“I see her … she’s very near,” said the psychic.
Staring at the $50 bill that I had just dropped on her table, I squinted and pursed my lips.
“The next girl you meet will bring you much joy.”
My life had come to this, seeking the guidance of a paranormal seer. I had become the type of guy that I used to mock.
I had been living in Los Angeles, the land of big pecs and washboard abs for about six months. Dating felt nearly impossible. In an effort to fully embrace the L.A. lifestyle, I joined a gym. For someone who already has body issues, the last place that I should have gone was a gym in West Hollywood.
Men with perfect bodies walk around the locker room in their underwear, a small towel or nothing at all, and they spend excessive amounts of time in front of the mirror oiling up before taking the “after pump” selfie.
After a few months of gym-going, I became friendly with a guy who looked like a long-lost cast member of “Jersey Shore,” with bulging muscles over every inch of his body and a tan that would put “Dancing With the Stars” contestants to shame. When he learned about my dating woes, he had an unusual suggestion.
“Have you considered going to a psychic?”
I remained silent and hoped that if I just stood still he might walk away.
“Hear me out,” he said, then told me about his psychic, who, he said, had accurately predicted that he’d hear “amazing news within the next week” about a job he’d applied for. “Maybe she could help you with your dating problems. I could give you her address.”
Then I relented. What could it hurt?
I kept staring at the psychic as she rambled on. Her room in Burbank looked like it could double as an altar for human sacrifices.
As the hourlong session ended, the psychic pointed at me and said nothing more. She clearly sensed my skepticism and probably placed an 8,000-year hex on me.
I walked to my car and was about to turn the ignition when I noticed a young woman behind the wheel of her car, frantic and audibly cursing.
Though not much of a car person, I walked over and asked if she needed help. I opened the hood of the car and figured that the battery could be dead.
I sat with her — her name was Haley — as she waited for AAA. We exchanged pleasantries and before too long were swapping stories about college.
I happened to be correct about her car battery, and the AAA representative replaced it at a record pace. As she got into her car, I mustered the courage to ask for her number. Haley smiled and typed the info into my phone.
I sat in my car and thought about the psychic’s prediction.
“Maybe the crazy lady was right,” I thought.
I called Haley the next day and used the excuse of checking up on the car to start the conversation.
We agreed to meet that afternoon at a restaurant in Burbank called Bea Bea’s.
I arrived early and found a table near the window.
At one point, I texted my date but got no reply. I called and was sent straight to voicemail. I began to tap my foot and bite my nails. I’ve been stood up before and wondered if it was happening again.
After a 40-minute wait, she finally entered the restaurant. As if my pants were on fire, I stood up and called out her name. She walked over and, while barely acknowledging my existence, sat down and picked up a menu.
Sensing tension, I tried to start the conversation.
“This is a really nice place. They make the most amazing pancakes.”
She kept staring at the menu and said, “You’re taking care of the tab, right?”
Slightly startled, I shook my head in agreement.
She looked up from the menu and said, “I’m ready to order.”
We called over the waitress. The restaurant was surprisingly empty, and in the blink of an eye our plates were ready for consumption.
She forked down the food, all the while dodging my attempts to talk. As she took the last bite, she got up from the table and said she needed to get something from her car.
I paid for our meals and waited for her to come back.
I finally stood up and walked outside. Of course, her car was nowhere to be found. I finally checked my phone and saw that I had one unread text message.
It was short and simply stated: “Yeah, this isn’t going to work.”
Needless to say, I’m never going back to a psychic.
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.