Should I date a semi-famous person on the other side of the country?
November 29, 2016 9:16 PM   Subscribe

The title of this question doesn't even begin to convey all the issues here. He lives in Hollywood and is charting a path toward becoming a celebrity. I live on the East Coast, am a bookish introvert, and don't particularly want to get my heart smashed to pieces. I also have ZERO interest in the entertainment industry. Yet we share other interests and have major sparks.

I recently matched with a guy my age on a dating app. We're both early 30s and have lots of things in common. Oh, except that he lives in LA and just comes back to my East Coast town to visit family pretty often. I recognized him immediately as I've seen some of his onscreen work. He's by no means a household name or face at this point, but he's super talented and I wouldn't be surprised if he became a Hollywood star sometime in the next decade. (Which is so, so NOT what I'm looking for in a life partner!)

I accepted a date without really thinking it through, but we had a glorious connection and discovered several obscure obscure shared interests unrelated to our careers. It was the best first date I've had in years. We were laughing the whole time and couldn't stop talking. I agreed to see him again the next time he's in town (more than a month away, alas). He texted me the next day but I haven't heard from him since he returned to LA. We have vague plans to meet again in my area on a particular date so I'm not TOO worried he'll flake on me. He's already planning to be here visiting family that week for the holidays.

He asked me repeatedly to come visit him in CA, perhaps jokingly, but It's a bit soon for me to hop on a plane to go see him so I laughed it off.

After the date I Googled him and discovered just how famous he's becoming. All the famous people he knows. The Hollywood starlets he's performed with onscreen. Etc. It's not something I can wrap my head around as I don't know ANYONE in the entertainment industry, have never been to LA, and barely watch TV.

Should I steer clear? I feel the distance is a big enough hurdle to be a deal breaker for any rational person. But the ego he'll get when he's rich and famous will preclude his settling down with any one person--that's my worry--and I'm just an ordinary non-famous non-model who wants a quiet life and a family. I get tongue-tied if I have to speak up during a meeting at work. I'm not surrounded by actors and producers like he is; our social circles couldn't be more different. And I'd hate to be with someone who will (someday) be a paparazzi target.

On the other hand, he has a very big closeknit family in my town and all his siblings are married with kids. So his family of origin is pretty stable and marriage-oriented (from what he told me), and maybe he still has those values.

I know it sounds premature to be analyzing this after one date, but I've dated people in the past where there were red flags I ignored early, and I now wish I hadn't. I get attached easily and I'd like to avoid getting involved with someone who's bad news. Even or maybe especially if they're long distance and can potentially waste a lot of my time. I also feel like I can't really compete with someone who's going to be surrounded by gorgeous actresses. Abort mission now?
posted by Guinevere to Human Relations (22 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Come on! You like him; importantly, you liked him before you realized he was a semi-almost-maybe-gonna-be-famous person. (Hint: that may not actually work out.) Give it a chance. It's true it might not work out, but that's not necessarily because he's "bad news." Nothing you've said in this post indicates that he's personally "bad news."
posted by praemunire at 9:32 PM on November 29, 2016 [24 favorites]


I wouldn't be surprised if he became a Hollywood star sometime in the next decade

the ego he'll get when he's rich and famous will preclude his settling down with any one person

I'd hate to be with someone who will (someday) be a paparazzi target

I can't really compete with someone who's going to be surrounded by gorgeous actresses

You're making a lot of assumptions here and your concerns are contingent on so many things that may not come to pass. His career might fizzle, your connection might fizzle, he might not get a gigantic ego, he might like to settle down with someone down to earth like you, he might not expect you to rub shoulders with the rich and famous at all red carpet events. Your 'red flags' here are imagined future hypotheses.

You're overthinking this. It's been one date. I wouldn't proceed with a relationship based on the long distance and lifestyle differences, but that's an entirely personal decision and you've really hit it off with this guy. Would your heart really get crushed if you had a few more fun dates to see if there's anything there?
posted by wreckofthehesperus at 9:36 PM on November 29, 2016 [29 favorites]


A lot of actors stay away from "Hollywood" unless they have to, for, y'know, work. All those red carpets, awards shows, etc? That's all work. Being a famous actor is a job, but it's not necessarily a lifestyle.

