David, 27, seems to be brimming with confidence. He’s got a good, deep voice, and he’s still when he speaks. I fidget. My fingers or toes are generally wiggling, and I shift my position constantly. It suddenly dawns on me — I’m jealous. Why can’t I be as sure of myself?
“I’m from Washington, D.C. My mother’s a Jewish cookbook writer, Joan Nathan. My father’s a lawyer. I have two older sisters. I went to Columbia, studied English. I went to England and studied acting [there]. Made a few films. Acted in a few films. I lived in New York for the last eight years, since Columbia. I moved here a few months ago. I’m loving it. My sister lives here. She’s a journalist. I also work as a private chef on the side. I used to want to be a chef for a long time. I started working in restaurants when I was 15. My mother told me I couldn’t be a chef, so I spited her and became an actor.” He laughs.
“I like interesting women who do interesting things — who are really their own people and sort of motivate you. Kindness is important. Not niceness, but kindness. There’s something false about niceness and something authentic about kind[ness]. People I’ve dated in the past have been farmers [and] painters.” He met them summering on Martha’s Vineyard. I’ve never been there, but I picture him hanging out with the Kennedys on a yacht. And jealousy keeps rearing its ugly head.
“Generally, I’ve liked sort of goyishe girls — blond, beautiful … I like brunettes, too. I like small women. I like earthy women. I like women who know how to stick their hands in soil. I’m that way, too. When I was living in Brooklyn, I had my own vegetable garden in the backyard. I can build stuff.”
I need to find this guy’s kryptonite. “What makes you difficult?” I ask.
“I tend to be reserved sometimes … which can come across as cocky.” He nails exactly what’s been bothering me about him. He seems cocky. “I have this weird balance where I’m super cocky and secure, to just being panicked and [this] nebbishy doubting everything and wondering what I should do. That’s just the worst. You want to stay away from that aspect of yourself as much as possible.” His cockiness is his defense mechanism. But he tells me he often feels insecure. My jealousy quickly dissipates.
“I can also be very demanding — wanting to do it my way. That’s probably my biggest problem in general — wanting to do it your way, which is a good thing, [but] can also set you back in a lot of ways. I’ve done enough where I don’t feel insecure, and then I sit next to Andrew Garfield and I think he’s done so much. That’s what’s so hard is feeling like you have to justify yourself when you haven’t won your Tony or your Oscar yet, when you know [you have the potential]. I think my other big fault is I can just be too uptight. I can take things too seriously. I think I want to take things less seriously. I was grinding my teeth in New York.” Part of the reason he moved to Los Angeles was to get back in touch with what’s important. I think if people in general are in that place where they’re fully themselves, then we’re in a better place.
“What makes you great?” I ask.
“I think I have a unique way of looking at the world. And I’m a doer. I like to do and make things happen. I’m always looking for beauty … whether it’s visually, about character [or] about the world … I’m always trying to find beauty.”
Seth Menachem is an actor and writer living in Los Angeles with his wife and two children. You can see more of his work on his Web site, sethmenachem.com, and meet even more single peeps at mysinglepeeps.com.