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“It’s not one of those things where I’m gonna hunt down strangers,” he says regarding the painting. “I put my word out. I sorta put it in the pipeline and say, ‘You make your calls and I’ll kick you back if anything happens.’ ”
Meanwhile, Nathan is focusing on his rookie photography career (which is not going bad, thank you) and taking dates to parties where there are gift bags, open bars and free food.
Sunk into a deep sofa in the infamous Chateau Marmont lobby, with HBO star Peter Krause in one corner and Benicio Del Toro in the other, Nathan spies his vibrating phone on the table, ignores it and sips from his green tea. “The Chateau is my office. All my friends know that I am always here. I am a creature of habit,” says Nathan, flashing his Cheshire grin.
He says he was even hanging out in the lobby the day Helmet Newton drove into the wall outside and died. He remembers seeing the famous photographer’s wife, June, with hotel manager Phil Pavel in the days following, just drinking and talking and sitting in the lobby, bereft.
Like many non-celeb habitués of L.A.’s chicer establishments, Nathan doesn’t venture far from his favorite spot. He stays between La Brea and La Cienega. “You know that old saying, ‘No good can come from staying up after 2 o’clock in Los Angeles’? Well, I have a new one: No good can come from going east of La Brea.”
To help make ends meet, Nathan rents out the second room of his nearby apartment. Over the past six years, this arrangement has led to a seemingly ceaseless parade of beautiful models, who find out about his spare room through their booking agent. He says that he’s never dated any of his model roommates, and has a general policy that he likes to keep things platonic.
“I wouldn’t want to jeopardize my living situation: It’s easy to get laid. It’s hard to find a good roommate. But, yeah, on occasion, I have accidentally slipped and fallen into a couple of roommates’ vaginas.”
Nathan, who would be best described as less a Casanova and more someone who is just in the right place at the right time, explains, “Drunk people do things they wouldn’t do sober.”
Like that time he woke up to find a former model/roommate and her friend wanting to “molest” him after what had already been, for them, a long night of drinking.
But, in general, he stays away from such things. And even after the occasional dalliance with a roommate, he says, things usually go back to being just friends after a couple of awkward days. To this day, Nathan considers pretty much all of his former roommates friends. With the exception of one, who turned out to be a heroin addict — something he didn’t discover until he stumbled upon her rig and burnt spoons in the bathroom. She hung around long enough to clear him out of thousands of dollars’ worth of electronic equipment and his grandfather’s Rolex.
“I’m a little slow when it comes to women anyway,” he says. “I don’t even know if a girl likes me until her clothes come off. And even then I need to ask if she’s hot and needs me to turn the air conditioning on.”
Whether or not Nathan is as naive as he likes to portray himself — with “over 15,000 pictures” of himself with topless girls, celebrities and stoned porn actresses at photo shoots, how naive can a guy be? — it doesn’t seem likely that he will be changing his lifestyle anytime soon. Why should he? He still has invites coming in, and the girls are still taking off their clothes.
But he will admit that thanks to a couple of not-so-beautiful knocks on the head — like the one he got from the drunken girl who lived in his building and stalked him — he’s starting to wise up more every day. The rule he lives by now: “No fast friends.”
Even though he has met a lot of “really normal, smart, funny, responsible beautiful women” in this town — his last model roommate, for instance, was a “nice half-German, half-Asian Southern belle,” who attended a Buddhist temple and “would be like, ‘Darling, there’s dinner on the table’ ” whether he asked or not — incidents like the drunken stalker are sobering him up.
“No one without references is getting into my personal life,” Nathan says as he elaborates on the “no fast friends” rule. “If I don’t know you through a friend . . .” you probably won’t get very far. He doesn’t like the whole “Let’s hang out. Let’s hang out all the time!” thing. “I’m a head-down-in-the-elevator, not a borrow-a-cup-of-sugar type of guy. I don’t like to really know my neighbors.”
Still, it’s hard to keep it too exclusive when you have scantily clad models coming and going from your apartment at all hours. The neighbors can’t help but notice.