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I met Michael, or Mike, at Barney’s in West Hollywood. My friends, Candace and Rebecca, and I were having a girl’s night out. He and his best friend, Allen, were at the table next to us. The five of us instantly merged our tables and started talking. Mike was sweet and very sexy. He was sitting, so I couldn’t tell how tall he was. However, I could tell he wasn’t taller than me. He had on jeans, and, through them, I could see he had tremendous thighs. I grabbed one, and it was definitely awesome. His body was incredible period. No matter how tall he was, he was confident, sexy and into me. I was 27 at the time. Mike and Allen said they were 25. Mike was born and raised in Beverly Hills. He’d graduated from USC where he studied business. His family was in the garment business, sweaters specifically. Michael wasn’t sure he wanted to go into the garment business though he worked it with his father and brother. His dream was to go into Beverly Hills real estate- buy fixer uppers, fix them and resell them.

I asked Mike what his ethnic make-up was. He was Persian Jew. I had never met a Persian Jew. (Interestingly, after Mike, I would go on to be in a relationship with a Persian Jew for three months and “cruise date” another one (we met on a cruise) who was in medical school and nursed me through food poisoning I’d gotten from the ship’s buffet). I asked how being an Iranian Jew was working out for him completely unaware of the history. He said it was good. Most of the Persian Jews in Beverly Hills are wealthy. He briefed me on the history of his people, the exile. He spoke Hebrew and Persian. He was also kosher.

By now, we’d been drinking a bit. We were pretty flirty. We liked each other. I know game when I experience it, but sometimes it’s really welcome. Mike was wearing his late grandfather’s ring. He removed it from his finger and put it on my mine. He asked me to marry him. I laughed it off as cute. I asked him what my new last name would be. He told me Yadidi. I asked him to spell it. He did.

Meanwhile, Candace was across from us getting to know Allen better. We all exchanged numbers and made plans to go on a double date the next week. It was oh so high school. We all stood up. Mike was a few inches shorter than me. It didn’t seem to faze him. It didn’t bother me.

At work the next day, I did some cyber-stalking. I Googled his name and stumbled upon an article about him in a Nebraska newspaper. He and his older brother delivered several sweaters to a young woman who had cancer and was in remission. She needed a new wardrobe because she was putting on the weight she’d lost. The article was from earlier that year in 2006. It said Mike was 21. I did the math over and over again in my head. If this article was correct, Mike had lied to me about his age. I wasn’t going to tell him I cyber-stalked him, so how was I going to get the truth out of him. Candace and I talked it over. We thought Allen must’ve lied too. We still had our date to look forward to on Wednesday, so we were determined to find out. I went shopping for cute, flat sandals, so I wouldn’t tower over him Mike.

Back then I would get really nervous on dates, and would come off as uptight or aloof. I didn’t want to be like this with Mike, so I had a glass of wine. The guys picked us up at Candace’s place. They drove separate cars, but Allen was driving us to our destination. Candace rode shotgun. Mike and I rode in the back. Sean Paul’s “Temperature” came on the radio. I must have been feeling really comfortable because Mike and I started kissing to the song. We were on rhythm. It was hot. This 21-year-old was good. We went to a sushi restaurant in Santa Monica. We drank too much sake and ate ridiculously expensive sushi. It was a blast and age was never brought up.

On the walk back to the car, I was cold, so Mike gave me his jacket. He put his arm around my shoulders too. He was a gentleman. When we got back to Candace’s house, I went home. Mike went home. Candace and Allen went home together. The next morning, Allen left his wallet at Candace’s house, so she sneaked a peek. He was also 21. Now, he knew that Candace knew his real age. When Candace told him, he confirmed that Mike was 21 too.

Mike and I set our next date for the following Wednesday. Knowing that I knew, I was going to let him bring up the age topic. We went to the movies and dinner. It never came up. After that date, we both got really sick. We’d talk on the phone and text all the time. We were calling each other Mr. and Mrs. Sniffles. For being so young, he sure was comfortable with references to marriage. We were texting all day and night. It was the most unlikely relationship, but it was charming. The age thing was a sort of a joke. I know. You know I know. I know you know I know. I know you know I know you know.

Our next date was Wednesday again. This time we went to Firefly, a trendy bar/restaurant in my neighborhood. I loved this place. At one point during the evening, I had to go to the coed restroom. As I entered, a huge man was exiting. It was John Elway. I had a big smile on my face and said “HI!” He said, “hi.” I just thought that was really cool. I returned to the table and told Mike. He was impressed that I even knew who John Elway was. Of course.

Anyway, we were having a great time eating pasta and drinking wine. I finally blurted out “I know you’re 21.” “I know!” “Why did you lie?” He explained that he always says he’s 25 because women and business partners don’t take him seriously when they find out he’s 21. He felt older than 21. He acted older than 21. He was still attending USC. We had a good laugh about it. Nothing had changed. I liked dating a younger man, and it would set a precedence in my life for a trend that continues six years later.

I wanted to continue hanging with him, but neither of our living situations allowed it. He was living with his parents. I was living with a woman and her 16-year-old daughter. He dropped me off and went home.

Now, our living situations were the perfect excuse for not going further just yet. But the truth was I had committed myself to one year of celibacy after having a casual sexual experience with a friend of a friend of a friend. I had been in L.A. 3 years, and casual sex was all too available. What I desired- a commitment with one man- wasn’t. So, I just wanted some time to regroup. I met Mike in April. It was now May. I had a month to go. Should I tell Mike or should I just keep dating him until the time was right? But the time was right. The attraction was there. I just didn’t want us to be just about sex.

To be continued…