So two days ago, my dad who's visiting me from his home in Australia en route to an Alaskan cruise with his new girlfriend, suddenly announced she wants to do "something uniquely American" on her last night here.
I scratched my head wondering what she had in mind? What did she classify as uniquely American that wasn't going to offend my sensibilities?
She'd already confessed to a slight disappointment to not having experienced an earthquake and total astonishment at not having witnessed one of the countless freeway driveby shootings the Australia media swears is the way of life in Los Angeles.
I was relieved when he told me she wanted to go to a Tupperware, candle or makeup party, since, thanks to me she now has plenty of sexy lingerie.
These pitch parties are not part of the fabric of Australian life - yet. But I predict this will change.
Anyway, I may be a gay man, but I adore parties that might involve free food. I called around and the only party going was a makeup party.
I would have preferred Tupperware or candles, but I've developed a fondness for dad's new girl and I booked us in for the evening.
So while she and I went to the makeup party, dad got possession of the last bottle of Wolf Blass cabernet sauvignon and the remote control. He settled down to what I really wanted to do: watch Dog, the Bounty Hunter.
For those who are unaware of life in other countries, all foreigners are fixated with American TV. Especially the ads. But that's another story...
We drove to Beverly Hills (she's become quite jaded about BH now that she has shopped her heart out on Rodeo Drive and had her photo taken with two celebrities - Andrew Dice Clay and Arnold Schwarzenegger) and found ourselves in the swanky lobby of a small, upscale apartment building.
If you don't know how these make up parties go - or any of these private purchase parties go for that matter - the person throwing the event is hoping to make a business of selling the product in question. The unwritten rule is that you purchase at least one item by the end of the evening.
But it's usually not how it goes. You are usually convinced your life is not worth living without buying everything on the table. That's the American way of doing things!
We were scuttled like offensive bugs into a geriatric elevator and coughed out onto the terrace of the penthouse floor of the building.
Unbelievable! There was a Chinese food buffet and champagne! This was one of the better parties I'd been to...and I started to smell a trap, or was it the spring rolls?
A transvestite in a handsome lilac colored wig and retro forties dress made the rounds introducing himself.
I won't say the name of the make up brand here since they don't need my free advertising - not in my mind anyway - but he was calling himself by the brand of make up.
He urged us all to try The Machine. I was more interested in trying the honey walnut shrimp. One by one, women who to me looked flawless, trundled off to The Machine, a huge black box with a chair parked in front of it. They'd take a seat and without fail the shrieking would start. A few emerged teary eyed. I couldn't resist, especially when my dad's new girlfriend emerged looking ashen and blinked back big tears.
"How can your father love me? I'm a monstrosity," this lovely woman whispered to me, rushing off to look at the make up offers.
Naturally, I had to see what the fuss was about and took my turn.
My friend Sophie arrived with her nine year old daughter who was brandishing an American Girl doll in her arms. They too took their turns at The Machine.
At last it was my turn. I could NOT believe what I saw. My face looked like a relief map of Switzerland.
What The Machine does is show you an ultra violet image (or something like that) of your face and all the hidden damage to it, especially from the sun.
I know The Machine is real because I saw the scar from my surfboard accident two years ago still there on my forehead. To the naked eye, it's gone. To the goddam, frickin', ferkin' Machine, it's still there.
Then they showed me what I will look like in ten years and I was ready to bawl like a baby.
We sat around on sofas while the hostess gave the floor to her District Rep and a kindly woman in an apron gave us all more champagne.
The only people deemed to have flawless skin were the transvestite and the American Girl doll. The rest of us were given cold, appraising examinations, insulting comments and long lectures on the importance of exfoliating.
This morning, I am $150 poorer and my father is in possession of a now neurotic girlfriend. I however, can rest assured that this once sunny, confident, peppy woman who is now an insecure, sniveling, needy wreck has for sure experienced the ultimate uniquely American experience.