I Dream of Rehab

031907 article doonan2 I Dream of RehabPromises! Promises! Or Crossroads, or even Passages! I don’t care which one it is, I am just desperate to get into a rehab facility. I want my turn. As the endless stream of “troubled” glitterati continues to pour in and out of rehab, I’m starting to feel a tad excluded—resentful, even. I want to eat spa cuisine with Britney and Mel and then do group therapy with Keith Urban. Why should addiction-crazed entertainers, blasphemers and disgraced politicos get to have all the fun? If calling someone a “faggot” can catapult one effortlessly into rehab—Isaiah Washington, bonjour!—then surely being a faggot would guarantee a V.I.P. suite.

With their ocean views and fancy-pants cuisines, these celeb-packed hostelries make an intriguing spring-vacation option for people of all persuasions. If only they weren’t so darn expensive! (A month-long stay at Promises will set you back $48,000.)

If you are looking for a well-priced-but-improbable vacation destination, I highly recommend the Dallas Park Central Westin hotel. No snickering! If the Westin is good enough for me and Wayne Newton, it’s certainly good enough for you.

In the last year—since Barneys opened a giant store at the NorthPark Mall in Dallas—I have spent a disproportionate amount of time staying at the Westin. This dreary concrete structure overlooking the freeway has become my home away from home.

Last week, while Ann Coulter was hurling the word “faggot” in John Edwards’ general direction, I was hosting a fashion show in a tent in NorthPark’s parking lot. My job was to commentate the spring looks as the gals and blokes trotted down the runway. This was not as easy and faggoty as it sounds. My pre-show efforts to finesse my script were compromised by the delayed-flight arrivals of those mannequins imported from New York. Frantically scribbling my commentary while last-minute fittings were still taking place, I had no time to gather their names. This left me with no choice other than to assign fake monikers. I gave all the white Nordic girls names like Taneesha and Shaneequa. All the black gals got Euro-trash, aristo-sounding names like Fabuleena and Fallopia. To the male models, I assigned more straightforward names like Irving and Igor.

My little ruse raised intermittent chuckles. A significant proportion of the audience under-reacted to the proposition that a blond, square-jawed lad in a Jil Sander suit might actually be named Mahatma.

Meanwhile, back at the Westin, it was cowboys-a-go-go. This most recent trip was enlivened by the presence of hundreds, possibly thousands, of Texas electrical engineers—Wrangler-wearing linemen—who were gathered for their annual conference. Every public area of the hotel was swarming with tobacco-chewing dudes in cowboy hats. I have never seen so many giant belt buckles in my life. It was a totally freaky scene, an alternative Brokeback universe, minus the faggotry.

Other than finding the elevator awash with Budweiser bottles every morning, there was no downside to this super-butch invasion. The linemen seemed like decent chaps, so much so that I spent a great deal of energy encouraging the single gals in the New York Barneys contingent to hurl themselves into this mosh pit of swaggering Marlboro heterosexuality.

One morning, while waiting to pick up my embarrassingly faggoty egg-whites-only breakfast at the make-it-while-you-wait omelet bar, I was approached by a lineman dude who asked me why my face looked “so darn familiar.” I told him that I was a regular on VH1 and that he may well recognize me from I Love the 80s. He confessed that he was a big fan of “all that kinda sheeyit.” Delighting in this bit of D-list recognition, I began to beam smugly. Sensing, no doubt, that I needed to be brought back down to earth, the lineman added, “But y’all are not the only celebrity at the Westin. Wayne Newton. Yup! We seen him twice.”

Having put me in my place, this friendly gent then went on to confess that he was very ashamed of some of the styles he had adopted in the 80’s, specifically a knee-length oversized Wham! T-shirt. One of my female colleagues then coquettishly asked him if he had ever owned a pink Marithé et François Girbaud blouson jacket. “What in the heeeyal is thayat?” he replied, grabbing his 10-egg omelet and lumbering back to the safety of his buddies.

Despite the anthropological fascinations of the Westin, the local socialites do not seem quite as enthralled by its charms as yours truly. One of the standard questions when I arrive in Dallas is always “Where are y’all staying while y’all are in town?” When I reply that we are happily ensconced at the Westin, the faces of the Dallas ladies tend to crumple into a wincing Cubist configuration of horror and sympathy. I always find myself leaping to the defense of the Westin and encouraging them to partake of the majesty of the omelet bar.

I seriously doubt if the Betty Ford Clinic has an omelet bar. This is the one rehab facility I am not dying to visit. Apparently, the food is “cafeteria style,” and part of the therapy includes toilet scrubbing. And, most importantly, Britney is not staying there. She’s over at Promises.

PS: I tried to buy a copy of Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret at the Dallas Fort Worth airport bookstore, wanting to find out what all the hoopla was about. When I asked for it, the bookstore ladies burst into gales of derisive, satanic laughter and shook their heads. Their reaction was very creepy. Is there a special way you have to ask for it? Is it one of those not-for-faggots books?