want? You give them honesty, without any ulterior motives. If you take someone out to a fancy restaurant, and they usually enjoy meals ten times better, what's the point unless they just appreciate the effort? Isn't it the simple things celebs miss the most?

My friend said that I'd have major balls if I had the nerve to ask her something like that, being so direct. Of course, he also asked if I ran up on stage while Conan was taping and squeezed her breast. Uh, no. So he's perhaps not the best person to ask for help on regarding such matters.

This is all not as though I'm doing any hating on women who are more attainable and less famous. But come on, how would I write about them if I haven't seen them yet? They're either 1) taken already or 2) nowhere in sight or 3) not interested in me, which is usually the case. :P Except for that one exception who has ever since changed my entire world view. Lord knows why that one was sent to me. :P Just when you think you have things figured out...

And so, in actuality, if it were ever that I was walking down some street in Rome or whatever and Gwyneth stopped me to ask for the time, I'd immediately forget all this of course and proceed to stammer and sputter out the time...incorrectly. But oh, we can dream, can't we?

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