I had given up.
I was 38 years old, renting a guest house in Beverly Hills, and had tried for most of my adult life to meet the right guy. The final straw was a phone call with a potential suitor who admitted that he was married and believed in polyamory. At that moment, I just gave up. The life I had hoped for, the one with a loving partner and a big dog, was not happening. I needed to make other plans.
Even though this was a sad realization, frankly, it was also a relief. I could give up, but that didn’t mean I was giving up on myself. I had a lot going for me. I had a master’s degree, really great friends, the best sister in the world and excellent health. I could enjoy it all without the burden of romantic aspirations. No more tears over men who didn’t want me. No more awkward coffee dates. I would be the glamorous aunt that never married but instead pursued adventures at every turn.
I started to make plans for this new life. I started putting out feelers for jobs in other states. After all, with no need to stay rooted in Los Angeles, I could go wherever I wanted. I could live somewhere I could afford to buy a home of my own, or where I could drive five miles in less than two hours. I could live in New York or Chicago and dump my car and brave the winter. The world was my oyster.
That Sunday afternoon, my phone rang. It was my sister and a mutual friend, and both sounded tipsy. They were calling from a party to tell me about a guy they met who would be perfect for me.
“You need to get down here right now!” my sister whispered loudly.
“Really,” our friend chimed in with the same dramatic stage whisper. “He’s awesome. Our friend just said if she was straight she would marry him!”
Previously, I would have jumped at the chance to meet a potential Mr. Right. But not this time.
“No, I’m busy right now,” I said. “Thanks for thinking of me though. And why are you whispering?”
“What?” my sister continued whispering, and I realized this poor guy was probably standing right next to her. “I’m telling you, you need to get over yourself. I took his photo and can send it to you if you want.”
My sister sent me the photo. My heart skipped a beat when I saw he looked like Michael Madsen. But just one. There would be no more palpitations over men. Those could come when I scaled Machu Picchu.
I stood firm. “No” meant “no.” To get them off the phone, I told them they could give him my phone number, or get his, or whatever. I didn’t care.
Later that day, my sister texted me his phone number with a threatening message to call him, “or else.” She continued to pester me until I finally broke down and called. Or maybe he called me and I called him back, I honestly can’t remember. When we finally spoke, the lack of enthusiasm on both our parts was evident. (I found out later he had no intention of meeting me but his friends had been nagging him every day since the party.)
We eventually agreed to meet on a Wednesday night. He suggested Starbucks.
“Oh no,” I blurted out. “No coffee dates. Do you drink? Let’s meet for a drink.”
I felt he was a bit taken aback by my blatant adoration of alcohol, but I didn’t care. This “date” just needed to be over and done with, and no way was I enduring it without a nice glass of red wine. And if he didn’t like it, so what? I was done trying to make the perfect first impression.
He suggested the Culver Hotel in Culver City. Not for romantic reasons, but because it was close to his place. Great, I said. I could hit Trader Joe’s afterward.
That night, I arrived and he was standing outside. He ordered a Manhattan and I had a glass of Syrah. He made me laugh. We each had a second drink. He hugged me goodbye at the end of the night and encouraged me to “drive safely,” (a.k.a. the kiss of death). But I wasn’t disappointed we didn’t discuss a second date or kiss passionately. I was sincere in wishing him a good night.
We were married three years later at the Los Angeles Athletic Club.
We have a big spoiled dog and live in the Valley. I still haven’t made it to Machu Picchu, but we did go to Griffith Observatory.
I’m the happiest I have ever been and my heart still skips a beat every time I see him.
So, for all of you in this fair city who are looking for true love, I offer you this piece of advice:
The author and her husband live in Encino with their dog, Stewie.
L.A. Affairs chronicles the current dating scene in and around Los Angeles. We pay $300 a column. If you have comments or a true story to tell, email us at LAAffairs@latimes.com.