When my friend Erin invited me to visit her in Los Angeles, I was a bit wary when she told me how many men she'd met. Especially after I checked into my hotel, with its minimalist decor and male model door staff whose hair didn't move.
On our first night, we went to a house party in the Hollywood Hills. When I saw the sea of silicon-enhanced, permatanned starlets, I figured that my chances of getting laid were roughly the same as their jean size: zero.
I chatted with the owner of the house, a cute guy named Scott who runs two restaurants. "The dating scene out here is horrific, because everyone is so full of shit and shallow," he said. "I'm looking for a smart girl who keeps it real." I didn't doubt him: some of the cocktail party conversation I overheard made Paris Hilton seem like a member of Mensa.
So I went to a corner and drank alone - until I met Richard, who had piercing blue eyes and said he was a plastic surgeon to the stars.
We had a very graphic conversation about how he saws through bone, stretches muscles and injects silicon into the cheekbones and buttocks of aspiring actresses. "What would you do to me?" I asked him teasingly. " Nothing," he said. "There is nothing sexier than a woman who is secure about herself." I knew it was a line, but it worked. He asked me out to dinner for the following night.
The next day, as the hours before the date ticked by, I began to freak out and pace my room. Forget the clothes, I was worried that he would be looking at my face and judging the tiny childhood scar on my forehead. Doing my make-up for him was like accessorising for a first date with a fashion designer.
We went to a bar and ate sashimi, and I asked him why he chose to become a plastic surgeon.
"I actually work with disfigured accident victims, which is my real passion," he said. "Some of the kids, especially, are so brave... the other work is interesting, but kind of shallow."
Suddenly, I felt like an idiot. I stopped sucking my stomach in and started asking questions. Against all odds, in the land of plastic people, I'd met someone who I had a real connection with - and he lived thousands of miles away. Just my luck!
He asked me to come home with him, and we kissed as he signalled for the cheque. While we waited, I saw Scott, the party host, across the room - in uniform, cleaning tables! It turned out that his claims of owning the restaurant were slightly exaggerated: he's actually a struggling actor and waiter. And the amazing house? "It belongs to a friend of mine," he confessed.
"So much for keeping it real," I laughed. It's a shame that Scott felt he had to weave a web of lies to seem interesting. On the plus side, he's got a bright future in acting ahead of him.