October 14, 2004
Set, Spike, Kiss
I'll never play the violin in high heels again.
OK, I'll be back in sticks in six weeks, and I never played the fiddle. But I did play an important game of volleyball.
Every Sunday, my peeps and I play co-ed pickup volleyball on Venice Beach. New catch Austin is always up for a little bumping and setting, so I invited him to come out and play. It seemed like the perfect chance to make a make a big impression. I'd win the point, I'd win the game, I'd win his heart.
Wearing nothing but my red polka-dot bikini, I was dressed to impress. But my play? It wasn't pretty. Remember the last kid picked for gym class? Yeah, that wasn't me. I was never even picked. I spent P.E. class helping Ms. Toppee keep score. So, Misty May I'm not, and Austin's presence only heightened the pressure.
Then I saw it, in slow motion, the volleyball teetering above the net. This was it! One of those "douse me with Gatorade, throw me on a Wheaties box, one shining moment" kind of plays. The kind of play we'd recount over victory drinks. The kind of play I'd never attempt, but one that would make Austin fall for me -- hard. Unfortunately, I'm the one who fell.
In all my 5-foot-2 glory, I jumped for the spike. But my towering 5-foot-3 opponent, Wendy, went for the block. We collided midair and crashed to the ground in a Cirque de Soleil contortion of bikinis and sand. I heard my teammate Randy say, "That's hot."
Austin helped me hobble off the court and drove me to his couch. My foot -- swollen. My ego -- bruised. I wanted the afternoon to be perfect. I wanted Austin to think I was perfect. I wanted to start things off on the right foot, and now all I've got is a Hobbit foot. Who wants to date an uncoordinated girl who lives in a Shire?
This wasn't the first time I klutzed my way through a courtship. I'm the Tasmanian devil of the singles scene, the Lucy of JDate. I hit my golf ball into the moat at Sherman Oaks Castle Park. I released an air hockey paddle into Brad's head, I spilled cold beer on Andrew's pants, and I knocked over a candle during dinner with Dave. Those guys each canceled our relationship faster than a bad fall sitcom. I'm nervous Austin will follow their lead -- another date bites the dust.
The next day I met Doc K. He looked at my chart, did a George Clooney head tilt, and said "Carin Davis ... wait, do you write for The Jewish Journal?"
"Yes. I -- "
"That's what I thought. You write that singles column. My wife and I read it. You talk about a different guy every time. Pretty funny stuff. But as a happily married man, let me give you some dating advice."
"What about some medical adv--?"
"Quit looking for the perfect guy and find your perfect match. From what I've read, you're not perfect, so why would he be?"
"I'm sorry, I'm here about my--"
"The key is to find someone who likes you despite your faults ... wow, I can't wait to tell my wife I met you. Well, let's look at that foot."
Leaving the office with my broken toe taped and orders to stay out of stilettos, I realized the podiatrist formerly known as Dr. Phil, made a correct diagnosis. Not only was I looking for the perfect guy, but I was desperate to appear perfect to him. No whammies. All my ducks in a row. Not that I own any ducks, geese or Empire chickens -- or would bring anything that quacks on a date. I would, however, make myself meshuggeneh trying to look graceful and flawless. But why work so hard to get some guy's hechsher?
Sure men get excited about that perfectly polished, put-together, supermodel type, but they also get excited about cold pizza. They're not so hard to please. Sometimes we're so focused on impressing the person we're dating, we fail to notice how impressive that person really is.
Austin could have called The National Enquirer, told them he'd located Big Foot. But instead, he was a knight in shining T-shirt. With my athlete's foot elevated and my head in his lap, we spent hours talking, exchanging stories and playing beach blanket bingo. Guess I was the one who was swept off my feet. Well, at least one of them.
Freelance writer Carin Davis can be reached at email@example.com.