Okay, let me clear the air. I didn't hear the rumor about Jon Hamm coming to the Sarasota Film Festival (SFF) from the SFF. I heard it from a contact I have inside the hospitality industry, and I don’t know if it’s true. The SFF will announce the official guest list on March 19, but as of now, they’ve stated that know nothing of the sort. They didn’t want me to get your hopes up, Sarasota. Actually, the SFF didn’t want an angry mob torching its office when you slept in the bushes for days to gaze upon Hamm and all you saw was me---in front of you---because I staked out my spot in March.
Since I committed to singledom to re-establish my identity outside of a relationship, the weeks have dragged on at a snail’s pace. I’m doing hard time in solitary confinement. No overnight visitors. Nobody to take me to eat here. Instead, I eat here at home from a plastic microwaveable tray. I clutch a body pillow for comfort when I sleep, and I’ve resorted to text flirtations with ex-boyfriends in far-0ff states like a prison inmate carrying on relationships with people on the outside. Completely unfulfilling, but safe.
I’ve turned down multiple dates, which has taken every ounce of willpower I could muster. My blinders are on and my close circle of friends is currently doubling as a human shield. I avoid eye contact at all times. “No, I’ll buy my own drink, thanks. No, I don’t give my number out.” In my precarious state, I’m afraid that one furtive glance could instantly materialize into another rebound. I’m 34 and don’t have any more years to squander on dead-end relationships. I’ve completely boycotted Ladies Night at Libby’s, terrified my standards may no longer be up to par with those of Gandalf---I’m afraid of what shall pass.
I’m quite proud of myself, having succeeded at single for nearly six months. A funny thing has happened since my declaration of independence, however; this column has replaced a man as an ego-prop and object of co-dependency. I got my very first negative comment last week: “Girl finds it harder to date at 40 than at 25. News at 11.” It stung like a boyfriend saying, “Why yes, you do look fat in that. Very fat---and old for your age.”
Matt Orr, our founder at This Week in Sarasota, had been telling me for weeks that a local print publication was super close to syndicating TWIS. I was ecstatic until I was unceremoniously informed at our last writers’ meeting that my baby was perhaps “inappropriate for their publication.” I was crushed. If this was a relationship, I had just been dumped on my birthday. I pouted and fought back tears for the remainder of the meeting like Honey Boo Boo Child had just lost her crown on Toddlers and Tiaras. Am I capable of becoming a grown-up who can manage her emotions in a constructive manner?
Me being "off boys" has created a monster. I have a sickness that only one doctor can cure---and that doctor is Jon Hamm. I’m suffering from warm body syndrome, and I hear that a full recovery can take months. Fantasizing about Jon Hamm coming to the Sarasota Film Festival is the methadone keeping me off the heroin of poor dating choices.
Think about it: It’s really not so far-fetched that Jon Hamm would show up here. First, we have Ringling alum Jeremy Cox working on the set of Mad Men at concept development, storyboarding, 2D and 3D animation. Perhaps Jeremy and Jon grabbed a beer after filming one day. Jeremy would have undoubtedly praised Sarasota’s breathtaking natural beauty, noting that our Film Festival has quickly grown into one of the most acclaimed in North America.
Plus, my last column got a lot of internet exposure. I was even retweeted by a Jon Hamm fan site! Maybe if I make enough noise, the story will reach him---he’ll show up because he feels sorry for me. Once he sees what a cool chick I am, and assuming I’ve been successful at losing a few pounds, sheer unbridled lust will quickly replace pity. Well, I take that back: Jon Hamm might feel bad for blowing my clothing budget. Ripped panties and busted buttons will be casualties of our encounter, but I’m quite certain Jon Hamm is that rare breed of man who pays for dinner and wardrobe repair.
Jon Hamm, if you’re out there reading this, please come to the Sarasota Film Festival---I’m begging you. I could craft a matching bag for you to wear over your head, a strategy I’ve successfully employed in the past. Nobody has to know, Jon Hamm. I’ll take you to see Robot and Frank on opening night. We can slip in the back, and I know all the local dives where nobody will pester you, except me.
The Sarasota Film Festival is no small potatoes; you’d be wise to attend. Ever hear of Charlize Theron? (Charlize, don’t even think about moving in on this.) How about Steve Buscemi, Christopher Plummer, William H. Macy, Woody Harrelson? Good things happen (can you say "Oscar"?) to actors and actresses who attend. No, Tom Cruise has never graced us with his presence, but I don’t know that any Sarasotans want to see how short he is in person anyway. Need I bring up Owen’s Fish Camp again? Think about it. In the mean time I’ll be thinking of you, Jon Hamm---in my cell, where I will sit, single, marking the days on the wall with chalk until April 13.