JDiary: My Life as a Dater
I haven’t written those words since the 10th grade, and, to be honest, I’m not sure why they suddenly seem appropriate now. I write Big Important Books and try to turn them into Big Important Movies and TV Shows. Despite my current Hollywood success, writing for a living makes it that much harder to write for pleasure. But since I’ve gotten on JDate, I needed another outlet for all the crazy things happening in my love life. I’m experiencing a more fertile period than any since, well, 10th grade.
Of course, I can’t take all the credit for signing up. I must admit that I had a little push from two of my most trusted and exhausting confidants – my editor and my mom. “You never know what it could turn into,” they both said on separate occasions. They were looking, respectively, for my next book and a grandchild. I was just looking.
But they weren’t the only ones prompting my newest project. My best friend had been singing the praises of JDate so loudly and infectiously that I eventually got the tune stuck in my own head. And since it had been a year since my last relationship and six months since my last third date, I decided to take a hint. Instead of making excuses, I took action, boldly going where I had never gone before: online… for love.
It’s been three months since my alter ego, “SexyScribbles,” was born and while a few dates, hearts and high-heels have been broken, I finally managed to get past a third date or two. On top of writing for work, I was also emailing a bunch of eligible bachelors every day. But no sooner did I start on this career path than I met someone that made me want to immediately retire.
“The Macher” couldn’t have been a more perfect match for me if the dating gods had reached into my brain and pulled him out, fully formed. The kind of guy who could make you smile even if you had lockjaw, Macher was a laundry list come true. Tall, soulful, funny, a writer, hip but not slick, and as charming a guy as you’ll ever meet. We had one ridiculously amazing date, the kind of date that would have ended with us eloping if I didn’t have to work in three hours. But after that, Macher mysteriously disappeared. He still emails, IMs and calls me every once in a while to see how I’m doing (and who I’m dating), but he never asks me out. I’ve been dating my way through the Matrix ever since.
Over late-afternoon cocktails yesterday, I was puzzling over this with my two best friends, Lila and Dani. “Lila Loves Love” or “LLL” as I like to call her, is the most optimistic and obsessive dater I’ve ever met. She literally has a “date-a-base” to keep track of her progress, and has been instrumental in showing me the JDate ropes. Dani is our gorgeous and mysterious third, a savvy online dater who is so popular on the site that she’s been accused of being a plant. Others just call her “The Heartbreaker.”
LLL is on the “Husband Hunt” as my Mom’s Mah Jongg friends like to say. She told me about the guys she’d been out with lately, mostly professional types. A few were more creative and immediately categorized as better matches for me. And The Heartbreaker? Let’s just say her party lifestyle and commitment to fun leaves little left after lovin’ ‘em and leavin’ ‘em. I admire her gusto just the same. Between the three of us, I’m amazed that there are still new guys left to date. Yet, somehow, there are always fresh faces and exciting opportunities for three girls on the prowl. No sooner did LLL stop grilling me about my latest second-date-gone-bust and start asking about The Macher, my cell phone lit up.
LLL’s face fell. I answered anyway.
Fortunately, it was not “Mr. Nice Guy,” whom I had dated twice, hoping in vain for a hint of chemistry. Nor was it “Altered Cocker,” who claimed to be 10 years younger than he actually was before treating me like his daughter on the date. I was shocked to discover, upon answering, that the voice on the other end was that of “The Legend.” One of the sexiest guys on JDate, The Legend is exactly that: the perfect guy on paper (or computer screen, as the case may be). Both Heartbreaker and LLL were amazed when he put me on his Hot List…over two months ago.
According to his profile, The Legend was tall, successful, a lawyer, slightly sarcastic and from the East Coast like me. After a month of clicking on each other’s profiles, each waiting for the other to initiate contact, I couldn’t stand it any more and finally wrote to him. We had great banter (the kind where you want to reach right through the computer and…). I gave him my number but he never called. Until now.
“Is this the Scribbler they call Sexy?” His voice was deep and playful, my favorite kind.
“That depends on you. Who may I tell her is calling?”
“The Legend. Tell her I’m a fool for taking so long. That I was caught up in lesser nets, but that I’m now free to swim in her waters.”
My breath caught in my throat. This was a little too hot for conversation number one. I would have to rein it in, or else reel him in.
“That’s a bold assumption on your part, don’t you think? What makes you think that my, I mean, her…waters are inhabitable?”
He chuckled out loud. “So it is you. I’m just glad to know I wasn’t talking to your legal advisor.”
“I didn’t know that you spelled that kind of trouble, Counselor.”
“I’m any kind of trouble you need.”
Suddenly, my mother’s voice rang loudly in my head. “Unless you’re officially dating, always keep your phone calls under five minutes!”
Disappointed, I relented. “Well, speaking of trouble, I’m going to be in some with my friends if I don’t get off the phone now.”
He immediately took the bait. “So listen, I know it’s short notice, but there’s a table outside at Ocean and Vine by the fire pit. I thought we could walk to the pier, watch the sunset, and maybe try out the arcade. Who knows, you might even catch a fish?”
I looked at my watch. Four minutes, thirty seconds. Apparently, my mother and The Legend were in cahoots. But what would my mother say about accepting a date with no notice? “You know what kind of girl says yes to a date right when she is asked out? The kind that doesn’t get asked out again.” Yes Mom, I know. But sometimes you have to take a chance to have a chance. “It’s a date. See you at 7, Legendary One.”
When I hung up, the girls shut up faster than a kosher deli at Friday sundown. They already knew what happened. A congratulatory round was poured.
“See if you can figure out his actual height versus profile height,” LLL gushed. “And if he has an Audi or a BMW…” I shot her a look. “What? It’s for the date-a-base.”
The Heartbreaker simply took my hand, leaning in close, “We both know why they call him The Legend. Aside from the obvious, it’s been said that he has dated more of this site than any other member… and because he’s such a… good date, somehow he’s able to charm girls into not being mad at him for being such a lothario. We’re counting on you for confirmation.”
When they left, I logged on to JDate. Ten new emails and no time to answer them. One guy whom I had politely declined to speak to refused to take no for an answer. While combating IM attempts from “The Nudge,” my cell phone rang again. I answered without looking, thinking it was LLL with more last-minute advice. “Hello?” I answered. “What are you doing tonight?” the voice responded.
It was The Macher. My stomach sank to the tips of my toes. “I have a date,” I admitted, my voice shaking. He was quiet for a second. I imagined the next four minutes and 45 seconds passing by in silence.
“What are you doing tomorrow night?” he asked. “I have a date,” I replied, “With you.”
What was I thinking? My mother would kill me. The Macher laughed his sexy, hearty laugh. “You drive a hard bargain, Scribbles. Pick you up at 8.”
This date might have been three months late, but I was already 10 minutes late for tonight.
With a smile, I grabbed my keys and walked out into the night.
SexyScribbles is a novelist and writer who lives in Los Angeles.