Sitting watching the new Clooney movie Up in The Air, I was mesmerised. It features a sad, lonely guy who’s travelled around all his life, avoiding commitment. There’s also a disillusioned late-30s woman and a college grad girl full of hope and false confidence. The latter, in a moment of righteous-womanhood rage, yells at the slippery player Clooney, telling him he’s “a twelve year-old.”
Watching that scene, my friend Matt leaned over in the darkness and said,
“How does it feel to see yourself in a movie?” He meant the girl. I meant the guy. I was already gripping the handrests in recognition.
It got even scarier.
Vera Farmiga’s older woman character reels off a list of mate-requirements for a woman in her 30s, “…You hope he’ll be taller than you, maybe he’ll have a little hair left”.
God. Had I spent so long avoiding guys that I now had to lower my looksist expectations? Surely not! My thoughts turned to the single 30-something female celebrities I see around town so often. They’re on a worldwide pedestal and they’re my age or older! Eva Mendes, Cameron Diaz…I’ll throw in Kate Hudson too – A-Rod hardly counts as a boyfriend. But still, those ladies are perfectly-packaged and protected by the Hollywood bubble. Hell, if they can’t find someone, their agents will do it for them.
Panicked, I leaned over in the dark.
“Matt, oh my god, is this true?”
“Almost” he said.
Hell no, I thought, chucking back popcorn. I refuse to settle. I won’t. My mother always told me that if I went out with someone with great personality, the rest would fall into place. Obviously I rejected that idea. It sounded like an arranged marriage.
But maybe it was time to think sensibly. So for my next date, I was all ready to ignore looks and hear personality first.
Then he showed up and all I heard in my head was this:
OH MY GOD HE’S GOT A RAT TAIL!!!!
He did. He actually did. I nearly fainted.
“God, did you leave right away?” a friend asked me later. “Did you take the scissors to it?”
I should have. He would have gone from freak to mere geek in one snip. This had obviously not been evident in his picture.
I managed an hour. On the phone earlier, I’d suggested coffee but now he was all about ordering food. So while I downed one cappuccino, he plowed through eggs benedict.
As for personality, this guy was a scientist from South Germany. He asked the waitress for a ‘milk coffee’. I explained that in the US, this is known as a latte. He has been in Los Angeles for over a year. I imagine he doesn’t get out much.
When my mum fell in love with my dad, it was, she says, because he had dry palms when they danced. The guy before him was clammy apparently. Luckily my dad had other great attributes, like a charming personality and an ability to recite Shakespeare’s sonnets.
But still, she would have given him the boot for sweaty palms. I therefore reserve the right to reject the rat tail and pack a pair of scissors in my purse in future.