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The shock of being invited in person on a date

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When I prepare to do stand-up, I lay my songs (written and rewritten) on cards on the table for review. And I offer myself to the public. Do you want to laugh with me? Do you love me?

Somehow, I realized that every five-minute set at an open mic isn’t all that different from having that first coffee with a milestone date or anyone else you meet on an app these days.

As soon as he walks in, you know if the chemistry is there or not. Does he come at you with awkward, repeated lines? Or is it genuine? Do you want to see it again? Are you lucky enough to peek into a small crack that leads to the heart?

The difference is that I feel quite comfortable in front of an open microphone. I don’t care if nobody listens. I don’t care if nobody likes what I do. I’m just doing my homework. I don’t need anyone’s approval.

Somehow I can’t use that mindset in my love life. It shouldn’t surprise anyone, but I really want to be loved!

Unfortunately, I haven’t yet had a first date that ends in applause. So it’s hard to say.

But Los Angeles is a petri dish of ghosts, love bombs, attention seekers and narcissists. I am one of them. It’s part of our devilish charm as a city of artists. At 26, I’ve been in and out of so many relationships that I watch my friends in committed relationships with caveman dread staring at a light bulb. I want what they have. But how do they do this? Are there really people who really want to be with someone else? (And where can I find one?) Are there people who say what they mean and mean what they say?

I saw a psychic last year in Santa Monica. I told her about my love weaknesses and wondered if I could ever find someone in this town. As many people in the entertainment industry understand, it’s not as simple as we make it seem on a soundstage. He told me that I had to give up because if I wanted a successful career, a man would only stand in my way.

“You can’t eat at McDonald’s and Wendy’s at the same time. You have to make a choice.”

I would like to invent that. It was a real thing he told me. But I digress.

I made a New Year’s resolution to permanently delete dating apps. Why? In the month of December alone, I was ghosted three times. Throughout 2021, there have been simply too many dating failures to count – including egregious sexual mishaps that will likely be clinically diagnosed years later as the catalyst for my inevitable descent into madness. .

I deleted the apps and congratulated myself on entering the new year. Devon: 1, technology: 0.

Two days later, I went to where I always go on Sundays – the improvisational open mic night, where I toss my name in a bucket and fight the urge to vomit until I’m kicked out. call. Then I play for such a lukewarm crowd that I might as well go back to the stand-up days on Zoom. (Like in dating, approaching comedy as a way to seek validation is a one-way ticket to getting your heart crushed.)

Then the inconceivable happened.

A real man spoke to me. And asked – indeed asked – to see me again in a romantic context. He was also there for the open mic, and we struck up a conversation while leaning against the same wall, waiting for our names to be called. A few hours later he had said, “Am I crazy? Or should we hang around again? You’re not crazy, I assured him. “Yes, I would like that.”

Coming home that night, I couldn’t believe it had really happened. I felt like I had to cross off a new box in a bingo game in Los Angeles. Now I just need to attend an unsolicited crypto talk from my Uber driver or get a parking ticket outside my house, and I win. My friends were shocked too when I told them.

You see, this was the first time someone in real life had asked me out since high school.

It was like a miracle to be invited by a real human being into the physical world.

I strutted into work that Monday with an air of confidence like never before. I had my head in the clouds until reality hit me – I really didn’t know anything about this guy except that he worked at Trader Joe’s. I didn’t know his social handles; I didn’t have a witty biography on a dating app. Worse still, I couldn’t show my friends a photo so they could make a quick judgment on him, a crucial part of dating verification.

I realized this was a peculiar new dating problem, one that my fellow 20-year-olds and I usually don’t worry about in a world where dating apps are the norm: How could I How well would I prepare for our first date if I couldn’t cyberstalk him in advance?

The ignorance of all this was killing me. How did people put up with it back then?

The first date happened and somehow, despite all my previous mental hyperactivity, I enjoyed it. And I enjoyed learning about this brand new person while in person and slowly but surely lowering my guard a millimeter at a time.

Even better? We always go out together.

It has never been easy to find a connection in this city, and the pandemic has caused the whole world to madly pursue this dragon with limited and unequal results. But maybe it’s not just about looking for love. Maybe it’s about paying attention to what’s in front of you. And maybe now that’s enough.

The author is a humorist in Los Angeles, on Instagram and Twitter @imkevindane. She does a monthly show, “Flambo!”, at the Silverlake Lounge.

LA Affairs chronicles the search for romantic love in all its glorious expressions in the Los Angeles area, and we want to hear your real story. We pay $300 for a published essay. Email [email protected] You can find the submission guidelines here. You can find the old chronicles here.