A sucker for imaginative writing, I’ve learned that what you see, hear or read is open to interpretation. Since I’m usually open-minded and not averse to taking a chance, I’ve had a few adventures with the personal ads. Before the Internet, there was the Singles Register newspaper in Southern California, and it was probably easier to stretch the truth then since there were no photos or Google to investigate the potential date. The dating game is much the same, however. I answered an ad from a man who called himself a handsome, talented writer of energy and spirit. Poetically, he claimed that trumpets would blare and cymbals would crash when he met the right woman. When we talked on the phone (before the onslaught of texts and Email), he told me he lived in Redondo Beach and had a view of the Pacific Ocean. He was the proud owner of some unusual decorations, like a six-foot hand-carved Polynesian alligator, but his prized possessions were a line drawing by Picasso and a Spanish bullfighter’s cape.
When we met, I discovered he was much older than I’d thought (he hadn’t admitted his age). He had difficulty walking, was hunchbacked and had prostrate problems. He was complimentary and joked that he wasn’t expecting Dolly Parton. I took that as a compliment–I was in shorts and a low-cut blouse. His beach apartment balcony did have an ocean view, but only if you leaned over and squinted through the buildings in front of his. The treasured wooden alligator was a tight squeeze in his little home, but it was one of the few mementoes that had survived five marriages and lots of alimony.
Turned out he was a child psychiatrist, a rival of the famous Dr. Benjamin Spock of Baby and Child Care fame. My blind date had written five books and claimed he’d coined the term “parenting.” I did find a couple of his books in my local library afterward.
He bought lunch after showing me all his treasures, but his conversation was a litany of complaints about all his former wives. It was obvious he was looking for someone to take care of him and listen to all his misery. I wondered why I’d spent so much time listening to him. Was I too polite or just not savvy enough yet? At that time I had only been single for a few years.
The most daring experience I had answering the ads was choosing to accept a free trip to New Orleans to meet an Israeli biochemistry professor at Tulane University. He had read my ad and didn’t care that we were geographically challenged. We had had several interesting phone conversations and after he’d seen my photo, he was convinced I was the one a psychic had said was perfect for him. (It was odd that a science professor was even visiting a pyschic–maybe New Orleans’ spirit side was getting to him). He made good money, evidently, and paid for everything. I felt he sounded trustworthy and I’d never been to the “Big Easy.” One of my girlfriends thought I was out of my mind, but agreed to keep an eye on my kids.
The professor was fairly recently divorced and had come to the States to forget his troubles with his former wife, an eccentric woman who had custody of their children and had remained in Israel. He was very polite for the most part as he told me his sad story, and showed me around some of New Orleans’ hot spots. By the second day he realized he’d made a mistake and wasn’t ready for any kind of relationship. I left a day early, a bit wiser. I knew I would laugh about these experiences, and I am still amused. After all, nothing ventured, nothing gained. The only thing that hurt was rejection.
It seems my own psychic reading from a few years before was coming true. She had told me I would not leave any stone unturned in life. I hadn’t found the right stone yet, apparently.