UpDATE: Meet Mr. Birmingham – Part Two

(If you haven’t read Part One, click here)

As we’re seated in the fancy lounge area on a comfy couch made of velvet, a waitress approaches us and leaves us the cocktail menu. 

The room is occupied by tourists speaking other languages, families that look like they just walked off of a Ralph Lauren Ad, a group of friends, another group of older, wealthy couples, and people on dates.

Several times I catch people sitting nearby staring at us, and I can’t figure out if they’re trying to figure out who we are or what.  Celebrities frequent this hotel, so perhaps the out-of-towners are curious.  This does happen frequently to me, however, and just the other night at a charity event someone asked if I was on TV.  Hmmm.  Anyways…

It’s definitely “First Date Jitters” happening, and we’re both a bit nervous, as expected.  We make small talk, and he orders us both some wine when she returns.

He asks great questions and we continue to find out that we have even more in common.  Some quite interesting things pop up.

He asks, “Where’s the #1 place you want to travel to in the world?”

Without hesitation, I respond with confidence, “Dubai! I’ve been obsessed for years.”

He’s SHOCKED because he admits that’s the #1 place he has on his list! Weird.

We learn that he we both play piano, and played percussion in band during high school.

I learn that he was very involved in mentoring kids in schools back home in Alabama, that he was a season ticket holder to the Atlanta Hawks, and that he has three older sisters who he’s very close to.

He was married for 12 years, but divorced back in 2010.  I learn that she had a small town mentality, which is fine, but not when she knew he was meant for bigger things and therefore tried to hold him back.

We can definitely relate on this one.

He tells me he thinks I’m amazing, and up until that moment, didn’t think I was real.

“Real??” I ask.  “I’m real and sitting right here in front of you!”

He admits to deleting his OkCupid profile earlier that morning, and hoped that meeting me tonight would actually happen.  I guess something about my profile and pics was “too good to be true.” 🙂

We chat for a long time about life and his move to Los Angeles and why this all happened for him.

Typically, everyone who moves here has a dream they’re pursuing.  This guy has quite the story already.

He’s an engineer who works remotely from home.  He has two major clients (think big govt contracts) which pay him very well, however his heart is in being a writer.

He decided to give it a shot awhile ago and ended up being hired by a magazine to write for them.  They loved his stuff and that lead to him being put in contact with CAA – one of the world’s largest agent/manager companies that represents top talent in the entertainment industry.

Apparently, he had written two screenplays (aka – movie scripts) that these guys really loved and made him an offer to come work for them.

They flew HIM out to Los Angeles and put him up until he finds a place to live.  As of that day we met, he had just signed on with an Agent at CAA.  Amazing! He’s already off to a great start, and has accomplished something most people in LA work towards their whole life and never see come to fruition.

I’m totally impressed, and loving how ambitious this guy is.

We talk about our families and other things we like to do for fun, and then it’s getting late for him because he’s still on CST and hasn’t adjusted.

He pays for the bill and we head towards valet to pick up my/his car.

As I pull up to his hotel to drop him off, he mentions I should come hang out with him some more.  A bit surprised because I thought he was tired, I agree and am happy because I really didn’t want the night to end so soon.

He’s still quite the gentleman and kind of distant physically, so I’m feeling comfortable with that.  Definitely not affectionate.  I get the sense he’d still like to continue the great conversation.

We take the elevators up to his room.

We enter and after I set my purse down on the desk, make my way over to the balcony outside.  He opens the door and we step out onto his balcony, with the most amazing view! We’re right in the middle of the hotel and can view beautiful fountains across the way, and the glorious CAA glass office building right across the street where hours earlier he shook hands with several gentlemen and struck a deal with his future.

We both love nice cars and he points out this ridiculous Range Rover parked outside, below the hotel in valet.  He had told me he heard it earlier and that it must have a custom V12 engine in it – it sounded like a Lamborghini, he said! Crazy.  And definitely a sick car.

We stay out on the balcony for awhile longer.  The conversation is so easy and comfortable.

We come back inside and since there’s no couch, we both make our way to the bed.  I see a magazine he’s picked up that says, “The Top 25 Things to Do in Los Angeles” and instantly get excited.  Since I’ve told him I’d be happy to be his tour guide, I start flipping through it.

