"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.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Never Bring a Handsome Man to an Event with Single Men...

...I learned this very important lesson last night. Never be with a handsome man when you're trying to meet single guys. Maybe you already know this (clearly I wasn't thinking) but men lose interest if you are with someone better looking than they are. A client kindly invited me and a guest to a fundraising dinner where one of the videos I produced was being shown to the audience. This particular nonprofit provides free legal services to the underprivileged in Los Angeles and many of their clients are Hispanic. I invited my friend Ivo to join, because he had translated all the Spanish interviews during production and I thought he would be interested in seeing the finished product. There were approximately 950 people attending, mostly attorneys, mostly men and many of them single. I was looking forward to attending.

Once I arrived, I ordered a glass of red wine to help take the edge off of my busy day and feel more confident talking with random strangers. I walked around the crowded room, and came upon three attractive men, who were all probably mid 40s and single (i.e. they weren't wearing wedding rings). They happened to glance over and, as I started to smile, I noticed that any glint of interest, or hint of a smile faded, as Ivo approached from behind me and stood by my side. What was I thinking?! Ivo is an exceptionally handsome man. He is from Argentina, a famous telenovela actor and was in PEOPLE Magazine a handful of years ago as the "Latino Richard Gere". What man in his right mind would approach me to talk if I'm with one of the most handsome men on the planet? Right! And no one did!

I've known Ivo for 7 years and have witnessed women fly across the room, shove me in the chest and stomp on my foot in order to get close to him. He has that charisma that has brought him just as much heartache and pain, as joy to his life. So, what did I do since I was interested in meeting single men but I am with one of the most handsome men in the world? Am I an idiot? Here I am with one of the most handsome men in the world, watching a video I produced on a big screen in front of many people. It was an amazing evening and it was nice to be able to share that experience with one of my closest friends.

What is the Most Important Trait You Look For in a Man?

Intellectual compatibility is at the top of my list. But I'm not deluding myself into thinking that's what men look for in women.

You know when you see those couples sitting across from one another where the guy is far from good-looking and the woman is outrageously gorgeous, and she's going on and on about whatever-it-is-that-she's-going-on-and-on-about and the guy is eating his food, completely drowning out the sound of her voice, wishing he was somewhere else? Clearly, there is no intellectual compatibility happening here and I wonder if the beautiful girlfriend, sex and credit card bills are worth the sound of her voice and intellectual incapacity.

I had an experience last year with my own "blonde" scenario. He was brunette actually, from Brazil, a trainer and aspiring musician, who I will call Leonardo. Leonardo and his American friend, Mike, were standing behind me at a Cost Plus World Market, as I was pricing rugs. I happened to turn quickly and caught them looking at me. This doesn't usually happen, so I wasn't sure exactly what it was they were doing. But Leonardo copped to the fact that he had seen my red hair from across the parking lot and dragged his friend with him into the store to check me out closer. Most guys wouldn't give you this information because they would try to play it cool, which is why Mike said, "Dude, don't tell her that." I laughed. Clearly, Leonardo wore his heart on his sleeve and that was ok with me.

He was dark and handsome with a Brazilian accent and an awesome body. Mike did most of the talking, while Leonardo nodded and chimed in words here or there. Somehow we got on the discussion of kids and I said I did not have any kids, nor did I have plans to bring any more children into this world. Leonardo said, 'But if you got pregnant, then you would have a kid right?" My first thought was, at 44, it would be difficult for me to just 'get pregnant' without lots of doctors, test tubes and artificial insemination, and this is a road I have no desire to go down. When I'm 50, I want to be traveling around the world and be living a leisurely lifestyle, not driving my kid to soccer practice. My second thought was, this guy is already thinking about poking holes in the condom, and getting me pregnant-- and I don't even know his last name.

It had been quite some time since any stranger approached me and asked me out on a date. So I gave Leonardo my number, which he promptly punched into his cell phone. Mike told him to dial me and make sure I gave him my correct number. He didn't. He already knew I did and he was right. Leonardo was definitely more trusting and trustworthy than Mike.

