"Carolyn's stories are like a cozy blanket, a pair of stretchy pants, a lifetime movie, and a pint of ice cream to come home to after a DUMB! dating experience. It makes you breathe a sigh of relief and think "Phew! Its NOT just me!!!!!!". -- Ozlem (my hairdresser)

Love the blog Carolyn!! Just read every entry - it's all great! really interesting and a lot I could relate to-- it's hard for me to imagine you having any trouble meeting guys, but I love the honesty and openness of your voice.

Friday, July 23, 2010

I HAVE MOVED DATING EXPERIENCES... to "DatingExperiencesInHollywood.com"


I have moved "Dating Experiences of a Woman in Hollywood" to:

Please click on the above link for the newest stories.

Thank you for reading and your continued support!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

"Your Hair is Like Cotton Candy"

Liz's friend Brian had an extra ticket to a rock concert at the Hollywood Bowl last night and invited me to join. I crammed into the Saab SUV with five other people, including the very nice driver, Scooter, who looked like an 80s rock star groupie- or as Liz described him, like "David Lee Roth's less successful brother." We drove the short distance to the Bowl and valet parked.

Brian took care of the tickets and his friend Kurt organized buying the booze. "Who's Kurt?" I asked Liz. "Totally single," she replied, "and he knows you are too". I examined him more closely just as he was jumping up and down and said "I have to go pee".

Upon his return, I followed Kurt to the Market. "I've got this place wired," he said, as we walked into the "Exit" of the wine store. "Excuse me sir," said the male attendant, "you can't enter this way, you have to go through the entrance like everyone else."Kurt smiled, "Oh, I'm with my friends who are already in there," he said, pushing through, waving to a strange woman inside.

He grabbed two bottles of chardonnay, a bottle of red and a beer. "You should probably go get our place in line," he said. I foolishly looked for the end of the line, already knowing Kurt would finagle his way to the front. He found two cute girls near the register and offered to pay for one of their beers in return for cutting in line ahead of them. "For $6.50, I saved 30 minutes," he said.

Watching the male attendants reduce a bottle of Cabernet to a Venti-sized clear plastic cup with a lid and straw, revealed just how easy it is to drink an entire bottle of wine. With a full supply of liquor organized for the evening, Kurt wrapped his hand around my waist and led me through the crowd.

We found our seats and Brian was immediately apologetic about the tickets he purchased. He pointed out an area right in front of the stage where he sat at the last concert and apologized profusely for not having tickets that were closer. Here we are at a rock concert at the Hollywood Bowl on a beautiful summer night in good seats with fun people, great music and good wine. I could not have been happier.

I sat next to Kurt. He's in his early 40s, fit, has a full head of salt and pepper hair and is a little ball of energy. He was wearing jeans and a white cotton dress shirt with his initials embroidered on the left hand side. "Everyone gets their initials on the pocket," he said, "I'm the only one who gets them here," pointing to their strategic positioning, just below his ribs.

He reminded me of someone, but I couldn't quite place my finger on who it was. "People tell me all the time that I look like John McEnroe," offered Kurt, "and I know John, but I'm better looking."

Kurt grew up in New York's upper east side and currently lives in Santa Monica. I thought Kurt worked in the entertainment industry specifically because of his crisp energy, resourceful bartering skills to get ahead, and intermittent petulant behavior. However, Kurt more fittingly heads up his own toy company. "I observe what everyone is doing individually and then put certain people together to create winners, and let the losers fall out," he said, "That's just the way it is."

During the show, we traded seats back and forth, and at one point, everyone had left for the restrooms, except for me and Brian. He leaned over and casually mentioned, "You've probably noticed how small Kurt's hands are, right?" I like strong hands on a man. I always have. I like hands that look like they know what they're doing, and can hold me, or protect me if required. Hands and the nape of the neck are body parts I take particular interest in when I meet a guy.

Kurt is about my height, perhaps an inch taller. I noticed his hands were small, but in proportion to his size. "He's had some really beautiful girlfriends," said Brian, "and they've all told me he's small, but that he knows how to use it." About an hour had passed since I met Kurt, and Brian is already confiding in me about Kurt's sexual prowess. I wondered if he read my mind, or was reassuring me just in case I had any interest in sleeping with Kurt, and knew I had assumed he had a small dick.

Kurt returned shortly thereafter and sat next to me. "Your hair's like cotton candy," said Kurt. It was a rather humid summer night. On nights like this one, my curly hair sucks up the moisture in the air and can become quite... voluminous. "I really want to touch it," he said, "but I'm afraid I'll lose my hand." I laughed out loud as he glided his hand up my neck and under my hair, grabbed a section and tugged.

