cast a wider net

“Ah well. You just need to cast a wider net,” said my friend Katie to me, on a random Friday evening as I complained about not being able to sell some bleeding-heart humanitarian story based in the Middle East.

“Ah well. You just need to cast a wider net,” said I to a brand-new acquaintance named Caren, who was bemoaning the lack of single men at a party we attended just this past Sunday.

I don’t care if you’re talking sales, media, entertainment, or who-am-I-going-to-make-out-with-this-drunken-eve. A wide net is essential.

 Take Caren. Looking at one guy–ONE guy–who’d just walked in the door of this party. Practically salivating over  his scruffed-out, saggy-seat, detention center sexpot allure, she shiftily informed me that he had a fiance (“Not a girlfriend. A fiance. Just my luck.”) before he ever even set foot in the living room.

(Perhaps I should be ashamed to admit this, but my immediate response was, “Yes, but does he have a job?”)

Whether you give a damn about the employment status of your prospective Sunday night screws or not, one thing is for darn sure: You can’t be too choosy if you’re scouting them at a house party with only 25 guests. Hence my credo: cast a wider net. Fifty people is nothing. A hundred is hardly worth slapping on your Maybelline mascara and powder bronzer for–although an open bar and easy parking might sway me on this.

If you really want options, you must go where the tide of humanity is endless, ever-changing, and charged with the current of cheap desire. I don’t really care where, beyond that. It could be a party. Could be a bar. Could be the produce section of Whole Foods at 3PM on a Sunday. All we’re really looking for here, people, is the CONNECTION POTENTIAL.

As you may have guessed, I’ve been doing a fair bit of business writing today. Interfacing, interacting, interviewing lots of corporate types, including a couple “uber-networkers” who have these crazy Rolodexes with, like, 20,000 people in them.

I bet they never have a problem getting a date.

Anyway, back to the matter at hand: Caren, charming little Southern girl, blue jeans and a bandanna-type headscarf thingie, no makeup, big-city jadedness and small-town optimism warring in her eyes.

“He is SO fine,” she said, avidly eye-stalking the scruffy (probably unemployed) affianced man as he slouched through our peripheral vision.

I didn’t know what to say.

In any larger gathering, there’d be a dozen of him. In any public venue, there’d be a thousand. She didn’t know him. Had never talked to him. Her standards–and I don’t mean to disparage here–were single-faceted and fairly low. Yet, trapped in the netherworld of the small, just-friends house party, he had become an Unattainable Symbol of Ultimate Desire.

This is why, when I go to small-ish house parties or dinner parties or whatever, I quite literally disassociate the girl-on-the-prowl side of me. Sure, maybe she exists in some parallel universe, but in this moment, she is gone. Exorcised. If she were around, she’d just make everyone uncomfortable.

 So when Caren stares desperately at the scrawny hipster/convict-looking man, as though the sheer force of her desire might compel him to hurl his wedding ring into the honking drunken Hollywood Boulevard traffic, I shake her by the wrist.

“Hermosa Beach. Next weekend. Bring Skye with you,” I tell her.

“Hermosa? I love Hermosa,” she says vaguely. “I always have fun there.”

“Enough of this land-locked Hollywood nonsense,” I tell her sternly. “You, missy, need to expand your horizons.”

When she arrives at the beach, I intend to give her a very big, very sticky (figurative, of course) net–and show her how to use it.

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