The Case of the Purloined Panties
can a small-town girl find happiness when someone steals her underwear? stay tuned for a playmate's plight
Cynthia Brimhall's day has gotten off to a bad start. She's in a dither of indignation as she huffs in, ten minutes late, for lunch at Le Dôme restaurant. "You won't believe what happened to me this morning," she says in a grandly theatrical style, somewhat reminiscent of Lucille Ball -- a very sexy Lucille Ball -- in a snit. While her eyes roll heavenward, the eyes of many in the restaurant are focused on her microminidress. "Some pervert stole all my underwear," she explains. "All of it." Apparently, Thursday is laundry day chez Brimhall, which is a smallish condo done entirely in pink -- "a doctor friend told me pink weakens men" -- in West Hollywood, a city well known for its enthusiastic acceptance of alternative lifestyles. The 300 condos in her complex share one large laundry room, which, of course, was where Cynthia was washing her prized collection of lingerie. The last she saw of it was when she put it in the dryer. An hour or so later, when she returned to the laundry room, it was gone. "Someone is actually walking around that complex in my panties," she says. She's not sure whether the culprit is male or female, gay or straight -- her building, befitting the area, is full of eccentrics, would-be showbiz types, flamboyant gays, retirees and numerous occupants of Hollywood's fast track. Any one of them could be guilty, she says.
"You know, I really have expensive taste in lingerie. Some of it was even from Rome. I don't indulge myself in a lot of things, but underwear is one of my vices," she sighs. "I guess it's one of my neighbors' vices, too." Chalk another lesson up to life in the big city. As Cindy is only too happy to report, such things never happened in Ogden, Utah, where she grew up. As the youngest of five children, Cindy was spared from even the usual household chores. "No one ever let me do anything," she complains. "All I got to do was stir the gravy. I'm the best gravy stirrer in the world."
Stirring gravy just wasn't enough to keep Cindy in Utah. She wanted a modeling career and, even more important, she craved excitement. Los Angeles offered her both, in abundance.
"I like colorful people," she says. "I like people who are different." And that seems to be what she surrounds herself with. Sitting in her tiny pink condo, she points to some watercolors she recently completed. "I have this friend named Lori. That's a picture of her right over there that I painted," she says. "She shaves her head." Indeed, the woman in the picture is as bald as Yul Brynner; but since she's in the nude, there's little danger of confusing them. Lori rides a motorcycle and tends bar at a local club that caters to people who live on the edge, though it's sometimes difficult to tell exactly which edge they are living on. "You go in there and make your own guess," Cindy says with a shrug. "I just go and stare, even though it's not polite. Of course, Lori is about as colorful as you want your friends to get before you don't want to drink out of their Pepsi glasses."
Cindy likes to balance that side of life with a stable relationship. Currently it's Frank, a 22-year-old who lives with his parents and works in the family drapery business.
"He's from Havana, and he has beautiful blue eyes. He really thinks a lot of his mother, and he has respect for his father. Those are really good qualities, and not a lot of men have them, you know.
"I don't ever go out with men and have casual sex. That's gross. Still, I think sex is one of the best things you can do. It's better than money. I'd much rather have a poor boy who was good in bed than a rich one who just bought me things. In fact, if you gave me a choice between an unlimited supply of money or the best sexual experiences, I'd go for the sex.
"To have sex with someone who is on drugs is the worst. It's such a burn to me if a man has been drinking or indulging in anything but my perfume before he makes love to me. I can't stand it."
Cindy's distaste for drugs is so strong that she's been known to leave antidrug messages on her telephone answering machine. Her feelings come in part from watching friends who, like her, came from small towns to try modeling in L.A. "I have two girlfriends who are here modeling, and they are just wrecks. I can't even talk to them. I want to tell them, 'Don't go out. Don't just drink and party. Stay home, paint, read a book.' "
Because of those women and some of the other things she's seen, Cindy has found herself altering her plans in the year and a half she's been in L.A. "In terms of my career, I don't even want to do movies or anything else I thought I wanted to. What I want to do is have seven baby boys and a huge white ranch house. A successful marriage is one of the biggest accomplishments you can have in life."
Of course, that doesn't mean that Cindy will be phasing such people as bald Lori out of her life. "I can get along with all types," explains Cindy. "That's what you're supposed to do. I think the most important lesson I could ever teach a child would be to accept people. There's really no right or wrong, except for the individual. But some people just don't seem to accept that."
Photography by Richard Fegley