I really despise Jewel. In the canon of chick singers who plagued the ’90s, she’s right up there with other forgettables like Meredith Brooks, Alannah Myles and that bitch with the piano on Ally McBeal.
And I never bought that whole starving artist, “living outta my van” story she was hawking either.
So I wasn’t that excited when my ex suggested we check out Jewel’s ex—Steve Poltz, or that skinny guy who dances around in her video for “You Were Meant for Me.” Poltz pulls this song out a lot at his gigs since he wrote it and makes cracks about Jewel—i.e. “writing her album (the pile of shit that is Pieces of You, btw) and being cast aside” but somehow the Jewel songs sound good when Poltz sings ’em, and he’s a capable, entertaining little guy. Surprisingly, I enjoyed the show. But I also decided that I wanted to sleep with him—i.e. get my rocks off with the double satisfaction of nailing an artist the ex admired. It seemed to be a win-win for everyone. Except the ex.
For some reason, I am really good at getting places where I have no business being—i.e. backstage, hotel suites, tour buses—so, if I’ve designated you a target for the evening, it’s probably on.
I sidled up to the bar after the show, placing myself just a barstool down from his buddy I saw him talking to earlier. I was wearing a Replacements T-shirt—and Poltz had covered a Mats tune earlier, so I knew he was a fan. Sure enough, Poltzy comes by, orders a Jameson and downs it.
“Hey, awesome shirt,” he says.
“Hey, awesome show,” I say.
He turns to bartender. “Can I get another Jameson’s?”
“I’ll buy that,” I say, slapping down a $20.
For the rest of the night, I sit and joke with him and his friends, drinking whiskey and beer. The bar shuts down, kicks us out and there’s talk of food. “Hey, you come with us,” Poltz says to me. “You’re cool.”
I’m sitting in a cab, between him and his friend and have one thought in my mind: It is so on.
We go to this diner. I’m sitting there with his buddy, drinking coffee, meanwhile, Poltz keeps getting calls on his cell phone, jumping up and pacing, and then going outside to talk. Then he comes back inside, then the phone rings, and it starts all over again. His friend is starting to act a little strangely. But still, no one says anything, and we go back to his apartment.
Once we get inside, it becomes apparent that Poltz is hammered. He heads right to the bathroom, pisses and walks out. I have to use it right after him, and I go in, “You can’t even flush?” I ask him. He gives me a “fuck it” look. I sigh, thinking, typical narcissistic singer/songwriter behavior.
I come back out, eyeballing the huge wine rack stacked floor to ceiling. “Hey, can we open some wine,” I ask his friend, starting to pull out bottles and looking at them.
“Oh, shit,” his friend says, running over. “Those are the good ones. This is my roommate’s stack, and if we open an expensive bottle he’s gonna flip. Here, this row, we can drink these.” So he pulls out a cheap white and opens it.
So, I’m sitting on some leather couch, drinking cheap white wine, and Poltz has disappeared. “Where’s Poltz?” I ask his friend. He shrugs. I find him in a bedroom, passed out on the bed. And I’m drunk, across town, and there’s no way I’m going home empty-handed, so I get on top of him and start jumping up and down, trying to wake him up.
No go. He’s passed out or pretending to be. So I go back to the living room.
It’s about 4 a.m. and suddenly three girls come flying into the apartment with the missing roommate. The first one throws the door open and yells, “Where is he?”
Poltz’s buddy just points to the bedroom where Steve-O is passed out and the girl goes huffing and puffing toward it, slamming the door. Within a minute of that, the other two guys disappear with the other two girls in the other bedrooms. Doors slam, blam, blam.
I’m sitting on this leather couch in some leopard throw, drinking cheap white wine in a complete stranger’s house. At first I think, I should just go to sleep. And then I think about waking up, the strange girl, in this house the next morning.
I get up and gather my stuff. I’m thinking there’s no way I’m going home empty-handed. I go over the wine rack and just start pulling bottles of wine—the expensive bottles I was told not to touch. I pull as many as I can carry in my arms and bolt.
Now, it’s January and the snow is like three-feet deep. I’m staggering through drifts of snow, balancing bottles of wine in my arms. I finally, finally get to a street that has cabs, hail one and climb into the backseat, rolling around and giggling with bottles of very expensive wine all the way home.
To this day, I still can’t listen to Steve Poltz. But damn was that some good wine.