DAVE VS DR. PHIL
I think it was Thanksgiving Weekend. I was in town, had a great Thursday and all of a sudden it was Saturday Night and nothing was going on. I clicked on a Banner ad for www.Perfectmatch.com saying “Our Women Outnumber the Men 2 to 1. " What the hell, why not? So I fill out this online profile for a dating site. They ask me to join but it was really expensive, so I decide to lurk for a while. A few days later this guy contacts me (which can be expected from time to time) and says he likes my profile (what happened to the 2 to 1 part?) and then says he will give me a few months free to try it out. That was some good marketing, and you have to respect that and sure free chance to meet a gal.
Now for the people living outside of Los Angeles, it has got to be one of the most god awful towns to meet and date someone. Everyone is uber busy, and scheduling a time to see even your closest of friends takes an act of congress. Even the people with no lives have Yoga class four nights a week. Louis Armstong was once asked “What is Jazz?"
His answer “If ya gotsta ask, you will never know" It is the answer to many questions of life now, one of which is “What is the dating scene like in LA?"
Anyways a few weeks later the guy emails me again and says they want to hook me up with a gal on Dr. Phil Show. All my life, I have always had a taste for sampling the strange, and this was in the strange department. My answer was “Sure, sounds like fun, let me know what’s up" A few weeks later I am contacted by a producer, they tell me they have someone specific to hook me up with and I should come on down to Paramount for the show. I’m thinking it will be ten guys and ten girls. Cool, I take the day off and get down there about 7:30 in the AM.
I go to Paramount get searched and. they lead us into the studio and put us in the Soul Train soundstage. Which was funny to us, as we were a pretty Waspy crowd, the No Soul Train. And it’s about 40 degrees in this joint. At the last second I decided to forgo the sports coat and really regretted this decision. It was really freaking cold.
I take a look at the other guys in there. There about fifteen other guys there and they are a collection of the biggest clods, losers, aging hipsters, nerds, inept and just plain dorks I have ever seen.
And now, I am one of them.
My first thought was, I am on the ‘So you wanna date a Dweeb show?’ My god these people think I am dweeb. Did they go and look for losers? I sweat it for about twenty minutes until some guys who’s weight I can punch arrive and I start to breathe again. Apparantly, I am the best looking guy in LA who can be on time or perhaps even a little early. Whew.
Now we have time to kill. It was a surprise for the women so we have to get their early, but none of us were prepared for a three hour weight in forty degree weather. It was really cold…in fact I beleive my testacles rolled up somewhere in the first ninety minutes. It was shorts weather for people in New England but I was cold. We make the best of it and sort of form into clicks. I found a good bunch of guys and regardless we didn’t even know each other there is one thing that you can count about guys. I don’t care how many operas you have been to, I don’t care how many Emily Dickenson poems you have read, I don’t care how often you are described as “Sensitive" by the opposite sex. The easiest way to bond for men is right through the doors of the locker room.
One thing about internet dating, it’s like that 70’s board game Battleship. It’s a dance of hit and miss until someone finally, boldly fearlessly proclaims…. "You’ve sunk my Battleship. " But one brilliant thing that internet dating has done it has given way to a whole new genre of stories.
We just stood there telling stories at each other some of the most brilliant foul stuff I had ever heard. Mike, the private high school teacher, an educated Preppy kind of guy, who, by the way, I would have no problem introducing to my closest bestest little sister/"no guy is good enough for" female friend. He tells this outrageous story about a woman he met on the site, who on the first date explains about how she wants to get pregnant. This is a really poor decision for first date conversation. She further goes on to explain how she has a friend who is ‘Will’ to her ‘Grace. " She insists he masturbates into a turkey baster…. Well, the rest of the story kind of writes itself.
I have to admit, I have never met a group of guys who so instantly became frat brothers. I remember thinking to myself…"Wow, there really are some good folks out there" I was having a great time. I hadn’t met all new people in long time and we were all men without a country so we were all making the best of it. We were all grateful that we were on Dr. Phil and not Jerry Springer or Maury or those other shotgun slam shows. Regardless, w e all had a fear that they would introduce us to some great gal and we would go for a walk and crack each other up and just do the “pure click. " Our real fear was then the show would really be called. . . “Hey, she’s a DUDE!"
As the four hours we were hanging out there was long. It was fun just shooting the shit with a bunch of strangers. Like me, because of careers, habits, and just getting older, we weren’t going to clubs and parties Wednesday through Fridays nights anymore. Friday night has turned into a good meal or a movie with friends and turning in by 11. What was once effortless is now a hassle. We all seem guilt free in this assessment.
But now the Dr. Phil producers line us up and all gave us a rose to hand to the ladies when we met them. There was a coordinator there who kept us occupied, …not the most attractive woman I have ever seen, but she had a spark and was definitely entertaining. That’s a very underrated sexy quality. So few women forget that if we aren’t entertained, we aren’t having a good time. . that’s why so many men in their 30’s own Playstations. She explains the mock faces we should make to make the audience cutaways more interesting. The “How Clever?" smile, the “That’s so interesting" frown. In any case, she explains that we will all be given a rose and we would be giving this to the lady. I have to admit at this point I getting really curious about who this gal is going to be. I have been set up before and while it has never been disastrous, They have made me want to call the friend who thought we would be perfect together and ask them “I’ve known you for ten years…what do you REALLY think of me?" They line up a few people in a specific order and then just randomly throw the rest of us in lines. This is when I began to feel the twist of the spine that told me I had been braving 40 degree temperature for nothing. I was really looking forward to the hot lights in the studio.
