This is Danielle’s best article yet.
I’ve been cornered downstairs in the gold lamé disco basement at Brett Ratner’s house and he’s hitting on me.
His insistence suggests he’s accustomed to getting his way with this, and I’m trying not to think about the surroundings — a wealthy bachelor’s lavish playpen, which quite conspicuously insinuates sex.
"Can we go on a date?" Ratner asks, drawing closer. "My mom loves you."
He doesn’t seem to care that I’m a journalist on assignment or that when he offered to give me a tour of his Benedict Canyon manse, I was thrilled to explore the architecture: a Tudor-style estate designed by Hoover Dam architect Gordon Kaufman.
I push him away and tell him I’m seeing someone, but he insists that shouldn’t matter since I’m not yet married.
"I really want to pursue you," he says in his soft, almost effeminate voice. "When are we going out? I like you. Are you gonna make me wait? Don’t make me wait."
Of course he doesn’t care that she’s a journalist. Nobody cares that Danielle is a journalist. Nobody seeks her journalistic insights. Nobody cares about her opinions on architecture. All we care about is what it is like to be inside her.
What is it like to be Danielle? What is it like to kiss Danielle? What is it like to be young and beautiful and tall and blonde with legs that stretch the length of Pico Blvd? How does she handle the men who want to sleep with her? How does she handle the mothers wanting to match her up with their sons? How does she handle frustration? Does she cry at night? Over what? At what age will her beauty melt away? How will she handle that? What will she have to offer on that dark day? Does she ever wonder where she’d be in life if she wasn’t gorgeous?
I read to the end of Ratner’s profile to see if he beds her.
Apparently not. I respect his effort:
"Where’s my journalist?" Ratner shouts after our house tour. I’m enjoying a moment’s reprieve in the bar adjacent to the living room, wondering why someone who doesn’t drink has enough alcohol to supply a West Hollywood nightclub — for six months. Ratner’s filmmaker-friend, Jeff Vespa, who recently screened his short film, "Nosebleed," at the Cannes Film Festival, has come to show it tonight for Ratner’s feedback. The director insists I sit next to him for the screening, which a group of 10 watches on his state-of-the-art home-theater projection system. Ratner drapes his arm around me and tries to hold my hand. Usually, I can confidently extricate myself from unpleasant situations, but here, admittedly, I failed.
Compelled to entertain while he has a captive audience, Ratner decides he is going to play one of my favorite films, Albert Lamorisse’s "The Red Balloon," and I’m tempted to stay. But his advances are increasing, and although flattering, I’m sensing the interview is over — and if I don’t want my shoes winding up in the "ex-girlfriend" section of his mahogany walk-in closet (beneath the high-couture gowns), it’s time to go.
His assistant summons him to the bedroom, where she is packing his suitcase for an early morning departure to Paris. Seizing an exit opportunity, I leave the red balloon swirling through the streets of Paris and collect my belongings. Because, while Ratner is many things, he is not someone you can say "no" to easily. I didn’t say no to Ratner. I told him, "Thank you" and "goodbye."
Then, I put this story to rest for a while.
I dig how she’s in a serious relationship with a rabbi but allows this sleazebag to drape himself all over her. Word.
My elation turns to horror, however, when I realize that Danielle is going to ruin her best article yet by trying to sum up the meaning of it all.
Months later, contemplating Ratner is still mystifying for me. After spending time with him, clearly he’s earned his reputation as a Hollywood lothario, but it also seems somehow calculated — as if Ratner (like his friend Paris Hilton) has created an image to project that he believes the public wants — an image that sells. And he’s a hero to Jewish boys everywhere who, relying on talent and smarts, realize they don’t have to look like Brad Pitt to be a king in Hollywood. In truth, Ratner is more than his sum reputation, and trying to figure him out means accepting all the contradictory facets of his personality.
Doesn’t Danielle have editors? Do they hate her? Do they want to see her embarrass herself with these "Danielle Searches For Meaning" endings?
My theory is that Jewish Journal managing editor Susan Freudenheim resents Danielle’s youth and beauty and keeps her worst writing in the paper for revenge.