As soon as Robert sits down, his gaze continually shifts from the window to me. I make up reasons in my head: He’s on the run from the cops. He owes money to a bookie, and they’re coming after him. His partner is outside casing the joint. “I’m looking for parking enforcement.” Illegally parked. I’ll buy it for now.
Robert lives in Encino and has worked at Victoria’s Secret since he started as an undergrad — but he’s ready to move on. “You can only handle women for so long. You being the only guy, and for some reason they all have their menstrual cycles at the same time.” That’s when you don’t want to be working, he joked. “But it’s been a great job. And the perks are great.”
Robert’s plan was to go into law, but after speaking with a criminal judge, a family lawyer and a real-estate lawyer, he learned that it caused their lives to deteriorate. “They all had divorces, always worked … that wasn’t the life I wanted after college.” Instead he got a master’s degree in history, with plans to go into teaching; but after a conversation with a friend who’s a cop in Van Nuys, he changed his mind again. He’s applying to join the police academy in October. “I also have a backup — applying at the same time for a teaching credential. This way, if I get disqualified, I have the teaching credential to back it up. I tell my mom, ‘No matter what, I’ll be professional in the next year and a half.’ ”
He sits like a cop. Good posture. And as I watch his eyes dart between the window and me, I realize he’s probably going to fly through the academy. He’s smart, competent and seems to be in it for the right reasons. “If you’re doing it for the pay, there’s a ton of different things you can do for pay. You have to do it because you really want to go out there and, as corny as it sounds, make a difference. Just seeing the cops out there all the time, there’s a respect issue and an honor issue. And just being able to be someone’s protector gets me to the point where I want to be that guy.”
When we shift the conversation to relationships, he’s less sure about himself. “I don’t know what I want. I think the one thing I really want is the companionship — being able to always have someone to share something with. A best friend and a girlfriend in one. The one thing that’s making me move toward a Jewish girl, specifically, is raising a family having a Jewish mother and father allows the raising of children to be more fluent.” “Fluent?” I ask. He corrects himself: “Fluid. Sometimes I choose the wrong word to describe what I’m feeling, even though I know what I want to say. In my fraternity, they call [them] Robert-isms.”
“What’s the best thing about you?” I ask. “I’m very truthful. I try to never lie. I’m going to tell you how I feel about you. I’m not going to cover it up.” When it comes to dating, “I don’t like going to trendy places. I prefer the typical coffee date, go to a bar, talk … I really want to get to know you, so I want to talk the whole time. I’m old-school. I like doing stupid things on dates, whether it’s miniature golfing, bowling and park picnics, as pathetic as that sounds. I love going to restaurants, trying new foods, except — and I mean a big except — Indian food. I can’t do that. We will never ever eat spicy food.” I tell him that Indian food isn’t necessarily spicy. “It’s not?” He shrugs. “I didn’t know that.”
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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.