He’s laying on the very farrrrr edge of the bed, away from me.  It’s cute.  We’re like in Junior High, afraid to get too close to each other…lol.

He turns on the TV and we continue to talk, watch the show, flip through the magazine, etc.  We’re laughing and flirting a bit, and he’s still asking great questions here and there.

It’s super comfortable.  And the tension just melts away.

All of a sudden we hear a loud car engine start up outside the window.  We BOTH immediately jump off the bed and run to the balcony, saying, “THAT’S IT!!!!”

We laugh as we quickly open the patio door and sure enough, look down to see that new Range Rover with the V12 engine started up in valet.  We watch (and listen) as the guy who owns it drives off down the street below us.  The sound is ridiculous! (and one that I absolutely love)…

We both laugh at the fact that we immediately both jumped up and went to go look at the same time….lol.  Two peas in a pod.

The bed beckons again and we resume our positions, but this time a bit closer.

I’m finding awesome things we can go do in this magazine, and he’s excited about future plans I name off that sound interesting to him.

He’s back to watching TV and at one point I look at him and he’s watching me.

He asks, “If you could be anywhere, where would it be?”

I hesitate for a second, but only because the answer that immediately came to my head sounded so cheesy that I didn’t want to share it. But heck, I’m never one to lie and always believe in being authentic so I say,

“Right here, actually.”

He smiles.  I smile and look back down at my magazine, a little nervous.

“Really?” he asks.

“Yeah,” I say. “And I only say that because I believe there’s no other place I’m supposed to be other than right here right now.”

He agrees that this feels nice and definitely comfortable, and I wonder if all this time of being single and dating I’ve just been waiting for a guy from Birmingham, Alabama to finally get to Los Angeles…

 

 

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UpDATE: Meet Mr. Birmingham – Part One

Okcupid has been working overtime for me lately.

After a pretty decent break of being on it (and instead, focusing on Tinder’s shenanigans) I logged back in about two weeks ago to peep the scene and check a few messages.

I noticed a guy from Alabama had viewed my profile and the bow tie he was wearing in his profile pic was enough to get me to click through to check out his whole profile.

He has style. Nice.

The fascination had just begun.

The first line of his bio states that he’s a “confident, established, successful gentleman.”

Now that’s all relative, as I’ve learned through previous situations, but I’m curious to learn more, and am definitely looking for someone who’s more established than not.

I skim his profile and it leaves other  nuggets in there for me that I love, like that he’s a “relationship guy…who prefers to only date one woman at a time ..sorry if that offends anyone….”

Well, what the what?!

Offended?!

No, charmed.  More guys in LA need to adopt this concept.

Continue.

He’s an “engineer by trade, but a writer by heart.”

We’re already similar in that we’re both 50/50 right-brain/left-brain.  Nice!

Then it says he’s in the process of relocating to LA.

I wonder if he’s been here already and that this profile is old, but I send him a message saying. ..

“I’m the best tour guide you could ask for in LA, if you’re looking for one!”

He responds back,

“I was hoping you’d say that…!”

We exchange a few messages back and forth.  He says he’s arriving to LA on Thursday and that I should contact him then.

We’re both excited to meet each other!

The days go by and we text and play phone tag until we finally have a chance to connect on Sunday.  He’d been here a few days already.

I reach him on the phone while driving to my gf ‘s birthday party.

He totally has an accent! A true Southern Gent, born and raised in Alabama. Refined, and I love it.

We talk about things we like and don’t like and we learn we have a bunch of things in common already. Hmmm, interesting!

I don’t really have any friends from the South here in LA, so this is different for me. All I know is that everyone there is friendly, polite, takes their time and loves good food. Kinda like the Midwest where I’m from, I guess. 🙂 Fun!

We’re both available later that evening and I make plans to pick him up.  He’s staying at the Hyatt Regency until he buys a house, and won’t get his two cars (yes, TWO cars) delivered here until Monday, so I arrive.

I call him and he says he’s walking out.

Soon I see a man in a light-colored, striped seersucker suit on the phone, walking towards me.

