Elyse, 43, is a freelancer for this magazine — but that doesn’t mean she was coerced into being interviewed for My Single Peeps. At least as far as I know. I’ve never met a single person at the office. I write from home. Maybe it’s a tyrannical organization. All I know is she showed up to meet me, and she seemed interested in genuinely finding love.
“I basically grew up in the Chicago suburb of Evanston,” Elyse begins. “I went to the University of Illinois [at Chicago — UIC] and got my master’s in journalism from Syracuse University. I began my journalism career as a music journalist and interviewed bands while maintaining straight A’s. While an undergrad at UIC, I co-founded the Chicago Flame,” a community newspaper that was around for 20 years. That’s where Elyse honed her chops as a restaurant and travel writer. “I pretty much lived the whole plot of ‘Reality Bites,’ minus the two cute guys fighting over me. It was time for a fresh start, so I moved out to California in October of ’94.” She did temp work for a few months before landing her first real job, at Rogers & Cowan. She moved on to other PR companies, writing press kits and press releases, but, “I discovered I love the work and didn’t care for the politics. After 9/11, it made me realize how fragile and fleeting life is, and I decided to go into business for myself.” She’s a freelancer who writes about food, travel and wellness.
Elyse describes herself as quirky. “Quirky works if you’re Zooey Deschanel on TV and under 30. I’m told I was quirky, and guys don’t like quirky.” I ask her what makes her quirky. “The way I express myself; my hand gestures; my eyes … I look away. I just have my own way of seeing the world. I see my competition in L.A. — they have the long, straight hair, they come off easygoing, and I come off uptight until I can relax and express myself.”
When she first sits down with me, she’s ready to talk. I slow her down because she’s talking faster than I type. She pauses, and then continues midsentence when I prompt her. I think she’s too serious — that she doesn’t know how to laugh at life. But as she gets out her story, I realize that she just wants to show me that side of herself. We all want to show our best sides right away — and to Elyse, her best side is one of a serious journalist. But it’s when she makes jokes about the horrors of being single that I see her at her best. Later she tells me, “If I seem stiff and uncomfortable, it’s because I like to get to know people. I have this whole other side where I’m fun [and I’m the] life of the party.” And I believe her.
She wants an educated man. “Somebody who likes to actually get out and do things — try new foods, have new life experiences. Somebody with a good job. I want a guy who’s comfortable in his own skin. I like a guy who’s tall and works out. I realize at this stage in my life, I don’t want IKEA. I want Ethan Allen — something I can just take home and enjoy.
“If it’s in the cards for me to have a child of my own, that’s great; but if not, I can adopt. There are certain things I’d like to do in life before I become a parent.” “Like what?” I ask. She thinks for a few moments and realizes she’s done everything she’s wanted to do. “The only thing I haven’t found is a great guy.”
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.