Last week, Baron Brooks couldn’t figure out why his phone wouldn’t stop ringing and why his Facebook page had suddenly been flooded with messages from available women wanting to date him.
It would have been a nice problem for a single Jewish guy to have, except for one thing: The women were calling because they’d seen Baron’s picture in a $900 ad taken out in an Idaho newspaper by his father, Arthur Brooks, 78, of Beverly Hills, California, who is determined to “marry off” his son and get a few more grandchildren.
When Baron, 48, a Salt Lake City health food broker, realized what had happened, he didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
“I was horrified and humiliated, but I had to admit it was also pretty hysterical,” he tells PEOPLE. “I love my father, but he can get a little crazy. He’s like Larry David on Curb Your Enthusiasm – he means well and doesn’t mean to get into trouble, but it always blows up in his face.”
Baron, who has dated numerous women over the years but has never found the right person to marry, had just returned to Utah after visiting his dad in Los Angeles on Father’s Day, when he heard about the ad in the Coeur d’Alene Press from one of the newspaper’s reporters.
“She said, ‘Are you the guy looking for the wife?’ and I thought, ‘Oh, my God,'” he says. “Then when she sent me a link to the ad. I about had a heart attack.”
Next to a large photo of Baron and the headline “Looking for a Wife,” Arthur Brooks wrote, “I am looking for a wife who is ready, willing and able to have children as soon as possible. I look just like my picture except I now have grey hair.”
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Then, hoping to entice more takers, he added: “You will probably be between the ages of 34-38, but that is flexible. You will be attractive, being height and weight proportional. Ideally, you will have no children from previous marriages, but that is also flexible. I am 5’5″ and if you are 5’8″ and like to wear high heels, it may not work.”
Religion was open, he noted, “but if you voted for Obama or plan to vote for Hillary, you are not for me.”
Baron was furious when he discovered his father had become a meddling matchmaker, but his dad won’t return his calls, he says, until after he meets with several potential brides and “narrows the field” for him on June 25 and 26 at The Coeur d’Alene Resort. (He’s not talking to the media either). Arthur plans to provide the woman he selects with round-trip airfare and lodging to meet his son.
“He took out the ad when he was on vacation in Idaho a few weeks ago,” Baron tells PEOPLE, “even though there aren’t many Jewish people there. I guess he figured the women there were conservative and would want to have children. He had no idea it would embarrass me. He just thought, ‘Hey, this is a really good idea.’ ”
Arthur, who breeds and races thoroughbred horses, is “neurotic and nutty – a ‘take no prisoners’ kind of guy who once he makes up his mind on something, can’t see the end of it,” he adds.
His father, who has congestive heart failure, “is very unhappy that I haven’t gotten married yet and given him grandchildren,” says Baron, who has one older sister with a daughter. “He wants the family name to go on and he’s afraid he will die before I get married and have children.”
Baron says he now plans to travel to Coeur d’Alene this weekend, hoping to find his father and have a good talk with him.
“I’ll let him do his thing, but then I want to sit down with him,” he tells PEOPLE. “I know my dad means well and probably didn’t realize how crazy this was going to get. If I weren’t in this story, I’d be laughing my ass off. What can I do? He’s my dad. And I love him.”