L.A. Affairs is our weekly column about the current dating scene in and around Los Angeles -- and finding romance in a wired world. If you've got a story to tell, we want to hear it. We pay $300 per published column. Past columns and submission guidelines are at latimes.com/laaffairs
It started with a tweet.
A girl somewhere off in the Twittersphere read one of my postings and favorited it to let me know she liked it. She was someone who'd been following me for quite a while, but I'd been in a serious relationship, and I hadn't noticed her before my breakup. Curious, I went to her profile; her picture showed a cute person with beautiful green eyes big enough to get lost in even through a video call, as I would later learn. More than her beauty, I admired her online musings. This was a smart woman with bright ideas, stern opinions and great wit, and she definitely did not have a boyfriend, as she often posted humorous tweets about her single life that included "#foreveralone."
I started paying more attention to her tweets, and based on the favorites I kept accumulating, she was also reading mine. Having only recently become single, I was a little scared to reach out. Fortunately, she made the first move.
"I have this thing where no matter what time I go to bed, I wake up 5 hours later," I tweeted one random morning. She replied, saying she does the same.
A little bit about me: I can talk a lot, be very loud and make many jokes when I'm with my friends, but in other situations I can be a shy, intimidated person. But one Saturday night after a few rounds of drinks, I opened up Twitter on my phone and saw she had posted another tweet mocking her single life. I decided I had to say something.
"How can someone as beautiful and interesting as you possibly be single?" I asked in a private message to her. It led to a full-blown conversation and marked my official return to the singles world. We continued privately tweeting over the following days, until she gave me her phone number. Tweeting became texting, texting became phone calls and phone calls became FaceTime video conversations.
I learned she was a journalist, a Francophile, a wannabe chef and a music lover, among many other things that made her fascinating. The only problem was she lived in the Midwest. Still, I ignored my friends' cautionary advice and carried on with her.
We texted, flirted by favoriting each others' tweets, played online games and sent selfies. I developed feelings for her and, it seemed, she for me.
"So do you go around the Web messaging random girls all the time?" she texted me one night after several phone and video calls.
"No, I promise you're the only person I've ever done this with," I said. "I hope that answers your question, but if not, what I'm trying to say is that I think you're special, and I'm dying to kiss you." She said she felt the same before saying good night.
She eventually agreed to come to Los Angeles. Her Instagram pictures didn't do her justice — she was beautiful and more fun to be with in real life than online. We hiked in Griffith Park, bar-hopped in Hollywood, spent a day on Catalina Island and visited all of my favorite L.A. restaurants. It was a blast, but when I went in for a kiss, she turned me away.
She said the chemistry wasn't there. I was disappointed but OK with that, considering the point of her visit was to see if this digital fling could be more. I tried to be a good host on her last day in town, and, once again, we had fun as I showed her more of my favorite parts of Los Angeles, including Pan Pacific Park and the Roof at the Hotel Wilshire. At the end of the night, I found myself lying next to her on the pavement outside at LACMA starring up at the shimmering gold emitted by the "Urban Light" art installation. There was definitely some sort of chemistry. I brought it up and asked her if she was sure I couldn't steal a kiss. She said that she'd thought about it but that she couldn't kiss me in good conscience, blaming lingering feelings for an ex who had dumped her several months before. "You're too good for that," she said.
The next day she flew home, and our communication abruptly ended. Through her Instagram postings, it appeared she had fallen for someone else. I confirmed this a few weeks later and got closure after building some (liquid) courage and messaging her. Our digital romance had been cut short by her meeting someone else through more traditional means (i.e., in the real world).
It's a shame, but it wasn't in vain. The experience gave me my first taste of dating in a world with Instagram, Twitter and Tinder. I hope, whether through the Internet or the real world, I'll eventually find someone who is right for me, but I should probably limit my search to women in my area code.
Salvador Rodriguez is a tech journalist who has been living in Koreatown but is moving to San Francisco.