Out of all that Libby says to me when we meet, this seems the most unnecessary: “I have a strong personality. I’m not a wallflower. I’m not a shrinking violet.” She is very clearly none of these things. She is confident, smart and an alpha female. Yet, she says, “I think I’d do really well with someone who would challenge me and call me out on my s—-. The big problem in my last relationship was I was the head of the household. I was the decision maker. I subconsciously attracted that kind of man, but it’s not what I want.”
Libby is sitting to the side of me at the head of a long table of people at Starbucks. I ask her if she wants to move to a more private area to talk. She shakes her head. Later she tells me, “I know how to ask for what I need,” and I see that Libby has no problem making noise to get what she wants.
Born in Israel, raised in Manhattan and educated at Harvard with a degree in economics, Libby moved to Los Angeles to become an Oscar-winning producer. She climbed the ranks and “then I got the job I was working toward — director of development. I had that for a year and realized I didn’t want to be in entertainment at all, and it wasn’t a reason to get out of bed every day. I wasn’t in it for the love of story or the love of craft. I was in it for the fun, the glamour … and it wasn’t cutting it for me.” After a four-year stint at The Jewish Federation, she now works as a fundraiser for the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.
Libby was married for two years, but the marriage recently ended in divorce. “The two biggest things I learned from my divorce: 1) Love does not conquer all. That’s really a fantasy. I still love my ex very much. We’re friends. We went to a Dodger game recently. Just because you love someone does not mean they’re the right partner for you. 2) You can’t change anyone. The only thing you can change is yourself and the way you act, and think, and speak, and are, in the world.”
I ask her if she’s ready to settle down with someone new. “This is not rebound city. I would say that one of my most defining characteristics is that I work on my [self] and don’t play the victim. It might be my No. 1 pet peeve. Lots and lots of people play victims to their circumstances, and I can’t stand it.”
I ask her about men. “I would say probably the most important thing I look for in a guy is maturity. Funny, yes. Handsome, yes. But No. 1 is mature.” She continues, “He has to be passionate about something. I don’t care what it is, but he has to have a zest for life and exploration. An intellectual curiosity.” Although Libby loves running marathons and studies Krav Maga, she has that intellectual curiosity she craves in a partner. “I’m obsessed with Wikipedia. I’m a knowledge junkie. I will hear something on NPR or see it on TV or read an article and have to find out more about it. It’s just kind of the way my mind works.”
After Libby says goodbye, my friend, who’s working on a screenplay next to me, looks up and points to his ears. “These headphones block out about 75 percent of sound, and I could still hear her loud and clear.” Hopefully the interested men will, too.
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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.