Dating and Personal Ads

WEIRD DATES BUT TRUE ADVENTURES By Victoria Giraud

I love chronicling my real life adventures on my bi-weekly blog, but I also like to publicize the books and stories I’ve written. All of them are based on my life, even though I’ve changed the character names for the most part. Being single provides lots of dating experiences. There are more of us out there and we live longer! It’s such a popular topic that the LA Times is publishing a true story every week in their special Saturday section. I may just submit one of mine sometime.

Here are two excerpts from my Kindle Single book on Amazon: Weird Dates and Strange Fates

A Single Gal’s Guide to Cross-Dressing

The man who answered the door was friendly and natural as he guided her into his house. Proudly telling her he had inherited the home from his uncle, he suggested they take a little tour. A typical one-story postwar 1950s home, it had nothing imaginative in its design, inside or out, but she pretended to be impressed. He led her through a step-down, rectangular living room and then outside to a concrete atrium whose only amenity was a hot tub and a few cheap and fading lounge chairs. Occasionally touching her elbow, he told her of plans to make a few changes here and there and asked her opinion. When he took her into his small square bedroom, she noted a white lacy negligee hanging over a closet door and beneath it, four-inch black spike heels.
“How do you like my new negligee?” he asked.
“It’s beautiful,” she responded evenly, wondering what revelations might come next.
“My wife liked me to wear lingerie to bed. Now I can’t sleep without it.”
She could tell he was watching and listening carefully for her reactions. So far she was accepting all of it as if it were all perfectly normal.
Back in the living room he showed her some photos of a recent costume party. “How do you like these? You see, here I am in my French maid’s costume.” He handed her the photo.
“Mmmm.” She didn’t know what to say as she looked down at the photo, which gave her time to compose herself. She was too startled after the negligee reference to take in the photo’s details.

The Dark Side

When the letter returned with no forwarding address a week later, I was tempted to drive to his apartment. Derek’s daughter lived across the street, but I didn’t know the address or remember the daughter’s last name. I had an odd feeling of apprehension as I pondered what could have happened and searched my memory for little details that might indicate what to do next. Had I missed some important minutiae about him in all these months? How well did I really know him? I reflected, as my mind raced with a slew of possibilities.
Derek had meant too much to me to let the matter drop. He couldn’t have just left, I reasoned. What of all his obligations, his children, his friends? He filled his life with so many people and duties; surely someone would have the answers.
I called the office again, remembering that Derek’s best friend, Tom, worked in the same building. Tom told me he couldn’t talk in the office; he would call me at home. His comment piqued my curiosity. What would he tell me that was so secret?
The following evening he telephoned, eager to share the story.
“You remember that Derek went back to Boston to spend Christmas with his aging parents. He said he probably wouldn’t be seeing them again. I just assumed he meant because they were getting older. Then Derek ended up talking to me for three hours after our office party the Friday before New Year’s. He usually scooted out of there right after work, no matter what.”
Tom continued, “Derek didn’t show up for work the Tuesday after the New Year holiday. When he didn’t come on Wednesday, I called his daughter, Susan. Susan hadn’t seen him in a couple of days, she said, but there was a letter from him on her desk. She said she’d check on things and call me back. When she called back a half hour later, she was hysterical.”

To read what happens in both stories, check out my Amazon link or just look up Victoria Giraud’s author page on Amazon.

BEING SINGLE IS NOT ALL FUN & GAMES By Victoria Giraud

 

US Navy Blue Angels in formation

So-called local “watering holes” can hold many surprises; who knows whom you will meet and there are many bittersweet stories among the patrons. Since I was always interested in people’s personal stories,  I discovered some truths about various “regulars” of the male gender, and a few became friends. I have a friend who told me many times that I like to interview people. It’s an old habit from my newspaper days, besides, how else do you get to know someone?

