We asked frequent TR reader Devendra Banhart to contribute his recollections of dating the one known as Natalie Portman. He sent in the following.
What and Who I Will Do For My Career
by Devendra Banhart
I woke up yesterday with a splitting headache. Too much Burgundy, too much cocaine, and too much of her.
"Devendra! Devendra!" When I open my eyes I swear that Natalie was watching herself in The Professional. Ever since my publicist hooked me up with this lew (what gentiles like me call lame jews) I have been enduring a never ending stream of this bullshit.
"How much do you want to fuck the thirteen year old me?" she said. "Tell me."
"That's gross," I said. Also, the first time we slept together, afterwards she asked me if that was how they did it in Venezuela. "Absolutely not," I told her.
jude and NP
"When did you lose your virginity?" she said, dancing on the bed. "Tell me and I'll tongue your balls."
"I'm still a virgin," I said. "I'm going to order some papayas."
"Get me the huge." 'Huge' in the Portman family parlance, she had informed me during our first meal, meant, 'the usual'. She reminded me of Anna Faris in Just Friends.
When we met, it seemed great.
We were halfway through a MOMA screening of Conrad Clark's eulogy for Beijing when Natalie whispered in my ear, "l can't tell any of these characters apart." This somehow seguewayed into a 40 minute argument about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. By the time she was going down on me in the bathroom closest to the Cy Twombly mural she felt we were closer than ever. Me, I wanted to refute her supposed concessions at Gaza and lecture her parents for hours.
chan marshall & me
Also, she has a tiny vagina. So tiny. Sounds great, right? But whenever it starts getting uncomfortable at all, she lets me know. Again, not a problem in itself, but instead of being like, slow down guy, she starts yelling, "Poopsikins! Poopsikins!" The first time she said it I was looking around for the camera. At least she's a vegan.
My agent talked me down after our first MOMA fight. "Take it easy, D," he recommended. "She's a great girl, you just have to get to know her better. Also, just going out with her sold 40,000 copies of Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon."
"Fudge," I said, knowing how bad that album really was.
"Will Is My Friend" - Devendra Banhart (mp3)
"Shabop Shalom" - Devendra Banhart (mp3)
"Lover" - Devendra Banhart (mp3)
"Bad Girl" - Devendra Banhart (mp3)
I used the money on a framed portrait of myself and gave it to her along with the feather of a peregrine falcon. I felt bad. I mean, it happens. You're interested in a girl and the newness of that, and then the eroticism fades. It doesn't mean you shouldn't give it a chance.
Yesterday started well enough. "Tao Lin makes me want to write the craziest things," she screamed in St. Mark's bookstore. At least we were agreeing on something. "Let's go see Nathan Englander read at McNally Robinson," she said excitedly, stealing a copy of a magazine with a very provocative cover.
"Nathan Englander?" I said. "I think I'm going to have to send a frothy e-mail to the Harvard english department from whence you came. Plus, he's a lew like you. I'd really rather go see Junot Diaz at NYU."
"But Nathan Englander's funny," she said. "Wes and I used to read parts of For the Relief of Unbearable Urges aloud before bedtime."
"Mention another one of your ex boyfriends and I swear I'll give you a bloody eyeball, Queen Amidala."
"Let's just go and if it's bad, I'll just soak a chamois of llama skin with my juices and weave it into your hair, poopsikins," she said. I shuddered.
She spent most of the reading finding dumb things to look at on her laptop. She found an interview I'd done:
Well, I said to myself, "What's the title?" and I heard from myself, " Look in books, think... feel words, extract the words from the songs, condense the record into a word or a couple of words, etc". Then I said to the spirit of Krishna-Murti, "Whats the title?" and i heard, "Keep looking in all those places you told yourself to look, keep looking diligently, though it will not come from there, i will bring it to you if you keep looking in all the wrong places". And as I looked I began to hear, "I Am Cripple Crow, I Am Cripple Crow", so i was gonna call it, I Am Cripple Crow, but I thought it would look like I was saying... I, Devendra, am Cripple Crow, which I am not, Cripple Crow is the album, so I got rid of the I Am.
"That's fucking retarded," she whispered, "and I'm pretty sure Krishnamurti is still alive." I stormed out of the bookstore.
The next night, my boy Cabic comes over to play some xBox and braid my hair, and NP sits in the corner reading a magazine (I believe it was Highlights) and acting like she's doing me some big favor by letting me have my bromance.
Cabic is so weirded out he leaves after only two hours of Madden and I think she can sense that I'm frustrated, because when I come into the bedroom she's wearing the blonde wig from Closer and she has her mouth duct-taped shut. You tell me if you could resist. You can't. It's impossible.
While sex isn't everything, it is something. When it's not around you look to see if maybe it's on your computer. When it's lying in your bed about to say something completely insane about the motivation of the Israeli citizens building settlements on Palestinian land, you have to ask yourself: At what cost?
I promised myself that I'd break up with her this morning. I know exactly what to say.
The best part about dating an actress is that breaking up is an orgasm straight out of the Claude Levi-Strauss handbook. You can "represent" the "break-up" without having to really say a word.
You simply set up a situation unexpectedly similar to a moment they got dumped in one of their movies. Naturally this is easier if you happen to find yourself LTRing Billy Crudup, Jennifer Aniston, or Jim Krasinski. By the way Krasinski, if I have to read another interview where you talk about how much you love David Foster Wallace, I'm going to eat your spleen.
Since NP played the feature lew in The Diary of Anne Frank, my choice is fairly obvious. Yet before I have even gotten out of bed she's asking me if I ever had banana pancakes when I was growing up in Venezuela.
I finally can't control myself: "THERE WILL BE NO FUCKING BANANA PANCAKES," I scream. "And when you're from Long Island, I don't think you can call the U.S. 'The States.' Pretty sure that's just a bullshit affectation. You went to Solomon Schechter for Christ's sake."
"That hurts me a lot, D," she says.
"That's what she said," I said. "You watch The Office? No? I'm never good at this part."
"I guess it's better," she says. "But I'll always treasure our photoset together. Do you want to get coffee?"
"Sure," I say, "but just as friends, and I should probably take off this SS uniform first."
Devendra Banhart is a musician living in Los Angeles. This is his first appearance in these pages, and most likely his last unless he starts dating Scarlett or something.
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