Dina grew up in Michigan, one of only a few Jews in her area. Her parents, who themselves had met at a Camp Ramah, sent her to Camp Ramah in Canada so she could meet other Jews. “I really loved it,” she told me. She spent 10 summers there as a camper and counselor — even after her family moved to California when her father, a professor, got a teaching position here.
After graduating from Northwestern University, she moved to Los Angeles to act. A couple of years into it, she realized that wasn’t what she wanted. “It was hard. It was fun in the beginning to be poor, but I just had a lot of other interests. I really wasn’t as good as I liked to be — and I like to be good at what I do — so I got my master’s in social work at the University of Chicago.” After working with troubled teenagers, she opened a private practice. “It was a little slow for me, and I felt guilty charging people.” So she went back to school again — this time to get her MBA.
From there, she worked at a start-up, until it went bust. She then became a yoga teacher, which led to her teaching yoga in an outpatient psychiatric unit. “I taught yoga for a long time, but once again it was similar to that experience I had as an actor where it wasn’t enough money or intellectually challenging enough.”
She took a job at an ad agency for five years, working as a strategic planner. Then she transitioned to marketing: “It wasn’t consistent enough, but I loved the connections I made with the arts, and I still help promote shows for people.” Dina currently works at a market research/brand strategy company running focus groups and one-on-one interviews. Except for the commute to downtown, she likes the job. What she needs is a man.
“I don’t know where the men are. Where are they — working? They’re tired. They go the gym, maybe. I don’t like singles functions. That’s why I don’t mind blind dates. You go for coffee, a drink, a light bite, and you have a conversation and you can tell pretty quickly if you want to know more about the person or not. I guess in terms of men, I find L.A. difficult to meet people. When I lived in Chicago, I found every other person was trying to set me up — even strangers. I was waitressing in grad school, and even customers would say, ‘You need to meet my nephew.’ Here, it’s harder. People are spread out.
“What happened online when I put I’m over 40 is I didn’t get people in my age group, but I got much older. Forty sounds old, but it isn’t. I’m a youthful woman in my 40s — not just in looks.
“I like [my men] a little quirky. I want someone who’s kind, with an open heart, has a sense of humor and can make fun of himself. He doesn’t have to have my love for theater, but I’m somewhat spiritual [so he] needs to be open to that.
“I think it’s really important to have a job that you’re passionate about, that stimulates you, but I think it’s important to have [something] outside of work — a family life, interests. And I think with a partner it’s just easier. I’m not that high-maintenance — I really want a true partnership and a commitment, but I’ve been single enough that I’ve been able to fill my life up, so I don’t need someone to do that for me. … I want someone to enjoy it with.”
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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.