Going back to school at age 31 (I am a lawyer who just graduated with a master's in journalism at USC) and seeing my slightly younger counterparts being driven crazy by the men in their lives has got me thinking about my "required reading list for life," and that maybe Susan Patton's controversial book "Marry by Choice, Not by Chance" should be on it.
You might remember the so-called Princeton mom from the stir she caused when she advised young women of the Ivy League that if they were at all interested in marriage, they ought to be focused on finding their future husbands in college, because they "would never again be surrounded by this concentration of men who would be worthy..."
Finding the man of your dreams in college isn't exactly a new idea. The notion of the MRS degree has been around for years, and while some of Miss Susie's advice may be a bit antiquated, I do wholeheartedly agree with her, at the very least, on the concentration-of-date-worthy-men part.
Before you roll your eyes, let me share cautionary dating tales of some of the men I've met outside the college cocoon...
The vertically challenged wino
I'll start with my very first date in Los Angeles, which was quite the rude awakening to the world of being single. Dude shows up six inches shorter than I remember him, with the craaaaziest hair (Strike 1). Note to single girls everywhere: Never accept a date from a man who is sitting down, with a hat on. In the hour before we left for dinner, he helped himself to a bottle and a half of the wine he'd brought for us (Strike 2). The whole thing was so awkward that I had no other choice but to get wine-wasted as well, #YOLO. When I finally got back to the sanctuary of my home, he asked to come in and use my bathroom, aaaaand his cocky and overconfident self proceeded to use my toothbrush for his "wine teeth" (Strike 3, gross!!) Lucky for him I had a few glasses of wine myself... and lucky for me I never saw him again... after the next morning. And I'll leave it at that.
The broke actor (or maybe he was just rude?)
Then there was the time I was excited to try this cute little Italian place in Hollywood, until my date texted to ask what time I'd be ready, if he should pick me up and... wait for it... if I'd be eating dinner too? What did that even mean? Did he think I had an eating disorder? Did he think I should have an eating disorder? If I had said no, would we have gone some place nicer, because he was too broke to pay for both of us at a decent place? So many questions... I'd like to say I canceled, but I didn't. But you better believe I ordered every carb on that menu and savored every last bite.
How about the complete stranger who asked me out via Facebook message (which I normally wouldn't go for, but he was a professional race car driver and we had a lot of "mutual friends," so I thought, why not?). Then I come to find out that he'd also asked out my good friend's sister, whom he had actually met, for the same night. Poor guy had no way of knowing that we were connected. And that I had just so happened to ask her best friend (our mutual Facebook friend) if she thought I should go. So his attempt to double-book the night ended in a solo night for him.
The porn addict
Here's one final story I know will comfort anxious boyfriends everywhere, because when it comes to Valentine's Day, you really can't screw it up worse than this one... I had been seeing a new guy for a couple weeks right around the expectation-filled holiday, so Valentine's was our fourth official date. We were having a great time, right up until he couldn't take his eyes off this woman across the room. I clearly noticed that he was distracted, so you can imagine my relief when he stopped mid-sentence to let me know that he was so sorry but he was certain he knew this woman but just couldn't place from where... Weeelllllllll... turns out that I knew her from my quite eclectic group of friends, and she's a porn star. It was especially hilarious when she, her husband and I started talking and catching up and my date kept on with the "I know I know you from somewhere" line, and all the while the rest of us were having a private conversation with our eyes that said, "Yep, and we all know from where!"
So, ladies, take it from me.
From the hot foreign tourists on Tinder who never seem to actually leave, to the ridiculously inappropriate twentysomething musicians who are ever-so-aloof but still too sexy to resist, that's just a small sampling of some of my crazy dating life in Los Angeles. Let my experiences warn (and entertain) you.
And remember, if the bad starts to outweigh the good by too much, you can always go back to college.
The author hosts a Web series, "The Law of Attraction With Stephanie Haney," about the intersection between the law and relationships. You can find out more at her website, stephaniehaney.com