Dating can be scary. Dating in a foreign country can be petrifying.
When I arrived in Los Angeles in 2003, going on dates was the farthest thing from my mind. I came here for love -- my love of the entertainment biz, but more importantly (and naively), my love for a guy.
Unfortunately, my dreams of a fairy-tale ending with my long distance-turned-local beau were dashed when our relationship went sour a few months after my arrival.
Fortuitously for me, although my life -- with the same boyfriend for three years --was drastically altered, I was offered a job in show business (my career of choice at the time). I conveniently threw myself into my work but soon found that there was a void: I had no man to call my own.
My entire dating life, I had been what some relationship cynics call a serial monogamist. By the time I was 24, I had been in a relationship for nine years. Not with the same person. Actually, four different ones -- with gaps between of just a day, a week, or a month.
When the oozing wound of the latest breakup began healing, I decided it was time to find someone new. But my desire to start dating again overwhelmed me with fear because I did not have the faintest idea how to meet someone.
As a Canadian living in Los Angeles, I didn't have a network of friends to introduce me to eligible bachelors. The only people I knew were friends of my ex. And so, I reluctantly resorted to online dating.
The first challenge was to build an online profile. The Web site asked me to create a personal essay -- the first tidbit that a prospective suitor would ever learn about me. But what could I possibly say that wouldn't turn someone off?
After pondering the content of this paragraph for a couple of days and filling out the rest of the information in my personal Web page, I chose to write a short but to-the-point introduction that simply stated that I was Canadian and looking to meet someone new.
Once my photo was uploaded, my journey of online dating officially commenced. I immediately began to worry that no one would contact me.
All my concerns about online dating were for naught. After about a week, I was a pro. I realized how scrolling down the pages, looking at photos of available Jewish men, was similar to online shopping. This "shopping" experience became one of my favorite pastimes.
Online dating even gave my bruised ego a boost. I began receiving compliments about my looks and my accomplishments from potential suitors almost daily. I began to feel hopeful that I would find my Prince Charming within this brand new group of available bachelors.
I was soon going on dates three to five times a week. I met all kinds of men: short, tall, hirsute, skinny, gorgeous and not-so-hot; lawyers, doctors, students, businessmen and, of course, actors. It is Los Angeles after all.
Dating was no longer frightening. It actually became enjoyable, and I eagerly anticipated meeting cute, single, Jewish men, in the hopes that one special guy would win the coveted title of Melanie's Boyfriend.
Cut to: Two Years Later.
I created my third "new" profile on the same online dating site.
Dating many different guys had lost its luster, and I was ready for something serious. Yet, at the same time, I was on the verge of throwing in the towel on dating altogether. I was certain I'd exhausted the pool of single men that I had once been so anxious to dive into.
One lonely evening, I was looking for a beacon, or at least a glimmer of hope that my perfect match was out there. I began perusing all the dating success stories listed on the dating Web site. I started reading at "A" and only made it through "D" before I became slightly more optimistic about my dating future. I vowed that evening that one day, I, too, would have my own story posted there.
Nevertheless, two weeks and three first dates later, I was fed up again, and declared myself too busy to date. Just one day later, I found him.
Ironically, he was an acquaintance of the long-distance ex. Someone I'd even had a small crush on for years. He had just joined my online dating service and thought he'd say hello to a familiar face. I was the first person he contacted.
Eight months later, we're going strong. I don't know if I can impute our connection to my proclamation of having no time to date, or if my taking the success stories to heart ignited a cosmic force that ushered him into my life.
But how and why don't matter. The point is: I met him. And now that I've found happiness, I advocate online dating to anyone who will listen and play matchmaker as a hobby. I'm just trying to spread the wealth.