Halfway through the show, I noticed half the cup of red wine was gone and I think I was the only one drinking red. Kurt leaned over and kissed me. He was a good kisser and I suddenly realized how long it had been since I had actually been kissed. Keith (What's the Catch?) popped into my mind. I have yet to go out with Keith, yet I imagined what it would be like to kiss him. Kurt leaned over and kissed me again.

Once the concert was over, Scooter pulled the car around and we all piled in for the short ride to Teddy's at The Roosevelt Hotel. I haven't frequented trendy Hollywood clubs in quite some time and since Brian knew the doorman, he released the velvet rope upon our arrival and guided us to a table, complete with multiple bottles of booze and mixers. Kurt poured me a vodka cranberry.

As I headed to the restroom, I surveyed the crowd and thought back to when I first arrived in Hollywood many years ago. Not much has changed... Inside the restroom, girls complained about the guys they were with and strategized how to bag the B list actor at the corner table. Other girls fixed their makeup, teased their hair and adjusted their barely-there dresses to reveal just the right amount of their breasts and legs before walking back into the club. I had a déjà vu moment, remembering how insecure I felt back then, just like some of these girls do now, not realizing how beautiful and unique they all are.

Back at the table, Kurt poured me another drink as Brian maneuvered for a better table up front, next to the supermodels, from the host who sat down two young girls next to us, offering them drinks. The girls chatted for a bit before disappearing into the bowels of the club.

I was feeling the alcohol and knew I would hate myself in the morning. But here I was reliving a moment from my 20s and enjoying every minute of it. Kurt scooted in closer and kissed me again. I couldn't believe I was making out with some guy in a club... just like the old days... hoping, praying no one noticed.

Monday, July 5, 2010

What's The Catch?

I went on a couple of dates with Mike. He was cute and fun, but not ideal boyfriend material, so we ended up becoming friends. One night before we went to dinner, he showed me a picture of his younger brother Keith, who has dark, wavy hair, strong features, muscular arms, and lines in his cheeks from his natural smile. "Everyone says he looks like a Brazilian soccer player," said Mike.

A second photo showed Keith with his shirt off. He clearly worked out at the gym regularly. "You would like him. You should go out with him." I downplayed my interest, "Ok, if you think so."

The first time I heard Keith's voice on the phone, I could not tell the difference between his voice and Mike's. At first, I thought Mike was playing a joke on me, but thirty seconds into our conversation, I understood exactly how different these two brothers are.

Keith is a deep and soulful guy. He wears his heart on his sleeve, is present and wonderfully open and honest. Our conversations travel to many destinations. I understand his thought patterns, which are clear, connected and similar to mine. No subject is taboo. He makes no pretense about his life, who he is or where he's been. So, what's the catch?

He was addicted to drugs for half his life and has been sober for just the past two years. If I have any interest in dating Keith, I know what my friends will say, "Really? After all the time you've been looking for a solid relationship, you're really considering dating a former drug addict? Are you nuts?"

I attended twelve years of Catholic school. The old nuns, dressed in their habits, constantly drilled into our skulls "sex and drugs are bad for you and are the devil's way into your soul." However, the older we got, and the more our hormones raged, we of course had to discover why everyone is going to hell for having sex and doing drugs.

The first time I smoked pot was after school my junior year in high school. I was with Mary and Maggie, driving around in Maggie's parent's car, an old silver Ford Granada that we nicknamed, "The Grenade". One of Maggie's older (and really cute) brothers gave us a skinny, little joint. We smoked it, and went to visit him and his friends at the local University. We thought we were really cool and giggled all afternoon long, until we got paranoid, thinking someone may have seen us smoking pot in our school uniforms and report us to the principal.

We drove back to Molly's house with the windows down in freezing cold weather to rid the car of any residual smell. With 10 kids in her family, Maggie's parents were savvy to drug use and none of us wanted to get grounded or expelled.

When I was 21, I moved from my provincial, mid-western hometown to New York City, where drugs were readily available. I tried most recreational drugs. I didn't like coke. I didn't like feeling edgy and wired and I never understood its appeal. However, in order to avoid any pressure from my peers, I rubbed it on my gums, which increased my appetite for cigarettes all night long. My hair soaked up the smoke like a sponge and stunk so bad that I had to pull my curls into a bun on my head just so I could fall asleep. The next morning I inevitably looked and felt like crap. My teeth were fuzzy and I reeked of smoke.

