I thought I had it all. The perfect Jewish boyfriend, a brag-worthy job that "fit" to L.A. standards and the most amazing potential in-laws a girl could ask for. That is, until a few months ago, when the rug was pulled out from under me without warning. At the beginning of October, my 25-year-old (now former) boyfriend decided "he was unhappy with things in his life" and was no longer "in love with me" after living together for three years and having just looked at engagement rings with his mom. (Must be the family pressure that got to him, right?)
After years of comfortably dating, my world was suddenly, and insanely, naive. I had forgotten how to flirt, date or even acknowledge men who gave me any form of attention.
I forced myself to reactivate my JDate account about a week into the heartbreak as a hoped-for confidence boost, and soon it became flooded with emails and flirts from men of all ages.
Then "Mr. Beautiful" popped up as a suggested match on my news feed, a thirtysomething Israeli who, I came to find out, lives only a few blocks from me in Beverly Hills.
After messaging back and forth for several days, he asked if I would have dinner with him at a place in Hollywood that he loved. Being new to the online dating scene, I didn't feel comfortable when he asked to pick me up and drive me to the restaurant. That, in turn, led to some awkward pauses in our digital communication before our first meeting. I'd drive myself.
Anxiety rushed through me as I prepared for our date. Clothing soon decorated my bed as I attempted to find the perfect outfit. After pouring a glass of Pinot Grigio to calm my nerves, I managed to bump into my dresser and break the glass, which spewed wine all over me and the floor.
The night was off to a shattering start, no pun intended.
I carefully cleaned up my mess and headed out the door, only to get stuck in typical Sunset Strip traffic in West Hollywood.
Already running fashionably late, and knowing the meter maid would be monitoring Sunset Boulevard, I was relieved to see a valet lot instead of taking more time to find a parking meter.
As I pulled into the lot, I spotted my date sitting outside. My first thought? "Yes! I can wear my Burberry trench coat the entire time." (I wasn't in love with the forced outfit change after I spilled the wine.) My second thought? I was relieved to see he looked the same as he did in his profile pictures.
I pretended I didn't see him sitting there, and the hostess attempted to seat me. Then he waved in my direction.
On my way over, my purse got hooked on a chair, which was knocked over and caused a loud crash. What an entrance! Then to make things more awkward, he got very aggressive as he complained that I was 10 minutes late.
Several minutes into our conversation, he blurted out that he got married for a green card and that he was a very sexual person. I knew it would be all downhill from there.
To make matters worse, the menu was filled with pictures, which, for me, was an indication the restaurant was overcompensating, trying to make the food look better than it tasted.
Between sips of wine and jumbled conversation, at some point I tuned him out and racked my mind for a reason to leave.
It all felt wrong. The salad I ordered was one of those bottomless pits where you keep taking bites but never seem to make a dent in the meal. Smoking, a huge pet peeve of mine, turned out to be his biggest enjoyment.
After eating, we moved to a different area for coffee (and a fourth cigarette for him), sitting amid a group of old men. I felt like I was in a movie with an Israeli mafia group uncomfortably sizing me up.
The five-year age gap was never addressed, but the night ended just as uncomfortably as the date began. While waiting at the valet stand, he went in for "the kill" unexpectedly and abruptly.
I was so recently single, I instinctively backhanded him after he kissed me (twice). It felt like I had cheated on my now ex-boyfriend. And he certainly didn't take the hint that I don't enjoy kissing an ashtray. Then he tried to contact me for a second date.
I'll admit the dating scene in L.A. can be confusing and tiring at times (no matter how you meet), but I've come to realize the best way to attract attention is by not actively looking. So, yes, I deleted my profile. I'll find another way.
Lauren Meltzer is a writer and Web producer for CBS Los Angeles.