Woven into the right side of Renata’s curly hair are white strands stripped of color. She has vitiligo, but it didn’t reveal itself until she was under some stress about four years ago. I love how it looks. She does, too. She’s not uptight about things like that. This surprises me. She seems buttoned up to me at first. A little uptight and serious. It takes me a few minutes to even register that her earrings are actually plugs, which stretch the holes in the earlobe. And she’s dressed conservatively but with a little bit of an edge. Like a prepster throwing on an army jacket over his oxford. I like the dichotomy. Maybe I’m just intimidated at first. She’s 5-foot-8 and moves up to 6 feet in high heels. She doesn’t mind a man shorter than she is but wants one who will be comfortable with that.
Renata, 31, was raised in Hollywood. So were her parents. So were her grandparents. None of them are in entertainment. She loves the palm trees, the sun and Runyon Canyon, which she hikes every day.
After working for many years in the fashion industry, she went back to school to get a master’s degree in nutrition. She’ll graduate in a month. To make money, she helps her mother, a physical therapist, at work. “I have a lot of patience for people. I’ve dealt with a lot of interesting people — especially when people are in pain. I guess I lack patience with people who don’t really use common sense, or don’t have a strong work ethic, or aren’t efficient. I think everything should take 15 to 20 minutes. A ceremony should take 15 to 20 minutes, a lecture should take 15 to 20 minutes.” “Sex?” I ask. “Well, not everything.” She laughs.
Renata loves to eat. “I don’t think food is good or bad. People think dessert is bad and an apple is good. I think some things are going to be more fattening and some things less.” She bakes often and has been experimenting with raw food. “I can get really nerdy if someone wants to talk about the Paleo Diet and the benefits of and the cons of. On the other hand, I don’t want to be with someone so strict about their diet.”
She’s looking for “someone who’s pretty well rounded in terms of their tastes — who can appreciate a rap song as much as they can appreciate classic rock. Can go out one day and play some kind of athletic sport and maybe the next day play the piano. I know I’m maybe expecting too much from somebody. What I do in my head in a joking way: ‘Do you know how to drive stick shift, do you know what a kumquat is, do you know how to hang a picture, do you like Mexico, and do you like New York?’ And those are my half-serious criteria. It’s comical, but at the same time, if you can’t hang a picture, then what am I going to do with you?” When she tells me this, I laugh, as if I totally get what she’s talking about. But on the inside, I panic about my own manhood. Her dad installs fine windows and doors, and her brother is a technical engineer and a helicopter pilot — he builds sets and runways for movies and commercials. They’re builders. “The stereotype is that a Jewish guy can’t hold a hammer — that makes no sense.
“I don’t have one type. If I had to have a type, it would be Clive Owen or Gerard Butler. Not someone who’s perfect. Has a little bit of grit in them. I want to know in an arm-wrestling match I’m not going to beat you.”
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Seth Menachem is an actor and writer living in Los Angeles with his wife and two kids. You can see more of his work on his Web site, sethmenachem.com, and meet even more single peeps by clicking on this column at jewishjournal.com.