Previous patrons of Kooky's Cafe or local speed daters may recognize a familiar face on television this evening - Alma Rubenstein is one of the 25 women competing to win a man's heart on ABC's reality dating show, "The Bachelor."
"I'm really nervous, because I'm not very good at watching myself," Rubenstein said of tonight's 9 p.m. premiere. "I'm having a little party but I know I'm going to be dying inside."
Although now she is working in a Seattle restaurant, Rubenstein previously ran the cafe in Godfather's Books and was involved in bringing speed dating and women's networking events to Astoria. She isn't sure of her plans at this point, although she said she likes living in a big city again, and she is trying to start a dating service called "Professional Dater."
"I've been on 'Blind Date,' 'The Dating Game,' 'Chains of Love,'" said Rubenstein, rattling off the names of television dating shows - she was also featured on the show "Single in L.A." "I am the professional dater."
"The Bachelor" is one of her favorite shows, she said.
"I don't even watch that much TV, but 'The Bachelor' would make me cry," said Rubenstein, who said she thinks it's possible that love could be found in front of a television audience. "I'm kind of an optimist; I don't think you can be picky about where you find it."
On the show, the bachelor goes on a series of dates with women, either individually or as a group, and each week narrows down the pool until he is left with one woman, presumably his soul mate. Another version of the show, "The Bachelorette," switches the genders and allows a woman to pick from a group of men.
This season added a surprise for the contestants - before the bachelor got to choose from the women, the women got to choose between two potential bachelors.
"We were all kind of trying to figure out what's going to be the twist, literally we didn't expect two guys," Rubenstein said. "They were very handsome; very, very, very different."
The emotions on the show are real, Rubenstein said, even though the experience itself was surreal. The women had little personal space, and were constantly followed by camera crews.
"When they do the rose ceremonies and stuff, there were 25 girls, two guys, and probably 100 guys on the crew," she said. "You look across the pool and there's literally 100 crew people, with booms and mikes and cameras. It's just funny to look at."
She said that this is probably her last TV dating show.
"I hope it stops here," said Rubenstein. "I'm ready to have a real life."