My first few weeks on eHarmony had been a resounding failure. I wasn’t having bad dates; I wasn’t having any dates, as thus far no one had made it past the pre-date elimination round. One positive thing I will say for myself is that I am an Equal Opportunity Dater. In fact, you could say I’m like the EEOC of dating (so I guess the EDOC?).
My ex-fiancé many years ago was West African, the Walking Red Flag was Mexican, and I’ve dated someone of every race… or at least tried to until he ruined it. The point is, I keep my options as open as possible.
You’d think this would make it easier to find someone, right?
After Dick Pick Joe (middle-aged white guy) and “Our first date will be like a third date” Michael (mid-30s Asian), I started communicating with an Indian guy in his late 30s I’ll call “Subodh.” He worked in programming (not to stereotype, but of course), had grown up in Bombay and had lived in the US for 15 years. When I asked him wasn’t Bombay now called Mumbai, he seemed surprised and impressed, but I’ve realized that having any international knowledge whatsoever makes me more informed than the average American and apparently the average girl on eHarm, too.
I’ll admit that I broke a lot of my own dating rules with Subodh.
His short answers in the eHarm guided communication process were funny and his responses to mine were gracious. When he asked if he could call me, I not only gave him my number, but (I’m pained to admit) spent hours on the phone with him chatting away until very late at night. I strongly advise against this because it creates a false sense of knowing someone, and sets you up for almost inevitable disappointment when you meet.
Subodh looked cute in his photos, and was hilarious on the phone. Our banter was quick, witty and completely natural. Obviously he had a great personality, and I was excited to meet him.
The one red flag was that he was overly complimentary, and his compliments were not credible. One of the pre-written eHarm questions he asked me was “If they made a movie of your life, what would the title be, and who would play you?”
I wasn’t going to tell him that I’d already written a book about my life and it was called BOSSY IN BED. That would either scare him or give him the wrong idea about me, or both. So I made up a title and told him that Lake Bell would play me in the movie.
One of my best friends whom I call my gay husband has long suggested that Lake play me in the movie of my book, and though at first I was concerned she was too pretty and too skinny, I came around after watching her brilliant film In a World.
Subodh told me I looked just like Lake Bell. But not only Lake – I also reminded him of a Julia Roberts/Celine Dion combo. The similarity between Lake and me is our Jewish noses and long brown hair. The similarity between Julia Roberts and me is brown hair only, and that’s a stretch. The similarity between Celine Dion and me is nonexistent. (Not to mention that I don’t think Celine is in any way attractive, though I knew he meant it as a compliment.) False flattery will get you nowhere. In fact, it makes me think that everything someone says is probably bullshit.
So there was one little red flag. But compared to the two guys that had (not) come before him, Subodh seemed pretty great. We made plans to meet for sushi the next night. I liked that he made an immediate date and that he picked something nice to do. He wasn’t trying to get me to come over and he wasn’t being cheap.
The next day Subodh kept texting me pre date. His texts were funny, and he’d already started calling me a nickname and sending me pictures of Bambi, whom he also said I reminded him of. Studies have shown that couples with nicknames are stronger and more bonded than couples who don’t call each other nicknames, and though we weren’t a couple yet, of course, I thought this boded well.
Subodh said he’d look for a sushi place on Sawtelle because that’s where all the best Japanese restaurants are. He texted me a Yelp listing. I didn’t bother to read the reviews, and when I showed up that night I saw there was a sister restaurant kitty corner across the street and no parking anywhere in sight. I drove around for awhile and found street parking on a back street behind Sawtelle.
When I got to the restaurant, Subodh was out front waiting for me. We discussed where we’d parked (typical LA conversation upon meeting – you either discuss traffic and what route you took a la SNL’s “The Californians,” or parking, or both) and he said he’d valeted at the sister restaurant, a more casual noodle place.
I have to admit, he was not as cute as in his photos. I’d noticed he wasn’t smiling in any of his pics, and I usually assume that’s a sign of bad teeth. Unfortunately, I was right. His teeth weren’t awful, but he definitely could have benefitted from braces. His hair was also thinner than it looked in his pics. Wafer thin on top of his head, so that if he wasn’t bald yet, he was certainly balding. I’m surprised how many men have thinning hair already in their 30s, but maybe it’s because my dad still has a full head of hair in his 70s and both of my grandfathers died with thick heads of hair.
Yes, he had crooked teeth and thinning hair, but he was still the same funny guy he’d been on the phone, and lord knows I’m far from perfect. The older I get, the more I try to focus on personality and less on looks, though of course I have to find someone attractive enough that I could envision making out with him. But as my mom has told me for years, a good personality makes a man become more attractive as you get to know him, and I’ve been trying to find a man with a good personality so that I could prove this to be true.