L.A. Affairs

L.A. Affairs (Illustration by Joel Kimmel / For The Times / July 30, 2012)

We met at the Santa Monica outpost of the Bodega wine bar. Though it was fairly dark inside, I recognized his face at the bar. I waved and walked toward him. As he stood up, his body did not match his face, or any of his online pictures. He was not the same guy surfing in the wetsuit, or wearing the tux, or looking all skinny with his bushy brown hair. He must have gained 50 pounds, maybe more. Beneath his beige button-down shirt I could see man boobs.

"Shall we get a table?" he asked.

As I turned to walk toward the table, my mouth gaped open in disbelief, as though I were protesting to some unseen observer, can you believe this? It was deception, plain and simple. What was he thinking? That his sparkling personality would so charm me that I wouldn't mind being lured with misleading pictures?

"Do you want food?" the waiter asked.

I hadn't eaten dinner, but I wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible. Mr. Misrepresentation wanted to know if the fingerling potatoes were French fries. Then he wanted to know if the wine bar had French fries.

"I really like French fries," he announced.

I kept looking at him, trying to reconcile the person in front of me with the person in his photos. I asked him how many women he'd been out with from the dating website.

"More than two and less than 50," he said. His profile said he was a lawyer. He'd graduated law school a year ago but failed the bar. More misrepresentation.

"Such a lawyerly answer," I said.

He went into a long-winded explanation of how he didn't keep a scorecard but finally said, "Nine or 10. You?"

"The same." He was date No. 9.

"And how many of those were total jerks you couldn't wait to get away from?"

"Three." I didn't even have to think about it.

"What happened?"

Though talking about other online dates is not the way to go when you're on an online date, I didn't care, and I willingly launched into my stories. After telling him about the two most obnoxious guys, I said, "and some people are deceptive."

Then I stared down at my salad.

"Are you trying to say something about me?"

I looked up at him and started reeling all over again.

"Do you think you look like your pictures?"