If this is like most dates, the relationship will never get off the ground. And if it's the rare one that goes somewhere, you can worry about actual problems and not imaginary ones. Worrying about him getting an "ego", etc. etc.
posted by Automocar at 9:37 PM on November 29, 2016 [8 favorites]


So one of my best friends was a regional celebrity. She didn't really have an ego or let the thing go to her head; if anything, she appreciated having someone she could be real and herself with.

There was a lot of responsibility on being discreet in the years when she was more famous, and it was (still sorta is) very difficult to coordinate schedules and pin her down long enough to meet up. It was tough, but her fame wasn't really what made it difficult.

There were people early in the day who knew of my connection to her and tried to use me to get to her, but I shot them down right quick. So you might encounter that. But other then that, I say go for it!
posted by divabat at 9:41 PM on November 29, 2016


So I have a friend who is a definite introvert. She's a quiet artist-type from the Midwest who moved out here to Los Angeles to be with a guy who was at the time her somewhat-boyfriend, who was on a not-quite-rockstar trajectory, but he tours as a backup musician with high-caliber bands along with a lot of studio work, local performances, etc. Now, a decade later, he is very successful (and so is she in her own right) and by necessity she accompanies him to a lot of Hollywood-type functions/parties/events with people who are definitely of "rock star" status. She doesn't totally hate this, but it's not her preferred "scene." Her man accompanies her to a lot of the quieter events she does enjoy and events that contribute to her work and success. They spend a lot of time doing things together like hiking and weekend local beach getaways that are just their own time.

Everyone in the scene he's pretty much required to participate in is very respectful of her "not a social butterfly, here to quietly enjoy things and support my significant other in things that are important to him" because he is very respectful of her -- they leave early when she feels she needs to, he never pressures her to be anything or anyone other than who she is, and she's not dramatic about it. She stays home now when she doesn't feel like going out, and he's fine with that, and he's never given her any reason to not trust him when he's out without her. He fully supports her in everything she does as well, even if it's not as "exciting" or "Hollywood."

So basically, it's a mutual respect thing. They support each other, they make sacrifices for each other, and it works for them. It's built on trust and communication and respect, the same as any relationship. They both come from strong family backgrounds and that family relationship is very important to both of them. It's worked out for them. If you're into this guy, and there's a mutual background and respect-level, then I don't see why you wouldn't at least try it out. It can work!
posted by erst at 9:43 PM on November 29, 2016 [9 favorites]


No.

You've built an elaborate fantasy around him after one date. If you feel like you get attached easily, then it's probably better to find someone local because by starting out long distance, you're getting attached to a dream.
posted by betweenthebars at 10:50 PM on November 29, 2016 [15 favorites]


I work in show biz, know Oscar winners (just had Thanksgiving dinner with one) and guess what--plenty of successful people in entertainment have low-key spouses, pleasant family lives and enjoy quiet evenings at home. Your friend could decide that he really wants a PhD in art history, or to start a yarn shop or to keep acting and then direct. You've had one date--I don't think you need to fret over what to wear to the Golden Globes or what to say to Jennifer Lawrence in the loo.
posted by Ideefixe at 11:10 PM on November 29, 2016 [40 favorites]


OK, subtract all the Hollywood Celebrity bullshit. Which is what it is unless you're talking about, like, an actual Hemsworth. There are thousands of people here in Los Angeles "pursuing" famousness. Even if this person is a working actor, well, OK. At the end of the day, it's a job. You can't cruise the Trader Joe's parking lot in Los Angeles without almost hitting someone whose friends think they are about to become a huge movie star.

All that aside, your real question is "do I want to enter a long-distance relationship with someone I don't know well and have little in common with, but we hit it off on our one date?" Which is a fine question.