We met for lunch a few days later and walked around the Grove in Los Angeles. We went into a Barnes & Noble and I followed Leonardo to the metaphysical section. He knew right where the "Birthday Book" was and took it off the shelf so we could read how our relationship might work out. We were no match made in heaven according to the book, but mostly because Leonardo had not remembered my birth date correctly. We made the adjustment and discovered we would still need to work really hard to make our relationship last. I thought it was funny but Leonardo took this information to heart.

We dated briefly and, honestly, there wasn't much talking happening. I had not been seeing anyone for quite some time so the sexual activity was welcome. The only problem was I couldn't have an intellectual conversation with Leonardo. He was quite knowledgeable of nutrition and training the physical body, but we couldn't connect much past those two topics, or him talking about wanting to get back into music business again. (Apparently Leonardo was in a famous 80s Brazilian band that had a hit song-- think Flock of Seagulls, but with dark hair). I found myself sitting across the table from him, drowning out his voice and wishing I was somewhere else.

One night he wanted me to try his favorite pizza from a Bossa Nova. We conversed on the phone for about 7 minutes discussing how he would pick up the pizza, and I would make the salad and buy a bottle of wine-- a conversation that should really only take about 30 seconds. We went back and forth, me always repeating the same end result-- he was getting the pizza and I was making salad and getting wine. He texted me at every turn: when he left his house, when he arrived at the restaurant, when he got the pizza and when he was on his way to my house. I precisely knew when to open the door (since he had just texted me that he was at the front door). He followed me into the kitchen and said in his heavy accent, "Oh Carolyn, why did you make a salad? Oh Carolyn, now we have so much food." This was typical. I would repeat things over and over and Leonardo would always react as if it was the first time he heard it. And, "No, really?!" was his constant refrain.

The more I sat across from him and listened to him drone on and on about food, working out or his music career going nowhere, the less interested I was in sleeping with him. Could I have a purely sexual relationship with someone who I didn't connect with on an intellectual level? I know people do it all the time. But I was starting to feel like the man in this relationship and that's not a role I wanted to fill. I'm very independent, but when it comes to relationships, I like to be the woman and I want the man to be the man. Leonardo was definitely sweet, a nice person and honest-- all good traits I admired in him. But I just couldn't continue. At this point in my life, I didn't want to be in a relationship that was only all about sex. I wanted someone who could go on mental and physical journeys with me. I stopped answering Leonardo's texts. "I pulled a dude," according to one of my male friends. Leonardo promptly de-friended me on Facebook and then sent an email a week later asking why I no longer wanted to see him. It was a fair question, so I replied to him that even though we communicated very well on a physical level, we were not compatible intellectually and that I was interested in pursuing a long-term relationship.

Two months later I ran into Leonardo at Chipotle at the Grove. We chatted a bit and as I was getting into my car, Leonardo asked if I would be interested in seeing him again. "A friend with benefits?" he asked. I repeated again that I was looking for a long-term relationship. "No, really?" he asked, "I thought you didn't want a long-term relationship". "Exactly," I said, as I got into my car and drove off.

My First Boyfriend Found Me on Facebook and Wants to Come To L.A. For A Visit

We dated 25 years ago. Brian was 28, divorced, Jewish and an attorney. I was 19 and I had just finished my freshman year at college. At that time, most mothers would have raised an eyebrow about the age difference between us. However, my mother, lamenting her own cash-poor, failed marriage, and who raised us saying, "you can marry the rich ones just as easily as the poor ones" heard "Jewish" and "attorney" and prayed that I would live a better life than she did. The fact that Brian was divorced didn't bother her either. "That just means he's already gotten the bad marriage out of the way," she noted.

I liked Brian and I liked having an older boyfriend. We went to dinner parties, ate at nice restaurants, read books and went to museum exhibits. He was smart, successful and quirky. And, if I remember correctly, we had been dating for about 6 months when Brian bought a condo, which I helped him scrub clean and then I never heard from him again. I asked one of Brian's friends what happened and he told me that Brian wanted to marry an attorney so he was hanging out at the local university law libraries. I was devastated. I didn't eat for 2 weeks and worked out every day. (My mother told me I looked great and whatever diet I was on, was working.) This was my first official dumping and it happened the day after I cleaned his toilet.

