Friday, February 17, 2012

The Gentle Art of the Dating

There is nothing quite like that feeling of seeing someone special across a crowded room (or screen). You feel this connection, and despite all your reservations (which are mostly focused around you not having visited a gym in the last five years), you think that he could be the one. All you need to do is get his name and his number… and possibly his birth date. Because everyone knows that it's easier to narrow him down in the criminal offenders database if you have that information.

Very smart dating services have been using the background check for years, but apparently now it is available to the average Jane/Joe, as well. I know this because while I was running through my DVR, the commercial for kept popping up. Obviously, I approve. New people, places and things all make me slightly nervous. Also, people, places and things I've known about for a while could still be suspect. And I think we can all agree on the fact that I'm not getting in a date's car (should there ever be a date again) without knowing his criminal history, actual marital status (because I'm certainly not going to take his word for it) and his SAT scores (GREs are optional). So, places like are speaking my language.

However, I'm curious if those of you out there in blogland are also availing yourselves of the services. So… hands up if you have ever personally checked out a potential date—or had someone else do it for you.

I'm genuinely curious. Is dating more dangerous now than it was in the 1960s? It feels like it, but is it? I really don't think it would have crossed the mind of either of my parents to investigate the other. Sure, it would have been much more expensive and time-consuming in 1965, but also, seemingly unnecessary. Is it because we meet each other in much more casual and anonymous ways so we don't have the ability to judge someone's personality over time? I'd argue that is true, particularly if you are online dating. Then again, my parents met in a diner. They didn't work together. They didn't know each other before my father asked my mother out on a date. They had no friends in common. And yet, Sam Spade (or rather his 1960s equivalent) wasn't required.

Why were we willing to give each other the benefit of the doubt then, but not now? Are we ourselves more likely to lie to someone and, therefore, we assume that the people we encounter are also lying to us?

I know why I would do it—I have trust issues. No mystery. But the friends of mine, who have faced the biggest danger from their "romantic" partners, would have faced it with a background check or not because their partners had never been arrested or prosecuted. It would have saved Reb from that awkward "oh, he's still married" situation, but "separated" continues to confound. Even the dating database suggested in the novel "Insider Dating" seems like it would be too open to vindictive ex-partners and speculation.

So, what is the solution? I'd like the answer to be that we'll all just have to be really great people and make all of this unnecessary. Then again, I'd also like engraved invitations requesting the honor of my presence in a ball gown more often, so… my wants might be on the fringe of realistic.

Give me your wisdom, for I have none. I do, however, have a lovely Pinot that I'm willing to share.



Monday, February 06, 2012


I am fabulous at many things:

  • Bitching,
  • Bemoaning my fate,
  • Being critical of my body, and
  • Saying no.

If awards were given in any of these categories, I would be legendary. They would have to retire my jersey in a ceremony full of pomp, circumstance and red velvet cupcakes. Sadly, I have yet to be informed of any such plans to honor me (I'm staying by my phone just in case).

Despite possessing these and other rather impressive attributes, I do falter in one significant way: I am virtually incapable of asking for help. I don't mean seeking emergency help—I'm pretty sure I would be able to dial 911 if the need arose (though I might write a "Pros and Cons" list if I was the one in need of rescue, as I nearly did here: No, my failing tends to be on a more day-to-day level.

I was in New York last week, meeting some very nice people and chatting about the future of higher education. The social hour turned toward what I was currently doing in Los Angeles—always a little awkward when the answer is "seriously assessing my ability to be homeless while trying to become a writer/producer." So, maybe one of my other failings is excessive honesty. Anyway, a number of people gave me quite good suggestions about who to contact for advice, guidance, etc. And now the onus is on me to do reach out and touch someone (so to speak).

Which I will.



I just don't know how to do it.

If you've ever read this blog before, you know I am terrible at networking. I'm abysmally bad at reaching out to strangers. While quite good at hiding in corners, I'm quite a bit less good at making an approach to someone I don't know regardless of the situation. I feel like I'm intruding on their lives if they are strangers—they didn't ask to have a random person knock on their virtual door. If I do know them, I feel like it's an imposition on the acquaintanceship, or worse—that they would feel used and awkward from the approach. Naturally, my inclination is to do nothing in order to not seem too pushy, rude or desperate. Apparently, that approach is somewhat less successful, statistically speaking. So, over the next two months I need to get better at this—much better. I have no choice (I mean, because I enjoy meeting new people).


I am looking for an agent. I want to write across platforms (novels, television, film, web series, and material for your cell phones). I will take nearly all advice about getting one (or two, as the literary side of things is separate). And when I say nearly, I mean anyone who suggests anything naked will actually be fined (no, seriously). Just in case you are thinking that a blog plea doesn't count—I will be knocking on doors (so to speak). I will be emailing. I will be showing up with cupcakes, coffee or a bottle of pinot. People will be charmed despite their better instincts.

I hope.


Saturday, February 04, 2012

Out There

I've returned to Los Angeles just in time to take part in a terrifying ritual known as "The Table Read." I've been writing a series of essays, monologues and conversations for the last few months, and today is the day I get to hear how it has all come together… or not. I've been told with absolute force that I should think positively and that even critical reactions can be useful.

Here's the thing—I'm a delicate flower. As we've already established, I hear a positive for about 20 seconds and a negative for the rest of my life. So imagine me trying to achieve a Zen-like state in the face of this much vulnerability. Can't imagine it? Yeah, neither can I. It has nothing to do with logic—a piece can always be better. I think it has much more to do with the life pressure that is now on me to succeed. I quit my job, in part, to write. If I walk away from a table reading of my work with "this was an abomination," that choice might seem less wise.

Even with great critical/commercial success, I know that I would still face criticism. This is why I plan to completely remove myself from the internet should I actually be employed. No one needs to read the pointed barbs of Twitter after a 16-hour day. My rational mind has accepted these things as truth. My somewhat fragile psyche—well, it's still working on it.

Deep breath.

Here we go.