My answer to that question is no, just because I've been on enough great first dates with people who live in my city and occupy my same social or career orbit which haven't worked out. This is a huge long shot, just in the grand scheme of how dating works. I don't think you need to shut this down, but I do think you need to be very realistic about what it is. Take it one day at a time. If he's in town and reaches out, sure. If not, don't sit around waiting for him. People in this situation say a lot of things they don't entirely mean, just because that's how first dates work.
posted by Sara C. at 11:34 PM on November 29, 2016 [11 favorites]


I say No also, but mostly because actors are in the business of being charismatic and connecting with people. I think you had a nice date experience with someone who connects with others as a profession. There's no evidence it's more than a date, and yet you've spent a lot of energy on him already. I mean, its great that you had a great time! And like I said, this person does that for a living, as a professional. So. You have evidence he's good at his career, and that's about it.

You can and should ask these questions a few months and 10 or 15 dates in. Right now, there's nothing to really worry about or consider. I'm glad it was a great date! See if there's a bunch more before worrying or asking yourself tough questions.

Disclaimer: I live in LA, so I feel like I'm reading this correctly. YMMV.
posted by jbenben at 11:36 PM on November 29, 2016 [5 favorites]


I agree that you're getting ahead of yourself. And I get it, sort of – two months ago I met a woman at an event on the east coast, we hit it off and after I got home I couldn't stop thinking about her. So despite me being in Seattle I asked if she was open to dating and she said yes.

But enough about me (although if you want to memail me with questions that's fine). If you do want to pursue this you need to treat this like any other casual dating situation even though the other person is really far away. There are a lot of steps between where you are and this oddly specific picture of his career you're already imagining. You've been on one date – as wonderful as it was, you barely know each other.
posted by O9scar at 11:57 PM on November 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


I have a complicated enough Venn diagram of dating needs/interests that I absolutely say go for good opportunities, with reasonable precautions.

Make a list of all the concerns and possibilities that would be a dealbreaker, and talk to him about them. See what he thinks.
posted by Jacen at 12:43 AM on November 30, 2016


I accepted a date without really thinking it through, but we had a glorious connection and discovered several obscure obscure shared interests unrelated to our careers. It was the best first date I've had in years. We were laughing the whole time and couldn't stop talking. I agreed to see him again the next time he's in town (more than a month away, alas). He texted me the next day but I haven't heard from him since he returned to LA. We have vague plans to meet again in my area on a particular date so I'm not TOO worried he'll flake on me. He's already planning to be here visiting family that week for the holidays.

Careers change, especially for people in the entertainment business. Keep having fun dates with him and see where things go, romantically and professionally. If those things start to conflict, you can address them at that point, not when they are hypothetical.
posted by Rock Steady at 4:46 AM on November 30, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'm in the entertainment business and I married a girl who has nothing to do with Hollywood and is totally not the Hollywood type. I'm not famous because nobody sees my face. But my work is out there. My wife is a down to earth, level headed, good person, no drama gal. Maybe you are to and that's what this guy likes about you. I see absolutely nothing wrong with seeing where things go. Like most dating situations...it's more then likely to fade BUT who knows. If you can try not to get too attached and understand that you could be in for some heartbreak...I say go for it. Life is short...so live it and enjoy it.
posted by ljs30 at 6:48 AM on November 30, 2016 [3 favorites]


It speaks fairly highly of his character that you had to Google him to discover how famous he is already, even after spending an entire first evening with him. Most aspiring young entertainers I have known are more than happy to let any stranger who will listen know that they are more famous than they actually are.

Just a data point, not a recommendation. If you meet someone from the entertainment world who is successful, talented, good looking, and extroverted and they don't make a point of making sure you know how awesome and celebrated they plan to be (always soon, real soon) you may have found a unicorn.
posted by spitbull at 7:32 AM on November 30, 2016 [5 favorites]


It's not something I can wrap my head around as I don't know ANYONE in the entertainment industry, have never been to LA, and barely watch TV.

If you had done these things, you would know that the majority of people in the entertainment industry are just regular-ass people with interesting jobs. If this guy is a decent guy already, he is not going to transform, Incredible Hulk-style, into some sort of stereotypical Asshole Playboy Movie Star (tm).
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:43 AM on November 30, 2016 [5 favorites]


You had a great time in person, but you have anxiety about things that haven't happened. Trust your instincts, maybe share your reservations with him as you get more comfortable, but can you name a good reason to sop a good thing before a single bad thing arises?

