"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, April 26, 2010

"Must See to Believe"

After a string of mediocre dates, I have a really hard time mustering up energy to make another date with some random guy. So, I considered myself lucky when I received an email from a 52 year-old Beverly Hills man that read, "I'm free tonight. Meet me at Cecchoni's at 7:30 and don't be late." I had a date without having to lift a finger.

I liked this guy's direct approach, and imagined he is a real man who knows what he wants. However, after close examination of the small photo he posted, I couldn't really tell what he looked like, which is always a bad sign. Handsome men typically post multiple pictures in various poses. Guys who aren't blessed with good looks, usually post one photo and expound about what incredible men they are in their profiles. However, this Beverly Hills "management consultant" whose screen name was "2good2btrue," only filled in the cursory answers (leaving out his height) and wrote one sentence about himself, "Must see to believe," oddly making himself sound like a circus freak.

I imagined what my friend Dennis would say if I called him up and asked his opinion. "Baby, what kind of guy would write that in his profile, unless he had major issues?" I wondered if "2good2btrue" sent the same email to multiple women and waited to see if anyone would actually show up. Or, was he just so arrogant that he believed he could captivate any woman he met? I came across this type of guy before, and his attitude reminded me of one particular night in New York years ago...

It was a warm, sunny evening in Manhattan. I walked into Raoul's on Prince Street in Soho to kill time, before meeting an acquaintance for dinner. Only a few tables were occupied in the restaurant, and the bar was empty. I sat on a stool and ordered a cocktail from Eddie, who has poured drinks at Raoul's for almost as long as the place has been open.

I sipped my martini while writing a letter to a friend traveling through Europe. A few minutes passed before a strong smelling cologne hovered in the air, breaking my focus. I looked up from the page. “Hi, I’m Jeff,” he said, holding out his hand. "Hello," I replied. Jeff was slender, average in height and had dark hair, combed back with too much product. He was wearing suit pants and a blue, collared shirt. His skin was pasty and shiny, and he looked slick. I went back to writing my letter, but he sat down on the stool next to me and asked my name. I put my pen down, knowing he wasn't leaving anytime soon.

We made small talk for awhile and then I asked him what he did for a living. “I’m an artist," he said. He didn’t look like one. I lived in New York for a number of years and had met a lot of artists. I figured Jeff to be an accountant, stockbroker or attorney. He told me his last name, saw the blank stare on my face and was quite offended I didn’t know who he was. I frequented museums and galleries and thought I was fairly knowledgeable of the New York art world, but I didn't recognize his name.

“Would I know any of your work?” I asked. He mentioned one of his pieces that had received a lot of attention. I had seen the sculpture and wondered who, in their right mind, would consider it art. Assuming he was joking, I laughed out loud. My amusement, however, sparked an interesting conversation about our favorite artists, writers and films. Surprisingly, we shared similar tastes and a few laughs. Then, Jeff leaned in, as if he was letting me in on a secret, and told me he was staying at The Algonquin Hotel in midtown.

“Would you like accompany me to my hotel room?” he asked. I was a bit shocked at his direct approach. “No, I’m sorry," I responded. It was nice talking to you, but no.” He leaned in closer. “Really?" he said, "I’ll give you one more opportunity," he whispered, his lips brushing against my earlobe. "Would you like to accompany me to my hotel room?”

Was it because I am a woman, alone in an empty bar at night, that he thought I would jump into a cab with a stranger and go to his hotel room, after a couple of cocktails and a pleasant conversation? Or was he just incredibly arrogant and not used to hearing 'no' for an answer? "No. Thank you." I said. He threw enough money on the bar to cover his drink. “You have no fucking clue what you’re missing!” he seethed as he stormed out the front door, knocking into a patron on his way out.

I turned to Eddie, “Can you believe that guy?” I asked, a bit shaken. We both started laughing to relieve the tension, and just as we were getting over the shock of Jeff's outburst, he reappeared in the doorway, a cab idling behind him. “Alright," he said, "I’m offering you one last chance. It’s now or never.”

I arrived at Cecchoni's and thought about that night in Manhattan, wondering if "2good2btrue" was at all like Jeff. I took a seat in the far corner of the bar, where I could easily keep an eye on the entrance. I like Cecchoni's. It has a New York vibe and professional bartenders who know how to make any cocktail you can possibly name.

By 7:50, no one had arrived, looking for a date. And, just as I was ready to leave, a woman shouted my name, "Oh my god, how long has it been since I've seen you?!" Monica and I were good friends when I first moved to L.A., but had lost touch over the years. Here she was at Cecchoni's with her new husband and baby girl.

They were waiting for a table, so they joined me at the bar. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed an extremely tall, awkward gentleman walk into the restaurant. He stood at the entrance and took his time glancing around the place, uncomfortably aware of the patrons turning to stare at this unusually tall man. I could feel his eyes eventually land on me, as I chatted away with Monica and her new family, catching up on the past decade. Just as I looked in his direction, he turned, reached for a toothpick from the hostess stand and left.

I'll never know for sure if this man was "2good2btrue", but he made me contemplate about how difficult and tedious dating can be and how hard it can be to connect with someone on an emotional and intimate level. We make ourselves vulnerable, but we never know if we'll be accepted or rejected. What can you do, but keep trying, and learning and growing. However, I'm guessing it's easier for some of us, than it is for others.