The Lifeguard

I’m sure if you’ve been reading this blog you believe that all my dates are complete failures, that I’m incapable of finding enough common ground for an actual relationship. Or a second date. That may be mostly true. And I’m certainly guilty of only posting my most disastrous dates, wrought with angst and, ideally, hilarity.

But there are, occasionally, success stories. There was the awesome guy I made out with a few years back. Then he invited me over for dinner. Sadly that ended with Bin Laden being discovered in a bunker. CNN is definitely not an aphrodisiac! Well, almost one year ago I experienced my best OKCupid date ever. I was afraid to write about it because, well, I didn’t want to jink things, I guess. It’s been long enough. Without further ado, I give you “The Lifeguard.”

My sister booked an oceanfront condo for a family reunion, of sorts. Not the whole family, just a few select adults. I arrived at LAX before anyone else and picked up the rental car. OKCupid had just debuted their new feature, in an attempt to compete with Tinder, that lets you peruse matches “Nearby.” By the time I got to Santa Monica, 150 guys had checked out my profile. I scrolled through the faces and saw one that looked dazzling. I read his deets, which included that he was an LA County lifeguard.

“Hi! I’m staying at the beach this week,” I wrote. “Which lifeguard stand are you working? Maybe I could go out in front and flounder around.” After a few adorable emails back and forth, including one that wondered if he was, indeed, worth floundering for, we made plans to meet for a beer. He had somewhat apologizing for not being “much of a fashion statement,” in his sandals and shorts but…um…LIFEGUARD! And, uh, 6’4″?!? No need to add super good-looking. Or being the team doctor for the LA Derby Dolls! Soon I was sitting across from him on a barstool, sipping a Stella on the Santa Monica Pier.

He was smart and funny, easy to talk to and, did I say, handsome as hell? And TALL? We had a couple beers and he walked me back to my condo. A gentlemanly hug and a quick kiss goodnight left me most definitely wanting more. He followed up our first date an hour later with an email: “Mind was adrift as I thought of this feathery 5’10” woman that I just met. So much so that I did not notice the bike path taking a turn to the left…according to the two people that watched me do a face plant into the sand… That was the most fabulous, delicious way to end a day of work at the beach that I can remember in a long, long time. Thank you.”

I was in LA for seven days and saw him four times. I rode my bike down to Marina Del Rey and met him for lunch. On my last night we met for a drink. But one evening mid-week he suggested we walk through the Venice canals. I’d never seen them and thought that sounded…romantic. He picked me up in his red convertible 450SL (uh, yeah, like my favorite car EVER) and then we strolled the narrow sidewalks, over tiny bridges, holding hands. When we got back to his apartment, he closed the door and said, “Take off your clothes. ” Um, excuse me? He was unfolding his massage table. “You went for a 40 mile bike ride today. Wouldn’t you like a massage?” I left my panties on…

So. Yeah. Best seduction I’ve experienced in decades.

After my week in Santa Monica I headed up to Marin and then on to Gerlach for my summer job with Burning Man. The Lifeguard and I were texting and emailing and playing Words with Friends. Then one day…nothing. I sadly figured he’d met someone. “Maybe he got hit by lightning,” my mom said. What? No one ever gets hit by lightning in LA. My sister said the same thing. Then my friend said it too. “There was a big storm in LA.” I passed it off as an impossibility. Besides, he’d been in Maine, visiting his sister. Then, when a friend asked if I’d heard from him and I hung my head, she told me to tag a picture of a sunset or something to let him know I was thinking about him. “I hate it when people do that,” I said, but thought, hmmm, Facebook… We’d become “friends.” I went to his Facebook page and saw stuff like “Trying to get through to your hospital room” and “Saying a prayer for you!”

I texted him: “I saw on your Facebook page that you’re in the hospital. Are you okay?” In minutes I received a response: “This is his sister. He’s getting stronger every day. I’ll pass along your message.” I’d thought he was still in Maine so it didn’t surprise me that his sister responded for him. But I was worried.

A few days later he texted me. He WAS hit by lightning! A freak storm had descended upon Venice Beach and he was one of 13 people affected by the lightning strike. A 20-year-old guy had died. And, actually, so had The Lifeguard. He was out for a full 12 minutes! But it apparently wasn’t his time to go because a cardiac specialist had been on the beach, right where lifeguards had dragged his body, and that doctor didn’t give up on him. He was still in the hospital and had some recovering to do, but he was alive!

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We kept in touch through the summer. I even sent him a shot of myself getting “zapped” by a big piece of art! Leave it to me to meet a really great guy and he gets hit by lightning! Stay tuned for Part Deux.

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