I met my partner when I lived in DC and he lived in LA. He was in DC for work. There were complicated details--many complicated details--but I couldn't shake the feeling that I'd met someone with whom I clicked in all the right ways, including some ways I never expected to click with someone. It took us about six months of coast-to-coast to decide to take the plunge, and I moved west after we took stock of whose life was going to be harder to move. It was difficult, but it was wonderful. That was almost a decade ago. You bet your bippy I'm happy to have dealt with the anxiety one day at a time, following the lead of the pleasure and joy and companionship.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 8:57 AM on November 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm going to jump in here and say "OH MY GOODNESS GO FOR IT!!!!!" you lucky thing!

If it doesn't work out it doesn't' work out.... but heck, that's true of anything
posted by JenThePro at 8:57 AM on November 30, 2016 [3 favorites]


Another real life, first hand +1 to the fact that there is a big big gap between working actor on national TV and fighting off paparazzis. This is probably a really fun thing to stress about so stress away, but know it's not an actual real problem in any way whatsoever. Except actors can indeed be dumb and vain and flakey, that shit's real (says the grrl from the lit dept)(ducks to avoid tomatoes thrown by smart, kind, down to earth, punctual actors who are also out there)
posted by athirstforsalt at 9:13 AM on November 30, 2016 [2 favorites]


Wow - get on a plane to CA already.
posted by xammerboy at 11:52 AM on November 30, 2016


Better to regret the things you've done than the things you haven't done. Don't waste your time seeking something perfect that might not exist, just have fun and see where things lead you.
posted by prentiz at 1:49 PM on November 30, 2016


Ideefixe is spot-on.

As a data point — one of my exes has worked in Hollywood for 35+ years and has won an Oscar. Dealing with actors and directors was regularly part of his job, and so to a smaller extent, our social life. Some of my friends are frequently on TV and in movies. Other than the occasional fancy awards ceremony, being associated with someone semi-famous to famous doesn't really impact daily life. Sure, you'll run into celebrities at the Motion Picture Hospital's pharmacy, but hey, they're there picking up their prescriptions, just like you.

As far as this guy developing a massive ego… well, okay, it's possible. But in my experience, most of the horrible behavior in Hollywood doesn't come from the people who've made it; it comes from the people who want to break in and be famous, but haven't yet; it comes from the hangers-on, from the social climbers.

Re: him being surrounded with gorgeous women… look, dude's going to cheat on you or he isn't. Many people look quite normal or even a little odd in real life, until they've been through makeup and are in front of the camera and lit beautifully.

There are lots and lots of fellow non-famous, non-actor partners I met and hung out with, and we all rolled our eyes a little when we were at the fancy awards. You won't be the only non-famous partner, I promise. And those're fairly rare; it's a lot more likely that you'll be going over for dinner or meeting this guy's friends for lunch or drinks, just like you would any other dude. And if he gets to the point where he's a member of the Academy, trust me, screener season will mean there's tons of quiet time spent on the couch trying to work through the gargantuan stack of DVDs that all must be watched and voted on.
posted by culfinglin at 2:31 PM on November 30, 2016 [2 favorites]


If you don't want him, I WILL TAKE HIM. I seriously would kill for this opportunity to date someone like this.

He sounds delightful. I think passing this guy up because he might someday do some Hollywood stereotypes and you might have to go to a few red carpet events is kind of a waste. You don't know right now if he'll ever get that famous or if it will be a problem, or if you can deal with it when it happens, but I think you might regret it if you didn't give him a try. Maybe he's NOT like that and won't be. And maybe "nice, normal, regular boring guy who wants a small time life and a family," i.e. any Joe Blow at home you could date, may not pan out or be what you want or be all that interesting.

Might I suggest some fiction on the topic? Someone Else's Fairytale sounds like your situation.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:48 PM on November 30, 2016 [2 favorites]


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