Erin’s a selfish girl. She’s spent 12 years working as a registered nurse, specializing in adult critical care and pediatric post-surgical care. Her last seven vacations have been to Asia and South America, though instead of getting her hair braided and lying on a beach, she spent all day in surgery volunteering with a program called ReSurge International that does reconstructive surgery on the world’s poor. I gave a dollar to a homeless guy a few days ago, and I’m still waiting for my trophy. And now this selfish girl has me feeling “less than.” How dare she.
Erin’s also involved with Barco’s Nightingales Foundation. “It’s a uniform company, and they make all the scrubs for ‘Grey’s Anatomy.’ [The owner] kind of took me under his wing. He started this foundation to honor nurses for the work we do, and he raises money to fund surgery for some of the kids around the world who can’t afford the surgery.” Erin’s hope is to start a nonprofit or global organization of her own.
I first met Erin last November on a Jewish Federation trip to Israel. One of the days we were there, we spent a few hours working with immigrant children in a school. She says, “When we went to that school to do Play-Doh with the kids, I was so pumped up when we left, because I saw the way the kids soaked it up and loved it. I want to do something — whether it takes a lot of effort or no effort. I get a lot of satisfaction seeing people be touched by a simple act.”
She has a theory on dating she shared with us on the trip. “Imagine a guy walks into the library and he’s looking for a book. He pulls two off the shelf. One of them is this beautiful leather-bound book. The other one is a paperback book — not plain, just not as beautiful as the leather-bound book. He opens the leather-bound book, but it’s a boring story. He opens the paperback book, and he’s engrossed in it. It’s a beautiful story. I feel that in Southern California, I’m the paperback book. I’m not a size 2, I don’t have fake boobs — I’m just totally average. I totally take care of myself and take pride in taking care of myself, but I don’t want to meet a guy who wants to meet a girl who just looks good on his arm. I want him to get to know me. Read the book.”
She continues, “I want someone who compliments me. I love yoga. I love hiking. I love anything outdoors. Hopefully he likes sushi. If we live by a beach, we have a cabin in the mountains. My husband can go have a poker night — he doesn’t need to ‘ask my permission.’ The big thing with me is traveling. I can’t marry someone who has no interest in going on an airplane. I need someone who takes life and wants to make the most out of it. I don’t need to have the nicest car. I don’t need to keep up with the Joneses. I grew up in an affluent area, and my sister and I wanted for nothing, but it’s not what I need.” What she needs is simple: “If I like someone, I want him to tell me he likes me, and vice versa. I don’t want games.”
“You haven’t mentioned looks,” I say. She says, “If I’m not attracted to a guy, I don’t write him off immediately. I’m open to getting to know someone. And I’m short, so he can be short.”
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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.