“He’s a director,” I told my friend L., absently fiddling with the lighter in my hand. “He’s not that cute, though. Did you think he was cute? It was pretty dim at that bar. Maybe I shouldn’t have given him my number. He’s like, 10 years older than me.”
“He thinks I’m funny. I don’t know why. I was being mean to him all night. But the meaner I was, the more he liked it. Like an emotional masochist.”
L. snatched the lighter out of my hand, firing up the joint that rested impatiently between her fingers. “Just go out with him,” she said. “If he sucks, at least you’ll get free drinks out of it.”
So I agreed to a date.
The days leading up to our date, the director – let’s call him T. – made a habit of texting me frequently. Telling me how beautiful I was, how rare it was to find such an “intelligent, and mature woman.”
I scoffed aloud as I read the texts, using one hand to respond with emojis.
But as the date neared, I started to panic.
I couldn’t really remember what he looked like. So I started to do a little bit of Internet reconnaissance. What did he look like in the daylight? Is he good at using Instagram filters? Are there any videos where I can hear his voice? I remember it being a little whiny. What if my voice is deeper than his? Is that going to freak him out? Who’s that girl he’s in that photo with? She’s gorgeous. It’s probably an ex. Wait, no, it’s his sister. Aw, he probably really respects women. Maybe I should watch his movie. What if I don’t look anything like he remembers? It was dim inside the Roger Room that night...
By the time the night of our date rolled around, I had Googled myself into a frenzy. He called to let me know he was outside, and as I walked outside my apartment building, I noticed he had parked right in front (a feat that, in my neighborhood of Koreatown, immediately made me believe he was a staunch practitioner of the dark arts), and was standing outside of his hybrid vehicle in an ‘80s T-shirt and jeans that I definitely couldn’t fit into.
He immediately walked up to me and embraced me like we were old buddies. “It’s so good to see you again,” he said, smiling so big I thought for a second that maybe there was something wrong with him. “Also, I’m sorry, but I have to do this.” And with that, he grabbed my face with both hands and kissed me. After a few seconds, he pulled away. “I wanted to do that when I first met you and knew I wouldn’t be able to think straight all night until I did.”
He opened the passenger door to his car and ushered me in. I sat there in shock. It was a bold move for sure… but surprisingly, I liked it. A lot.
I had been working as a video game tester at the time and had briefly mentioned my passion for the classics – so he took me to Castle Park in Sherman Oaks. T. bought about a hundred dollars in tokens, and we spent the night racing cars, shooting zombies and karate-ing our enemies in the streets. During one simulated safari ride that was under siege by giant arachnids, he warily revealed to me that he was divorced. “But she’s completely out of the picture,” he assured me. I told him that it didn’t matter and that I assumed most directors living in Hollywood get divorced at least once by the time they’re in their 30s. He laughed and put his arm around me, pulling me in close to kiss me again as the spiders laid waste to the rest of our Jeep.
After the arcade, we went to a bar, and he gushed about how much he liked me already, and how he couldn’t wait to take me on another date. “You’re just so amazing,” he whispered between the kisses he was leaving on my face.
We left the bar to go make out in his Prius. Then, after we parked in front of my place, we got in the backseat and made out some more. It was such a strong connection, both physically and emotionally, and it felt good to connect with someone, especially a guy who knew exactly what he wanted, and had the kind of personality that really got along with mine – and as an abrasive, obnoxious New Yorker, that’s not always easy for me to find.
It was fun, it was wild, and in two days it was over.
“I’m really sorry,” started the barrage of apologetic messages. “It’s not that I don’t like you… I just ran into an ex-girlfriend last night at a fashion show, and we have a really long and complicated history, and I just think I need to give it another shot. I’m not getting any younger…”
I immediately put the phone down, feeling the tears start to boil my eyes alive. I was at work at the time, and I didn’t want to start crying until I could go on my break.
My phone continued its violent vibrations, and after about 12 or so, the messages stopped. A co-worker at the pod next to me smiled, gesturing to the phone. “Well, somebody’s popular.” I excused myself and darted into the hallway, immediately calling L.
“I’m so sorry,” she said. “He’s such an … .”
I swallowed hard as the sobs punched their way out of my throat. “But he’s not though. He was just being honest. Besides, it was only one date. I shouldn’t be this upset.”
“Well, your first Hollywood heartbreak is like a rite of passage. Congratulations!”
“Yeah,” I said, drying my face with my jacket sleeve, “I’ll get over it. It was just so intense and unexpected.”
“Don’t worry, we’ll find you someone new in no time,” L. said. “Besides, his lame movie only got like 22% on Rotten Tomatoes. You’re so much better off without him.”
L.A Affairs chronicles the current dating scene in and around Los Angeles. If you have comments, or a true story to tell, email us at LAAffairs@latimes.com.
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