"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.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Franco and His Ferrari

I had a glass of wine with a girlfriend yesterday at a restaurant in Santa Monica. We caught up on each others lives as we watched the sunset on the beach. When we asked for the check, the waiter told us that a gentleman named Franco had already taken care of our bill. I only know one man in L.A. with that name.

Ten years ago, Franco and I met at a bar when we were both waiting for friends. We spoke briefly, realized we knew a couple of people in common and then exchanged business cards. He called a week later and asked me out to dinner. We met at this same restaurant in Santa Monica-- Sushi Roku.

Franco was in finance. He worked at a large corporation for fifteen years as a self-described 'thug'. They send me in to close the deal," he said. He made a lot of money for this company but was frustrated, knowing they would never promote him to the top ranks. He was good at closing deals, but the company didn't think he had the chops to be a corporate officer. So he left and started his own venture capital company. "Gotta keep moving, gotta keep shaking," he said, as he snapped his fingers on both hands, simultaneously.

While we waited at the bar, I examined Franco more closely. He was tall and muscular with requisite salt and pepper hair. He was wearing an expensive suit jacket and jeans, Prada loafers, a thin gold chain around his neck and sported a ring on each pinky.

The bar was so crowded, we could barely hear each other speak. Franco pushed through the crush of people and ordered a couple of drinks. He turned back and gave me the once over. "Nice tits. They're a little on the small side, but that's ok." A few moments passed before my brain actually computed what he had just said.

I wondered why, during the course of history, clothes were designed to promote and enhance a woman's breast, but not a man's genitalia. I lamented a world where women could behold the family jewels before committing to a date.

Dare I retort with "What a dick!" and add, "Even though you're average in size"? Since the conversation had begun at such a low, there was no point in responding to his statement. It could only go downhill from here. I bit my tongue. I understood why Franco had never been promoted.

He handed me a martini and immediately started in, "I rolled the Ferrari," raising his voice unnaturally with an emphasis on Ferrari. I understand a man's fascination with high-powered cars. Driving a sports car up the coast on a beautiful afternoon can be a transcending experience. The smell of the leather, the feel of the clutch, the sound of the engine and the power at your fingertips is seductive and sexy. However, when a date grinds the clutch or doesn't accelerate about 65 mph, I suspect he didn't buy the car for the ultimate driving experience.

"You got in an accident?" I asked, not sure what 'rolled' meant. "Nah, nah, nah. I flipped it. I turned it over. I rolled it. I'm getting a new one. I've put too many miles on the one I got."

I listened as Franco leaned against a stool, describing the intricacies of owning a Ferrari. Both guys on either side of Franco listened to his pontifications, before turning around to scrutinize me. "Franco, sushi bar for two," rescued the hostess.

Franco ordered enough sushi to feed a large family. He wanted me to try at least one piece of every kind of fish on the menu. This was fun, until he insisted on hand feeding me. "No, really that's ok," I protested, as he shoved a piece of fish into my mouth. I pulled away quickly. "That was too fast," he said. "You gotta do it slower." I fantasized sitting across from Johnny Depp and hearing those same words. Being tipsy on sake and a handsome man feeding me sushi could be an erotic experience, but not with Franco.

When the valet pulled up, I thanked Franco for dinner and sprinted to my car, but he grabbed my arm, pulled me in close and kissed me so hard that my lips parted and he got my teeth. Once free from his grip and safely inside my vehicle, I heard the roar of his engine revving behind me. I quickly pulled away from the curb, happy to finally be on my way home.

... Years later, here I am at the same restaurant. We turned to thank Franco for picking up our tab, but he had already left. I looked up the street and saw a bright red Ferrari. He waved and then peeled off up the coast and into the sunset.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Different Point of View

I met Nick at a memorial service last October. He walked up to our group, just as a former co-worker asked me in an inappropriately loud voice, "Are you dating anyone now or are you still single?" I cringed. We were there to mourn the death of a friend, not talk about my dating life. "There's no good men in L.A.," she shouted again. "They all suck."

I turned to Nick and introduced myself. He worked in the entertainment industry, but was taking some time off to help kids in a third world country. We exchanged business cards, but I never heard from Nick until he started following my dating experiences online. We emailed back and forth a few times and then six weeks later, we met for drinks. He offered to write a piece for my blog, so I happily accepted. Here it is:

"These words, are truly, sincerely, really being written by a boy, mid-date with the infamous Carolyn. It's true.