One such person was Bill, a former Navy fighter pilot, who’d been part of the highly skilled Blue Angels, and flown in the Viet Nam War. He was up to having fun of all sorts, even if it made him look foolish. During Happy Hour at Ottavio’s, a classy bar restaurant one night, a girlfriend of mine challenged Bill on his offer to do something crazy. She dared him to take off his trousers and boxer shorts (he was wearing a suit and tie) in front of everybody. He managed to slip them off without causing too much of a stir: his shirt had a long tail, which kept him modest. He handed her his boxer shorts and stood there grinning while people stared. Since only his bare legs showed and not his naked fanny, no one protested.

Does it look better than it tastes?

So far, I’ve never seen Bill’s stunt repeated, but a male friend told me he once rode a horse naked (a la Lady Godiva) to a local Western bar for Halloween.

During a time when I was having financial challenges, Bill, who had bought a brand new Porsche and was feeling generous, lent me his older Porsche for about a month. As I got to know him better, I discovered Bill’s charm and enthusiastic boyishness varied during periods of highs and lows, as did his life. He suffered from bipolar disorder, which soon became evident. During manic times he’d take several showers a day (enough to begin peeling off his apartment’s bathroom wallpaper) or pop in for a visit to my apartment and then head for my wine with a large plastic “to-go” cup  (he ignored any rules about drinking and driving — he drank while he drove). I often wonder what happened to this essentially sweet man.

Before Match.com and all the Internet dating sites, Los Angeles had the Singles Register newspaper, which was readily available and crammed with hundreds of ads from all over LA. The ads were somewhat similar to the more modern ads of today, but without the bells and whistles of graphics, photos, tapes, and computer services, etc. A man or woman with an imagination and willingness to create an enticing ad could have a field day exploring Love or Lust. Things weren’t as threatening in the days before AIDS sprang into full life.

In my personal ads I mentioned I enjoyed walks on the beach, candlelight dinners, great conversations, good movies, and the like when those descriptions were a bit fresher. This type of ad is totally passé at this point, but then so are newspapers. The method of contact was also old-fashioned. The respondent was required to send a letter (the kind that uses stamps and is now called snail mail) and encouraged to send a photo. Those letters could be flowery and clever or very simple. Analyzing the handwriting, if you knew how, gave a clue about personality. Photos, then, were as unreliable as they are today.

I’ve always appreciated creativity and good writing, but I soon learned that the “buyer” must beware; not everything or every person was as advertised. Someone could be 20 years older or 20 years younger than you might have expected.  Oddly heartening, however, was the fact that these advertisers often genuinely believed what they wrote about themselves. Optimistic advertisers actually did see themselves as looking younger, having all their hair and a great body. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, even if it’s just your own eyes.

BLIND DATES — AN ADVENTURE

New Year’s Eve is fast approaching, and in past years I might have worried about a date or a party, especially in the years right after my divorce. Exploring the dating scene was fascinating, even in the days it was done through personal ads in newspapers. Los Angeles had a thriving paper devoted to personal ads: The Singles Register. Meeting men through old-fashioned letter writing was a great way to begin. The same lies were exchanged then as they are nowadays online.

A sucker for imaginative writing, I learned a few lessons about truth or fiction when I answered an ad from a man who called himself handsome and a talented writer of energy and spirit. He claimed that trumpets would blare and cymbals would crash when he met the right woman. When we talked, he told me he lived in Redondo Beach and had a view of the Pacific Ocean. He owned 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 I met him, 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 told me he wasn’t expecting Dolly Parton, and I took that as a compliment–I was in shorts and a low-cut blouse. His beach apartment balcony had an ocean view if you leaned over and squinted through the buildings in front of his. The treasured wooden alligator made walking difficult, 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 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 it was a litany of his complaints about all his former wives. 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?

The most daring experience I had was flying 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 conversations and after he’d seen my photo, he was convinced I was the one a psychic had said was perfect for him. He made good money, evidently, and wanted to fly me to New Orleans for a weekend. 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, who had custody of their children and had remained in Israel. He was polite for the most part and did show me around New Orleans, but after he’d shared all his anguish with me, he soon realized he’d made a mistake and wasn’t ready for any kind of relationship. I left a day early.

