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REASON #1 TO DIVORCE A ROCK STAR:
He's got thousands of groupies. And they're all skinnier than you are.
Here's a word of advice: Never marry a rock star.
Sure, date them. Fool around with them. But never fall in love with one. And God forbid, don't, whatever you do, marry one.
You'll end up like me, fleeing your homeland in a coach seat on a one-way trip to London, because only an ocean between you and your ex seems like enough space for comfort, and because you swear if you hear his hit single "Don't Call Me" one more time on the radio/TV/grocery store speakers/iPod commercial you will simply lose it.
Some of my friends have guessed that being married to a rock star would mean that I'd have a life with an endless supply of designer clothing, a minor acting career if I wanted it, and the possibility of living in a castle, throwing dinner parties with celebrity friends like Sting and Trudy. The reality is more like sitting by the phone and trying to get the band's manager to drag Ted (as in Ted Dayton of the Dayton Five) out of whatever is keeping him from answering his own mobile phone. His distractions have a number of names, like "sound check" or "meeting with the label execs," but all I ever hear is "group sex with nubile adolescent groupies." Rock star, after all, is the only profession where a man can come home to his wife with a number of pairs of strange women's underwear and say it's simply a hazard of the office.
I suppose I should have taken it as a sign when Elvis's pants split shortly after he pronounced us man and wife in the Little White Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas two years ago. Our Elvis minister did a leg-spread split after the ceremony in a show of jubilation that ended in him destroying his tight-fitting, white, sequined jumpsuit. I think, under any zodiac forecast, that's a bad omen for a marriage.
Other omens I should have heeded:
- Three of his four band mates snickering through the entire processional
- Ted doing tequila shots before staggering into the church
- The two-to-one odds laid down by the band's manager that our marriage wouldn't last a year
- The only nonband witnesses to our union were two groupies named Gwen and Liz, who wore leather miniskirts and fishnet stockings and cried the entire length of the ceremony. Between showing off their cleavage and glaring daggers at me, I'm pretty sure one or both had slept with my husband, even though he did his best to convince me that neither one was his physical type. I would later learn that if you're even remotely attractive, you're Ted's physical type.
Now I realize I've brought this on myself. You don't elope with a narcissist and expect everything to work out. I guess I was blinded by love and by Ted's really well-groomed goatee.
You know him as the slick lead singer Ted Dayton of the Dayton Five -- MTV's darlings, winners of an MTV Video Music Award and two Grammys. I know him as the guy who promised to love me forever, but couldn't quite manage sixteen months.
"I'm sorry, I don't usually do this, but do I know you?" the woman in the seat next to me asks. She's got the latest copy of US Weekly magazine open on her lap. The one that I've been trying so hard to avoid. The one with Ted on the cover, straddling a surfboard and locking lips with Melanie Slate, actor/model and People's reigning number three every year in their list of the 50 Most Beautiful People. Under their surfboards the headline reads: "WE'RE IN LOVE!" in big blocky letters.
"I don't think you know me," I say. Even though I know, in that very magazine, on page twenty-seven, under the headline of "Ted Dayton and Melanie's Sizzling Romantic Getaway," there's a small square-inch head shot of me. The one that they always use, the photo snapped outside the Iron Cactus, where I've got a cigarette in my mouth and my mascara is smudged. I look like a lunatic, but only because Ted brings that out in me.
"I could've sworn I've met you somewhere," the woman continues. Absently, she flips a page of her magazine, and there, staring up at me, is Ted hocking Pepsi. He's holding a skateboard and a Pepsi can and has two scantily clad babes in bikinis on either side of him. Since when does Ted skateboard? He's practically allergic to exercise. He once sat and watched four hours of C-SPAN because the remote was across the living room and he was too lazy to get up and get it.
I notice, as usual, that there's no sign of his band mates. I'm sure they're livid. This will only fuel more speculation that Dayton is going solo.
I turn my attention back to my tarot cards. They were a gift from my old neighbor (herself a proud telephone psychic). I don't believe they have any real power, but given my very bad decision making so far, I figure that turning my life over to tarot cards will be an improvement.
Face-up on my tray table is the Ten of Swords, where a dead body has ten swords plunged into it. I'm assuming that represents me.
Before I left Austin, my New Age neighbor told me my third chakra is blocked. Apparently, this is where love and forgiveness lives. My love and forgiveness is stopped up like the tub drain after Ted shaves his chest hair.
I close my eyes and try to focus on my chakras. I'm not sure if I'm feeling them, or if it's just a case of the airplane food not agreeing with me.
I try to visualize my inner self, the one that's supposed to help me get to the "astral plane," but when I try to focus on my inner self meditating, I keep seeing my inner self waling on Ted's outer self. Apparently, my inner self is a bitter single girl with a lot of anger issues.
