July 19, 2011
David, age 53, is a nerd. There’s just no way for me to comfortably write around it or dress it up as something other than what it is. During our entire interview, I was distracted by how his cell phone kept slipping out of a hole in his front shirt pocket and he’d continually poke it back in as if it were going to stay there. I’m not criticizing a man for not buying a new shirt … but why not put the f—-ing phone into your pants pocket? Who puts his cell phone in his front shirt pocket, anyway?
Sometimes I will sit down with a new peep and there will be a little lull as I think of what questions to ask to help me get to know him, or her, better. Other times, like with David, I barely need to open my mouth. He speaks incessantly. He jumps from topic to topic and goes off-course as one story leads him to another story.
David tells me about the CEO of the major company where he works coming to the office for a big meeting. But unlike a story where something happens and it’s interesting, sad or funny, David tells me about a joke he really wanted to say out loud, but didn’t. It’s apropos of nothing, and the story itself — about wishing he could have said something but didn’t — says a lot about how David operates. As a comic book writer and editor, he lives a lot of his life in his own head. But he’s not antisocial, and has gone to the San Diego Comic-Con every year since 1972 “to meet up with old friends, make new friends and hustle up work if I can.”
When it comes to a woman, he says, “Give me someone who’s smart with a heart —that’s key.” I ask him about his dating experience. “Most of my relationships have been a few months — I’m ashamed of this, frankly. I have friendships going back decades … I was always very much a late bloomer — got a late start. But I don’t have a problem being alone. If you’re a writer, you need to get used to being alone in a room for long stretches.”
I ask him how he meets women. “Although God knows I have a mouth on me and I can talk quite a bit, the initial approach has always been hard for me. I’ve gotten better at it, but it’s always been something where I shy away or do it awkwardly.”
Before he gets up to go, David tells me about being at a party and picking up a strawberry from the buffet table. He lifts it in the air and says, “Ah, the strawberry — the slut of the fruit.” He tells me he was relieved when a woman standing nearby laughed. I laugh, too, though I’m not sure why.
After David leaves, I look over my notes. I’m trying to make sense of David and wondering what anyone would think of these stories, when a woman at the table in front of me asks why I was interviewing “that guy.” I tell her, and she says, “If I were single I’d have gone out with that guy, because he seemed so interesting. If he had a blog where he put all his neuroses on there, a lot of girls would flock to him. That strawberry joke was funny.” And she’s right. The strawberry joke is funny. Because it’s completely ridiculous and, yet, kind of brilliant in its absurdity. And so is David.
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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.