I suppose I may have been making a spectacle of myself in a town where people see sporting events as networking opportunities. This is Los Angeles, after all. A city where, for the most part, the men look like women and the women look like each other. Not me. I'm a lumberjack-loving Canadian. And this was a hockey game. Nah, a CANUCKS game. Matthew Perry was there, for Christ's sake. I make no apologies for singing, proudly, my national anthem. I am unashamed of my beer-drinking, boobie-wagging excitement as the Sedin twins sprayed their shaved ice in my direction. I welcomed it, like a teenage girl welcomes her first accidental penis-poke at the 8th grade Spook-tacular Halloween Dance in her school's cafeteria.
It was when a handsome stranger, sitting against the boards in the front row, summoned me down that I realized just how "loud" I had been.
"Are you Canadian?" He asked with a self-assured grin.
I looked down at my Canucks shirt and thought: Awww, what a sweet little dummy. "Yes, I am." I was just about to turn away and go back to my seat when he called out for more.
"I know a girl who lives in Canada. I think Montreal. Evelyn?"
Now, I've been dealing with these kind of comments for 8 years. You're from Canadia, Eh? You remind me of Robin Scherbatsky from How I Met Your Mother. She's Canadian, right? Are you afraid of the dark? Say "pasta" again! Ha! Hilarious.
After convincing far too many Americans that I'm an expert ice fisherman, and was on the National Canadian Curling team for 4 years before I threw my shoulder out wrestling a moose, I figured I could deal with one more stereotype -- that all of us Canadians know each other.
"Evelyn doesn't live in Montreal. She's in Atlantic City." I shook my head, embarrassed for his "mistake."
"What? No. I'm almost certain she's in Montreal." His brow furrowed. Clearly he wasn't used to being wrong.
"No, I'm telling you. Evelyn is in Atlantic City. She moved there after she and what's-his-face broke up. She took it pretty rough. You should call her." I gently patted his shoulder and walked away giggling to myself.
For the next hour, handsome would find a handful of opportunities to crane his neck and look back in my direction. Every time I purposefully waved at him like a buffoon with a serious case of spaghetti arms.
By the end of the game, he gathered up his courage to approach the girl who'd been mocking him for the past three periods.
"You were making fun of me."
"Would you like to go out sometime?"
BAM! Just like that! His boldness and charm in those two little sentences bulldozed over any ignorance he had toward Canada. For a fleeting moment, I imagined him strapping on a pair of boots and chopping me down a Christmas tree. I gave him my number, and he insisted on giving me his card. Weird, but I went with it (this is the point in the story where usually his name would be revealed, but for the sake of his anonymity, I will be referring to handsome as Joe Handsome).
"Joe Handsome, It's nice to meet you." And just like that, I left.
I didn't think about Joe that night or the night after. By the third night I had forgotten his name altogether until it popped up in my phone as a text message. Oh right! Joe! Gee, he sure was handsome. It was then when I decided to do something that I NEVER do. I Googled him. And trust me when I say that I don't Google people. Not since I discovered that, when I Google myself, the first thing that pops up is an IMDB page exposing my darkest secret -- my stint as an extra on TLC's: I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant.
The instant I hit "search" his image flooded my computer screen, and I started screaming in fear. Joe Handsome was the heir to a billion-dollar fortune. His family comes from one of the oldest money families in America. They hobnob with the Prince Harrys and Anderson Coopers of the world. Literally. There were pictures. His ex girlfriends were heiresses and models -- and then there was me, a woman who, not too long ago, made her money as a paid audience member for Deal or No Deal and Family Feud.
The dating advice I received from friends and coworkers soon after this discovery, ranged from anywhere between: "If you need me to double date with you, I can totally be there" to, "Just leave him hanging with a really good blow job, Ellie."
The next day he texted me a simple: "What time tonight?"
Oh, God! Think, Ellie! THINK! Do I just say, "8 p.m. "? No, I can't. There's no excitement in that response. Do I say: "So nice to hear from you, Mr. Handsome. I would be delighted to accompany you to whatever gala you plan on escorting me to tonight"?
My mind just about exploded with a thousand different responses, that I stopped thinking and typed: "I'm very busy feeding the homeless right now. Can we make it 8 p.m.?" SEND.
I put on my tightest of jeans, and coolest of jackets. It's possible that I was influenced by the pump-me-up song I had been playing since 5 p.m., Joan Jett's, "Do You Wanna Touch Me".
When he called to tell me that he was outside, my roommate gave me a round of applause. Stop it. This is ridiculous. I'm sure we're not all that different. I'm sure he's a sweet guy, and it's probably almost impossible for him to date in the real world. I'm sure he occasionally puts on a plaid shirt and doesn't always wear decorative scarves. Maybe Joe Handsome is just like me deep down, and there's nothing to be intimidated by. Just maybe!
As we drove into the night, we passed a gathering of Los Angeles hobos to which he wondering allowed: "Oh, this where you do your charity work with the homeless?"
Oh dear God. I am an asshole.
"Ummm... no. That was meant to be cheeky joke -- like, Oh, Ellie... she's so amazing. She feeds homeless people. I see now, in explaining this to you, how that's a questionable topic to make light of."
Throughout the night, we talked about our hopes, our dreams, our likes and dislikes. What we did on the weekends. He raced high-end motorcycles; I played dodgeball. He collected priceless works of art; I really like Buffy the Vampire Slayer. With a glass of scotch in hand, he ended up sharing with me personal stories about his life, his family, his fears. He even said his dad would love me because of my nonsense. Over the course of four hours, he decided on destinations for our future adventures together, and the people we were sure to meet throughout our courtship. None of this would happen, of course. We both knew that. But for one lovely Los Angeles night, we escaped the hardships of our very different realities. For just one night he lived in my world and I, in his.