Yes, folks. Seersucker.  The South is alive and well.

We hang up and I get out to hug him hello. He cleans up nicely, and can totally pull it off. I learn he’s always styling.

We get in my car and he’s kinda quiet, and chuckling.

I ask him what’s up. He says,

“We drive the same car.”

“What?!”

Haha…yes. Apparently we have matching BMWs, except his is white and mine is black.

“I’m walking up to your car thinking,  ‘This woman is not driving my car…’lol….”

We add this to our already long list of things we have in common. 🙂

We take a 4 minute ride over to Beverly Hills and to one of my favorite spots for great first date drinks, The Peninsula. I already knew he’d love the vibe.

We pull up to valet, amongst several Bentleys, Rolls Royces, an Audi R8, and more. I love this place.

the peninsula beverly hills

We head to the very fancy lounge and sat down to talk and have some wine.

He’s very calm. Confident.  Refined.

And totally wearing seersucker!

I’m quite intrigued by this man, and I know the evening is about to get interesting.  This is not an ordinary guy…

To be continued….

I Think I Got Proposed To…

I owe you all an upDATE from the other night.

First of all, it’s so funny how different the men all are that I’m going out with in terms of relationship readiness. They are keeping me on my toes!

Fresh off the heels of The Doc assuring me he’s NOT interested in anything serious, I meet up with this other guy – an ex, actually.

Well, not technically an “ex” as in boyfriend, but a man I’d casually dated several years ago during my phase where I was not relationship ready.

We always had a good time. He’s funny, charming and a total gentleman. The guy once delivered flowers to me after a simple misunderstanding just to make sure we were cool.

He’s financially stable, divorced for a long time and has two grown kids out of the house. He just turned 48 but looks and acts much younger.

During the time we were “dating,” this guy fell for me hard. Like, head over heels. I had some sort of a clue back then, but really didn’t know the extent of it…

One night last week, I was surfing around on Plenty of Fish and there he was! We had originally met on POF, and it was cool to see him single and available.

We exchanged messages and he said he was JUST wondering about me! How strange.

I was uber curious to see this guy again. I had changed. I was ready. Had he changed? Was he still ready? Was the timing better now?

It turned out that his birthday landed on the day after we selected to go out. Cool! One stone, two birds. We’d celebrate.

It took awhile to figure out where we’d meet for dinner. I suggested a few places and he was pretty indifferent.

Now, normally that’s not a big deal, but this is the guy who when we were first dating used to pick two restaurants before our date, and DRIVE to them each, check out the vibe and ambience, look at the menu, and actually talk to the manager to get their feedback before choosing which venue would be best.  Screw Yelp. Just ask this guy…

But, whatever, I just took it as maybe he was feeling guarded and didn’t want to extend his gentlemanly-self quite so soon. After all, I kinda rejected him and broke things off last time.

So we arrive at Bottega Louie, a nicer Italian spot downtown LA. I love this place. He had never been.

We have the “Wow, I haven’t seen you in a long time…” jitters and strangely enough we launch into conversation about dating. Online dating, dating in LA, what he’s experienced since we had last been dating, what I’ve experienced, etc

(Btw, I’ve found this conversation to be a pretty typical one with guys nowadays. Nothing too extensive but we definitely chat about dating and meeting online without any stigma. In the past? Stigma.)

So he’s actually telling me that dating hasn’t been going so well for him. That it’s been hard because he started working the graveyard shift over a year ago for his job and that makes it impossible to date. He admits he’s a bit rusty.

He also tells me he no longer believes in the institution of marriage.

Screeeech! Hold up. Say what?!

This dude HAD changed. But why?

So he proceeds to tell me about a “relationship” he had after me that really messed him up. He says he got played pretty bad by a conniving woman who wanted him to chase her for a year when he really wasn’t interested, and when he did switch from only liking her as a friend to all of a sudden realizing he loved her, she broke it off because the chase was over. Messed up. And I felt bad.

That was over two years ago and he’s over that now. But it had changed him a bit.

So I’m listening to his stories. We order a fancy Italian pizza and drinks and continue to chat.