Cocaine was Keith's drug of choice. "What's the difference between drug addicts and people who do drugs but don't become addicted?" I asked Keith. "Genetic predisposition," was his response. "But that is not an excuse," he continued. "There are no excuses." Is it really genetics? Some people must have the genes but don't become addicts for 17 years. "I had a problem and I had no choice other than to become strong enough to deal with it," he said. "It's been a very un-shallowing and humbling experience every step of the way."

Clearly Keith's drug story is much more intense than my G-rated initiation. "Addiction is the devil controlling you when you have no faith in anything else," he said. "As soon as I developed an ounce of faith in my higher power and in myself, I started the fight to get my life back." Maybe those old, mean, sexually frustrated nuns actually knew a thing or two.

I've never been married, have no kids, no skeletons in the closet, and not so much as an outstanding parking ticket. I have designed my life to be as drama free as possible. Should I even toy with the idea of dating Keith, knowing his history and the imminent reactions from my family and friends? "You will face that type of ridicule," he says, "which is what I hate about all this. I want to protect you from it, but I can’t."

At this stage in my life, is it possible to meet a man who doesn't have some type of baggage? We all have different challenges and issues-- some of us confront our issues, learn and grow from them-- and others don't. With Keith, I know what his baggage is upfront. With any other man, I could spend years only to discover his 'demon' is something worse.

I flipped open a copy of the new Vanity Fair today and saw a picture of Cary Grant running on the beach. His quote read, "All my life, I've been going around in a fog. You're just a bunch of molecules until you know who you are." -- Hollywood's Glory Daze, LSD aficionado Cary Grant, circa 1952.

I have always stated I want to be with a man who is honest, knows who he is and is comfortable in his own skin. However, I never thought a sordid, drug-filled past could be a potential tool, and part of the package of a man I might develop a relationship with.

"I don't struggle with drugs anymore," said Keith, who has devoted his life to helping others stay sober and educating people about addiction. "My soul wants continued peace and my heart wants to be content and happy."

Isn't that what we all want?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Way Better Than Any Drug...

"I am in love with the idea of love. It's the greatest when it's the real deal. Way better than any drug or amount of money."

How could I not fall in love with Kevin, the guy who sent me this text? My phone bleeped again, "People say that's stupid of me to think that, but it's probably because they've never had it."

I have never experienced real, unconditional love with a romantic partner. I have never known what it's like for a man to 'have my back' as Sandra Bullock unfortunately described on Oscar night, before discovering her husband’s infidelity. I thought back to my early relationships in Los Angeles and wondered if my idea of what love is, has changed over the years…

I flew to L.A. from New York when I was 26 to visit my dad for the weekend and never went back. Having the beach close by, a home larger than the walk-in closet I called my apartment, a car and sunny weather every day, I was hard pressed to return to the island of Manhattan. Plus, I was dating an actor, Tim, who was well known from a hit TV show. He was shooting a movie in L.A. and had recently told me, " I love you. Maybe you should start thinking about us getting married."

Tim was also a singer and I was 'the girl' in one of the music videos he produced in Tennessee, five months prior to my move to L.A. In one of the shots, I'm reading a letter while walking down a gravel driveway. I then place the letter on my heart and smile. The director said to me, "Really read the letter next time.” So I did. “While I was on the road, I got a girl pregnant and I’m gonna have to marry her,” the letter said. I burst out laughing and then the crew joined in and laughed too.

After a long, romantic Valentine's Day weekend in Malibu, Tim called me crying, saying he got some girl pregnant, while touring with his band and married her so she wouldn’t be ostracized from her small Christian community, for giving birth to a bastard child. She was six months pregnant and they had been married for three months before he finally spilled his guts over the phone.

A “friend” I met in L.A. was quick to offer me cash to sell my story to the Enquirer. I was humiliated enough and didn't see the point in splattering myself, or anyone else across the pages of a tabloid magazine for any sum of money. My dad’s second wife said, "You should see him one last time, fuck him and then never call him again.” I couldn't think of a worse idea. "Yeah, that will really show him," I said.

Distraught and not knowing anyone in Los Angeles, I contacted Scott, a former boyfriend from New York, who had moved to L.A two years prior. He was a writer, who hadn't really written anything, and an alcoholic. If there was anyone I could count on getting drunk with, it was Scott.

Scott had a knack for finding crappy apartments in questionable neighborhoods, and nothing had changed, as I pulled up to his apartment building and parked out front.

After a bottle of wine and a good cry, I was too tipsy to drive home. I fell asleep on Scott's couch, but not before he tried to take advantage of my drunken stupor. Angry at being rejected, he spoke harsh words before retreating to his bedroom.

