The Universal Grill at Universal Studios was crowded, and Stan was fifteen minutes early. Erik, the maître ’d, had been kind enough to seat him anyway and the wait was made more tolerable by the companionship of a vodka on the rocks. He nodded now and then to familiar faces, willing them not come over to the table. He was in no mood to have a forced conversation.
The only person he wanted to talk to now was Jennie, the one person who would understand—a fact that would sound strange to anyone who knew him for the dyed-in-the-wool chauvinist that he was. He wasn’t sure if the film business bred them, or if chauvinists were attracted to the business because the multitude of beautiful, untalented, ambitious, so-called actresses made it easy for men to use and discard them like so much soiled toilet paper. On second thought, it was undoubtedly the same in any business.
If women thought they could get what they wanted by making themselves available for their boss or forced themselves to put up with unwanted advances out of fear of losing their jobs, then that’s what some women were going to do. They would make it rough for decent, hardworking women like Jennie. Of course, he could never reveal that kind of traitorous thinking to Sonny and Maury and the rest of the New York contingent at the studio. With those guys, the only accepted mode of behavior was getting loaded after work, hitting on barhops, and talking macho bullshit all evening before going home to the wife and passing out. Bedding down an occasional actress who wanted her SAG-AFTRA card in the worst way was par for the course. He himself had enjoyed introducing several actresses to the Screen Actors Guild—a practice he had cut down on drastically since he married Lila.
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