Eligibility Test

Even at 6:30 on a chilly Wednesday evening, the swank West Hollywood nightclub Eleven brimmed with an increasingly well-lubricated happy hour crowd, while upstairs, the gay biweekly magazine Frontiers celebrated its recent “L.A.’s Most Eligible” issue. At the front door, glossy fliers for Cityboyz underwear were handed out by a shirtless guy, one of two finely buffed models designated as the evening’s eye candy. To anyone who inquired, he introduced himself as Aaron Savvy, cover boy for the sex issue of In magazine, a sister publication to Frontiers. Of course, “Aaron Savvy” is a stage name. The Mormon-raised former Ultimate Fighting Championship contestant, personal trainer and former porn actor is obsessed with succeeding in the mainstream. A deal for his own TV reality show, according to Savvy, is already in the works.

“I don’t want to name the networks,” he said confidently, “but they have expressed interest.”

The way Savvy sees it, he’d “given a lot” during his porn years, and now it’s time to “give more” through his expertise in nutrition and physical fitness. He’s determined to steer clear of anything porn or pornlike.

“One guy wanted to give me $500 to strip down to my underwear,” Savvy confided. “He just wanted to look at me, but I said no.”

Savvy is also a new arrival to L.A.; he came here two months ago from Seattle.

“I had nothing lined up,” he said, “but now look at me.”

Upstairs at the Frontiers “L.A.’s Most Eligible” party, John Terlingo, a personal trainer, and Mark Stuplin, who works for E! Channel, sat in a booth discussing their own ideas for the ideal bachelor.

“He has to be rich, 30 to 35 and a homeowner,” Terlingo said.

Stuplin laughed.

“No, really,” Terlingo insisted, “I want a guy who takes responsibility. I’m over the guy who wants to split the bill for everything, even when it’s just 10 dollars .?.?. I want some yang to my yin.”

A second guy named Mark plopped down next to Terlingo. He refused to give his entire name, and actually wanted to be called “Doug.” Stuplin, the first Mark, whispered to me, “He just came out to his parents over the weekend, and it went better than expected. They always figured it was the case: 38 years old, no girlfriend, you know the deal.”

“Don’t say anything more!” the other Mark/Doug yelled. “He’s writing it all down!”

Stuplin laughed, and the other Mark/Doug started complaining about the slim pickings.

“So what kind of man do you want?” Stuplin asked the other Mark/Doug.

“A jock type.”

“Oh, like on the Internet,” Stuplin said, slightly disappointed.

“I made a commitment to [the first] Mark that I would be more sociable in person and get off the computer,” Terlingo said.

Stuplin nodded and explained, “You can have intimate communications over the Internet, but then when you meet them in person, they have nothing whatsoever to say. I find that fascinating.”

With that, Mark and Mark left for more drinks, and I went looking for Frontiers editor in chief Jeremy Kinser, who was holding a copy of Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s when I found him.

“It’s for the book club I belong to,” he said.

We then grabbed a booth, where he explained how the magazine chose its most eligible singles — 10 men and five women. In a nutshell, friends nominated friends online, Frontiers staff culled the entries, and voilà, the winners were chosen. Power ratings, wealth indexes and fame quotients were banned from the selection process, except possibly during the choice of the issue’s cover boy, Big Brother 3 cast member Marcellas Reynolds.

“We wanted to represent everyone in the LGBT community,” Kinser assured me. “We were looking for diversity.”

A few minutes later, Kinser introduced one of the magazine’s official L.A.’s Most Eligible singles, Ric Parish, co-founder of The Life Group LA — a support organization for people with HIV/AIDS.

“I was shocked when Frontiers called me,” Parish said. “I’m not the usual Frontiers cover model, and I have so many issues about my age and looks. Being middle-aged in West Hollywood is tough. But when I brought the magazine to my therapist, he told me, ‘Ric, maybe L.A. has finally grown up.’ ”

Later, one of the club’s other hired models, James Frehn, revealed that this was the first party he’d ever attended in Los Angeles. A resident of Palmdale and a budding filmmaker in his early 20s, Frehn bravely undertook the duty of wearing only a very skimpy pair of tight briefs. The money from this night’s job will go toward his savings to buy a movie camera.

“I want to get into film because they’re not making good ones anymore,” Frehn said. “They’re not making the classics.”

Frehn plans to write, produce and direct his first movie. He’s already written four screenplays. “I just want to make a good film,” he said, “a very good film.”

I thought Mr. Savvy could give him some advice, but by that point, the former porn star was gone. Frehn then pulled on his clothes, shook my hand, and smiled as he walked away. He hopes to move to Los Angeles sometime soon. One more eligible single in the practically naked city.


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