As soon as the bright sun shined through the curtainless window, I got up and left. I stood in front of Scott's building, trying to locate my car. I was sure I had parked right in front of his building, but now there was just a pile of broken glass and my “Club" lying in the middle of the street. Shit. My car was gone and Scott had to drive me back to Manhattan Beach.

Days passed… My rental car was broken into and then the used car I bought broke down. The mechanic told me the odometer had been rolled back about 70,000 miles. “My girlfriend has this same car with 50,000 miles and her engine is in much better shape than yours.” Really? That sweet couple with the baby who sold me the car rolled the odometer back? I was rethinking my move to L.A., where the streets had been much tougher than anything I had experienced living in New York.

A week later, I was invited to a filmmaker’s party, where I met Patrick, the CEO of a large, successful television company. He was intrigued by my pathetic story. "How are you dealing with all of this?” he asked, “Are you seeing a therapist?” I wasn’t seeing anyone, just calling friends in New York who would lend an ear. "Had you left anything in your car?" he asked. "Just a watch Tim gave me," I replied, “but frankly, I’m glad it’s gone.” Patrick took pity on me and asked if he could take me out to dinner the following night. I happily accepted.

Since I was staying in Manhattan Beach, Scott offered to let my date pick me up at his apartment. Patrick called as soon as he pulled up outside so Scott looked out the window and saw his brand new convertible Mercedes. "You better be careful,” Scott said. “He’s probably a Hollywood asshole. Don't let him take advantage of you,” he continued. I left quickly. Patrick was the nicest guy I had met in L.A. since I moved here.

As soon as we sat down to dinner, Patrick handed me a box containing a very expensive watch. I was completely taken aback and said that I could not accept it. Patrick explained that he felt bad for all the things that happened to me during the past three months, so he wanted to do something nice. He brushed off the cost of the watch, saying it wasn't a big deal and to just please accept it. And, at the end of the date, he was a perfect gentleman.

A couple of weeks later the Los Angeles riots broke out. Scott called, "I totaled my car so you have to take me to the grocery store so I can get some food and water. You owe me a ride." I begrudgingly picked him up. As soon as he saw my new watch, he slurred his words, "Don't fall into this L.A. trap. Don’t become a Hollywood whore! Don't let them use you up and discard you! I only say this because I love you and care about you."

I dated Patrick for a few months, before realizing how badly he wanted children. He was in his 40s and his clock was ticking. I barely had time to land in L.A. before realizing he was trying to rescue me and potentially make me the mother of his children. He was a sweet, generous man who desperately wanted a family. I barely knew myself, or what I wanted, so I certainly couldn’t jump into someone else’s ready-made life in order to discover myself.

But what I do know is that everyone has a different idea of love and what love means to them. And, my idea of love has certainly changed over the years, and is not so different from what Kevin texted me. Yet, here I am in Los Angeles, looking forward to texts from Kevin, who lives in another city and who I have never met.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Horror in the Hills

Kenneth contacted me on Facebook, "Is it really that hard to date in L.A.?" he asked. Whenever I travel to other states or abroad, I meet men fairly easily. However, Los Angeles and New York are tough cities to date and I have lived in either Los Angeles or New York for the past 25 years. "How about if you bring a friend and I'll bring a friend and let's meet."

Kenneth and I emailed back and forth for about a month before he we settled on a day and he invited me over to his place for a blind, double date. I asked Liz, who recently moved here from Chicago, to come with me. Kenneth is a film producer and his last movie was a big budgeted studio production, starring two of my least favorite actors.

Liz texted me shortly before I left for Kenneth's house. "Are we still on? Wish it was out and not at his house," she wrote. I disagreed. It's infinitely more interesting meeting someone at their home. I learn much more about who they are and how they live. Plus, I've seen enough of the insides of bars and restaurants from all the dates I have been on lately, that it's nice to be able to relax at someone's house and get to know them in their own environment.

I drove up the long, winding road to Kenneth's house, which is situated on a hill facing downtown Los Angeles. With few places to park, Kenneth and his friend, Mark, took the two available street spots, so that Liz and I could park in his driveway. "How unusual," I thought, "this guy is really considerate".

Kenneth greeted me at the door, taking the bag of ice I picked up on my way. I walked into his tastefully decorated home and saw the breathtaking view of Los Angeles. He gave me the tour of this updated 1950s style 2-story home, starting with the view up top and ending in the downstairs living area, complete with an indoor circular stone fireplace, bar with nicely laid out snacks, large screen TV and a deck that runs the length of the room. Within ten minutes of arrival, we were having cocktails, overlooking Los Angeles at sunset, as a red-tailed hawk circled in the air before landing in a tree a few hundred feet away. I love L.A.

