Surfin’ for a lifemate
‘Exotic Julia’ scours the Internet for just the right guy.
Are you a single woman looking for a partner to ward off winter’s chill? Why not heed expert advice from Exotic Julia?
“For people looking for relationships, I recommend the Internet,” says the self-described Internet dating expert.
When it comes to online romance, Exotic Julia (her handle on Internet personal ads) has no trouble finding dates. She estimates she’s had more than 200 (not a typo) in the past year. No, she’s not a professional escort. She’s a 29-year-old woman—never wed, no kids, college-educated—seeking marriage and children. At age 13, she moved to Sparks after her mother’s divorce. Julia attended high school and college in Reno, and she’s now a realtor and “party planner.” Her hobby is running a group, Adult Singles Romance in Reno, that holds mixers at clubs.
“I just do it as a matchmaker, for fun,” says the voluptuous Julia, whose accent reflects her partial Filipina and Spanish background (she is an Air Force brat, born in Madrid, who lived in the Philippines).
Julia is single on the cusp of 30 and explains she was engaged to a man from Long Island, N.Y., but he died five years ago. Julia says Reno is a difficult town for someone like her to find love outside of cyberspace.
“Professional people really don’t have an outlet or anywhere to go in Reno, especially if we don’t have vices,” she says, naming gambling as one. “When people meet in a bar, it’s all physical: ‘Oh. He’s hot.’ ‘Oh, she’s sexy.’ The gym is a meat market. I’ve learned that. It’s just like a bar.
“When I go hiking or scuba diving or skydiving, I don’t talk to people much. I’m too busy with the activity. And who talks at church?”
She has discovered the Internet is the perfect date-meeting tool for these reasons:
· “You’re attracted to a person’s mind. You really communicate through e-mail.”
· “You can meet a lot of people this way.”
· “It’s inexpensive.”
Why so many? “I’m marketing myself,” Julia says.
Some online dating services are free; others cost around $20 a month. It’s a bargain, Julia says. Her big expenses have come from travel to meet some of the men who contacted her.
“You should see the list,” she says. “At first I was dating people from all over the country, from the East Coast to the West Coast. The security officers at the Reno-Tahoe airport all know me.”
She now confines dates to Northern Nevada. Two road experiences proved bitter.
“I flew all the way to Vegas to meet this man,” she says. “He told me he was Italian, 39, never been married, no kids. I’ve really got to warn the ladies to not ever, ever meet anybody, especially out of town, who doesn’t send you a picture. He didn’t send me a picture.
“My God, I flew into Vegas, and I met him, and I swear to you he looked over 50. To top that off, he had four bodyguards with him, [like] he’s with the mob.”
He’d met up with her in the baggage area, recognizing her from her photo. He introduced himself. “He looked like Al Capone,” Julia says. He wore an expensive dark suit with a silk pocket square and tie, a lot of gold jewelry and a diamond pinky ring.
“I really didn’t want to do anything with him. I told him that he’d lied to me and that I would be leaving. He told me, ‘Julia, I told you everything and anything to meet you.’ And that’s why I would like to warn all women that men will say anything online in order to meet women.
“I took the very next flight back to Reno. I had to pay $100 for a one-way ticket with America West Airlines. He was very upset.”
He flew his private plane to Reno and called her. “That’s about the time I changed my phone number.”
Julia’s other bad trip was to Idaho. She had e-mailed with a man there for more than six months and finally flew to Boise. The photo he’d sent made him look handsome, although he was wearing sunglasses. He was 34, tall and blond, unmarried and childless—or so he’d said.
He picked her up in an old Honda Civic—about the vintage of the 1980s look he sported, Julia says. “Long spiked blond hair, the look between Rod Stewart and Simon Le Bon from Duran Duran. He was wearing tight white jeans with a hole in his crotch. His black turtleneck was tucked in and you could see it through the hole.”
He drove her to his house. There, his ex showed up at dinnertime to drop off his son. The ex told Julia the man couldn’t have more children because of his vasectomy.
She spent the night in his guest bedroom, then had him drive her to the airport. Her luggage hadn’t arrived, so that was her excuse to make a neat getaway back home.
There may be a happy ending to Julia’s love-quest in cyberspace:
“Recently, I met a man who is in the Nevada Air National Guard. Our first date, he took me to a scavenger hunt. That’s their Halloween party.”
Seven limousines, each holding three couples, drove around, fulfilling missions at each stop, such as having a stripper sign the date’s body at a strip club. Julia’s Halloween getup was as a flamenco dancer in a low-cut dress. A stripper signed Julia’s breast.
The scavenger hunt was a blast. Her date’s friends were wonderful. “I met everybody, and everybody was nice.”
Her date was 33, 6 feet tall, handsome. He was divorced with two children. He was smitten by Julia.
“He tells me he’s in love with me,” she says.
On their second date, she cooked him shrimp scampi at his house. They watched a video, What Women Want, starring Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt. The guardsman felt a sense of urgency, given the war in Afghanistan.
“He proposed to me,” Julia says. “I really can’t marry him right now. It’s all too soon and all too strange.”
Still, if his unit is shipped out, “He made me promise to wait for him,” Julia says. “He wants to get married when he comes back.”
She might not date anyone else now. And so, Reno’s most popular cyberdate may be leaving the Web.
Says Julia: "I’m trying to figure out how to take all my ads down."