I love writing for therichest.com. You set your own hours, the editors are always helpful, the pay is unbelievable and the in-house masseuse is a perk that I never want to be without. The only problem is that when you write top ten lists, it's really hard to be totally original. It seems like no matter what idea you come up with, someone else has done it either here or on another site. For instance, I got really excited when I came up with "Top 10 Colonoscopies Given By Celebrities," so imagine my horror when I found out that cracked.com, rant.com and the U.S. Department of Indian Affairs website had already done it.
The answer was to go within and not in a colonoscopy type way. No, I had to use my own experiences. To paraphrase Frank Sinatra, bad dates, I've had a few. How could I not? I've lived in Los Angeles for the past twenty two years and used on-line dating services. Some are better then others and if I'm being completely honest, I must take responsibility for some of the duds. I still have no idea what I was thinking when I signed up for burninglove.com because if I read the small print I would've learned that it was a dating site for arsonists.
So, in short, feel free to revel in my pain and know that the names have been changed, not so much to protect the innocent but to protect me. Hopefully, this article will serve two purposes; to entertain and be Exhibit A the next time one of my parent's friends ask me why I'm still single. Oh, and if I see this on cracked.com I'm coming after them with a weed whacker. Enjoy.
5 A Weekend In Kansas
It was May of 1996 and I had been dating Marlene for about a month. She was pretty, a little high strung, not detail oriented and had an impulsiveness that I mistook for charming. Which is why I thought it a good sign when she asked me to attend a wedding with her in a few weeks. Turns out the wedding was out of town. Cool. Where are we going? Santa Barbara? San Diego? Palm Springs? Nope, we're going to Kansas. Oh-kay.
If you've never been to Kansas, try and keep it that way. I'll break it down for you, it's flat and has the strictest laws to discourage drinking in the union which is ironic because it's what you most want to do while in Kansas. Anyway, the flight arrives in Wichita, we rent a car and drive for fifty five minutes to the town of McPherson, which is where the wedding is headquartered. The wedding of Marlene's brother, Evan. Mind you, in four weeks Marlene has never mentioned having a brother or any family. Why? I suspect because they didn't get along. They were evangelical Christians and Marlene was a devout hedonist. It was one of the things I liked most about her.
The next day we awoke and put on our wedding finery, which in Kansas means a string tie. I later learned that I was to be best man at this shindig because the original best man had violated his parole even though I was assured that "it really wasn't his fault." Because it was all so last minute, there wasn't time for a rehearsal. If there was, I probably wouldn't have been so taken aback by the location. Evan and Greta were getting married in half of the motel rec room. The other half had ping-pong tables, video games and pool tables, with people still playing them. Which is why it wasn't that unusual when a stray ping-pong ball would come our way, although I think it was a little rude for the guy to ask for "a little help" during the ceremony.
The hard part was over, those crazy kids were hitched, now onto the reception! Did you know that it is customary in Kansas for a wedding reception to only have punch and cake? I sure didn't. Maybe it was best to have an empty stomach because I had a best man's toast to give. Standing up there and toasting a person who I just met and knew nothing about was a challenge. I never felt more like Bob Newhart in my life. I think I got out a few generic lines about marriage, commitment and Luke, the best man I had replaced but could never replace.
With that, it was all over. We drove the fifty five minutes to the airport and broke up on the plane. Clearly, she just didn't want to go to the wedding alone. The whole thing was just so bizarre that I couldn't even get angry, I just laughed.
Interesting post-script, Evan and Greta broke up. Greta ended up marrying Evan's brother, Kent and for awhile all three lived in the same house and without booze because they were in Kansas.
4 Let's Go To A Comedy Club!
First dates are always hard. There's high expectations and even if you've talked a bunch of times on the phone, you never really know until you actually meet up. I had talked to Beth, a pre-K teacher about half a dozen times. She seemed like she had a wry, deadpan sense of humor like April on "Parks and Recreation." We finally make a date and I thought a comedy club might not be a bad idea. It's more communal then a movie and alcohol would be available if needed.
I picked her up at her apartment in Redondo Beach and she looked even better then her pictures. Trust me when I say that that never happens. After some small talk we arrived at the "Comedy and Magic Club" in Hermosa Beach to see Dom Irrera, one of the best stand-ups ever, headline.