In light of her entertaining blogs, I half-seriously offered to make a contribution from the male's perspective - even during the same night.

The glugs of Jack Daniels made me think this was a good idea, but honestly, I'm having my best (date) time in recent memory, and this exercise gave me extra time with her.

I knew Carolyn in a very quick and random way and although hopeful, could not bet the farm on this date -- I'm younger (and if the navy seal couldn't cut it...) jetlagged, just home from more than a month on the other side of the world, and well, whatever else... life. Sparks rarely fly, so the odds were against us.

This being my side of the story, I only get to speak for moi, a needy Cancer. I fished for some positive feedback throughout the night, as my own enthusiasm grew, but like a poker player at the final table, I could read little from Carolyn.

She kissed me back and I'm still sitting next to her. You would think that would be all I need to know, but strangely that's not the case.

On the page, and in person, Carolyn is what we all say we want-- smart, funny, soulful, and attractive -- that more or less is the magic combination, and in cities like LA, two out of three is a win. At 37, and never married, I'm now holding out for three or more, which leaves me with combinations like a Mensa member who volunteers a lot at the Laugh Factory, but looks like Harvey Keitel. I'd like to wait for all four, but that seems a distant dream with the sense of humor being the Lochness monster of the group -- often spotted from a distance but, in reality, only a rocky outcrop in the mist.

Along comes Carolyn and indeed she is all four. You'd think I'm a friend helping her out at this point by writing this, but no. It's the truth. For some reason, I love the idea of sharing this as it's happening, for better or worse -- either way you were here."

I read Nick's piece to my friend Ivan this morning, asking if he thought it was a good idea to post his very complimentary words online. "Are you kidding me?" he asked. "I pay someone $800 a month to tell me how great I am. Post it."

Thank you Nick.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

A Potpourri of Potential Paramours

It's not every day I receive an email from an online dating site with multiple photos of a handsome, muscular guy in his underwear, swinging a tree branch on the beach... but "Jake" certainly put a smile on my face yesterday. His message read, "I found your profile interesting and would like to hear from you." Damn, this guy lives in New York. I wonder if he ever travels to Los Angeles?

Dating can be hard work. The amount of time that goes into booking a date can vary from one email exchange, to more than two weeks of emails, texts, phone calls and voice mails back and forth. Sometimes plans are made, then canceled and then made again. All this energy and effort to meet a total stranger who posted online what could be an outdated photo and his own personal, glowing written review.

Some of my friends, all of whom are in relationships, think making dates is really fun and easy. "Carolyn, why are you online? Meet someone organically. Go to parties." I do go to parties, but couples only know other couples and rarely invite attractive single men or women to their parties, since they are all married. Or, they invite one single guy and watch all night to see if any chemistry develops between us. I am constantly working, traveling and meeting new people and rarely connect with someone who isn't already married, or gay.

"Don't talk to guys for too long on the phone," said my friend Dennis, "I guarantee you they're watching a game, reading a magazine, or checking out more 'inventory' online, while you think they're getting to know you better." I had already discovered talking to guys on the phone for hours before meeting them, was a complete waste of time (I See You But You Don't See Me). There is no way to tell if there is chemistry between two people by talking on the phone. Our mental images, hopes and desires rarely measure up, to who shows up for the date. Not to mention, the anonymity of the phone is a free pass to divulge intimate information to a complete stranger, that you haven't even shared with your own closest friends.

A few seconds is usually enough time to reveal whether or not there is any chemistry. And, of course there are times when I have more of an attraction to him than he does with me, or the guy is more attracted to me and I'm planning my escape route.

Online dating connects me with many men who I would not typically meet. I generally receive 10-15 emails or 'winks' a day from men around the world. One guy sent me 5 photos of himself, all with his shirt off, making muscle man poses in different cities around the world. A 21 year old kid sent me multiple complimentary emails, so I wrote him back, thanking him, but stating that he was too young for me. He changed his age on his profile to 44 and continues to write. Other men pitch me story ideas. One guy from Belgium constantly 'winks' at me, but never writes anything. And many guys look like they spend way too much time at home alone, in front of their computers, posting photos taken on their cell phones, with their arms stretched out in front of them.

I recently read on someone's facebook page, "What you think about, you bring about". Have I not been thinking hard enough about who the right man is for me? Just then an email popped into my box. It was from "Jake" the guy on the beach in his underwear. "I'm relocating to your area at the end of May." Hmmm... maybe I have been thinking hard enough.