"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.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

"I Know the Perfect Guy For You"

I learn a lot about people by the type of man they fix me up with.

I have friends who are happily married and are genuinely interested in introducing me to a great guy. However, over the years, I have discovered that most blind dates aren't really for my benefit, but to fulfill a need for the person fixing me up.

For instance, Angela is 45 and has been married for 20 years. She loves her husband, but he is quite a bit older than her, and intimacy has waned over the last decade. So if a handsome man flirts with her, she gives him my phone number, hoping romance will develop, so she can hear all the juicy details.

Other women fancy themselves matchmakers and like to take credit for all the successful marriages they have arranged. Then, there are the women who are so miserable in their own life, they want you to be miserable too.

"Carolyn, oh my god, is that you?" said Cynthia, surprised to see me at the grocery store at 7:00 am on a Saturday morning. Cynthia was a former development executive, who was high-maintenance to the nth degree. I used to wonder how she ever got any work done, since her life revolved around pedicures, spa treatments, waxings, botox injections, hair appointments and shopping trips. She left the entertainment industry after she met a producer and got married.

However, a handful of years passed since I had last seen Cynthia. She put on some weight, her hair was wet and she had three small kids crying and pulling at her clothes. I'm guessing she was grocery shopping early in the morning, hoping she wouldn't run into anyone she knew.

"You're still hopelessly single, aren't you?" she screamed to anyone within three aisles of us. She always had a knack for embarrassing and belittling people, in order to make herself feel better. I imagine seeing me solo, happy, with a book in my hand and headed for the airport for a weekend trip, reminded her of the time when her life revolved around... well, her.

"I know the perfect guy for you!" she exclaimed. Cynthia had always been competitive and she had never been particularly nice to me, so her sudden urge to fix me up on a blind date raised a few flags. I proceeded with caution. When certain people are unhappy, they like to make sure that everyone around them is unhappy too.

"His name's Peter," she said. "He used to be an accountant but now has his own film company. He's smart-- just like you" she added. Cynthia never complimented anyone. "Sure, let me know," I said, hoping she would never follow through.

Two days later my phone rang. "Hi, Carolyn, this is Peter. Cynthia told me I had to call you up and ask you out, before someone else snatched you up." Cynthia never did anything nice for anybody. She was clearly working both angles really hard in an attempt to get us together. I was convinced nothing good could come out of this date. "I've got two tickets to the hottest place in town," he offered. "Oh really, where is that?" I asked. "Well, you'll just have to come with me and find out." A blind date who doesn't want to tell you where he's taking you is a bad sign. However, could all these negatives turn into a positive? Ok, Cynthia. I'm game. Bring it on.

The following Thursday, Peter picked me up at my house right on time. Upon laying eyes on him, I wondered if he was wearing a toupee, or if his hair was an expensive weave. He did, in fact, look like an accountant, wearing a brown suit and tan shoes. He was probably 15 years older than me and had bad breath. But he seemed nice and was a gentleman. "Are you ready for the time of your life?" he asked.

Peter opened the passenger side door of his new Jaguar for me and I got in. I was carrying a small handbag, so I placed my keys underneath the passenger side floor mat. "Please don't let me forget I put my keys here," I asked.

My anticipation about where Peter might be taking me, was cut short by the quick drive and left turn into The Magic Castle, a private club and training ground for aspiring magicians. I can appreciate the amount of time and talent it takes to become a David Copperfield or Criss Angel, but I have never been a huge fan of magic, magic shows or magicians-- and this particular night was 'aspiring magician kids night'.

I sprinted to the bar, but before I could utter my drink order, an older woman with blue hair, wearing an evening gown, pulled me aside and asked, "How did you get in here? There's a very strict dress code. Women must wear a skirt or a dress in order to gain entrance to the Magic Castle." I was wearing pants. "Fine by me," I thought. "Peter, should we go somewhere else?" I asked, praying we would leave. "Don't worry," he responded. "I'll defend you, should a staff member cause a ruckus." I appreciated his chivalrous gesture, but unfortunately, he wasn't my idea of a knight in shining armor. He took my arm and ushered me into the lounge.

After a cool shot of vodka entered my bloodstream, I took a mint and offered one to Peter, which, gratefully, he accepted. We then entered the theatre and took our seats. As we waited for the show to begin, Peter took a deck of cards out of his jacket pocket and performed a decent card trick. "Wow. That was very impressive," I commented. "Do you want to know how I did that?" he asked. "Sure Peter, how'd you do that?" "Give me a kiss and I'll tell you." The older woman seated next to me, who had been watching the card trick over my shoulder, nudged me. "Come on, give him a kiss so I can see how he did it." I kissed Peter on the cheek. He grinned and said, "A good magician never reveals his secret." "Ahhh, you're very clever," the woman responded.

The house lights went down. A twelve year old magician-in-training took the stage. For two hours, kids ranging in age from 8 to 15 years old, performed magic tricks. Every molecule in my body was screaming to get out of there, but no one was allowed to leave during a show. I longed for the bar and another cocktail, but was confined to my seat. So, I focused on the stage curtains and transported my mind to another place. I fantasized lying on a beach in Bora Bora and getting a massage by a young, handsome, muscular man. I thought about flying to New York to visit friends. I designed my dream house. I reminded myself to pull weeds in the back yard, clean out my closets, return those emails that I never finished and to floss my teeth. In between fantasies, I occasionally glanced at Peter, who was completely enraptured by the show. I nodded and smiled, acknowledging what a great show we were witnessing together, before returning to my drive along the Amalfi coast.

Two hours later, we made our way to the exit. I stood with Peter at the valet stand, waiting for his car to come around. It was a typically warm, L.A. night, so Peter put the top down. I prayed that his slightly skewed hairpiece would stay on, despite the breeze.

As he pulled up on my driveway, I reached under the floor mat for my keys. They were gone. I lifted up the mat and searched everywhere, anxious to put this night behind me. I scoured the entire car. I would have pulled up the floor boards if it was possible. I asked Peter if he had them. "No," he assured me. My keys were nowhere to be found.

I gauged the distance between the ground and my bedroom window and how I might gain entrance to the house. "No hidden spare key?" he asked. "Unfortunately, no," I said, as Peter grinned, watching me take off my shoes and hike my leg high up onto the ledge. "I'd give you a leg up," he offered, "but I threw my back out recently."

I hoisted myself up to the window sill and was able to pry open the window. I squeezed my way through the narrow opening, and landed hard on the floor. As I straightened my clothes, the doorbell rang. A few moments passed and the doorbell rang again. I opened the front door, thanked Peter for the evening and said goodbye.

The next day, Peter called my office. "Carolyn, I didn't know to what great lengths you would go in order to see me again." "Excuse me?" I asked. "I found your keys," he said laughing. "Right under the floor mat. Exactly where you put them." I didn't need to kiss him to know how he managed that sleight of hand. "Some magic trick," I thought.

I haven't seen Cynthia since she arranged my blind date with Peter, however I suspect she enjoys a good laugh each time she thinks about it.