Kenneth and I discovered we are both from the same hometown in the Midwest, although he grew up further out in a farming area. Neither one of us visit much, however we are both still in contact with a few childhood friends. "Some of my old friends are racists," he said. "I said to one of my guy friends, "Dude, you can't keep saying shit like that. It wasn't fine to say years ago and how can you even think that shit now. I can't want to be friends with you anymore if that's the way you think."

We grew up in a racist environment. When I was 20, I dated a guy who had a white mother and a black father. Checkers at the grocery store stared at us with disdain. A couple of waitresses would not serve us. My own mother did not want me to invite him to her home for Thanksgiving that year and my father said, "I don't think it's a good idea for the two of you to keep dating. The thought of you together makes some people feel uncomfortable." However, once my mother actually met David, she was relieved. "Oh, he's so handsome. I was picturing a gold tooth and a Jeri curl." And, ironically, my father's third wife happens to be African-American. Our lives in Los Angeles could not be more different from our lives growing up. Kenneth exclaimed, "Some of them live such boring lives and I live in Hollywood and produce movies."

"Why do you go out with the guys you go out with?" Kenneth asked me. Kenneth has had three girlfriends in the last two years. He can take his pick of the women lining up to meet a studio movie producer who walks red carpets. A single woman in her mid-40s, producing independent film does not garner the same kind of glitz and attention. I have been pursued by a couple of young handsome actors, who just haven't quite figured out that indie film is not a big money ticket, especially now. Guys my age (and older) in Hollywood, are dating girls in their 20s and 30s because they can. I had lunch with a publicist who was talking about a 60 year-old producer we both know, who is getting divorced. "Oh please, there will be a line around the block of young girls wanting to date this guy because he's got so much money."

When I started dating again, I was really gung ho about the prospect of meeting interesting men. However, as the dates racked up and no significant relationship developed, I became weary. "You will marry as soon as you want to marry," Kenneth decided. "You just don't want to be married right now. I mean, come on, why go out on date number two with the 'orgasm guy'?" I went out with 'orgasm guy' a second time because he was completely unique and so far out there with his ideals and beliefs, that the date was an interesting ride-- and a completely different experience from the men I meet, who are typically bored and looking for someone else to make their own lives more interesting.

The men who described themselves in their profiles are usually wildly different from the men I meet in person. "I just took a class," said Kenneth, "It's all about discovering how you perceive yourself and how others perceive you." This class should be offered to everyone living on this planet. "How do people perceive you?" I asked. "People see me as an asshole. But if I'm 100% asshole, I'm trying to discover how I can be 25% less of an asshole." Kenneth turned to Liz, "You'd be a much better actress if you took the class."

I can understand why people think Kenneth is an asshole. He's smart, opinionated and speaks his observations freely. Many people aren't comfortable enough with themselves to hear criticism without thinking the person who is giving it to them, an asshole.

Kenneth is a lean, wiry and smart guy. His mind is constantly churning with thoughts, ideas and opinions, while at the same time observing, recognizing and scrutinizing the details of everyone else's body language and reactions to his words. He constantly pushes the boundaries of conversation to see how far he can go before you're uncomfortable, and how quickly (or not) his audience will follow. I suspect this a regular exercise for Kenneth, especially on dates, testing to see if the woman is interested, oblivious to this exercise, potentially his equal, or retreating in horror.

"Does anyone know you are here?" Kenneth asked. The four of us sat outside on the deck as he began to spin an idea for a movie that involved a girl meeting someone for a date. Words like, "bludgeoned," "tortured" and "tied up" were spoken. Liz's body language tightened up, which Kenneth quickly noted, as he headed down a dark path.

I glanced over at Liz periodically, checking in to see if she was comfortable with the new turn the evening was taking. Her tightly crossed arms and legs suggested she was in protective mode, a stance not lost on Kenneth. However, she never returned my gaze, so I assumed she was fine and not secretly devising her escape.

Kenneth dabbled back and forth, occasionally going a bit too far until, at one point, Mark stopped him. "Don't continue with this part because you're just going to reveal a fantasy that's never been played out for you, and you just met these girls. Kenneth paused before he remarked, "But wait, I'm in the black hole where it's infinitely more interesting and fun than the level playing field. Really? You want me to stop now and come back up here?" he said, while reaching over and fixing my lapel. He checked in with his audience to see if we were still captive, or politely thinking of an excuse to leave. "Is this too far out for you?" he asked. "Are you rethinking your choice of plans for this evening? I would totally understand if you wanted to leave."

Kenneth had walked so far out on the plank and dove in, completely focused on his film idea, until Mark stopped him, making him surprisingly aware that he was exposed and being observed. But we were with him the entire way, even as he described the terrifying and deadly ending to his serial killer story.

