Dating In Santa Barbara or “Melrose Place By The Sea”

Published in the Santa Barbara Sentinel under the pen name Elizabeth Rose.  Chris is known as “Jason” in the I Heart stories.

When you’re dating in Santa Barbara, California, and you are with someone from the town itself (and I mean, really from Santa Barbara. Like, multigenerational.), you’ve got to prepare yourself to face your partner’s former lovers at any given moment. 

The concept of “six degrees of separation” shrinks down to about one or two, and it can test to your annoyance threshold and giant eye-rolls may ensue.

The question will arise: “Can you handle it? 

The past is the past for a reason, you have to remind yourself, but it doesn’t make a mental picture of your current beau being intimate with another lady go away so easily.

Big Girl Panties Required

For example, I took Jason to see Death Cab For Cutie show at the Santa Barbara Bowl.

Understanding this town is basically the large version of the TV show Cheers (where everybody knows your name and how you look naked), I was ready for whatever and whoever came our way.

Imagine my surprise when not one person came around as we made our way through the Bowl.

Awkward moments avoided. 

I gave myself the what-am-I-so-worried-about head shake and made way to the seats.

From time to time, I get the privilege of taking pictures along with the professional photographers, and, for this show, I had the magic ticket.

As the concert was about to start, I left Jason, grabbed my photo pass, and headed to the “pit.”

The photographers’ pit is pretty awesome.

You get to reconnect with your photographer friends, talk about past shows, then take your positions at the bottom of the stage.

As I was setting up my camera, I noticed a cute blonde girl about my age.

It was a nice surprise to see her considering the pit is usually me and a bunch of dudes.

More girl power is always welcome. I introduce myself and we chat for a moment.

“Hi, I’m Elizabeth. Who do you shoot for?”

“Hey, I’m Ida. I shoot for a company in L.A. I’m from Venice Beach.”

“Sweet! Welcome to the pit!”

“Thanks! Who do you shoot for?”

“A local paper called the Sentinel. You’d love it.”

“That’s awesome! I’d love to keep in touch. I’m trying to build a network around here. Mind if I Facebook you?”

“Sure, no problem.”

The lights dim and Death Cab takes the stage.

“Cool! I’ll get your info when we get out of here.”

I give her the thumbs up.

Cue Social Media

Three songs later, we were escorted from the front of the stage to collect our gear.

My new friend Ida gets my name to send a friend request. “I found you!” she says, all excited.

I grab my phone to accept.

1 mutual friend.

Yep. Him.

Out of all the freakin’ people in the freakin’ world.

She looks up from her phone, “You know Jason?! That’s crazy! We’ve known each other for a loooooong time.” (Emphasis on long.)

She goes on for a minute before I interrupt.

“Well, ironically, he’s my date tonight.”

She pauses and her mouth drops open.

“Wait? Is Jason’s here? That’s so awesome! He’s going to die when he sees me!”

I nod, squinty-eyed, with a plastered smile.

“Yeah, what a small world…”

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