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Arts and Entertainment Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2012 8 years ago

Jon Hamm and the Sarasota Film Festival

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by: Kristen Pace

I was a late bloomer, and I thank my lucky stars every day that I was. I’m from a small town in Mississippi between New Orleans and Biloxi. We’re famous for meth, teenage pregnancy and spawning Brett Favre. I was a straight-A student and champion swimmer. When the other kids were going to dances and proms, I was swimming 300 laps a day and winning science fairs. I didn’t kiss a real boy until senior year. On Sundays, my only day off, I had an almost religious habit of going to see the latest romantic comedies, a.k.a. ruiners of innocent teenage expectations of future relationships. Over the years, I built a borderline delusional mental picture of what real love would eventually look like for me after I scored perfect on the SATs and became a spinal surgeon.

I think there was a point in time where I actually believed that Joey McIntyre of New Kids on the Block fame would come to my town, fall in love with me and walk me down the aisle. I wore a button with his picture on it, painstakingly crafted collages with the pages of Teen Beat and camped out in the mall parking lot for concert tickets. When I was on my hands and knees onstage after one of their shows, looking for a lock of Joey’s hair for a love spell I had concocted, I realized I had taken my fantasy too far.

It was time to grow up and find real love. I had my first kiss, fell in love and got my heart broken within the year. Swimmers, take your mark, bang. She didn’t just get her feet wet, she dove into the deep end without hesitation. The race was on.

My experience with real life romance so far, needless to say, has been a bit of a letdown. I didn’t marry an international pop star or become a spinal surgeon; I’m divorced and I’m in sales. I’m in the full swing of dating again, and I’ve recently been re-introduced to an old feeling that’s about as fun as solving calculus problems while hanging by my toenails.

I’d rather do burpees than stew in this “why-the-hell-hasn’t-he-called-it-was-such-a-wonderful-few-dates-and-I-didn’t-even-give-up-the-goods” bullshit feeling. I feel like a teenager again, but in a bad, crazy way. So, I’ve decided the hell with it. I’m done dating real people for now, as I’m obviously not ready for a relationship. When a 34-year-old woman starts to seriously consider a drive-by, something’s not right in her head.

Screw men, I've decided. I mean, don't screw them. Not that I have been. I’ve been getting screwed without any actual screwing, so screw it. I’m going to focus like hell on work and live in a romantic fantasyland in my free time.

Two hours after having this revelation, two things happened.  I got a press pass to the Sarasota Film Festival and got a call from a source that Jon Hamm is going to be here for it.  My overactive imagination is now operating full-throttle.

The Sarasota Film Festival is Sarasota's moment of Hollywood, and it's a single girl's moment to meet a muscled-up, Venice Beach filmmaker/surfer/six degrees to John Hamm. I can see how this is all going to play out. I’ll spot him at the Opening Night film. We will lock eyes. Eye flirting will begin. Look. Look away right before he looks back.

At the Opening Night Party, he will approach me and ask if he can get me something to drink.

"Of course you can Jon Hamm; now, let’s get me out of this dress. What’s that? Oh, you’ve heard about my column? That’s awesome that you guys read it on the set of Mad Men and think it should be in Cosmopolitan."

He’ll invite me to see a short film he’s backing the next day. We’ll be seen on the red carpet together. We’ll be on TMZ.com. I’ll take him to Owen’s Fish Camp, because in my mind Jon Hamm likes to eat the tastiest seafood in town in a ridiculously charming, low-key Sarasota setting. Plus, Jon Hamm would probably be able to get us a table right away. He’ll have a few beers, because in my mind Jon Hamm looks really good drinking out of a beer bottle. He’ll get a little buzzed, enough so that he gets a little handsy. We’ll stroll through Burns Court afterward, and he’ll spontaneously push me up against a wall and kiss me long and hard.

I’ll pull his hair for two reasons:  1. Jon Hamm likes to have his hair pulled, and 2. What kind of girl would let Jon Hamm leave town without first performing a love spell to ensure a long marriage and healthy offspring? The whole town will be abuzz about the sexy actor and the local anonymous writer.

Yep.  I think that pretty much sums up how it’s going to go, but this could all change tomorrow.  There are a hundred different ways I could end up running away to Hollywood with Jon Hamm, and I’m looking forward to imagining the who, the how and the Hamm of it all while I sit, intentionally dateless until April 13. Much damned better than “he-hasn’t-called-you-because-you-need-to-go-on-a-diet!”  This Blonde is going A-List.

Now, really. I have to go on a diet. I have to lose seven pounds by April 13.

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