I thought about Dennis Bulloch, who is also from our hometown. He murdered a woman he met online by binding her to a chair in her garage with a hundred feet of electrical tape, shoving a rag down her throat and lighting her on fire. He is a free man because his attorney came up with the "she made me do it" defense, which set precedence for the Preppy Murder Trial and for other men who killed women who couldn't testify since they were dead.

Ideas of who I would cast, the director and cinematographer I would want, as well as the potential budget for Kenneth's movie danced in my head. Then I went into the kitchen with Kenneth who opened his cabinets and showed me his rather extensive spice collection, as he prepares to become a master chef. Sunday evening was thoroughly enjoyable with Liz and two guys who were total strangers a few hours prior.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

"You Need to Love Yourself More"

I met a girl at a party in L.A, who is considered a psychic, so I asked her if she saw a meaningful relationship in my life anytime soon. "What is your relationship like with yourself ?" she asked. Well, there are times I feel like shit, there are times I feel like I'm on top of the world and there are times that I feel every emotion in between.

I like myself. I strive to be a good person. Sure, I have fears, insecurities and numerous challenges like everybody else, but typically, on sunny mornings, I wake up and feel pretty good. "You need to love yourself in order for a man to love you," she told me. Really? Does everyone have a such a great relationship with himself and feel so positively ecstatic right before they meet that special someone?

"Kayla" was married for 12 years before her husband decided to leave her and their four kids for the blonde, red Corvette-driving bartender who worked at the family restaurant 2 miles from their home. A year after the divorce, Kayla was struggling, trying to pay the bills with the paltry child support check her husband sent late each month. She was severely depressed and spent many nights crying on the phone with her friends, drinking bottles of 'two buck Chuck,' once the kids were in bed. She was at rock bottom when she met Walter, an attorney, in the produce section. He fell in love with her. They dated for six months before he proposed. Kayla and the kids are much happier now than they have ever been.

I thought about my mental state each time I met my significant relationships. Tim introduced himself at jury duty, during a major turning point in my life. A big job had ended and I was nervous, but excited, about embarking upon a freelance career. Tim also worked for himself and, after two months of dating, he was talking marriage, until I offered some insight into an issue he divulged, that his therapist of 9 years hadn't quite figured out in their weekly sessions. He was excited about my discovery, however, the therapist was nervous I wasn't the right woman for him. Her advice to him, after her meal ticket's next session, was that we should take a break from dating. So we did.

I met Alejandro right after Tim, when I was wholeheartedly involved in a passion project. We ended up sharing two and a half passionate (and dramatic) years together before I broke it off, upon discovering his infidelity.

One week after my traumatic breakup with Alejandro, I met Eddie. If feeling low about yourself attracts the wrong breed, then I have to admit that's what happened with Eddie, a deluded man who preached integrity and honesty, but preyed upon my generosity.

So, upon reflection, my emotional states were pretty similar to the type of relationships I experienced. So, maybe if I do love and appreciate myself more, I will attract a loving man. Besides, how hard can it be to love myself like how I want to be loved, right?

I spent a wonderfully amazing weekend in Denver with good friends and was feeling a lot of love when I boarded the small commuter jet back to Los Angeles. I took my window seat in the middle of the plane, next to a man with a full head of dark, thick hair, slicked back with pomade and a full black beard, peppered with grey. His eyes were green, his nose wide and he spoke with a thick Middle-Eastern accent. He reeked of cigarette smoke.

"I'm sorry if I smell," he said, "I smoked too many cigarettes all day today." Oof. I was sitting next to a chimney for the next two hours on a sold out flight, so there was no chance of changing seats. I laid my head against the window, closed my eyes, and tried to fall asleep.

Halfway through the flight, I reclined my chair and laid my head back, thinking about the week ahead. A few moments passed before the man next to me repositioned himself, so that he was laying on his left side, facing me. His feet were curled up on the seat and his face rested on his hands under his cheek. The close proximity of his face to mine was uncomfortably intimate for a complete stranger laying next to me on a small plane.

He opened his eyes and exhaled through his nose and mouth. His rank breath blew on my face. "Are you on TV?" he calmly asked, waking up from his nap. "No." I replied, raising my seat, so we were no longer laying next to one another. "Well then, you look like someone on TV. Or, there is someone on TV who looks like you." He scooted up in his seat and I could feel his eyes examine me.

