"So let me get this right. They are going to set you up with a beautiful woman from L.A., film the date and put it on TV?" My friend Dave has a background in physics and is quite good at breaking down situations to the lowest common denominator. "Yes. That's basically it," I replied. "Well if you don't want to do it, then tell them I will." And with that, Dave had endorsed the idea, which was good enough for me.
The shoot wouldn't actually take place until about a month later, which was good because when I signed up, my new place in Brentwood didn't have a lick of furniture. I had been staying in the hotel across the street. This window of time gave my interior designer a chance to at least make the place presentable. It also gave me a chance to start planning a "dream date." Wow.
I cringe just typing that. Dream date. Sounds like something Ken and Malibu Barbie do every other Saturday night. But I wanted to do something special, mostly because I've never really had a "dream date" and the fact that by the magic of television and video, this event would be saved for all posterity.
So Patti shows up and I answer the door. She really wasn't what I expected. I had done my homework by googling her name to see what I was in for. For what little I'd found, the information seemed to indicate that she was the tough, go-getter type. But after greeting her at the door, I sensed that she was kind of sweet. And sort of hot, too. Little did I know that her shyness was only a temporary reaction to meeting someone new and the tough, go-getter would eventually creep back out. More on this later...
So we sit down on the couch and she starts asking me a bunch of stuff and I start telling her a bunch of stuff and quite frankly I can't even remember anything specific about the conversation. I'm just thinking things like, "Wow, do I look stupid?" and "My friends are going to think I'm a real goober after they see this." But all in all, I think it went OK. And it went so fast.
This was definitely going to be easier than Day 1, or so I thought. At least I knew what I was in for, for the most part. Patti shows up with this fashion consultant named Jennifer. Wow! Is this my date? Cool! She was absolutely gorgeous, and had the sweetest smile I had ever seen. I wanted to go out with her!
This first thing they wanted to do is go through my closet. Now mind you, I'm not completely settled into my new place yet, so my closet was comprised of what I consider to be my choice selection of stuff which I brought down from my main house. I'm talking kick-ass, premium, custom-made stuff. In fact, I drove 8 hours back to L.A. so I wouldn't have to trust the cream of my closet to airline baggage handlers. And I'm talking cutting-edge stuff. People stop me in the streets to ask me where I bought my coats. I know my fashion and I figured this closet inspection would be a cake walk.
Not so. Patti started ripping on my stuff immediately.
So then they show me what Jennifer brought for me to try. Wow. I'm thinking, "New Kids on the Block." Sloppy blazer, funny pants, Converse Bozo shoes. And, of course, Patti was impressed with the stuff. To Jennifer's credit, the clothes were hip and current. For the 18 to 20-something crowd. But when you put a guy my age in clothes like that, it looks so freaking stupid.
And I can't begin to describe the public shame and social humiliation I would receive if I went out in that garb. As far as I'm concerned, being fashionable doesn't mean wearing what everyone else is wearing. It means wearing what others do not. So while I basically informed them of this potential conflict, I still agreed to try it on for them. Once they saw what I was talking about they understood.
Then they laid a real stink bomb on me: they want me to cut off my chin-toy. My "soul patch." My landing strip. Yikes. I've been sporting that thing forever. Ok, I'll give them that, only because they think it will make me look younger and it wouldn't take too long to grow it back.
So we agree to use a few items from what Jennifer brought and some of the items in my closet as a compromise. We agree I'll hack off the chin thing. Fair enough. As I was walking them out, Patti started to tell me about the party we'd be attending the next day where I would get to meet the girls she has chosen. I asked her if Jennifer would be attending. She said no, unless I wanted her to. Damn right, I do! Despite her dubious fashion sense, I thought Jennifer was fantastic in every other way. ;-)
The party. This was going to be a weird day. Don't get me wrong. I was totally excited at the prospect of meeting a flock of beautiful women chosen specifically for me by a professional matchmaker. But it was just weird. A pre-arranged mingle. I have no problem socializing in a crowd and meeting people, especially women. But in a conventional party scenario, there's no agenda other than to be social. What ever happens from there is great. In this particular scenario, there is an agenda. The purpose is assumed. Even worse is the mere fact that a matchmaker is involved. I would think the first thing women ponder in this case is, "Wow, the guy is such a loser, he needs a matchmaker to help him meet girls."
The event was at a beautiful Japanese restaurant overlooking L.A. in the Hollywood hills. It has a large atrium area where the party was to take place. I get there and I can see through the windows of the lobby into the atrium that there are quite a few beautiful women out there. Nice. So they push me and my cohort, Julien, out onto the deck of this atrium. We take care of our own introductions and talk about ourselves and the event before we meet the women.
