After a difficult breakup and months of thinking, I decided it was time to get into the online dating scene. I picked an age-appropriate site and offered a free one-month trial. After uploading my best photo, I wrote a profile describing my interests and what I was looking for in a gentleman.
My hobbies include cooking, museums, ballet, art galleries, theatre, old movies, and collecting vintage jewelry. It was clear to me that I wanted a relationship that offered great communication, trust, affection, and love and involved someone who would become my best friend. I also mentioned that I am a hopeless romantic.
Within a day, I received the first message asking the question: “Do you dig in the garden?”
I smiled to myself, answered him, and explained that I was an old New Yorker who had never owned a garden. I mentioned that I would be open to any other questions he might have for me. I also say that I love flowers and have fresh flowers at home every week. I never received a response from him.
Then there was a message from a second gentleman who asked, “Do you own a plain white blouse?” My picture on the site is of a striking redhead – me of course! – with off-the-shoulder top. I explained that I was a former fashion director who liked beautiful clothes. I never heard from him again.
The third man replied I had a handsome photo and said he was a marketing executive. He asked some very direct questions, and I answered all of them. After four days of texting back and forth, I asked him how he wanted to proceed. In the fifth message, he told me the truth. He is in a wheelchair and is looking for an email friend.
The next day, I received a text from a man, a dentist, highly commendable. He explained that the camera on his phone wasn’t working and he asked if we could chat. I don’t give my number to strangers, so I asked for his number. We talked for a while, and I enjoyed our conversation and thought we had common interests.
We talked several times again, and although he still couldn’t send me pictures, we made plans to meet. I took a chance because he is a great chat house. Is this a red flag? I asked Alvin to describe his physical appearance.
He said, “I look like a standout Tony Curtis.”
He also said he would be waiting in front of the flower arrangement shop in the lobby of our designated location at 8pm. I arrived at 7:45 and anxiously waited. At 8:15 p.m., there seemed to be no Alvin.
However, there was an overweight gentleman standing next to me the whole time. He kept staring at me. Finally, he asked for my name and explained that he was Alvin. He wore an ill-fitting suit and a tie with ketchup and mustard stains. A few strands of his hair are combed from the back of his head forward. He’s about 5 feet-3 tall. Not exactly a standout Tony Curtis!
I asked him why he lied to me, and he replied, “Have you met me?” I got out of the car and shook my head in disbelief.
Two days after Alvin’s demise, a gentleman approached, and when I looked at his photo, I was most impressed. I answered him, and he asked for my number to chat. I called him, and we had a great chat. He told me that he is a landscape artist who paints mainly in Big Sur and that he has an apartment there, as well as in Southern California.
He loves to cook Italian food and invites me to his house for dinner. I was uncomfortable with his offer for a first meeting. So we agreed to meet at a restaurant the next evening. He looks older than the photo but still handsome and stands out. Our conversation was lively and he asked a lot of questions. I am interested in his paintings and would like to know how he chose the location and what makes his paintings different.
He has the biggest smile on his face and says that his paintings have very bright colors as opposed to the overcast colors found in most ocean landscapes. As we approached the end of the evening, he remarked that I had a very strong New York accent. I made my comment unusual because he listened to my voice on the phone for 15 minutes and didn’t say anything during that conversation. Although he said he found me very attractive, he didn’t think he wanted to see me again.
On the last day of the trial offer, I received another message. He liked my profile and photos and wanted to meet up that night. I want to talk before we meet. We talked a few more times, and I found out he was the drummer of a famous band.
We met in a waiting room in North Hollywood. Thankfully, he looks just like his photo. We talked for a few hours. I discovered that he was actually a Renaissance man, drawing and writing poetry and a good cook. As we were about to leave, he gently took my hand and looked me straight in the eye. Then he explained that he was married and in an unhappy situation. He didn’t need to say anything more. I told him I didn’t want to see him again and thanked him for the drinks.
My online dating experience didn’t go the way I expected. I feel positive that the right man is out there for me. Having lived in Los Angeles since 1975, I know LA men are generally more casual and tend to be more open-minded, and I love that. So I kept joining different groups, enrolling in classes, and looking for new ways to meet men. I’ve been told dating is about numbers, and the numbers game is hard in California. But I’m willing to try the online feature again after a short hiatus.
The author lives in Studio City, writes romance novels and works as a consultant in the fashion industry involving fashion trade shows and high-end specialty stores.
LA Affairs chronicles the search for romantic love in all its splendor in the LA area, and we’d love to hear your true story. We pay $300 for a published essay. Send an email to LAaffairs@latimes.com. You can find submission instructions here. You can find past columns here.
https://www.latimes.com/lifestyle/story/2022-07-08/la-affairs-signed-up-online-dating-los-angeles-men-extra-sandra-shapiro Dating verdict: L.A. men are casual in the extreme