"You have a beautiful face and a beautiful body," he said. I'm trapped in a seat on a packed commuter plane with nowhere to run and the stinky guy laying way too close to me is now saying inappropriate things. "Thank you," I answered. "That's very kind of you." I said, turning to my left side to avoid him. "Are you married?" he continued. "No, but I have a boyfriend," I stated and closed my eyes. "We could have fun," he offered. I checked the time on my cellphone. Forty-three more minutes before we land.

But we didn't land. The plane circled around Burbank airport and then diverted to LAX. The pilot came on the loud speaker and said they were having a "flap problem". Since there are no mechanics at Burbank, we were being diverted to LAX. As we approached the runway, a dozen ambulances, fire trucks and emergency vehicles awaited us with flashing lights. Wait a second! The pilot sounded so calm... are we going to crash upon landing? Am I going to die alone, sharing this moment with a stinky, creepy man? If I loved myself more, would I be seated next to the handsome, single guy two rows up from me?

Fortunately, the plane landed without incident. However, my first attempt of loving myself more did not attract the right guy. I assume my love for myself must travel much deeper and love all the insecurities, flaws and self-worth issues I've grappled with since I was a child.

"Too bad our fathers didn't raise us like Gwyneth Paltrow's did," offered a girlfriend.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

We All Have Secrets

My parents divorced when I was 10. I remember the day my dad left. My sister and I sat on the end of the bed, hugging our crying mom, who had finally mustered up the courage to tell her unfaithful husband to leave. We didn't look up, and he didn't say goodbye, as his legs walked past the bedroom door, suitcase in hand.

Shortly thereafter, my grandfather bought my mom a new car. The more days that passed, the more life was slowly getting back to normal. The gossiping moms at our school had grown tired of pointing us out as the kids from the divorced family, and summer had finally arrived.

However, at this same time, my beloved grandfather's health began to fail and within a few months he died. A week after the funeral, his wife Mary, 35 years his junior and our step-grandmother, arrived at our house with the sheriff and a tow truck. She had secretly declared my grandfather incompetent and became power of attorney for his estate. Our car and home were now technically her property. After 17 years of marriage, the former ticket taker at my grandfather's movie theatre, showed her true colors and came to collect.

For better or worse, these childhood experiences may in part, explain why I have yet to walk down the aisle. Infidelity and betrayal were two ugly words I learned early in life. At the very same moment I threw my mom's car keys at Mary, I declared my independence, promising myself I would never count on anyone else for my own well-being.

I had not seen "John" since we broke up 12 years ago, even though we live in the same city. I was in the Borders Bookstore at the corner of Sunset and Vine and had just purchased "PostSecret," a book by Frank Warren, based on his website (postsecret.com) where people send in their secrets written with just a few words on a post card, covering a wide range of emotions including, fear, regret, betrayal, desire, and humiliation. "Free your secrets and become who you are," he says.

As I was leaving the store, John shouted my name. I turned and there he was, my first boyfriend in L.A. who I met 18 years ago. We had been together for 4-1/2 years (the last two, off and on) and had not seen each other or had spoken to each other in over a dozen years. I am friendly with the majority of my ex-boyfriends, however, in this particular case, John had lied about his infidelity, so our break-up was traumatic. He trolled bars and picked up women when I was out of town working on movies. So, my friends called him "Troll" and we had become so accustomed to calling him Troll, that when I turned to say hello, I had to remind myself what his real name was.

The time that passed showed on his face. He is now married, has two kids and is living in the same house he lived in when I first met him. He is tall and still thin and his longish brown hair, has turned completely white. I thought about our relationship and realized I never felt safe, secure or protected with him, much like my childhood. He always seemed to have a secret that he didn't want to let me in on. I thought I was in love with him, during the same time he was secretly getting other girl's phone numbers.

Many post cards about relationships have been sent into PostSecret. One card had a photo of a heavy-set woman wearing a wedding dress, standing next to her groom, with their faces scratched out. "I know he doesn't love me anymore" read her card. Another had a painting of a large red heart. It said, "I fear that I am going to be alone for the rest of my life and I don't want to settle in order not to be". I understood this card. I have many wonderful male friends in my life, many of whom are married or in relationships, so I often wonder when I'm going to meet a wonderful man who builds a relationship with me.

"If I had a million dollars, I would give it all away for one more day with her like it used to be in the beginning" was another secret sent in. What happens in relationships that we go from being so in love and fascinated with someone, to our relationships turning sour? Once the walls start building up, is there any way to take them back down and start fresh. Growing up in my family, the tactic we learned was to search and destroy until nothing is left. So, I have spent my entire adult life building trust and support in my friendships and relationships.

