Why would a movie star buy sex? Well, why not?

Charlie Hauck

August 20, 1993|By Charlie Hauck

THERE is a wide, perhaps unbreachable, cultural gap between Hollywood and the East Coast. This has become jarringly apparent as my New York friends badger me with one insistent question: "Why would famous movie stars, who could have any woman they want, hire a prostitute?"

Unlike most questions put to me by these friends ("What really happened to Sal Mineo?"), I am able to answer this one.

For those who have just emerged from their August marathon reading of "Middlemarch," the question alludes to a 27-year-old Los Angeles woman, Heidi Fleiss, who has been charged with running a call-girl operation for Hollywood stars.

Here are several reasons, obvious to anyone who knows where Spago is, why a big star would avail himself of such a service:

* Equity.

A movie star in a $260,000 Lamborghini, wearing a watch that cost the equivalent of a down payment on a pretty nice house in Westchester, does not feel right about going to bed with a woman in whom he's invested no more than the price of a kir royale. It offends his sense of financial equity not to spend at least $2,500 for that option.

* Convenience.

Hollywood is an industrious, hard-working town. In fact, "fleiss" in German means "industrious, hard-working." Stars have late-night shoots and early morning calls. A prostitute saves them the trouble of making dinner reservations, buying flowers and getting someone's name right.

* Efficiency.

You don't actually have to have sex with a prostitute. You can skip it and go directly to the most important part of the evening, where she tells you how great you are in "Terminal Destructor Part IV."

* Reluctant women.

Contrary to received wisdom, a movie star cannot always have "any woman he wants." Suppose he approaches someone who catches his eye and says, "Hi, I'm Mel Costner, the famous movie star, and I'd like to give you a quick bonk." Incredibly, there are many women -- often bright, beautiful, highly desirable women -- who do not respond favorably to such appeals. Social scientists at UCLA are at a loss to explain this puzzling resistance, but maintain that these women exist in much higher numbers than suspected.

* Movie stars are dumb.

I understand the temptation to think so, given that several seem to have entrusted their careers, marriages and health to the discretion of a 27-year-old who bragged to the police about what a great call-girl ring she was running. I think it's fairer to say many stars are simply pre-logical. Besides, other people are dumb too.

Now I have a question for my New York friends: Why would a famous baseball player, who could blow up anyone he wants, throw an explosive at little children?

I look forward to being enlightened about this strange business, which we in Hollywood now call "the Coleman lantern."

4( Charlie Hauck is a Hollywood writer.

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