Why I Like My Boyfriends Far Away

Take Me to Paris

Photo Credit: @muradosmann

It’s not the reason you think…I’m always a loyal and faithful girlfriend, sometimes too loyal. So it’s not that I want to run around and date other men or party with my girlfriends all the time. But it’s true, I seem to be attracted to men who live far away. In fact, it’s almost as though the farther away a man lives, the more interested I am. And it’s not that I have intimacy issues or that I like impossible relationships; it’s more about wanting to live a life of adventure and being curious about life in other parts of the world, not to mention, having a thing for foreign men.

Believe it or not, this all stems back to high school. My first boyfriend seemed very American on the surface, but was actually born in Sweden. On top of being foreign, he was in the Navy. For me, the local high school boys just didn’t hold the same appeal. I was more interested in the guy who traveled the world, which coincidentally, was perfect because I technically wasn’t allowed to have a boyfriend yet anyway. And there was something romantic about receiving all those handwritten love letters and gifts from every port.

One of the main reasons I like long-distance relationships is that I’ve always been very goal oriented. In high school, I focused on my grades and studied really hard to make sure I got into my dream school, Pepperdine University in Malibu. Now, as an adult, I teach Pilates six days a week and write on most nights. Of course, the end goal would be living in the same city as the man I love. However, for the way my life is right now, I like the idea of meeting up somewhere for a romantic rendezvous away from all the hustle and bustle, then focusing on my work while I’m home in L.A. Although I have to admit, I wasn’t very professionally productive in my last long-distance relationship because I spent so much time texting and Skyping–I did, however, always keep my clothes on for our video chats no matter how many times my then boyfriend told me that Skyping naked would lead to deeper intimacy in our relationship. Does that make me a prude?

A friend of mine recently warned me that long-distance relationships aren’t real life, but I disagree. There’s nothing like taking a trip with someone to know whether or not you are compatible with him or her. When you date someone in the same town, you are probably able to spend only a few hours together after you both finish work and before you fall asleep, possibly more time on the weekends, of course, but there’s always errands to be run and things to take care of before the work week starts again. I like how in long-distance relationships, a couple sets everything aside to just really get lost in each other. I know that I would much prefer a few days of sleeping in and rolling around in bed with no place to be over seeing someone several times a week but having to wake up and rush off to work in the morning. So, whether it’s three days, five days or seven days of togetherness, I feel I’ve become much closer, much faster to the men I’ve dated long distance.

Last summer I went on a few dates with a man who lived in Long Beach, which, when there’s no traffic, is only about an hour away from where I live in Beverly Hills. Of course, the gentlemanly thing to do would have been for him to come to me, and he did the first couple of times. However, he had a nice big house and a boat he wanted to show off, and I’m always up for a change in scene; so I agreed to drive out to Long Beach one night after work, not really factoring the rush-hour traffic. The drive took me three whole hours! As I sat in gridlock, I thought to myself, how could I possibly date this guy? To me, this drive was much worse than any long-distance relationship I had ever been in. I’d much rather fly somewhere and be with my boyfriend the entire weekend than to drive three hours just to have dinner with him. That’s the one contradiction to my theory that I like them farther away. Farther is definitely not better when it comes to dating locally. At least I can write on an airplane, but there’s no way I’d want to be stuck in traffic for that long on a regular basis.

I remember growing up, I told my mom that I was so bored because we always lived in the same house, and I went to the same school kindergarten through eighth grade. My mom had moved around a lot as a kid and was constantly starting new schools, so she wanted to provide the stability for us that she never had. While I appreciate that now, at the time I was craving new stimuli. As soon as I graduated high school, I moved to Los Angeles, and I’ve been here ever since.

While L.A. managed to hold my attention for quite a long time, recently I’ve been finding myself with a bit of wanderlust. So, a man who lives in, say, Monaco is going to be much more exciting to me than a guy who lives in Sherman Oaks. I don’t want to sound ungrateful because I do appreciate all the lavish dinners men have treated me to in my lifetime. However, an L.A. guy is going to take me to all the same restaurants I’ve been to a hundred times, whereas, a man in another state—or, better yet, another country–is going to open me up to new places and experiences I wouldn’t normally have, and that’s extremely exciting to me. I’d take a hole in the wall in Italy over the trendiest restaurant in Los Angeles any day.

Recently, my mom sweetly suggested that maybe I should try to find a man who lives in America. Of course, I’m not ruling American men out. I mean, it’s possible I could fall in love with an American man tomorrow, maybe even a foreign man who lives in L.A.; or I could meet a man who likes to travel as much as I do, although L.A. guys usually invite me to Vegas or Cabo, two places which are very fun, but I’ve been to both numerous times. Lately, it’s Europe that’s been calling my name…and coincidentally, I love the old world manners and charm of European men.

Over the last couple years, I started to intuitively feel like maybe the man for me doesn’t live in Los Angeles. I do believe he’s out there, but maybe not in this city, on this continent, or even on this planet.

I might have to fly to the moon to find him. But strangely, I’m okay with that♥

 

“When they work, long distance relationships are the best sort of beautiful, I think. That a person could wait months, cross miles and oceans for a few spectacular moments with the person they love, that’s it, you know, that’s what we’re all searching for.”

