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Till Death Do Us Part

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They say death happens in threes.

I’m not really sure who ‘they’ actually are, nor am I really sure how many rounds of old fashions ‘they’ were kicking back while concocting this debatable little theory, but last year I became a believer… and, unfortunately, an unwilling observer.

Recently, I went on three dates with three Jewish women, all of whom lost a family member after our third date. No, there’s no misprint here. And yes, you can cue the Twilight Zone music now because eerie doesn’t even begin to describe the déjà vu I felt when I received the same cryptic text not once… or twice… but THREE different times.

“Jon, my so and so passed away last night. I’ll be in touch.”

Dating is all about momentum. And nothing slows the momentum down more than the death of a family member. Imagine stopping at third base when you’ve hit a home run. Or driving to Vegas and spending the night at the state line. Nothing kills courtship like, well… you get it.

Dating in LA is like playing the game Clue. Behind each door is another mystery – with tons of questions and zero answers – until someone ends up disappearing or, sadly in my scenario, dead. Was it me? Do I have some kind of cosmic black cloud hovering over my head? And why doesn’t anything bad happen after date one or two? In Judaism, death is not a tragedy, even when it occurs early in life or through unfortunate circumstances. Death is a natural process. A nice notion, yes. A comforting one as you’re licking the seal of three separate envelopes containing condolence cards? Not so much. My friend Lisa joked with me, saying, “Jon, you bring out the morbidity in women.” Not exactly a phrase of encouragement for a guy who’s trying to find his soul mate!

I know… bad choice of words.

The first gal… let’s call her JS, was an awesome girl. We met on JDate. My faith in JDate and online dating in general far surpassed my patience for scouring LA’s hotspots with the hopes of maybe getting the phone number of a girl I’ve hardly had the chance to screen and run a background check on. With Internet dating, I had all the specs and stats I needed, without the smoke and mirrors of a loud club. I would eventually meet each woman and see if the chemistry was there and the daddy issues were not.

JS was great. We met for mojitos at The Tavern in Brentwood and the time just flew by. She was from South Africa, attractive and had a career. Yes, yes and yes. On our second date, JS joined me at a pre-Oscar party a friend of mine was hosting at The Crescent Hotel. A good way to test the merits of a woman is to thrust her in an unfamiliar social situation and see how she handles herself. JS passed with flying colors. Date three, I sent her to the wolves again, this time at a house party with some friends. She fit right in. I was excited. I got a little busy and then traveled some in the spring before we could arrange date four. But, there wouldn’t be one. Her dad passed away suddenly from a heart attack. And just like that, JS disappeared.

SB was also a great girl. She was from my hometown, Sacramento, and we instantly clicked. I met her at The Whisper Lounge and we talked for hours. It turns out her mother was battling cancer, so I felt I had to tread carefully. Date two was equally inspiring. I got to know more about her and her family while we dined at Sadie in Hollywood. Both JS and SB were just my type… Jewish, dark hair and somewhat exotic looking. I felt things were moving in the right direction with SB. I should have stopped there and counted my chickens. Date three was movie night at my place. I showed her some of my work, we drank wine and everything seemed natural. And then, a few weeks later, the text came. Her mother passed away. And just like that, SB disappeared.

Far be it for me to complain, especially when both of these great girls lost a parent, but I was starting to lose hope. Should I consult a psychic, or request a family history from the next girl I meet? My luck had to change. I imagined myself in the third act of a romantic comedy, just a moment away from meeting a girl who’d change everything!

SL was another JDate find. And when she selected a sports bar for our first date, I had very high hopes. Our chemistry was indescribable. I took her for sushi on date two and planned an amazing night of outdoor ice skating in Santa Monica for date three. I could do no wrong. Finally! Was this the girl that would break the spell?! Would date four end with the cast of The Lion King dancing around our table singing ‘Circle of Life’?! Turns out, I was the star of a Greek tragedy and not a rom-com. Her uncle passed away a few weeks later. And just like that, SL disappeared.

The power of threes. Three girls, three dates, three deaths. And one guy… looking for love. Will I ever find it in LA? I’m not sure. But, like every good mystery, I’m hopeful this one will have a surprise twist at the end. Someday Professor Plum will turn himself in to the proper authorities, they’ll log his candlestick in as evidence and on the other side of town, I’ll be sitting across from a girl I like whose only experience with dying… is of laughter.

Until then, I think I’ll disable my text messaging.

Jon Polansky is a real estate agent and a freelance writer and director living in Los Angeles.  Jon recently directed two episodes of the popular web series ‘YouTube: The Musical’ and directed all five episodes of the hilarious office comedy web series ‘Howard Gets an Interview,’ which can be found on blip.com.
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