We talked some more and both of us said funny things but only I laughed, but that was okay because I like a dry sense of humor, right? Wrong. Just before the show started, Beth turned to me and said, "The reason I don't laugh isn't because I'm not having a good time. It's because I'm on medication and the side effect is it makes it impossible for me to experience joy." "Ladies and gentlemen, are you ready to laugh?" asked the emcee? Not all of us.
Needless to say, it did not work out. I dropped her off, we made phony plans to get together again and then I drove off feeling comforted by the thought that maybe it wasn't a great night for me, but at least I wasn't one of her students.
3 The Non-Dog Date
It's entirely possible that I'm the only single guy in Los Angeles who didn't get a dog to meet woman because when I got Sidney, it was with my then girlfriend. When you have a dog your life is very different then that of a non-canine owner. It's a whole separate community. You meet people in the vet's waiting room, at doggie day care and on walks. On one such walk, I met Abby.
Abby was an attractive woman in her early forties who worked as a casting director for reality shows and had a small dachshund named Felix. Felix got along great with my goldendoodle. We'd run into each other, maybe twice a week and talk. I was interested and thought she was too. I forgot which one of us suggested it but we decided to a doggie play date at her townhouse. I was bringing the doodle and the wine.
A confession; I'm not the greatest person at reading signs which is why I asked about ten of my friends, men and woman, if this was a real date. All of them said it was. Great. In my mind I was already flipping through yelp to find the best hotels that accommodate dogs. Among other things, Woody Allen once said, "if you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans." The Woodman wasn't right about everything, but he was right about this.
I get to Abby's townhouse and the door is opened by a man. Don't panic yet. He could be anyone except he wasn't. He was Abby's husband and father of her three kids. I spent the next two hours looking at vacation photos and videos. Finally, it was over. At least the dogs had a good time and I find that when I run into Abby, our chats are much shorter.
2 Spa Day
It was around 2000 and I was dating Justine, a kind of new age girl who was really into Phish, marijuana and not much else. It clearly wasn't going anywhere. Because I had paid for the first three dates, Justine volunteered to take care of the next one which would be a day at a spa. I was intrigued and figured the inevitable could wait another week. Who doesn't love massages, water with cucumbers in it and all the Enya jams your ears can take?
My first clue that something was amiss should've been that we were going out of L.A. county. I assure you, Los Angeles has plenty of spas but Justine planned it so I went along with it. Clue number two was that it was vitally important that we park near an exit with the car facing front. Clue number three was going in at the back entrance. Justine said she had a friend who was going to hook us up but I wasn't to mention this out loud because all the rooms are bugged.
We had our respective massages and met back up, fully dressed, in the pre-determined point which was another back door. As we slipped out, Justine's pace picked up considerably and this was a girl whose normal pace was slug like. Once we cleared the parking lot, she let out a triumphant "yeah!" I've heard of dining and dashing but this was the first and last time I was a part of massage and dash or "mash" as she called it. So, what happened to her? Well, Justine and I have been married over ten years and never been happier..or the complete opposite of that.
1 Fun With Pharmaceuticals
There are many good things about dating a pharmaceutical rep. Two of them being that they are usually attractive and have tons of swag. It seems like every new medicine comes with a t-shirt, pen, pad and/or paperweight, all with the name of the pill on it. Who wouldn't be proud to wear a Amitiza, an anti-constipation drug, t-shirt besides everyone?
So, the first two dates with Lisa were okay. We enjoyed spending time together and both times I left with a veritable wheel barrel full of the aforementioned swag. I even had enough t-shirts to present to the entire writing staff on the show I was working on. Oddly, no one wore them and the show was eventually cancelled.
Date three was at Lisa's place and she made homemade lasagna. Lisa suggested that we both take a Chlorpromazine, which is basically Thorazine. Thorazine is a sedative used to treat schizophrenia. Lisa's pharma rep friends told her that nothing is better then sex on that drug. Even better than with Ambien. I'm quite sure I downed the pill before she finished her sentence.
So, how was it? The honest answer is I couldn't tell you because I have zero memory of the next twelve hours. It's like the age old question that's plagued philosophers since time began, what's better: great sex you don't remember or mediocre sex that you do? I can't answer. I've never been much of a thinker. We stopped seeing each other and the sad part is that all I have to remember her is a half dozen pads, lots of pens and a few t-shirts for drugs that promised to cure impotence.