Scientology isn’t just a celebrity religion — the practice extends to regular Joes as well. And I think I dated one of them, back in 2005. He was a low-level producer for a talk show, and lived in a spartan apartment in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood; we went out for about two months, and he was funny and charming at first — but eventually he became quiet and intense, like he was holding something in. He was cagey in conversation, dodging personal questions and once revealing that he suffered from chronic anxiety that had his stomach tied up in knots.
Then I saw it, on his nightstand: A copy of Dianetics, the book written by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard and sometimes handed out at the faith’s various recruitment centers (which include the New York City subways).
When I asked rhe producer why he was reading Dianetics — not that there’s anything, ya know, wrong with that, blahblahblah — he clammed up and replied that he was fascinated by the weird philosophy (which uses auditing to remove a person’s painful past experiences).
And that philosophy might have been very alluring to him (as it was to this guy) — during the recruitment phase, Scientologists de-emphasize the religious aspect and focus on motivationalspeak and how the faith helps clear the mind, etcetera.
We broke up soon after. The Scientology thing didn’t have anything to do with it — but it was clear we weren’t gonna get married or anything. He seemed to be living inside his head, all the time.