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LABELED: Young at Heart by Felicia Teichgraeber

After coming out of a long term, long distance relationship I was ready to take a look into the Los Angeles dating pool. I have in been LA for a nearly two years, but had always been in a long distance relationship, which makes going out and meeting people extremely difficult. With the boyfriend gone, I needed to get out of the house and into a bar, STAT. I had a few friends that had tried out the dating app, Tinder. All of my friends assured me it was harmless and definite ego booster. About a hundred swipes left later, I finally found a guy I thought had some potential. He had some goofy and interesting profile pictures, and a cute description of himself. So, I finally gave in and swiped right. I don’t typically date younger, but the age difference was only a year and he seemed like a guy who likes being a goofball, as I am, so I gave him a chance. We talked for a few weeks on and off and eventually asked me out on a date. Instead of telling me where we were going, he wanted it to be a surprise and gave me clues. My first thought was, either this guy is a serial killer and I’m not making it out alive, or he’s one of the only romantics left in Los Angeles.

Clue number 1: my full name was needed. Clue number 2: dress code was something you would wear to a formal event. I asked him to be more specific: black tie, cocktail etc. He sent me another clue in the form of a picture about what to wear: Ladies, think elegant attire. I told him if I am wearing heels, the search better not be extensive. Not because I am lazy, but because I had back surgery and don’t wear heels as often as a result. He understood and obliged, giving me the final clue: an address to meet him at. I looked up the address, which was a park near the Magic Castle and I knew immediately that’s where he was taking me. The Magic Castle is an exclusive, members-only club where famous magicians of the world congregate and perform. You MUST be invited by a member of the Magic Castle in order to attend. It’s kind of a mix between Titanic and Harry Potter and if this is was where we were going, I was psyched. I turned out to be correct after looking up the dress code and it was the exact same. I met him at the park around 4:30. There wasn’t that instant spark that we all hope for, but I decided to let it play out and we continued to the Magic Castle. As it turns out the Magic Castle doesn’t open the doors until 5:00. So we waited outside, talked, and in true Tinder form, took a selfie.

After some conversation, I thought he seemed younger than his profile age of 23, but he is an actor and they usually look younger than their real age anyway so I ignored it. We got inside and I ordered a glass of red wine, he ordered a glass of champagne…because it had the word “magic” in it and we were at the Magic Castle. Insert eye roll. I thought it was odd, but let it go because it was his first time there. We went to the first show, which was the magician who had invited him. I got called up to be a volunteer, which is always fun. Let me tell you, that magician has a gift. After the show, we decided to get another drink and he ordered a mixed drink, again, sticking with the “magic” theme. I started wondering if he was really his age, just didn’t drink often, or maybe he had OCD. I asked him about his past, specifically if he drank when he was younger, before turning 21. He said, “No, not really. I was a good kid.” I thought about how my sister and cousins were the same way, and how they can most certainly have a good time regardless of alcohol.

We waited in line for the next show. He tells me, “So I have something to tell you.” I say, “Ok…?” He tells me he’s not really 23. I knew you had to be at least 21 to get into the Magic Castle, but he could’ve used a fake ID, so I asked him how old he was. He tells me 21. I asked why his profile said 23, he told me, “When I joined Facebook I lied because I wasn’t old enough and thought it wouldn’t matter, and now I can’t change it.” I said, “Okay, why didn’t you say something about it in your profile, or tell me?” He said, “If I would’ve told you, you would’ve stopped talking to me weeks ago.” I said, “Yes, I would have.”

We continued the night, it becoming clearer it just was not going to work out. He kissed me while we danced in the dining room under the glass tundra transported from an old historical home that was being torn down. The chemistry just wasn’t there, and I really detest liars. I thanked him for the evening and said goodnight. The next day he asked me on a second date, which I declined. He said, “I always think you should go on at least two dates before truly knowing if it will or won’t work out, but if you are sure…” I said, “Yes I am sure,” to which he replied, “I guess that spark wasn’t really there for either of us then.” A slight at being rejected, clearly a sign of his lack of dating experience. I always say age is just a number, which I still stand by. The mental maturity is what matters, and he was definitely a young boy at heart.

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