Wednesday, December 13, 2023

My Date with Richard Dreyfuss

West Hollywood

When I lived in West Hollywood, I  visited the Bodhi Tree Bookstore on Melrose almost every weekend.  It specialized in New Age books, everything from natural foods and aromatherapy to Buddhism, Hinduism, and the occult. I was mostly interested in the paranormal section: ghosts, vampires, ufos, mysterious disappearances, time slips. 

It got very crowded on weekends.  We often saw actors, mostly the semi-celebrities who starred in tv shows a few years ago and were still recognizable.  Often browsing in the witchcraft section, trying to find a spell that would hasten their success or prevent their decline.

One Saturday afternoon, I found a short, rather husky guy standing directly in front of the section I wanted, immersed in a book.  I glared at him, cleared my throat a few times, and eventually he moved away. My roommate  Derek immediately clomped over.

"Did you ask him out, or what?" he demanded.


"You didn't even talk to him?  Do you know who that was?  Richard Dreyfuss!"

I hadn't even noticed.

Of course I knew who Richard Dreyfuss was:American Graffiti, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Goodbye Girl. Moon Over Parador, and Jaws, my which had the most obvious gay-subtext romance I had ever seen.  I just didn't recognize him in real life.

The next Saturday, same section, same short, rather husky guy, immersed in a book about vampires. This time I looked closely.  Yep, it was Richard Dreyfuss!  "I got my first kiss from a vampire" I said, as an icebreaker.

It didn't work.  He moved quickly away.

He wasn't there the next Saturday, but a couple of weeks later, I saw him in the paranormal section again.  I said "Hello," from one regular customer to another, and to my surprise he responded.  Soon we were chatting about Benjamin Bathurst, the British diplomat who arrived at an Austrian inn, walked around the horses, and vanished forever.

After that, we chatted regularly.  He was friendly, and I thought, a little cruisy, always paying special attention to the cute guys.  Could he be gay?  And more importantly, interested?

Important Clue #1: Cruising cute guys.

 I had already been in a relationship with a closeted celebrity.  I didn't need another. But still...he was Richard Dreyfuss!

One day I got enough courage to invite him to the Abbey, a gay restaurant on Robertson, for coffee, and he consented.

Important Clue #2: Consenting to go to a gay restaurant.

 I told him about some of my own paranormal experiences, like the Naked Man in the Peat Bog. 

"You're lucky that your ghost was a hottie," he said with a smile. "All I saw was a little girl, wearing a pink dress and horn-rimmed glasses.  She stood by my bedside when I was in the hospital after a car accident."

Important Clue #3: The word "hottie" .

I decided to play my trump card.  "My ex-boyfriend saw ghosts all the time," I hinted. "And UFOs.  I felt so jealous."

"My wife is the same way.  I wish I was more attuned to the spiritual world."


Ok, not gay, not interested -- but super gay-friendly, especially for the 1990s.

No more coffee dates, but we continued to be "chatting at the bookstore" friends for awhile.   Then suddenly he stopped coming to the Bodhi Tree on Saturdays. 

Maybe he walked around the horses and vanished.

Or maybe he moved to New York.

I never got his phone number.

1 comment:

  1. He looked good when he played Duddy kravitz in the film " The apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz", about a kid from working class jewish roots trying to find his place in the world set in montreal post WW2.



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