Jesse is a guy in his 30s whom I’ve been nodding at for years. We’re both actors and we’re often auditioning for the same commercials. We see each other and give a nod, or mumble a hello, before looking at our lines or busying ourselves with something on our phones. I always got the impression that Jesse was a nice guy. I don’t know why — just something likeable in his face. I guess that’s why he stars in so many commercials. He’s attractive, a seemingly warm guy who doesn’t intimidate — so when you see him holding a Bud Light on TV, you want to share a beer with him.
I was working on a Single Peeps column when Jesse walked into Starbucks. He said hi and asked me what I was writing. I told him about My Single Peeps, and he said, “I’m recently single.” I said, “If you have a little time, sit down and I’ll interview you.” He didn’t hesitate.
“I was born in New York. When I was 12, I moved to Texas — to Dallas. I have two older brothers. My whole family is still in Texas. I went to film school at the University of Texas. I came out to L.A. with a film degree. I worked at [Creative Artists Agency] for two years in the motion picture department for a junior agent. We repped all these young writers who were making bank, and I was like, ‘You know what? I’d rather wear a T-shirt and jeans than a suit and tie every day — and I left and became an actor.’”
Jesse lives in Santa Monica, where he often bikes on the bike path. “I’m pretty active. I like to hike. I run. I’ve run five marathons. I ran New York last year.” He’s narrated more than 30 young adult books, which got him interested in writing one. “I’m writing a young-adult novel called ‘Project Bee Sting,’ about a boy who gets stung by a bee, and how that bee sting affects the community forever.”
Jesse doesn’t want a woman who’s caught up in the Hollywood scene. “If I didn’t have to be here, I probably wouldn’t be… Where would I be? On a ranch somewhere, rocking on a porch.”
“What do you want out of a relationship?” I ask. “I’m looking for compatibility and looking for someone who ultimately is my best friend who becomes a partner. I’m not looking to race and get the house nicer than my neighbors, but one day I’d like to have kids.”
“What makes you difficult?” I ask. “I’m pretty career oriented. I’m really detail oriented. I like to sort of cross my t’s and dot my i’s and I don’t like to leave the things to chance when it’s something I can control. I’m kind of stubborn.”
“What makes you great to be with?” I ask. “I’m really attentive. Being in Texas I picked up a Southern gentlemanly quality more than the fast-talking New Yorker. I’m polite, I’m courteous. I say, ‘please’ and ‘thank you.’ ”
He comes off as mild mannered — and he doesn’t need to use curse words to accentuate his sentences. He makes a living as an actor, but it doesn’t define him. When I ask about regrets, he tells me he doesn’t have any. “I’m trying to live my life and keep things real. I have a lot of acquaintances, but very few friends. “Why are you doing this?” I ask. “Because I’m open to new experiences.” Later he tells me, “I sort of have a hard time sitting around and waiting for things to happen. I like to make things happen.”
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.