He’s still making me laugh, in between stories and I’m enjoying his company. He’s really one of the good guys and I can still see that. I tell him I’m having a good time and it’s good to see him and catch up.

And then he drops the bomb…

“It’s good to see you, too. But as far as I’m concerned, we should be sitting at this table as husband and wife.  You should have long since been my girl.”

Ummm…. excuse me??? Did you say WIFE?! #WhatTheWhat

He proceeds to tell me that he held back a lot when we were first dating because he knew I wasn’t really interested in anything long term. He is acting timid and kinda shy and totally vulnerable now, but he continues to share his feelings.

I was “the one.”

The whole time my mind is reeling. Is this guy serious? Is it worth checking out? Maybe we should date again…

He assures me I’d be the happiest woman on the earth, that we’d be great together, and that bit was always easy with us.  We clicked.

I tell him I’m confused because earlier he had said he didn’t believe a happy marriage was in the cards for him. He cleared up that I was a different situation. I was different from all the other women he’s dated over the years.

Oh.

I begin to understand. I’m acting super sweet, caring and aware of his vulnerable state, all the while. But still processing this news…

So the restaurant is closing down by this point and the lights start to come up as bus boys clear all the tables.

It’s getting late, it’s a “school night” and I have to work in the morning, so we head out.

I drive him to his car parked farther away, and he’s making me laugh so hard by random things he’s saying in our small talk conversation. (Sense of humor is MUST for me in a match.)

He reminds me that the “ball is in my court”, he gives me a quick kiss goodbye and we part ways.

So there ya have it! The proposal-ish conversation.

It’s been 5 days since that date and I’m still not quite sure what to do. He’s definitely a different person nowadays. I suppose I am, too. There are new things about him that I don’t love and that rub me the wrong way, but I dunno… Maybe I’m sabotaging what could be a really good thing? Heck, I did it once with him already! (even though the timing was off)

And I further suppose that starting over with each other might just be a good idea. I’ll continue to date and meet other people until I figure things out.

The shenanigans of a single woman in her 30s in Los Angeles continue!

upDATE: Mr. Can I Get A Vowel

Well, life is exciting and full of surprises.

One of the things I always try to keep in mind while dating in Los Angeles is to have no expectations.  I know what I want (both in a relationship as well as what I’d like to experience while dating).  So it’s always interesting when you’re about to meet someone for the first time IRL (translation – in real life) from first meeting them online.

This blog update is about the guy I briefly blogged about here.  Catch up if you need to.  Here’s what happened:

It’s Thursday.  I get home from work, grab a quick bite and then start getting ready to meet him at the place we’d decided to meet at in Beverly Hills, The Peninsula Hotel.

First, I have to tell you how much I appreciate a man with great communication.  PRICELESS.  This guy has that part DOWN, and I’m so grateful.  I get a text from him while I’m getting ready – confirming we’re still meeting.  Nice.  Yes, yes, we are.  (One of the biggest source of nerves when it comes to meeting someone in person is the fact that they might just flake on you.  Rude, but it happens.)

I text back to confirm, but need an extra 15 mins from initially planned.  He’s cool with that, too.

I’m getting ready.  Now, as much dating as I’ve done, how “dressed” I get depends on a few things: How interested I am in the person, What mood I’m in and Where we’re meeting.  Today? Shower, hair, makeup, and a dress.  Yes, a dress.  We were going to a nice hotel lounge in Beverly Hills, after all.  I’m totally fine wearing jeans anywhere I go, but based on this guy’s pics on his profile I felt dressing up was probably a good call.

He texts me that he’s on the way.   I LOVE this text the most.  That lets me gauge how long it’ll take him to get from his house to the hotel, and how much time I need to leave my house so we arrive at the same time.  No one wants to wait awkwardly by themselves at the spot.

I look good.  I throw on my 5″ heels, too.  Hell, why not.  He says he’s 6’2″, which means I’ll be juuuuust a bit shorter than him still, even wearing heels.  #winning

He texts me again to let me know he’s arrived…he’s “sitting down.”  I am LOVING the play-by-play.

I text him “Ok…5 mins” and take off to leave, since I’m done getting ready and live just down the street.

