C.J.: Metro's 'Joe Millionaire' girl serves me a mean Shirley Temple

February 3, 2003

"Joe Millionaire's" Minnesota "mercenary," Melissa Mowery, passed the test with flying colors -- and a splash of temper -- Saturday night.

Hey, may I have a Shirley Temple? I asked the harried bartender, who was all pouty lips and curly hair.

"C.J., stop coming around my house," Mowery said emphatically, as she leaned against the bar and began filling my drink order.

I found her! As of Saturday, Mowery was one of three finalists that FOX's fake millionaire, Evan Marriott, is considering in this reality show. As FOX 9 viewers know, I've been in Mowery's neighborhood, ringing her doorbell, making friends with her neighbors. Although I've been on her block twice, I've only rung the doorbell once -- incessantly. That was plenty for her mom. Mowery informed me that her mom is not well and that I freaked her out. My apologies; that was never my intent. (I wasn't even looking for Mother Mowery until Saturday afternoon, when I racked up 100 miles scouting for her.)

Many thanks to the FM 107 listener who called the producer Thursday to let me know where Mowery worked. Thanks also to a friend who left a voicemail Friday night. Mowery would rather I not share her place of business with my readership.

"I would love it if you wouldn't," she said. "I just don't want it in the paper."

Already, the word of mouth has been generating a steady clientele interested in getting a gander at Mowery, the edgy, smoking, trash-talking "Joe Millionaire" survivor.

Although Mowery said, "You're the last person I'd give an interview with," we had a delightful encounter.

Are people recognizing you?

"My God. People are coming in and saying, 'I saw it.' I can't go anywhere. I totally can't. It's weird. Weird." Nothing like having 50 million viewers to catch a few eyes.

Mowery wanted to know whether I was enjoying "Joe Millionaire." Puhleeze, I wouldn't still be watching if she were not on the show. Thank goodness she's entertaining.

Marriott is going to be a lot more interesting to me when he gets to his 40s. Right now he's cute but just too much muscle, too much hair and too many eyebrows.

"Hilarious," said Mowery.

A bartender named Marie couldn't resist chiming in. Marie finds Evan "kind of boring, doesn't seem very charismatic, spontaneous, intriguing [or] into any of the girls. I've watched every week because of her, and I don't even watch TV." Because Evan's such a dud, Marie said, "I would want to get kicked off."

Mowery gave a hearty guffaw when I gave this hypothesis: Melissa is not genuinely into Evan either. She's just so competitive she doesn't want to be sent packing. Mowery's laugh suggested that I nailed this one, but time will tell.

Naturally, Mowery couldn't tell us whether she gets dumped tonight. She didn't seem to know what I was talking about when I asked whether she was going to be on "Entertainment Tonight" with Mary Hart on Tuesday. (Other booted contestants have been on "ET" the day after. Maybe Melissa's acting? Maybe she amazes by surviving tonight's cut? At any rate, there is no doubt in my mind that Marriott did not find true love on the show, not the way he's flirted with Hart and even asked her for a date. Anyway, even his parents say he's not ready to get married.)

Mowery, the chick who doesn't know the difference between being "mercenary" and "missionary," blew me off when I tried to pay for my Shirley Temple. I finally got another bartender to charge me for the beverage. I left her a $10 tip. As I left Mowery, I wondered whether "customer service rep" is what we're calling bartenders these days?


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