I wasn't surprised when I received an email from Brian a few months ago. Since the internet has made it so easy to find people, I occasionally receive emails from men from my past who are recently divorced or are going through a mid-life crisis. Brian lives in St. Louis, is divorced a second time, has two adorable kids and hasn't been on a date in more than a year. I pulled up his page on Facebook. He only had one photo posted, wearing sunglasses and a hat, but he still looked cute.

"I remember the first time I saw you," he wrote me, "looking very conservative, sitting in the afternoon sun, your legs crossed, your head tilted to one side to avoid the sun. Then, the next time I saw you was at a Mexican restaurant at 2 in the morning and you had on leopard high heels and a short black skirt." I remembered that night. My childhood friend, Diane Dazey, and I had gone to a Rod Stewart concert and stopped on the way home to get food. "So why did you stop calling?" I asked him. "I don't really remember," he said. "Maybe it was because I knew you wanted to leave St. Louis and I knew I would stay, and I really wanted to start a family". He hadn't remembered dumping me, yet he had a really romantic view of our failed relationship. "You were the gold standard for every other girl I met," he said. "You were supportive and really easy to talk to. I didn't have to explain things to you, and you had a great sense of humor. I compared every girl I ever dated to you." And he dumped me because...?

I'm glad Brian remembered me the way he did because I was an internal mess at 19. I grew up in a very sarcastic family, with a disconnected mother and an unsupportive father. "Too bad our dads didn't raise us like Gwyneth Paltrow's did," said a mutually dysfunctional friend. I was incredibly shy (anyone who knows me now doesn't believe me, but I was) and I had low self-esteem, which I hid well by keeping my mouth shut in public. Born with frizzy, red hair in humid St. Louis during the mid-60s wasn't a confidence booster either. But at 19, I was finally coming into my own. My hair was longer, my job afforded me some decent clothes and I'd finally lost my virginity. Oh, and he was right, I couldn't wait to get out of St. Louis. I had wanted to move to New York since I was 5.

How did I remember Brian? He was a germaphobe. When we went to the movies, he would place a paper towel on the seat. He would never touch anything in a public restroom, and would use the towel he dried his hands with, to open the door, and then throw the towel on the floor, not having to touch anything. He got angry with me once for getting a speck of chocolate from my Snicker's bar on the upholstery of his new Honda Accord. Each time we slept together, he took a shower right after. These were the thoughts dancing in my head as Brian
told me how he had been thinking about me for the past 25 years. Admittedly, my memories were a lot less rosy since I was the dumpee, and I hadn't thought about Brian in a long time. But 25 years later, we were laughing on the phone and realized we had many similar tastes. I talked with Brian for hours for three weeks before we settled on a date for him to come.

I was looking forward to his visit to Los Angeles. When I first saw him standing curbside at LAX, I noticed he was shorter than I remembered. He was wearing plaid Converse sneakers, True Religion jeans, a striped scarf, and a black corduroy jacket with something black embroidered on the back of it. At 53, he was quite metrosexual and trendy, even for L.A. After checking in at his hotel, we got a bite to eat and a cocktail. Later, we had more cocktails with my good friend Julie, and eventually ended up at her house with her husband and son. They loved Brian. He's successful, creative, smart and nice. If they had their wish, Brian would have proposed to me over the weekend. We went to the beach, drove to Montecito and Santa Barbara, ate out quite a bit and just talked, watched movies and hung out. Brian was very easy to get along with and actually, quite passive. 25 years had gone by, but it seemed like yesterday. Brian returned to St. Louis that Monday and we've been talking, emailing and texting ever since. After Christmas, he sent me one of his paintings, which I really like and hung above my dresser. I suspect we will see each other again. Until then...

Monday, January 18, 2010

"He's a Nice Guy, Just Not The Right Guy For Me"

Apparently I say this a lot, according to Steve, the FBI agent I met online. I remember when I first saw his picture. He looked rugged and handsome-- a manly man, which I like. Something about his picture said "law enforcement" (probably the full head of short, spiky hair) and in his profile, he said he liked his life to be "simple, simple, simple". I don't like drama either, but a potential cop who wrote 'simple' three times in one short paragraph, led me to believe this guy, himself, could very well be a 'simpleton,' so I clicked on the next profile.

