I am a firm believer that one person’s trash is another person’s treasure. Look no further than the success of thrift stores such as Buffalo Exchange and Crossroads. Living in a big city like LA, these places are loaded with almost-new designer clothes. There’s nothing wrong with most of these items; their owners were just either bored or wanted to trade in (or up) for something different.
This also holds true for the dating world, particularly in West Hollywood. There’s a limited dating pool here, and with the advent of Facebook and Grindr, an already small world has become microscopic.
Last year I went on a trip with a group of friends, and there was a newbie among us. We all got to know him a little bit that weekend, and over the next couple months, he went on some dates with a couple of us. This guy, Trevor, caught a great deal of flack for his actions. “He’s just making his way around the whole group!” someone would say, probably frustrated they hadn’t been included. “He’s a cock tease!” another person would cry. Trevor couldn’t win. It’s as if there were some imaginary rules he should be playing by – if you meet a new group of people, there must be little to no befriending or dating as a result. Trevor was either being too promiscuous (mind you, he wasn’t sleeping with any of us) or not slutty enough, depending on the measuring stick.
Trevor and I wound up going out at some point, and despite the drama surrounding the situation, I was excited to get to know this good looking, bright, charismatic guy. We had a nice dinner for our first date and made out in my car for a while afterwards. The conversation was a little slow, and I didn’t exactly feel us clicking, but I definitely wanted to give it another shot.
For the next date we went bowling – certainly an original idea – and we were having a good time. I bowl every few years and I’m extremely inconsistent – I’ll throw a turkey followed by four gutter balls. We had some good laughs about that.
After dinner, we perused items in a Bed Bath & Beyond store. “I don’t think you’re having a very good time,” Trevor said to me, out of the blue. He wasn’t too far off the mark. We weren’t really clicking on a romantic level, and I felt awkward, though I was trying to hide it. “No no, I am,” I said. Now it was even weirder.
We exited the store and got some coffee. One of our mutual friends had recently gotten a haircut that made him look like a certain lesbian journalist with her own show on MSNBC. I had Photoshopped said friend as this TV personality, and I brought the image up on my phone, sure that I’d get a laugh out of Trevor. I held the phone up and waiting for his reaction.
All I got was a blank stare.
“Who is Rachel Maddow?” he asked.
My mind went into overdrive. I’m a hardcore political junkie. I realize not everyone is, but there’s a certain level of awareness, particularly for a bright guy such as Trevor, that I have come to expect.
I started instantly trying to make excuses for him. Maybe he’s being silly and pretending we’re on Jeopardy! Yes, that must be it. I gave him the clue, and now he’s just providing the question: “Who is Rachel Maddow?” Yes, Trevor. That is correct for $400 and control of the board.
But then he said it again. “Really, I don’t know who that is.”
I try not to base judgment on any one single incident. I’m not Jerry Seinfeld or Larry David. But for me, political awareness, at the very least, is a necessity. Rachel Maddow, like her or not, is a champion of so many causes that are near and dear to my heart – health care, income inequality, salvaging Social Security, marriage equality. Rachel is so smart, so funny, and so accessible. She’s been on the scene for over four years now. At least know who she is.
The lack of chemistry, the awkwardness, and now this – I knew it was time to throw Trevor back into the sea. While he was a catch in many ways, he wasn’t what my pole and I were fishing for at that time.
I happened to post this on my Facebook (blocking it from Trevor) the next day: “Is it terrible to stop seeing someone because they don’t know who Rachel Maddow is?” Dozens of ‘likes’ and comments later, the consensus was that it was kind of harsh for most people, but it was probably a good idea since it was me.
A couple months later, one of my good friends met Trevor, and they instantly connected. Again, many members of our shared group were up in arms. “He’s at it again! When will he stop?” Honestly, we need to encourage each other to get out there and connect. We spend so much time in our bubbles, on our phones, oblivious to the big world our there where our next best friend or boyfriend could exist.
I ended up dating a friend of a friend, who I’d known for some time, a few months later. There was an instant connection – physically and emotionally – and it was a short-lived but very satisfying affair. On our first date, we got to know each other better over yogurt, and then spent a few hours making out on his sofa.
At one point we came up for air, and my date mentioned he had been ‘Falking’ (Facebook stalking) me earlier in the day.
“I just want you to know something,” he said.
“What’s that?” I asked, still very swept up in the moment.
“I know who Rachel Maddow is,” he said with a smile.
While things didn’t ultimately work out with this guy either, it hasn’t discouraged me from returning to my local thrift stores and rummaging through the racks from time to time. I always keep an open mind when it comes to trying on vintage jacket or pair of pants; you never know which one will be the perfect fit.
ABOUT: TALES OF WEST HOLLYWOOD
Seeking a change in his life, the author moved to his own apartment in West Hollywood in 2008. The column is a look at the life of this single 30 year-old who’s enjoying his life while casually looking for Mr. Right…or Mr. Right Now.