We all have secrets and I have a few of my own... I have never been afraid of commitment, just committing to the wrong man. So, will I be 90 years old, living in a nursing home and finally meet my ideal man when he gets wheeled in next to me? Since I wasn't raised in a loving, supportive environment, I often wonder if I might not recognize real love and miss being with a great man. I'm worried I'll spend years finding out I'm with the wrong guy... again.

So when Memorial Day weekend rolled around and I had 4 blissful days to do whatever I wanted. I cancelled my online dating subscriptions and embraced the fact that I had no dates and looked at the weekend as an opportunity to meet men in the flesh at the various parties, happy hours, lunches and dinners I shared with friends, who graciously participate in my adventure. Did I meet anyone? Yes, I met lots of interesting people, however none of whom were straight and single, but all of whom I am sure have wonderful secrets.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Someone For Everyone

"Do you remember Lisa?" my brother asked. I knew she was related to us by marriage and lived somewhere in the midwest. I met her a couple of times and recalled her being an attractive woman with long, dark hair and big brown eyes. I also recalled she had a really quirky grooming habit. "Isn't she the one with the moustache she bleaches white?"

When you meet Lisa, you can't help but notice her long, bleached lip hairs. When she speaks, her breath moves the hairs up and down on her lip like vertical blinds blowing in the wind. It's so distracting that I have often wondered why no one ever mentions it to her, or why her family or friends have never suggested other options. Her hairy lip is the first thing you notice in the family photos. "She's divorcing her husband and marrying another guy," he said.

I need to get out more.

I've been working long hours on a production and have grown accustomed to the convenience of online dating sites. With emails popping into my inbox daily, I can easily arrange dates from my cell phone, in between calls, or during lulls in long meetings. However, I knew I was running out of quality options when I returned an email from "Beverly Hills Guy" who has been contacting me for months, posting pictures with his shirt off, making muscle man poses, in various cities around the world (Virtual Men).

"Email me back and I'll send you a photo," he said. Seeing multiple pictures of "Beverly Hills Guy" wearing little clothing, it was obvious that he is not a man who frequents the gym. "What else is there left to see?" I replied, after 6 months of ignoring his 'winks'. "You've left nothing for the imagination." After two quick email exchanges, I discovered (unbeknownst to him) he's in business with a Portugese man, Alejandro, who I went out with twice last year, from the same dating site...

Alejandro moved to L.A. from Lisbon. His English was not so good and I don't speak Portugese, so communication was a bit challenging. We met at a restaurant, and talked for a couple of hours. When the check came, I offered to contribute, but he declined and said, "Next time."

A few days later Alejandro invited me to dinner. Since he was new to town, he asked a couple of friends for suggestions for nice restaurants and then settled on an upscale place on the westside. We had a cocktail at the bar, before the hostess seated us and transferred the bar tab over to our table.

Alejandro works in the film business, so we talked about our favorite movies over dinner, sharing a nice bottle of red that he chose from the extensive wine list. He also mentioned he is a painter and wanted to show me some of his work. “Follow me to my place after dinner,” he said, “maybe I’ll give you a piece.”

When the check came, Alejandro stood up from the table, grabbed his jacket, and handed me the bill. He said, "After you take care of the check, follow me to my apartment so I can show you my paintings." I guess this was the 'next time' and it was my turn to pay.

I need to get off online dating sites.

So, when a friend invited me to an art gallery opening, I happily accepted. Upon arrival, she introduced me to her boss, a handsome gay male, wearing a Ralph Lauren suit. He guided me around the party and pointed out who was gay, straight, single, or married, as well as who I should approach and who I should stay away from. But, ultimately, the general consensus was the most handsome man at the event was the off-duty SWAT guy working security.

As the night wore on, I eventually made my way over to the SWAT guy, Patrick, who has a full head of salt and pepper hair, long eyelashes and a tan, friendly face. He was easy to talk to and I'm guessing most good cops probably have an ease about them that makes you feel comfortable and therefore, more prone to hearing confessions. I also imagined the flip side of his personality that takes over when he's commanding a SWAT mission.

"A friend of mine also runs a SWAT team up in Ventura County," I mentioned. I met Steve online about a year ago. We went out a couple of times, but ultimately remained friends (He's a Nice Guy, Just Not the Right Guy for Me). "Oh yeah? I probably know him. What's his name?" I told Patrick his name. "Yeah, I know him. A real pretty boy,” he said.

I need to get off of online dating sites and get out more.

Is the dating pool in Los Angeles for women my age really small or is it just a coincidence that two men in one week know men I’ve dated within the past year? I need to find a different body of water.

I thought about my cousin Lisa and her upcoming nuptials and wondered if I would ever meet the right guy. "There's someone out there for everyone," my mother says, "and eventually you will find someone too.