by Ashley Rosemont at Sssh.com Porn For Women
Fame is addicting, and it’s a magnet. It pulls pretty girls across the country to Los Angeles, to Vegas, and even to Burbank when there’s no flights out of LAX. When I was a young actress trying to make it in L.A., I fell hard for a guy who happened to be an early-2000s sitcom star (and no, it wasn’t Charlie Sheen).
But this story is about Charlie Sheen, and dudes who are like him, and women who are like me.
The man I met had, amid all the struggling actors in L.A., made it. He had the car, the house, the disposable income. He had financial freedom in one of the most expensive cities in the world. Back then, before social media and data plans for cell phones, he’d think nothing of blowing $10,000 at a bar on me and my friends. We even bumped into Charlie Sheen’s (much larger) entourage once. And it’s true — the guy I was with thought Sheen was an “American hero.”
But for all the free-flowing cash, this guy couldn’t keep food in the refrigerator, his lights on, or his parking tickets paid. I looked at his paycheck, which represented two weeks’ work, and I realized it was my last year’s salary plus all my debt. We cabbed back to his place on three separate occasions when his various vehicles got booted. I would absolutely have not tolerated this behavior in any guy from home. It was not relationship material. But I was attracted to the success, the fame, the freedom.
And as shallow as that sounds, you have to understand what a fucking piranha tank L.A. is. You’ve heard it before: the most attractive people from every small town in America come here. And suddenly the fact that you’re at a club with a guy who has become successful in this place means so much more, even if you never watched this dude’s show while you were back home, barely knew who he was…
So I admitted to myself that I wasn’t going to win any prizes for my high ethical standards, but I reasoned that I could start giving to charity as soon as I had a job that would leave me more than bus fare after paying for my tiny Hollywood apartment. Further, I knew that there was still some rationality left in my head: I always insisted Sitcom Guy wear a condom. I made it as easy for him as possible. In fact, buying the brand he liked — in bulk! — became one of my major expenses (especially before being able to do that via Amazon).
So I was smart, I thought, until I wasn’t. I caught gonorrhea from this guy. It turns out he knew he had it, too, which made the Charlie Sheen revelations (let’s err on the side of the perfect world and say they are allegations) that Topper Harley had knowingly slept with women, condomless, when he had HIV that much more disgusting.
Charlie Sheen has come clean (ish) in an interview with Matt Lauer. You can see it here. I realize the guy is being shaken down, but the grandiosity and stuttering don’t make him sound like a very reliable narrator.
Sitcom guy did everything he could to distance himself from me when I gave him the news. I knew it wasn’t a surprise to him. I didn’t have health insurance, so I asked for some help for the $200 or so clinic and prescription bill. He refused until I said I’d talk to the New York Post’s Page Six about it (they were like the analog TMZ back then). Oddly enough, he could have given me the clap 20 more times for the cash I was quoted.
So I look at Charlie Sheen as the New Face of HIV and I can only think, “Your PR people told you to get on top of this one.” Yeah, I’m painting him with the same brush as that fling I had, in the same way I see myself — not a porn star, not a prostitute exactly — in the women Sheen hooked up with.
I am glad HIV is no longer a death sentence, for Sheen’s sake and for everyone’s, but if he knowingly spread this disease around to women attracted to his fame, to women just interested in a strings-free “experience” with the Tiger Blood guy, to women whose attractiveness to him was based on their ability to suppress a gag reflex and take MasterCard, then he was a dick, because the relationship ceased to be equal once he left these women with a virus that is expensive to treat and which still carries a stigma. Maybe not for him, but for the women whose livelihood he compromised. Not that anyone with HIV should be forced to disclose it (unless it’s to his sexual partners), but the fact that he went on TV after four years of an active diagnosis only because he was being extorted and worried about his money (he says) is telling.
Sitcom Guy is no longer Sitcom Guy. From what I can tell he’s Infomercial Guy. And I’m just happy to no longer be Gonorrhea Girl.
Read more by Ashley Rosemont at Sssh.com.
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