“Looks like this is it,” my Lyft driver said, slowing in front of a white, stucco house with a red tiled roof.
“Looks right to me,” I replied. “Thanks for the ride!” I wrangled my carry-on out of the back seat and shut the door. There I was, my home sweet home in Los Angeles for the next three days.
I pulled out my phone and double checked the homeowner’s instructions. Enter through the gate at the end of the driveway. Walk along the left side of the main house. You’ll see the pool house in the back yard, between the main house and the pool. The pool house. That’s where I’d be staying.
As I walked along the side of the house, I could see a woman inside at the kitchen sink. She saw me, too, and by the time I reached the front door of the pool house, she had run into the back yard to greet me.
“Oh my God! It’s so nice to meet you!” she said excitedly. “Welcome, welcome!”
“Thanks,” I smiled, still holding my heavy luggage.
“Have you met Jeremy yet?” she asked me.
“Jeremy…?” I wondered aloud.
“Jeremy!” she repeated. “My son, Jeremy?”
“Oh!” I said. I looked down at my bags, then back at her. “Umm, no. I just got here.”
“Oh my God, you won’t believe it! My son, Jeremy, he is SO HANDSOME. He’s a model, you know. Looks just like a Ken doll.”
“Oh, wow!” I feigned interest.
“He’s been on television and magazines and everything! He is just so handsome. You’ve never SEEN anyone so handsome!” she gushed.
“Neat,” I smiled halfheartedly.
“Betcha didn’t know you were staying in the home of a celebrity!” She winked at me and squeezed my shoulder.
“Hmm, ok,” I said. “Well, I can’t wait to meet him then. Maybe later, once I’ve settled in a bit.”
“Of course! Of course!” she responded. “You’ll just die when you see him!”
I smiled and turned away to let myself into the pool house. I’m generally not one to be impressed by reality TV stars, especially ones with such overzealous mothers.
Once settled, I texted my sister about the encounter. “Clearly, this woman is obsessed with how handsome her son is.”
“That’s hilarious!” my sister texted back. “She said he looks like a Ken doll, right? You don’t think she’s talking about this guy, do you?” She sent a screenshot of Google results revealing a photo gallery of Jeremy, the man famous for having had more than 190 surgical procedures to look like a Ken doll. (As seen on Botched.)
“I don’t know,” I replied, studying his pictures. “But maybe?”
The next evening, as I walked up the driveway after the first day of the workshop I was attending, I heard voices coming from a corner of the front yard. I turned toward them to see a tall, shiny doll-man in conversation with a shorter man dressed like a police officer-stripper. I gasped. It was him!
“Hi,” I smiled at them.
“Oh, hiiii!” the real-life Ken doll sing-songed in response, his face registering no emotion, his elbow barely able to bend as he waved.
I walked to the pool house, shut myself inside and spent the rest of the evening watching YouTube clips of Jeremy’s back, calf and glute surgeries. (As seen on Botched.)
That’s right. I watched videos of Jeremy. From his own pool house. On his own wi-fi network, aptly named: Barbie+KensDreamHouse.
From somewhere inside the main house, I’d like to think his mother was doing the same.