Stars, They're Just Like Us

Standing in line at the grocery store, there’s nothing I like better than to flip open a tabloid. As the checker rings up my “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” (actually, I really can believe it’s not butter, just saying), Cool Whip, and non fat everything, I love catching glimpses of Gwen Stefani wearing designer duds in the mud at a farm for her son’s 6th birthday party, Channing Tatum drinking a latte, Bradley Cooper texting and wearing nothing but a towel (or sexting… me perhaps?), Natalie Portman at the park, clutching her baby like an Oscar, Alec Baldwin leaving a yoga class, happy yet paunchy and schvitzy. But wait…  did I just catch Angie scowling at Shiloh and reprimanding Pax?

Lord, I hope so.

When the gerbil wheel of duty, responsibility, and laundry is spinning full-tilt, I often find myself daydreaming about Halle Berry, dressed to the nines in a belly-baring asymmetrical number on the way to some awards ceremony or another, pausing to have a moment of near insanity over Nahla’s toy-strewn bedroom. I enjoy conjuring Jessica Simpson in the glowing throes of new motherhood, dressed in a flowing, flowery flock from her 2013 Spring Collection, realizing after the fact that there’s a trail of spit-up down her gown that even the giant pink peony pattern can’t disguise, and now it’s immortalized in baby Maxwell’s first People magazine photo shoot. (I just made that up, so don’t go looking…)

Last weekend I kicked my normal starfucker voyeuristic leanings to the next level and went to see self-proclaimed pop culture anthropologist Sandra Bernhard in her latest one-woman show, Sandrology. Did I mention that I arrived there after a day that included cramming in a workout, a quickie food shopping, helping my son with his homework while simultaneously scouring the house, traveling to the ends of the earth to watch my daughter’s softball game, and flying back to catch Little League Closing Ceremonies? The only prep time I had pre-Sandra was about three minutes — just enough to take a split-second whore’s bath and grab the nearest pair of jeans from the floor. Lucky for me, I only have one cute going-out-on-the-town top and just a handful of make-up items that are easily portable for in-car application. Take that, Kim Kardashian – I can pull my shit together in the same amount of time it takes you to apply one false eyelash!

So of course I couldn’t wait to hear Sandra spear celebs and other juicy targets with her razor sharp tongue. Instead, I was treated to another, more relatable side of the diva. She opened by mentioning a “dust-up at Trader Joe’s,” and then declared her preference for Whole Foods (although she’s more a Mrs. Gooch’s girl herself — the Whole Food’s precursor for you students of gourmet grocery history). In between ironic renditions of Neil Sedaka’s “Laughter in the Rain” and Lady Gaga’s “Edge of Glory,” we were treated to tales of her laying in bed with her girlfriend and daughter watching America’s Next Top Model, and hearing about her undying love for her plumber who shows up just in the nick of time to save her from a water-heater-less hell.

OMG, Sandra Bernhard is just like me! (Although I would like the name of her plumber…)

Seriously, she is. One of the show’s highlights was a riff on how her 14-year-old daughter, Cecily, decided she’s done with summer camp this year. And she wants to (gasp) join a gym instead. I have experienced both of these horrors this year. My son has outgrown day camp and rejected his previous sleepaway camp, so I’m at a loss as to how to keep him occupado this summer while I work. And my daughter suddenly likes going to the gym with my husband — and just like Sandra, I have to block out the idea of leachy 50-year-old men checking out my prepubescent daughter when she’s on the elliptical. Our gym in Lost Angeles’ San Pornando Valley makes me wish I’d already gotten her that Gardasil shot — every piece of equipment, from the workout benches to the stationary bikes, seems like a Petri dish of HPV to me.

The old club-hopping, Madonna loving/hating, cutting-edgy Sandra is gone. The sequin pasties have been replaced with a tasteful black sheath that has pockets for carrying life’s necessities like Carmex and spare tissues. Her spot-on send-ups target over-priced almonds, suburban street names, and ammonia-treated pink slime (“…eat a burger, take a shit — it cleans the toilet every time), instead of holier-than-thou-celebs. Sandra’s come out, settled down, and is, dare I say, happy.

We love it when stars are like us: shopping, pushing strollers, hooked on dumb reality TV shows, dealing with clogged drains and rainy days. And maybe we should all take a page out of Sandra’s book — drop the pretense, come down to Earth, and embrace all that is real, mundane, and blessedly routine.

And do me a favor: if you see me wearing a sequined bikini and draped in an American flag at the checkout counter at Trader Joe’s, just know that I’m making the most out of every damn day.