The Real Perez Hilton
BY Benoit Denizet-Lewis
July 05 2009 11:00 PM ET
With that settled, Perez makes his way inside the party, where a handful of "Z-list celebrities," as Perez dismissively calls them, mingle with their assorted friends and hangers-on. Among the recognizable faces (in Hollywood, at least) is Matt Dallas, best known for being the attractive young star of the former ABC Family series Kyle XY .
Perez's and Dallas's presence at the same party adds some potential drama to the evening. Perez has repeatedly called Dallas gay, even posting occasional updates on his blog about who Dallas is supposedly dating. Perez doesn't like to call this "outing." "What I do is report ," he says, "just like I will report on the love lives of straight celebrities." Dallas has publicly denied being gay (on The Howard Stern Show , no less), and a friend of his wonders aloud at the party if the actor might have a few choice words for his least favorite blogger. I relay this to Perez, who can't seem to care less. After all, being accosted by celebrities is nothing new for him. As Perez tells it, Tara Reid once threatened to throw him in the pool at a party, Nicole Richie approached him at a coffee shop and demanded that he call her anorexic to her face (Perez declined), and Desperate Housewives gardener Jesse Metcalfe found him at a nightclub and announced, "Do you know how many times I've fantasized about killing you?"
Dallas chooses not to join this growing list of celebrities, and unless you count a couple of persistent social climbers who try desperately to engage him, Perez ends up spending much of the party alone or talking to me. "Most people I know out here just sort of tolerate Perez," one party attendee says. "Some will pretend to like him, but not many people actually respect him."
With no one he knows to talk to (his friend Katy Perry doesn't arrive until later), Perez sets his sights on a boyish 25-year-old who looks like an actor or model but is apparently neither. (Perez's longtime friend Eric Carr, who works in film marketing, told me that Perez's taste in men "is on the higher end" and that the blogger "wishes he could marry actor Zac Efron.") "He's really hot," Perez says of the young man at the party, trying to build up the courage to walk over and give him his number before we leave. Fifteen minutes later, he texts me from across the room -- "Still trying to work my magic here." More time passes. "I'm such a pussy," he whispers to me a few minutes later as I stand near the pair and watch as the young man playfully grabs Perez's shoulder. In the end, the man gives Perez his number before Perez can give him his.
"I know I didn't show it there, but I've actually gotten much better about asking out guys that I'm attracted to!" Perez tells me as we make our way to the exit. "I'm definitely on the prowl for dates. And to my surprise, a lot of guys that I've asked have said yes."
How does he know if someone is dating him only because he's a celebrity? "I think I'm self-aware enough to figure that out," he says. "But if it's just for a casual date, I don't care if someone's using me. I'll use them right back. I know how to play this game."
After five years as Hollywood's most notorious blogger, one would hope so. And as tempted as Perez might be to engage in some mutual using tonight with his new friend, it will have to wait. "I need to get up early and get to work," he tells me as we wait for a valet to bring him his Camry. "I may not be the best writer or the funniest writer, but I work harder than anyone I know. People can say a billion different things about me, but they can't say I'm lazy. And I have to give myself a pat on the back, because these last few years I could have lost my focus, or gotten caught in the bullshit of going to parties every night. But I didn't. And I have my success to show for it."