The next day I got an email from Steve. On this particular dating site, you can track anyone who has clicked on you, so Steve knew I had checked him out and then moved on. He sent me an email. We talked a couple of times on the phone and it took about 20 seconds to realize that Steve is very smart and pretty funny too. We decided to meet for a drink at Firefly in Studio City-- a great place to meet online dates. I arrived on time (I believe it's important to be consistent with any relationship). Steve called me from his car to let me know he was running a few minutes late. I asked him if I could order him a cocktail. "What are you drinking?" he asked. "A lemon drop and it's really good," I said. "I feel like drinking a frou-frou drink too. Yeah, order me one of those." I liked this guy. A real man isn't afraid to order a 'girl drink'.

Anyone who has dated online knows that people rarely look like their pictures. I never understood why a woman would post an old picture of her former self. You're setting yourself up for guaranteed disappointment. Guys are visual beings so their first interest in you is going to be what you look like. Don't show them a picture of a younger you and then deliver an older model. One guy I know asked a woman why she posted a 10 year-old photo. Her response was, "I thought once you got to know me, you would love me". "She was lying about who she was before I even met her, " he said. "How can I trust someone like that?" Guys do it too, but women are usually more forgiving.

So, it's rare when your date walks in and he's actually more handsome than his photo. I thought, worst-case scenario, Steve would walk in with a few extra pounds and have a receding hairline, but he came in with a big smile on his face, tan and buff. He was really handsome. After we exchanged pleasantries, I asked to see his FBI badge. I've seen enough episodes of Dateline and 20/20 to know people lie, and what better place to lie than online dating sites? Steve seemed authentic, but it's always practical to see some identification anyway. He showed me his badge and cuffs, and lifted up his shirt slightly, where I saw the gun locked in his holster. I have to admit it's, really hot to be out with a gun-carrying FBI agent, who also commands his own SWAT team. I've dated enough guys who run when faced with danger, so it was nice to be out with a real man who would actually protect me.

It was last call and neither one of us felt like going home. I lived close by but didn't think it was smart to bring a guy back to my house, who I had just met. We sat in his car and talked for another hour before we kissed. It's always interesting kissing someone for the first time. Is he a good kisser? Is he aggressive, or more passive, romantic or rough, or, my favorite, a combination of all of the above? Steve was a good kisser.

We went out a couple more times-- He came over for dinner and I drove way out to the suburbs where he lived a couple of times. Our lives were very different. He's a suburban, baseball-coaching dad on a schedule and I'm a never married, kid-less producer who works 24/7, and travels as much as I can. I'm organized, but would not describe my life as "simple" by any means. If we were meant for each other, we would have worked it out, but we weren't, so we didn't and remain friends. Steve is actually a really nice guy, just not the right guy for me.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

My Goal To Finding a Meaningful Relationship

I am 44 and have never married. I grew up in the midwest and, like many girls, held a magic number in my mind of the age by which I would be married and starting a family. '28' was my magic number and that was 16 years ago. I'm currently single, not in a relationship and dating in Hollywood.

Is there anything wrong with being single? No! Absolutely not. The current divorce rate in America is 50%, a fact that is constantly driven into my brain when fighting couples with screaming kids turn to me and say, "you're so lucky you're single". Then there are the times like when my 13 year old dog Jake died and I wasn't in a relationship with a man whose loving arms I could cry into. (My best friend Julie promptly filled in). In hindsight, I have been 'proposed' to twice and both men were financially stable so if I had married and divorced both times, I could probably be living a pretty comfortable life right now.

However, I have been working and supporting myself since I was 16 and the concept of money, a nice house and an expensive car has never been a bargaining chip with me. A partner with whom I can build a deep, loving and trusting friendship is what I seek, and what I have committed myself to finding (or at least to looking for) this year-- in addition to finding more clients, producing a movie and well, just living my life.

Is it possible to find the man I seek? I don't know. But, by writing about my experiences, I hope to learn more about who I am and the kind of man I am looking to share and build a life with. I also hope to strengthen my friendships, by opening my heart and mind to any experience that comes my way. What I do know is looking for someone special and sharing all of my experiences will be loads of fun!