L.A. Affairs: I went on 46 bad blind dates. And then Mr. 47 showed up.
I received a call some time ago from a childhood friend who lived in Denver, telling me she had a really great guy for me to meet. He had grown up in Los Angeles and was going to be back in L.A. for a family wedding in early July.
I was less than enthused. A guy who lived in Denver? What good would that do me? I was living in L.A. and had no plans to leave. But I didn’t want to be rude, so I agreed to meet him. He never called. I was actually relieved. Then I got a call from him on the Fourth of July. He wanted to get together that night. Really? Like, I was just sitting around with nothing better to do than wait for his call? (Well, I was just sitting around, but I didn’t feel like missing out on an exciting evening watching fireworks on TV by myself.)
Instead, we made plans to get together for dinner that Sunday evening, even though, as a real estate agent, I typically work on Sundays. I just wanted to get the date over with and not “ruin” a Friday or Saturday night. We decided to go to my favorite restaurant, Inn of the Seventh Ray in Topanga Canyon. At least the atmosphere and dinner would be great even if the date was the usual bust.
I went to South America and brought back a North American souvenir — a guy who just happened to be good-looking, employed, travel savvy, available and local. Wait, was he a unicorn?
I finished my open house that Sunday, came home and grudgingly got ready for my 47th blind date since my divorce seven years earlier. It was a period of my life my mother had taken to calling the “Seven-Year Plague.”
After 46 blind dates that were mostly disastrous — and yes, I did keep count — my expectations were not high.
After my divorce, I found it hard to meet eligible men. As a real estate agent, I meet plenty of people, but they are usually couples looking to buy. Plus, I don’t like to mix business and personal. So friends and family were always trying to set me up with the “perfect” guy. I had survived so many evenings of challenging conversation, no attraction and boredom that I was resigned to add one more bad date to the list. It would at least give me another funny story to share.
No. 47 showed up on time. I opened the door and was overcome.
When I moved to Los Angeles from the East Coast, my life was in transition.
Loren had the most dazzling smile. He was wearing white summer jeans and a green checkered shirt. And he was holding a bunch of gardenias he had cut from his mother’s garden. We went to dinner and spent three hours talking, came back to my house and talked until the wee hours.
He had a great personality, was intelligent and had a wonderful sense of humor. Moreover, he wanted all the same things in life I did. He told me — on the first date! — he wanted to get married and have children.
We were inseparable the rest of that week.
I wanted badly to marry and settle down, but it never seemed to work out. Then someone suggested that a young widow might be a perfect match for me.
I tried to impress him one night with a fancy dinner. But I don’t really cook. So I put three whole cooked chickens on the barbecue. (He didn’t need to know they were already cooked and not by me.) We went to Disneyland. And I accompanied him to his family wedding. He told me a “thunderbolt” had hit him, and he just knew. This was it. Billy Ocean’s song “Suddenly” came on the radio the night we met, and that became “our” song: “Suddenly, life has new meaning to me ...”
Indeed, life did have new meaning.
The last night before he went back to Denver we went to my parents’ house for dinner. They simply couldn’t wait to meet him. My mother pulled out all the stops — a beautiful table set with sterling, crystal and china. We dined outside with Italian music serenading us and a bottle of Lafite Rothschild from my father’s wine cellar. My parents told him this was the way we always ate on Sundays. They, of course, loved him and were thrilled I had finally had a blind date that was amazing.
For the first time in my dating history, the lack of a second date had nothing to do with its inevitable lack of sex. So why do I remember Anthony so fondly? He’s the boy who reminded me what I was worth, at the moment I desperately needed to hear it.
The following day, Loren went back to Denver. He said he wanted to move to Los Angeles, so that took care of one big problem. Two weeks later, I was on a plane to get a glimpse into his life. He picked me up at the airport with a dozen long-stem roses. I fell into his arms. He took me to a romantic restaurant where Champagne was waiting and told me he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me.
I said yes.
Unbeknownst to me, Loren had called my parents and asked their permission to marry me. He said he had invited me to come to Denver because he couldn’t wait any longer to ask me to marry him and didn’t want to tell our future children that we’d gotten engaged on the phone. (My childhood friend Illece was flabbergasted. She had thought we would hit it off, but engaged in two weeks was a shock.)
That night, we phoned my parents to tell them we were officially engaged. The next morning, my mother was waiting at the temple as soon as it opened to book our wedding.
The Seven-Year Plague was over.
The author has been married 34 years and has two grown children. She has been a real estate agent in the Los Angeles area for more than 40 years.
Straight, gay, bisexual, transgender or nonbinary — L.A. Affairs chronicles the search for love in and around Los Angeles, and we want to hear your story. The story you tell has to be true, and you must allow your name to be published, We pay $300 for each essay we publish. Email us at LAAffairs@latimes.com. You can find submission guidelines here.
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