Best Little Whorehouse in Hollywood

The reason Christmas occurs in so many romantic comedies is because there’s something so viscerally sad about being alone this time of year. Who could forget the image of Sally dragging home her own tree after she and Harry had made the formidable task look like such fun the year before? Or Miracle on 34th Street, ostensibly a children’s movie, where it ultimately becomes just as important for Natalie Wood to believe in Santa Claus as it does for her jilted mother to know that men don’t necessarily suck. One of my favorite holiday songs is “Hard Candy Christmas,” which Dolly Parton sings in Best Little Whorehouse In Texas after Burt Reynolds dumps her because he’s a cop and she’s a whore, and all this finally occurs to them. Gets me every time.

Last night I heard it on the radio while driving home from the mall, where I’d finally given in and bought a double bed. “Are you sure I couldn’t interest you in the queen?” said the queen running the big holiday mattress sale. Translation: “Although you evidently sleep alone, dear, you’re hardly a petite woman.” The salesman bearing a suspicious resemblance to Reuben Kincaid from The Partridge Family had a tuft of curly red hair teased into a ball of cotton candy atop his head. I somehow doubt his bedroom is exactly a catalogue spread for Abercrombie & Fitch. “I just moved,” I informed him. “Smaller bedroom, smaller bed.” Translation: “Who are you to judge, shop boy? And by the way, how are Laurie and Keith? Danny is just a mess, judging from the scandalous promos for Breaking Bonaduce.”

But then, so what if he really was a former sitcom star relegated to selling down-sized furniture to single women at Robinson’s May? If my life had gone differently, I would be the mother of all mothers. I’d be the perfect scout leader in whose highly accomplished troupe only the exceptionally clever girl had the slimmest hope of landing a spot. My own children, a religious musical ensemble known far and wide for their pitch perfect, five-part harmonies, would always headline the church pageant because I’d be the one hand stitching the meticulously researched shepherd regalia costuming the entire city of Bethlehem. My holiday cookies, brownies and fudge would raise more money for the PTA than any other confectionary assortment in the history of the Annual Holiday Bake Sale; while my Christmas lights would be the star attraction along the Seasonal Parade of Homes in some sleepy hamlet known for its painstakingly restored Victorians, most notably mine.

Instead, I came to Hollywood, where to paraphrase Dorothy Parker, I put all my eggs in one bastard. This was my choice, of course, and whatever the future may hold, I’m proud to have made it so unflinchingly. Besides, it’s not my Croatian ex-husband I miss at Christmastime, it’s who he was supposed to be. He was supposed to be Fred Gale delivering the winning courtroom argument about who gets Santa's mail; and Billy Crystal and Burt Reynolds when they woke up and came back. He was supposed to be my hero, while I ended up having to be my own. Another thing they won’t tell you in film school is that while lots of people have a tough time during the holidays—when they look at their own reflection in some storybook Christmas window and suddenly realize that their lives haven’t turned out exactly as they’d dreamed—you already know all that.

Hey, maybe I’ll dye my hair
Maybe I’ll move somewhere
Maybe I’ll get a car
Maybe I’ll drive so far
They’ll all lose track
Me, I’ll bounce right back

Maybe I’ll sleep real late
Maybe I’ll lose some weight
Maybe I’ll clear my junk
Maybe I’ll just get drunk on apple wine.

Me, I’ll be just fine and dandy
Lord it’s like a hard candy Christmas
I’m barely getting through tomorrow
But still I won’t let sorrow bring me way down.

I’ll be fine and dandy
Lord it’s like a hard candy Christmas
I’m barely getting through tomorrow
But still I won’t let
Sorrow bring me way down
’cause I’ll be fine
(I’ll be fine)
Oh, I’ll be fine.


  1. Beautiful as always. Maybe the salesman was encouraging you to have hope. Red-headed inspiration? Better to be insulted. Sorry I brought it up.

  2. Anonymous6:31 AM

    excellent choice of sleep equipment BTW...

  3. Doug that wouldn't have occurred to me in a million years. If only I hard your native ability to put a positive spin on things. MQ, you know what they say, you spend a third of your life in bed you may as well go all out. :-)

  4. If you had the native ability to put a positive spin on things you wouldn't be an artist, you'd be a hack. And in all likelihood, employed.

  5. They do say it is the highest time of year for suicide.
    Ach that was not exactly positive either was it.
    BTW I think Rueben ( or at least the actor) died didn't he ?

  6. You're thinking of Mike Brady. Or maybe Shirley Jones's real life husband, who died in a fire. Reuben is still with us. See, this is my positive spin for the day. :-)

  7. " They do say it is the highest time of year for suicide. Ach that was not exactly positive either was it."

    Think of all of the new apartments that open up. That's positive.


  8. That's a hilarious positive spin, JDC. Screenplay worthy. Somebody write that down.

  9. Speaking of "positive spin", WendyWings' juxtaposition of "he died" and "LOL" had me in stitches. And kudos on the fancy-ass sleigh bed. Apropos the holidays, no?

  10. Anonymous4:21 PM

    you hit my favorite christmas song, lonely highlite of a dismal flick, i got more laughs from what the original writer (grizzard? mcmurtry? one o'them texanos anyway)said when he sued to have them not use his title "they should call it smokey and the bandit go to the whorehouse" but it's gonna be fine and dandy. . .

  11. Boy, you can write honey!

  12. I just read the other comments.

    In fact, experts say most suicides occur in the Spring. Not to be negative, just sayin'.

  13. How about, "Burt and Dolly Go To the Bank?"

    TLP, you are sweet and I am grateful.

  14. Anonymous, Grizzard was from Georgia and took maybe the noblest way out of this vale of tears. Suicide by hamburger. God bless him.

    TLP, I think it was in the Winter.