I pull up to valet and ask the gentleman with the fancy hat and vest where the bar/lounge is.  I enter the doors and walk down the hall.  I see him out of the corner of my eye.  He’s secured a corner area, with a couch, table and a few chairs around.

He stands up to greet me with that million dollar smile I recognize from his profile pictures and gives me a hug.

He’s dressed up! He’s wearing all black – a collared shirt, black dress pants, black leather dress shoes and a Gucci belt.

Dang.  Too-Young-Tyson-Beckford has competition in the “Most Gorgeous Man I’ve Met in LA” category and I am again reminded that Los Angeles is full of beautiful people.

OMG.  He’s so hot…

I sit down beside him on the couch and for the next 5 minutes we work out the normal “first date” jitters.  We’re both nervous.  The thoughts that normally come into my head start fluttering around…

What does he think about me? Does he like how I look? What should we talk about? Is he really that gorgeous? Is this real life??

I’m normally a pretty confident chick and rarely feel intimidated, but sometimes people get to me.

He waves over the waitress (whose name he got when he first arrived) and politely asks to see the drink menu.  We both order some fancy $17 martinis and then launch into conversation.

The jitters leave pretty quickly because he compliments me early on.  He tells me how beautiful I look and that he’s glad we finally had the chance to meet. (Finally? Ummm…you just sent me our first message online 4 days ago! But I’m not complaining.  I like to meet people IRL sooner than later to determine if there’s that in-person chemistry.)

We talk about a lot – our upbringings, how much he loves his 84-year-old granny, and what his friends call him as a nickname.  (“Pretty Boy” is one of them. Big surprise!)  This is where I find out how to pronounce his name…lol.  It’s what I thought, and it’s actually a pretty cool name – even missing the vowel that should be there.  😉

We also talk about what we do for work.  This is the part that gets “Hollywood” and for those of you reading this blog who don’t live in LA, you may enjoy this part a bit more.

So it turns out his brother is in the NBA and used to play for the Los Angeles Clippers.  He was his personal assistant, which means he had a front row seat to about as “Hollywood” as you can get here (at least on the sports side of things).  Athletes are also celebrities and that life epitomizes my favorite saying, “Work hard. Play hard.”  Those in their inner circle, live pretty much the same life.

He launched into numerous tales of what it was like to have Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan come hang out at his house, how the hoochie mama groupies would always show up at their hotels, and how crazy that lifestyle is overall.  I’m sitting there listening, both impressed and not-impressed as I’ve had my own moments of this lifestyle in LA, including standing next to Blake Griffin in the player’s parking garage after a game at the Staples Center.  Heck, I probably saw my date at one point or another during a game.  I use to live downtown LA and my friend who works for the Clippers would always hook me up VIP style.

He also tells me that his ex was Whitney Houston’s hairstylist.  And also, was the one who sadly, found her the day she died.  Strangely enough, we were sitting just across the street from the Beverly Hills Hotel where it happened.  Talk about epic Hollywood stuff.  Once again I think to myself, “Is this real life?”

I was born and raised in the Midwest with no television or interest in Hollywood, and here I am (again), smack dab in the middle of another now-normal conversation.

More Hollywood talk and a few more stories, and it reminds me of an important question I asked him on a previous phone conversation.  I ask him again:

“So, you’re not still involved in that lifestyle, right?”

His brother ended up getting hurt, traded and out for surgery and then rehab, so it’s been awhile since he was last “out on the scene.”

He repeats that he no longer lives like that and he never really loved all of it.  He’s more of the responsible, focused, quiet, laid back and humble kinda dude.

I’m glad, and reiterate that I wouldn’t be sitting here meeting him if he was still caught up in all that.  Just not my thing.  Been there, done that when I worked in the music industry.   It gets old fast.  I express how sad it makes me feel for those women whose identity is 100% attached to being seen with a “baller” and how it’s unfortunate that they define their self-worth by being associated with these guys and do almost anything to try get their attention.  Uck.

Frankly, that’s why my date first sent me a message.  I have a part in my dating profile that says “I’m not your typical LA chick!” And it’s true.

Before you know it, two hours have passed! We had no idea! We were having such a good time chatting that time just flew by.  That’s always a good sign.