"Wait," says the woman next to me. "I do know you. You're married to Ted Dayton!"
The woman is holding up the page with the picture of me, waving it in front of my face like a matador with a red cape. As if it's not bad enough that I'm curled up in a window seat in coach just close enough to first class so that I can smell the filet mignon, now I have to suffer US Weekly, too.
"I don't know what you're talking about," I lie.
I'll be honest with you. I may, quite possibly, be a bad person. I've done a number of bad things. I may have, although I'll admit nothing in a court of law, publicized Ted's cell and home phone numbers on a billboard on the Sunset Strip, which meant he had to change both after getting a logjam of calls from more than five-thousand fans after the billboard went public on Entertainment Tonight. I also may have charged up to $40,000 on Ted's credit cards at the Four Seasons in Austin, where I stayed after leaving his house.
But honestly. You try having your most embarrassing breakup ever publicized to the two million subscribers of People and US Weekly and see how well you handle it.
So it's no surprise that the last time I saw Ted my knee may have accidentally come into contact with his groin. Actually, I don't think I regret that part all that much. Watching him curled up on the ground, turning purple, gives me a certain satisfaction, I'll admit. Even if he did have me arrested for it.
This brings me back to the part where I'm a bad person.
But it's not every day that you discover your husband shoving his tongue down an actress's throat, right in the open, in an Austin bar where everyone can see. It's not every day that he tells you to go home, that he'll explain later, that it's not what it looks like, even though he has his hand down the back of her pants and she has her hand down the front of his.
I just sort of lost it. The groin kicking that followed (Ted's attorney called it an "assault") was recorded for posterity by a Star photographer, who then turned around and sold his film to every major magazine and tabloid in the nation. Believe me, you don't know embarrassment until your second-grade teacher calls your parents and tells them she saw your picture in a magazine, and that it's obvious that even after all these years you still haven't learned to share.
After my Falling Down Moment, Ted got a restraining order, and my sister, Lauren, pointed out that the only things separating me from being a deranged stalker were really bad hair and a criminal record. I told my sister I wouldn't try to ever kill Ted. First of all, I don't know where to find silver-tipped bullets.
My recent plan of marrying and then divorcing a rock star in the course of a year and a half is what my mom would call a Lilyism, the general term in my family used at my expense for bad decision making. I am not like my sister, who plans out everything in advance (no wonder she is a wedding planner). I don't see the point in making lists or in using Palm Pilots. What's the point of living if you have to plan out everything in advance? Where's the fun in that?
Still, I wonder if my sixteen-month marriage will rank high enough in my ex's life to make his VH-1's episode of Behind the Music. I have a very sudden and strong empathy for all those grainy photos of the premodel first wives in those stories. I have now joined the leagues of the Cynthia Powell Lennons of the world. And I'm only twenty-six.
I feel that old familiar friend Self-Pity making an appearance, and she's got with her a bag of Oreos and a pint of Ben & Jerry's. I tell her she's not welcome because I've already gained five pounds since the divorce, and being a cow is in no way going to help me in my quest to make Ted one day grovel for forgiveness. I want to be slim and svelte when he comes begging to have me back, so my knee will be nice and bony when I give him another kick.
"I guess you had to expect him to cheat," the woman next to me is saying, shaking her head. She is ignoring the fact that I am staring intently at my Ten of Swords card. I put on my sunglasses and try to look like a celebrity who can't be bothered, which is very hard to do in the cramped rows of coach. I realize the sunglasses and distant expression would be far more effective in first class.
"I mean, how are men supposed to resist that kind of temptation? Melanie Slate, I mean -- really."
I wish suddenly that I were a Scientologist. Aside from not caring if other people think you're crazy, I read that they believe if they work at it long enough, they can move and control objects with their minds. I concentrate on the head of the woman next to me, willing it to explode.
"You don't look half as bad in person as you do in this picture," the woman says, undaunted.
"I don't know what you're talking about," I say. "That's not me."
The woman's head is definitely not exploding. I guess if Scientology really worked, then John Travolta would just will the entire world to go see all of his movies, even Be Cool and Battlefield Earth.
"Oh, I'm quite sure it's you. Look, you've got the same dark rings under your eyes. See?"
I give up on willing her head to explode, and simply nudge the half-full can of Diet Coke off my tray with my elbow. It falls onto the woman's lap, soaking most of the magazine and a bit of her gray sweatpants.
"I am so sorry!" I say, when I'm actually not sorry at all. You see? I told you I'm a bad person.
Ted said as much when I filed for divorce and asked for half of everything he owned. Copyright ©2006 by Cara Lockwood