May 23, 2012
Alex wrote to me asking why I didn’t have any gay single peeps on my site. I told him I do — “you should take another look” — and then offered to interview him sight unseen. Because I’m awesome like that. He took me up on it. Because he’s trusting like that.
Alex was born in Washington, D.C. “For some inane reason, my father wanted me to have the Jewish education he never had, so I was sent to a Modern Orthodox school. It was extremely traumatic.” He left after four years, but it left a bitter taste. After college, he became a freelance theater director in New York. He moved to Paris on a whim but moved back to D.C. after five months.
He took a job at The World Bank but hated the work — “I’m a right-brained guy.” He moved back to New York, got a certificate in translation at NYU and spent eight years writing scripts. He decided it was time to move to L.A., so he applied to graduate school here. But when it came to the interviews, “I flubbed them. I met the heads, and they were really great, but they asked these pointed questions, and I hesitated before answering. Maybe it’s for the best, because I’d probably be broke right now.” It was during this time that he went on a retreat for gay and bisexual Jewish men, which helped him forgive the Modern Orthodox experience from his childhood. And when it was over, he decided to move to L.A., even if he wasn’t going to graduate school.
He’s been making a living as a French translator and writes scripts in his free time. He’s very into biking — he even biked to our interview. “I try to avoid my car as much as possible. I just feel a lot freer. One of the biggest secrets in L.A. is that it’s one of the most bikeable cities in the U.S.”
As we talk, I get the feeling that Alexander is struggling internally. It’s hard to understand everything he’s saying. His thoughts are a bit scattered. I finally ask him to clarify, and that’s when he tells me he recently lost his father. And it’s clear to me that he’s evaluating his life. “I guess everything I’m trying to drive at — sorry if it’s not real clear — is I’m trying to be more forgiving to myself and to people in my past.”
We get around to what he’s looking for in a relationship. “I’ve always wanted to be in a long-term relationship with a man and to be married. I’m not sure about kids. [At 48] I’m kind of old for that. I kind of have very simple values. I like guys who know how to have fun and appreciate life and have gratitude. It’s been kind of a disappointment in L.A. that the Jewish gay community is different than in New York. It’s harder to find guys who are spiritually oriented.” But men who are spiritually oriented are what he prefers. “Even if it’s just coming occasionally to synagogue with me.”
I ask him if he wants to go back to New York. He doesn’t. “I really feel like there’s something about this city — it’s just sort of seeping into my pores and transforming me. That’s been the most extraordinary gift. I don’t know if I’ve had dumb luck — or it’s reflective of L.A. — but I’m really touched and blessed that people in my life have shown up. The woman I sat with on the plane on the way to L.A. has become a close friend. I started making friends and I hadn’t even landed here.”
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Seth Menachem is an actor and writer living in Los Angeles with his wife and daughter. You can see more of his work on his Web site, sethmenachem.com, and meet even more single peeps at mysinglepeeps.com.