So I was lucky enough to be asked to do an online dating makeover for one of my clients on the January 11th Today Show. Apparently, a producer over there was interested in the subject of online dating and when you Google for online dating experts, there aren’t too many choices. Lucky me. As a makeover subject, I chose a woman that had signed up with me in December, but hadn’t yet taken her pictures or filled out her E-Cyrano questionnaire. But I knew that she was tailor-made for national television – bright, attractive, likeable, quirky. We got to work on her stuff in early January, and by the time the 11th rolled around, I was hoping that she’d already be engaged. Yes, optimism is my strong suit.
When I arrived in New York, NBC was to put me up at the Essex House, but it was filled up, so I got a suite in the St. Regis instead. This is like flying coach and, upon checking in, being told that you’re going to have to fly first-class. What a room! The robe, the slippers, the fancy smelling shampoos, the light that turns on when you step into the closet – let’s just say that I don’t have these amenities at home in LA. The piece de resistance came about five minutes after I’d arrived. A knock on the door. A man in a tuxedo, carrying bottled water and a box of chocolates. He introduced himself as my butler. If he weren’t so dignified, I’d probably have started laughing. This was total Julia Roberts-in-Pretty Woman territory. Needless to say, I had to call my friends to share my room with them, and needless to say, none of them were available for a spontaneous 8pm dinner. C’est la vie. I relaxed and readied myself for my close-up. By the way, the bed was nice, but the sheets were so-so.
The Today Show is a well-oiled machine with a ton of history behind it. I mean, to put together enough five minute segments to do three hours of TV a day five days a week, well, that’s a lot of work from a lot of staffers. As a result, the green room was packed with guests and wardrobe people and hairstylists flitting in and out. I’d done some media before, but it’s usually me sitting in an empty room with a microphone clipped on my lapel, talking to a camera monitor. This was big time. And I was pretty excited. My client’s profile and photos were excellent – all I wanted was to have an amazing interview that would showcase E-Cyrano.
From what I’ve been told by my well-paid loved ones, it went well. “You looked so cute!” (a couple of ex’s), “You seemed so relaxed!” (cousin), “You were very professional!” (former roommate). Yet I can’t shake the fact that I wish I’d done better. Al Roker interviewed me and while he was very nice and personable, the interview never really took off. My five minutes flew by like you wouldn’t believe, and by the end of it, I hadn’t mentioned E-Cyrano or my personal website, I hadn’t said anything memorable or funny, and I felt like I’d missed a golden opportunity. Of course, the best part was at the end when Al looked me in the eye and said “Thank you, Eric”.
Part of me wanted to correct him. Part of me wanted to say, “Thank YOU, Ed”. But the wiser part of me smiled and nodded and let it go without a word. Better yet, Katie Couric called out to me after we were done, “Hey, Eric, come here, I want to talk to you!” How humbling. Despite the fact that she had no idea who I was, we chatted for five minutes and it was totally fun. She was funny and charming and even suggested to her producer that I come back again.
With a name tag, presumably.
Tomorrow, I’m going in to the JDate offices to put the final touches on Issue 1 of JDate’s new online magazine, JMag. At least I hope they’re the final touches. We’ve been working on this puppy for a looong time, but as they say, it takes a village. I’m particularly excited about JMag because I think it serves a useful purpose. Content is king and too many websites don’t put up anything that is worthwhile for users. JMag isn’t going to be as professional and polished as, say, Match.com’s Happen, but I do think it will be a better read. We’re trying to get regular JDaters to contribute, and we think that the cream will rise when it comes to the submissions process. The first issue is already good and we haven’t had the benefit of any publicity or visibility yet. Ideally, JMag will take on a life of its own and attract higher quality writers and such, but it’s a growing process. All I know is that I’m damn lucky to get the opportunity to help create something so broad and worthwhile. I’ll only be contributing one or two articles a month, but will have somewhat of a say in all of them. Once there’s a URL, I’ll let ya know.
January concludes and February begins with business trips to New York and Florida. NY is to act as the media spokesperson for Harlequin Books 2006 Romance Report. Gonna go on some TV and radio shows to talk about First Encounters and First Impressions, the theme of this year’s report. The people over at Harlequin have been so thoughtful and so generous with their time that I really hope I do an amazing job for them. We’ll see. Maybe this will lead to that shampoo endorsement I’ve always wanted. Finally, the 2006 Internet Dating Conference is taking place in at the Miami Wyndham with 400 of the industry’s leaders all congregating. I’ve never really had an industry with whom I could confer (Sundance Film Festival, sorta, but no…), so I’m just psyched to be a part of it. Maybe make some friends, maybe make some business contacts, definitely learn some stuff that I can pass along to my readers.