So they lead the gals in and we are waiting backstage and Phil comes out and does his big reveal. “I am setting up the entire audience on a date!. " They tell us all to run out and they play of all things “It’s Raining Men. "
Now there is one thing Phil should know…. this song is the GAY anthem. If he was setting up a group of Gay guys this would be the a song to play. The actual mention of this song puts even the most effeminate straight guy at ill ease. And to top is off once we get inside still freezing and it’s hard to walk at this point because your testicles have been living in your stomach for the last two hours.
The women were thrilled, over excited and had jackets. Their dancing like they are the Chippendales show and had nothing free singles to spend. This was one thing that I thought was interesting and out of the ordinary. In LA most people are too cool for the room and terrible blasé about everything. The Lakers won three straight championships and not even decent riot. When UCLA won the tournaments a few years back, in oh so waspy Westwood, there was a looting problem…. but only at the Gap. These women were actually really enthusiastic about meeting someone today. The guys were a little “too cool for the room" but I think we were all taken a back a little bit by the enthusiasm the women had. That’s something I have missed in dating in LA rather than anywhere else. Outside of the greater metropolitan area, women actually get excited about a boy taking them out to dinner.
Phil does his schpeal about dating and plays his version of the Dating Game. The contestants are Brees, an overly beautiful model/actress/real estate agent/waitress and three men. Personally, I see a girl like that and I can sense the chill that emanates from her soul. It’s like having a reproduction of a piece of art, great to look at but you know there is something counterfeit about it. Case in point, Brees picks out one man, whose name I can’t remember. He was a Doctor who also oil paints and travels enough to be fluent in three languages. When he was first introduced, I turned to the guy sitting next to me and laughed…"This isn’t even fair, how are we supposed to compete with that?" I have often been quoted as saying that most single women in LA have impossibly high standards and won’t be satisfied until JFK Jr. swims up out of the ocean and whisks them away paying off their car in the process. As I watch the Dr. Phil dating game it seems to me that this guy that Brees picked seemed like a pretty good guy. She picks him and they go off backstage for the their romantic dinner. At this point Phil says it’s time for us to meet our match, “There is a name on every rose the men are holding…go find your Girl. " Second hint this was a scam for ratings. There was no name on the rose, unless of course I was meeting a gal named “1-800- Flowers" The producers didn’t know there had been an entire screw up of some sort. So they do a random shuffling of the audience. They point me to a section of ladies all of who are at least 25 years older than I am. So I decide that I am giving my flower to the oldest one there, a grandmotherly type named Ann. The producers look at the section and say this obviously wouldn’t do and sit me two more rows down…. NEXT TO DR. PHIL’S WIFE. I hadn’t come looking for a meal ticket, but what the heck. They move me again next to gal who seemed a little disappointed to be sitting next to me. Perhaps it was obvious that I wasn’t in the correct tax bracket. I don’t know. She refused to really speak to me. To be fair, I think there were five couples who were actually set up for real, or as real as a TV Show gets.
In the meantime, we checked in with Brees, who just couldn’t get into Dr. Oil Painting. A typical problem with LA women. No matter how good someone is, they won’t even give him a chance if he isn’t their Harlequin vision. I was delighted to see however that the other women in the audience were near riotous. They couldn’t believe that this great guy was going unappreciated.
The show ends at this point and I was dying because we after living on a diet of water and coffee for the last few hours we hadn’t been allowed to go to the bathroom for several hours. They give us a book written by the genius that invented www.perfectmatch.com whose name is Dr. Pepper. Yes, really.
They tell us they are throwing us a lunch at Hollywood and Highland and their finally the matches would be revealed. No such luck. We are led into a stark dining room, no music, no booze (which is 101 in facilitating the dating process …this why weddings are such a great place to meet someone) I have to admit the lunch catered by Wolfgang Puck’s staff was fantastic, a great selection of food. I wish it hadn’t been served in a cafeteria setting, it made you feel like it was the first day at a new school. After realizing everyone else was in the same boat, I just sat down at a table of attractive women and start gabbing away.
This is when I realized that people were really pissed off. I figure sooner or later I will meet someone. Most of female friends can’t figure out why I have had such sucky luck on dating. Sure, it wasn’t the best experience but I got a free lunch and got to skip out on work for the day. Not so bad. Some of these people really thought they were going to meet “the one" that day. They had come from faraway places like Hemmet, Bakersfield and San Diego. There were a lot of single parents there, men and women who had to do a lot of work and hire sitters, just to be free for the day. Those people have it the toughest. I genuinely felt for them. I was hoping that either perfectmatch.com or Dr. Phil would do something nice for them. Perhaps put their pictures on their website the day of the show…I thought that would be a great prize for a single parent.
An attractive older real estate agent (yeah, right “I’m 39"… my ass) was thrilled that this younger guy who had sat down with us might maybe ask her out. I met a gal with some potential a actress from Glendale who seemed fun. We spent the rest of the afternoon together shopping for strange items at Hot Topic. A phone call or two later I realized that she was going through a difficult and crazy time in her life, in fact, very similar to a difficult and crazy time I had a few years back. I was able to tell she was just a bit “unavailable" right now. That was too bad, I thought she was kind of fun and interesting when she let her guard down.
Well we leave, still without finding out who this specific person was for us. They told us they would do a follow up email telling us who they were. We did get an email from perfectmatch.com telling us what a success the day was…for them anyway. Apparently, a small percentage of people had flaked (this LA after all) and this screwed up their ability to match more than the ten for the cameras. Also if we hadn’t found out who are match was we would know soon. That was a few weeks ago and I am still waiting, and waiting and waiting. I emailed them a few times no response.
So I am sure the perfectmatch.com people are very happy with their national exposure and PR scam. But let’s face it, I’m still waiting.
David Howard is the self proclaimed mad genius of the Lit Mag http://www.Crackpotpress.com