What I find most annoying about celebrities (and granted there is an endless list of annoyances to choose from) is their insistence that they are all, to a star, just the boy (or girl) next door.
Where do they live? Leaving only one question: Where the heck do these people think we live? In my neighborhood “the boy next door” is distinctly not Ben Affleck, nor is he Matt Damon, Will Smith, or I am sorry to say, Paul Newman.
We get kind of giddy if someone buys a new truck around here. I can assure you a personal airplane and paparazzi would push us completely over the edge.
Nonetheless, celebrities spend a lot of time and effort, not to mention money, pushing their publicists to portray them as just “regular folk.” Concerned only with the kindergarten car pool, rampant crabgrass, rising utility rates, and what to wear to the Oscars so as to avoid the wrath of Joan Rivers.
OK, perhaps that last one is more Hollywood than Hometown, USA, but otherwise celebrities are just like you and I. Right.
Sneak peek. When Ben and J-Lo appeared on television recently to give us an unprecedented glimpse into their “ordinary,” albeit undeniably booty-licious, lives, I couldn’t help but feel just a little bit had.
For an hour Ben and J. (I feel I can call her J. now that I know her so well and all …) served up a slice of their own brand of ordinary, complete with hand-holding, a romantic stroll, and synchronized giggles.
All culminating in a darling kitchen fest where she served up cutlets breaded by her own fabulous (and million dollar pink diamond adorned) hands. Right there she blew her “regular gal” cover.
Trust me, if any woman I know ever has a multimillion dollar anything, it isn’t getting within 20 paces of Shake N” Bake, I assure you.
Expecting more. Aspiring as they do to “regular folk” couple-dom, I expect more from them than that. Where is Ben launching into some recitation of his glory days?
Perhaps back when he still made decent movies like Pearl Harbor, and Jen rolls her eyes and chimes in “no one wants to hear that again dear …” and shuts him down cold?
When does she regale us with Ben’s inability to put down a toilet seat, or the stack of ATM withdrawal receipts he stashed in his glove compartment, causing a beleaguered Jen to nearly overdraft the account on her weekly grocery run?
And there she was in WalMart with a debit that wouldn’t go through and she could have just killed him. Then I would know this relationship had legs.
Pink diamonds, joint dressing rooms, and the hand in hand walk up the beach just don’t cut it babe.
Or, try this one. Call me when Ben is insisting he can repair the washer himself and J-Lo is slamming around the kitchen muttering “can’t just call a plumber like anyone else, oh nooo, Mr. Fix-it has to be handy …”
Or when he uses the term “babysit” in relation to the parenting of his own children and carries on as if he can fly a B-1 Bomber and repel Axis forces on film, but cannot navigate the challenge of diaper tabs. That, my friends, is a relationship “regular folk” style.
I have researched this phenomenon in neighborhoods far and wide. It turns out that the boys (and girls) next door grow up to be the self same “regular folk” who juggle parenting, careers, home making.
Regular folk. They find time to be involved in their churches, their communities, and the world at large. They are for the most part decent, hard working, and caring people who would give the shirt off their back (or the casserole off their oven rack) for a neighbor in need.
And they understand that real life rarely includes million dollar safety nets, pink diamonds as big as your head, or a publicist that can right every wrong or clear up every bad reputation.
More importantly, many of them achieve milestones in marriage (20, 30, 40 or more years as opposed to three or more marriages apiece). All without fanfare beyond family, and certainly without Diane Sawyer breathless to cover the coup.
For the most part regular folk have integrity, ethics, and a sense of community, honed without benefit of editors or agents. So are celebrities just like the regular folks next door? They wish.
(Kymberly Foster Seabolt is “regular folk,” and has the bank balance to prove it. She welcomes feedback c/o firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 38, Salem, OH 44460.)