~Beau Taplin

Born Scandalous

Born Scandalous CollageWhen I think back to my younger years, growing up in Chicago with a strict Latino father, I always picture myself as a girl who lived a very sheltered life. I swear, I barely even left the house as a teenager, except to go to school or the gym. I think most people would have described me as a sweet girl, very studious, and quite shy. So it came as a surprise to my parents when, somewhere around my third year in college, they discovered I was actually pretty rebellious. But, to be completely honest, the signs were always there.

I’d like to believe that I was an angel in almost every respect, but I was advanced for my years and in a hurry to grow up. Because of this, boys my own age never really appealed to me. The feeling was mutual—the boys in my grammar school often teased me and to be honest, could be quite mean at times. Two boys from my class, whom I mistakenly thought were friends, followed me home from school one day and spit all over my hair. However, when I turned about twelve, I started to get a great deal of attention from grown men who would stop me on the street to tell me I was beautiful, even sometimes asking for my phone number. I believe this is why I always had a thing for older men. They seemed to see something in me that the boys my own age hadn’t and treated me exponentially better.

Technically, I wasn’t allowed to date until I was sixteen, but of course, being quite precocious, I found a way around that rule. Since I went to an all-girls Catholic high school, I really didn’t know many boys my own age. What I was meeting were men who, I realize now, were far too old for me.

For instance, I remember being about fourteen and going to Medieval Times with my family, where I not only fell for, but exchanged numbers with a handsome knight. I was completely devastated when my mother told me I was not allowed to date the thirty-five-year old knight in shining armor. I did, however, sneak in a few phone calls to him here and there when I could.

Around that time, there was another man in his thirties who befriended me at the gym. We would meet a couple times a week to lift weights together. He even took me on a few motorcycle rides in the woods—I know, scary, right? To be honest, I wasn’t interested in this guy romantically—always the matchmaker, I actually wanted to set him up with my big sister, who is seven years older than me. Nevertheless, it was really fun for a teenage girl to be around all that testosterone and an implicit sense of danger.

My sophomore year in high school, I had an important school project to work on, and the neighborhood library simply wasn’t going to cut it. So a few of my girlfriends from my suburban Catholic high school and I took the train to the Harold Washington Library in downtown Chicago. What we didn’t realize was that it was Columbus Day, and the library was closed for the holiday. As my girlfriends and I stood outside the doors disappointed, we were approached by a group of sailors who had thought the library looked like the building from the movie Ghostbusters. Realizing the building was closed, the sailors invited us to the nearby Sears Tower, which was the tallest skyscraper in the world at that time. With the library closed and nothing else to do that afternoon, the girls and I decided to go on an adventure.

I paired off with a twenty-year-old blonde sailor who was born in Sweden but raised in California. When he asked me how old I was, I told him seventeen, two years older than my actual age. We hit it off, and his friend was interested in one of my friends. So my girlfriend and I began taking the train to the city every weekend to hang with the sailors, telling our parents that we were going to the “library.”

We met up with the sailors on several occasions, going to movies, museums, and walking around and making out in the freezing Chicago cold until our sailors had to leave the city to go on tour. So, at fifteen and not allowed to date yet, here I was with a twenty-year old sailor boyfriend. I realize this could have been really dangerous for a young girl, but things fortunately turned out better than you would expect.

With my sailor out on tour, I was able to completely focus on school. We exchanged letters, and I received gifts from all over the world. My parents obviously noticed these letters and packages coming to the house, so I casually explained that I had a friend who was in the Navy, easing them into the situation. I’m sure my dad didn’t like that his baby girl had a sailor for a pen pal, but my mom probably convinced dad it was harmless because the sailor wasn’t actually around.

However, when the sailor was done with his tour, and I was now sixteen and old enough to date, I invited him to a school dance. Knowing mom and dad wouldn’t approve of his age, I told them my sailor friend was only eighteen. To my surprise, my parents liked the guy!

About a year into the relationship, the sailor asked me where I was going to college. Not comfortable with the lie I had told, I came clean, telling him that I was really only sixteen. He told me that if he had known how old I truly was, he would never have dated me—I was far too young—but it was too late because he already loved me.

I know it sounds kind of scandalous to be dating someone that much older in high school, but I actually think this was a blessing in disguise. I believe having this long-distance boyfriend throughout high school kept me on the straight and narrow and prevented me from dating high school boys who probably wouldn’t have appreciated me nor, quite frankly, been able to handle me.

The sailor and I stayed together for five whole years, with him moving out to Malibu my second year of college at Pepperdine. However, he simply did not get the same girl in Malibu that he had fallen for in Chicago. When we met, I had been a sweet and innocent high school student with her nose in a book. By the time he joined me in California, I had gotten a taste of freedom and was no longer that sheltered girl anymore. My first year in college, I’d been sneaking into nightclubs hang out with rockers and soap stars. When my boyfriend moved to L.A. my second year, I missed hanging out with friends I had made and longed for the more wild nights of freshman year.

The irony is that when I felt I had outgrown the relationship, my parents tried to encourage me to stay with my then boyfriend. Dating a former sailor, five years older, simply isn’t as exciting when your parents are trying to push him on you. In fact, I think when my parents got in the mix, it made me want to rebel even more: I had to find something more forbidden, more intriguing, and more dangerous…and, boy, did I find it!

**A preface to my upcoming book Love, Miracles & Mayhem in the City of Angels**