07/11/2012 01:44 pm ET Updated Sep 10, 2012


After I had thrown out my cheating husband and filed for divorce, it was time to dip my toe into the dating pool. I decided to practice flirting and attempt to get picked up. I hoped that this would be an easy way to meet eligible men who were at least interested in good conversation and perhaps a date or two.

Pick-ups are tricky. The initial hurdle is figuring out where to go to get picked up. Neighborhood bars can feel sleazy, nice restaurants are not conducive to chatting, and classy hotel bars are populated by businessmen who just want a one night stand.

The solution is pursuing your own passions and those that attract like-minded men. Some of my girlfriends have taken up fly-fishing, golf, race car-driving, bridge and even helicopter piloting to fill their leisure time with activities that they enjoy, but also offer the secondary possibility of being picked up by eligible men.

One of my interests is contemporary art, and I enjoy attending free gallery openings. The men are often collectors and interested in talking about their latest acquisitions, which makes for easy conversation. So when the four galleries on Wilshire Avenue had a group opening on a Thursday evening, I decided to attend.

The first gallery contained sculptures that resembled ugly furniture. Calling them "art" was a stretch. I reviewed the outrageously inflated price list and laughed out loud. A voice from behind me started to laugh as well. He said that he thoroughly agreed, and we started to wander the galleries together.

When we finished the last gallery, he invited me to dinner at a near-by tapas restaurant. Over some delicious small plates and a hearty burgundy, I learned that this art lover was an oral surgeon at a beach community about an hour away, was divorced with one son and was born in Philadelphia (where I had gone to college). We had a lot in common and the date was clearly going well.

Three days later, my art lover called. He invited me to another dinner. The evening was filled with stimulating conversation, and he was clever and funny. He asked me if he could start calling me in the evenings after 10:00 pm so that we could get to know each other better.

This turned out to be a big mistake. First, he talked me to sleep -- literally. After about forty-five minutes of listening to his stories, I would hear him scream my name as I dozed off after a busy day. Second, he used this opportunity to talk to me as a substitute for asking me out on a date. Why should he make plans and drive for an hour when he could be entertained at his leisure for free?

It was time for him to fish or cut bait, so I made the move and invited him to come visit me for a movie and dinner over the weekend. He politely demurred and informed me that he already had a weekend girlfriend and was only available for limited times during the week. All he really wanted, he claimed, was a telephone romance.

So now I was his phone geisha? This was not my idea of dating. I told him to lose my number -- literally. But I continued attending gallery openings, where I continued to meet creative men and women and enjoy one of my hobbies.