"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.

Monday, February 15, 2010

When You Leave the Door Open... and He Slams It Shut

I met Andrew online. He was warm, friendly and a straight-shooter. One of his rules was, "If you're not interested in someone you meet online, don't return their texts, emails or phone calls. It keeps the door open and leads the guy to believe he still has a chance. Trust me on this," Andrew said.

Really? If someone is terminally weird, I can see not returning a message. It seems kind of rude, though, if the guy is nice but just not the right guy for me. Why not be an adult and say, thanks but no thanks?

He was 53, and a divorced architect. At our first meeting, at the Coffee Bean, he was late showing up and was covered in mud from one of his job sites. But he was ruggedly handsome and easy to talk to, so I was interested in learning more.

He invited me to dinner the following Friday at Casa del Mar in Santa Monica. We sat at a table in front of tall windows overlooking the beach. He cleaned up nicely, looking handsome in jeans and a black, cashmere v-neck sweater.

His cell phone began ringing. It didn't stop ringing throughout the entire dinner. His sister called to chat and then his daughter, Julie phoned several times. For her 16th birthday, Andrew had arranged a weekend trip to Las Vegas, complete with Billy Joel concert tickets for her and her boyfriend, Ben. Kids from upper-middle-class families in Los Angeles lead extraordinary lives, I thought. When I was a kid, I got dinner at the local Italian restaurant, which included a slice of chocolate birthday cake with a sparkler.

Julie and Ben were driving up to Vegas this particular Friday night, but had been informed by friends that they might not be able to check into the hotel since neither one of them were 21. Andrew worked the phones, talking with the hotel clerks, and managers trying to get them registered. He apologized profusely between each call, explaining that this was an unusual instance.

I couldn't help but overhear the conversations Andrew had with his sister, his daughter and her boyfriend. I'm sure a lot of women would have quickly lost patience with him, but I was impressed by his calm, supportive manner. They looked to Andrew for advice and guidance and he was happy to be there for them. How different life must be if you can count on your father and know he'll be there for you, I thought. I could not imagine, back in the day, tracking my father to one of his haunts or heading to The Last Chance Saloon for a little paternal advice.

The next morning, on Valentine's Day, my phone beeped with a text, "Wanna go to Vegas today?"

Despite Andrew's efforts, Julie and Ben had been unable to check into their hotel, so Andrew had prevailed upon a childhood friend to put them up in his condo for the previous night. The friend, a comedian and an alum of Saturday Night Live, was a bit of a germaphobe and doesn't like people staying in his place," said Andrew, "so I convinced him it would only be for one night." We were flying to Vegas so Andrew could check the kids into their hotel, then planned on flying back to L.A. that same day. He picked me up on the way to the Burbank airport.

As we approached our gate, the ground crew shut the door to the causeway. We'd missed our flight by 30 seconds. The next flight wasn't for a few hours so we passed the time getting to know each other better. We started comparing tunes on our iphones and by the time the jet was taxiing for departure, had progressed to our 'worst relationships ever'.

We met Julie and her boyfriend, Ben, at the Venetian front desk. Ben has his own band whose songs were already getting airplay on college stations and they were close to signing a label. Julie was beautiful and examined me from head-to-toe, curious who I was, accompanying her father to Vegas. I hoped I was cool enough in her eyes to get the thumbs up. Meeting someone's kids for the first time is always nerve racking. Not to mention, if you get the kids' approval, dating their dad can be a lot less challenging.

By the time Andrew got them checked in, we found out that there were no seats left on flights back to L.A. And, since it was Valentine's Day, all the hotels were booked up too. We tried every viable option, including towns outside of Vegas, but nothing was available. Other than sleeping at the airport, there was nowhere to go. So Andrew called his germaphobe friend again. I didn't hear the conversation, but gathered it took some convincing on Andrew's part to get the condo again for another night.

Yes, it was a bit awkward spending the night in close proximity to someone I had just met, but being the good sport, I went with the flow. What else could I have done? We stopped for toiletries. Damn, why didn't I bring my makeup bag? Well, at least I had my sunglasses for the early morning Vegas sun.

Back in L.A., Andrew and I continued to see each other. He made dinner for me one night. I joined his office's Oscar pool (and failed miserably). He indicated he was ready to move our relationship ahead to the next level. And then - nothing. I never heard from him again.

I went over everything in my mnd. I was surprised, but not devastated. But why the cut? I thought it had all been good. I called my psychic friend, Bill Burns, who is amazingly accurate at zeroing in on personalities. If you give him a name and/or a photo, he can tell you all about a person and why a relationship may or may not work out with someone.

"He has intimacy issues" Bill quickly said, "Well he doesn't really. It's all in his head, but he doesn't realize that. You need somebody who will always be there for you. He isn't 'it'. Better you know now, than six months down the road." What Bill said seemed entirely possible. I will probably never know if he was ultimately right or wrong, but it was enough information to stop obsessing about what happened, chalk it up to another dating experience and just move on.

Four months later, I was traveling back to the Palms for "Easier With Practice's" premiere at Cinevegas. In the cab from the airport, I texted Andrew, "We arrived in Vegas for the film festival today and are staying at the Palms. Couldn't help thinking about our weekend adventure. Hope you and your kids are doing well :)"

Adhering to his own rule, I knew he wouldn't reply to my text, but I hoped it would, at the very least, make him smile.