We decide to get up and walk around the hotel a bit.

Just outside the door to the lounge, I hear piano music.  OMG! I love it!

We walk around the corner and find the luxurious “Living Room”, where there is a legit older guy in a suit, playing classical music on a piano.  I almost squeal out loud because I’m a classically trained pianist and miss playing so much.  Any chance to hear it live is a treat.  He’s excited that I’m excited and wants to listen, too.  I like his laid-back and go-with-the-flow vibe.

It’s late now….about 11:30pm and there are only a handful of people around.  We find another great couch to sit at so we can listen to the guy playing piano and also chat some more, but first, I excuse myself to use the ladies room right around the corner.

I mentioned how I love his communication style, but I also love how polite he is.

One of the ways you can tell how polite someone is, is how they treat the waitstaff.  All night he’s been saying “Please” and “Thank you, ma’am”…”No ma’am…”…”How you doing, sir?”… to people around us.

He’s also SO polite that when I return from the bathroom, he STANDS up and waits until I sit down before he sits back down on the couch.  Ummm, hello, Mr. Gentleman! He was raised right and as much as a progressive, independent woman of the 21st century that I am, I LOVE old-fashioned chivalry.  It is not dead, ladies and gentleman.  It’s just rare.

At this point in the date, it’s clear he’s interested and enjoying my company.  Same with me.  I ask if I can sit next to him and he’s happy to have me cuddle up and sit next to him on the couch.  He puts his arm around me and it’s a very romantic scene, folks.   The opulence of the hotel, the chandeliers, the mirrored marble fireplace, the music from the piano….mmmm.  Nice.

So nice, in fact, I pull out my phone and grab a short video for Instagram/Facebook. 🙂

We chat more about what type of music we both like.  He likes it all – just like me.  I quiz him on giving me a few names of country artists (just to see if he’s full of it) and he comes through.  Very nice.

We’re sitting there, cuddled up a bit, our faces very close to each other.  He’s staring at me and then gives me the sweetest kiss on the lips.  Just one.  Nothing crazy.  Quite nice.  We both smile and then go back to watching and listening to this man play more Mozart.

So it’s now getting late and we both have to work in the AM, so we get up and leave to go get my car out of valet.  He’s parked nearby so I tell him I’ll take him to his car.

The end of a first date is weird.  If you’re not having a good time, clearly it’s a bit easier to just bail.  But it things are going well, what do you do? If there’s chemistry, what then? You don’t want to drag it on too much too fast, but you also don’t want to cut a good thing short, either.

So he points to where he’s parked on the street.  I pull up behind his BMW and park.

(Shenanigans Blog Bonus: I normally don’t post the “kiss and tell” parts of the story, but you’ve read this far and want the good stuff, I get it.  So here you go.  You’re welcome, ladies. And guys reading – you can stop now if you want and just know it was a good date and I went home shortly after. :))

He reaches over to kiss me goodbye and it is no longer just a quick, small kiss.  Instead he proves to me that he wasn’t lying when he said earlier in the week that he was a good kisser.  I prove him just as right, by confirming he had met his match.  His lips are SO SOFT.  Omg.

We say goodbye about 5 times and then he wants a proper hug goodbye, so we get out of my car.

He’s all smiles.  Well, we both are.  He’s a very affectionate guy and he’s holding me and looking at me, smiling that infectious smile.

I shake my head and just giggle and say, “You’re so handsome.”

He smiles back and says, “And you’re so beautiful.” Then he starts kissing me again.

So now it’s really, really late and I have to go.  But he doesn’t want to let me go.  I don’t want to leave, either.  So we proceed to stand there, in between our two BMWs, on the pretty empty streets of Beverly Hills, outside of The Peninsula Hotel, kissing.  I’m in the arms of a gorgeous, tall, charming man.

My life is officially a movie.

We say goodbye about another 15 times, and then finally, we mean it.  He opens my door and I get in to leave.  He says he’ll text me when he gets home so I know he’s safe.

And I drive away, smiling, with my hand over my mouth, saying, “OH MY GOD.  That just happened.”

Is this real life??? Yes.  Yes, it is.  🙂