Julien was an interesting chap. He was a handsome guy and seemed to have a lot going for him. But I could tell he was really nervous about the whole scene. This actually made me feel better because it made me realize that it wasn't just weird for me. It was weird for him as well. And since he seemed to be having a worse time with it, I was compelled to reassure him that it would be a great time and all would turn out well. Propping him up kind of helped me get past my own phobia with the issue.
We then went down to the garden area of the atrium and were introduced to the women. It was an interesting mix of different looks and personalities, though all were beautiful. I did a few of my stupid magic tricks. I was about to do one where I turn five 1 dollar bills into five 100 dollar bills when a girl named Tara bleated out, "What are you going to do, turn them into 100s?" Damn! She totally blew my trick! On camera, no less. That was cold. So I ditched that trick, (and Tara as well) and moved on to another group of girls to do a different trick. After some more socializing, we were both pulled aside by Patti and asked to select a few girls from each as final candidates.
At this point, I asked about Jennifer. She was at the venue, so I figured she would be a potential candidate. And then Patti told me, "No, Jennifer is not an option. She works for me and that would be wrong." What?! Now mind you, all of the women there were great, but Jennifer was my favorite. She was closer to my age and we had a connection that I didn't have with anyone else, and now she was no longer an option. That really sucked.
Ok, so I have to choose two candidates to interview. Fine. I chose Lisa because she was kind of like Jennifer and I chose Tara the troublemaker, so I could razz her for blowing my dollar trick. The conversation with Lisa went well. We learned a lot about each other and she seemed like an awesome woman. But something didn't click between us. Have you ever been at that point in a date where you realize that there's really no chemistry or anything else happening between you and the person on the other side of the table?
And then it was time to interview Tara. Frankly, I thought there was no way in hell I would go on a date with her. But as we started chatting, I realize that this was an amazing woman with an incredible personality. She was so much fun! We were joking and swearing and talking about things I'm sure will end up on the cutting room floor. She was a blast.
So after the two interviews, Patti tells me to choose one of the two for the date. The choice was easy. I had no doubt that I would have the most fun with Tara.
Date day. This was going to be fun. And funny. I really wanted it to start out looking like a bad date, so I met Tara at a hamburger stand. I figured she'd be repulsed when she arrived and realize what a "cheapskate" I was. But there was no negative reaction from her. I was really surprised. Had I pulled that stunt on anyone else, they probably would have told me to take a flying you-know-what. Instead she was happy to be there.
So I suggest we go wine tasting before we eat. She agrees and jumps in my car. As we're driving, she kept asking me which winery we were going to visit and I kept saying it was going to be a surprise. She was having trouble with this because she knew there weren't any wineries in Van Nuys. And she remained fairly suspicious until we pulled into the Van Nuys Jet Center and pulled up to the Lear. And then she figured it out. Escape from LA.
The flight up to Santa Rose was only 45 minutes. But we had a blast on the way up, conversing and joking around. When we arrived in Santa Rosa, my car and driver were waiting for us and drove us to my house, which is fairly close to the airport. We hung out there for a while, had drinks and I played some music for her on my pipe organ. I probably should have played before drinking. Oh well.
Then it was off to Castello di Amorosa winery. This place is amazing. It's a real castle that was just recently completed and it's only about 40 minutes from my house. My friend, Jamen, works there and I had arranged a grand tour with him ahead of time. I'm not sure how much of this tour will end up on the show, but we spent hours there exploring the castle. I want to go back there and shoot a music video!
After the castle, we took the limo back to the airport for the flight back to LA. The drive and the flight were just as fun. By the time we got back to LA, everyone was pretty burned out. It had been a crazy day and we had clocked almost a thousand miles by land and air. Tara and I exchanged phone numbers and said our goodbyes.
This was a follow-up meeting with Patti to see how things went on the date. I told her about our adventure and she seemed fairly impressed with how everything went. She then asked me if I had arranged for another date with Tara. I told her we exchanged numbers and we were going to chat soon.
The next thing I know our quaint conversation turned into a full-blown Patti-lecture where she berated me for not following through. Whatever. And then she started ranting about how flaky California men are and how they are just "friend collectors." Now I can handle a few personal jabs without hitting back, but when someone insult all of my brothers in the great state of California, I can't remain silent. We had a quite a lively argument about how one should proceed after a first date. Her opinion was to end every date by getting another date.
My approach is to take it slowly and not be too pushy. But after a fairly heated exchange, we both realized that the point wasn't worth arguing. We made up and she left with us being on friendly terms.
Overall, my experience with being on the Millionaire Matchmaker show was positive. I was able to meet some fantastic people and try some new things I've never done before. Tara and I are great friends. We've hung out together several times when I was in LA. In fact, we just had breakfast together at The Griddle on Sunset last Saturday.