It seems my psychic reading of a few years before was coming true. She had told me that I would not leave any stone unturned in life. I hadn’t found the right stone yet, apparently.

IMAGINATION OR EXAGGERATION — THE PERSONAL ADS

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 since there were no photos.  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 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 told me he wasn’t expecting Dolly Parton, and 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. 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?

The most daring experience I had was flying 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. He made good money, evidently, and wanted to fly me to New Orleans for a weekend. 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, who had custody of their children and had remained in Israel. He was polite for the most part and did show me around New Orleans, but after he’d shared all his anguish with me, he soon realized he’d made a mistake and wasn’t ready for any kind of relationship. I left a day early, unharmed and a bit wiser.

It seems my 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.

ODDITIES ON THE DATING SCENE

Not ready to settle down, in past years I was more inclined to meet a variety of men and singles advertising was fine with me. Perhaps it’s the curious writer in me. Everyone has his/her funny habits, unusual preferences, and weird fantasies.

Charlie was a never married but extremely picky lawyer. He had sent me flowers instead of a letter when he answered my ad. He had to do some imaginative maneuvering to send the flowers since the Los Angeles area Singles Register newspaper would not give out addresses. After I thanked him for the blossoms, we had several long, analytical and philosophical telephone conversations before the first (and last) date was arranged. He required a certain kind of date and would accept no variations. After I met him at his apartment, we had to have brunch at a hotel near the Hollywood Park racetrack, which is actually in Inglewood. Then it was time to go to the track and watch the races while he bet on the horses. He was so busy with his betting that I seldom saw him.

At the end of the seventh race, he came out to the stands to get me—he had won! He took his $12,000 in cash and proceeded to hide it under his shirt and in his boots. It was a lot of money to squirrel away. The day wasn’t over yet; now it was time for Margueritas and Mexican food in Hollywood. Charlie didn’t seem to mind all the “filthy” money next to his skin! It was early evening when I left him and all his money. I think I was a rather inconsequential part of that date. I never heard from him again. He was probably back at the personal ads lining up his next “perfect” day at the races.

British actor Matt Smith - reminds me of my unusual date!

My most unusual date by far was with a transvestite. Though his ad mentioned he liked costume parties, I didn’t know his preferences initially. When he changed into his gear—a French maid’s outfit, high heels, and a blond wig, the show was on. Eventually he was attired in a white negligee  while we played Trivial Pursuit and watched the Lakers game, and he wanted me to give him makeup tips! This incredible story deserves more than a blog post. I’ve written a long short story and will eventually publish it. I submitted it years ago to Playgirl magazine. Perhaps I was ahead of my time or they didn’t believe me because they rejected it.

IMAGINATIVE ADVERTISING in PERSONAL ADS

Does it look better than it tastes?

A sucker for imaginative writing, I’ve learned a few lessons about the truth or fiction behind “personal” advertising. I answered an ad from a man who called himself handsome and a talented writer of energy and spirit. He claimed that trumpets would blare and cymbals would crash when he met the right woman. When we talked, he told me he lived in Redondo Beach and had a view of the Pacific Ocean. He owned 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 I met him, 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 told me he wasn’t expecting Dolly Parton, and I took that as a compliment–I was in shorts and a low-cut blouse. His beach apartment balcony had an ocean view if you leaned over and squinted through the buildings in front of his. The treasured wooden alligator made walking difficult, 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. He 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 it was a litany of his complaints about all his former wives. 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?

The most daring experience I had was flying 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 conversations and after he’d seen my photo, he was convinced I was the one a psychic had said was perfect for him. He made good money, evidently, and wanted to fly me to New Orleans for a weekend. 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, who had custody of their children and had remained in Israel. He was polite for the most part and did show me around New Orleans, but after he’d shared all his anguish with me, he soon realized he’d made a mistake and wasn’t ready for any kind of relationship. I left a day early.

It seems my psychic reading of a few years before was coming true. She had told me that I would not leave any stone unturned in life. I hadn’t found the right stone yet, apparently.

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