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How They Met: Lorelei Shellist & Larry Baldauf

Lorelei Shellist and Larry Baldauf met in midlife and hit it off on the first date. They tell us about how they met, the role of play in their relationship, and their epic wedding.

How old are you and where do you live?
We are both 63. Lorelei lives in Playa del Rey, by the beach, and Larry lives in Cheviot Hills, near the Fox Studio lot. We haven’t consolidated our homes yet and so we move back and forth together. Weekends at the beach or when the weather is hot, and then weekdays in town, especially if Larry has meetings on the lot — or now out at Disney lot.

What is your work?
Lorelei: Designer, Author, Speaker and Image Consultant.
Larry: Executive Vice President of Marketing at Fox Searchlight Pictures.

How did you meet your husband, Larry Baldauf?
I met Larry’s mom on a cruise ship. We became fast friends, sharing interests from the love of Paris, to fine wine, to laughter and fun. Larry’s mom, Doug, exclaimed, “Oh, I wish my son Larry could meet someone like you…but he’s not ready for you; it’s complicated.” I asked, “Well, does he have any friends?” Doug said, “I don’t know…but I’ll ask him.”

Larry saw my photo on his mom’s kitchen table and asked, “Mom, who’s this?” Doug replied, “Oh, that’s my friend Lorelei. You know, she lived in Paris, Larry! Now she lives in LA and she’s single. We thought maybe you know someone to introduce her to.”

“I was curious to meet this guy I’d heard so much about…We hit it off from the first date”

“How about me, Mom?” “Oh, Larry, your life is too complicated and she’s my friend. Don’t go there!” she replied.

Two years later my phone rang… “Hi, my name is Larry Baldauf, I think you know my mom?” I paused, “Oh right, you’re Doug’s son, of course!” He continues… “I’d like to take you to dinner.” I was curious to meet this guy I’d heard so much about so of course said yes! We hit it off from the first date

How old were you both when you met?
45 years old.

How would you describe Larry?
Larry is a Beachboy at heart. He’s a California born-and-bred surfer and that’s the attitude he lives by. Surfers are like a species of their own. Even while flying jets in the Navy and studying art at UCLA he lived a charmed life and took everything is his stride. He’s fun, free, and has a wicked sense of humor throughout. 

Larry, how would you describe Lorelei?
Lorelei is a true force of nature! She is a dynamo from the moment she opens her eyes in the morning. I’ve never seen her wake up in a bad mood or be low on energy. I usually hear her making coffee, singing along to Ella Fitzgerald — but just not quite as good!  She has the kindest heart — towards me, our family and all others in our lives. She is lovely, talented, and keeps me on my toes. I respect her honesty and admire her ability to get things done and keep us on track.

“Dating in midlife is breezier than in our younger years”

What was dating in midlife like?
Dating in midlife is breezier than in our younger years. At this age-stage you pretty much know who you are and what makes you happy. There is no agenda as far as trying to beat the clock trying to have children or find someone to take care of you. We both already knew how to get by on our own — it was more about connecting with someone who shared the same values and references like music, art and even TV jingles from our childhood. The ocean and music are the biggest things we have in common. 

Larry and I are still like two teenagers. On our first date we were both around 45 years old. Larry took me to the best French restaurant in LA, The Little Door. He impressed the hell out of me with all his fighter pilot stories, surfing adventures and travels around the world. I was a surfer chick as a teen and then I’d traveled the world as a model and lived a pretty out-of-the-ordinary life so I was so overjoyed to meet a guy whose experiences were similar to mine. We had so much in common. Then he invited me to see The Rolling Stones, said he couldn’t imagine anyone who would like it more than me. Next he picked me up in a limo and took me to the Grammys and, before you knew it, we were hanging out at the beach, making out on the lifeguard tower, all things we did as teens. We still go to places like Musso & Franks and Dan Tana’s where I used to hang out as a teenager. Guess it’s safe to say — we are still teenagers at heart!

Any dating advice for someone 50+?
For me, I just wanted a friend, a playmate, a buddy. I think people put too much weight on first dates, dating, and sizing each other up. If your intention is simply to make a new friend, it takes the pressure off “dating.”  Often, when you do become friends and your respect for each other grows, a romance reveals itself, much to your surprise. Next thing you know you are holding hands.

Women expect men to be like them. And when they prove to be otherwise, women complain. I had done a lot of work on myself by the time I met Larry. At the time I was studying Alison Armstrong’s program called Understanding Men – Celebrating Women. 

“I learned not to expect so much and to treat men like friends”

I learned not to expect so much and to treat men like friends. So if Larry did something I didn’t like, like showing up late, or cancelling a date, instead of taking it personally I would ask myself, “How would I react if he were just my friend?” Most likely, I would understand he had a valid reason. So, I treated him as a friend and as a result Larry found me to be different than the other girls he was dating. Though I don’t know if he was conscious of that at the time. When he thought he was “in trouble,” he was relieved to find out he wasn’t. We dated on and off over a two-year period. It seemed our timing was always wrong, but our friendship grew as a result. Even when he broke things off with me on more than one occasion, I didn’t make him feel as if he had done anything wrong. 

How did you know that your husband was “the one”?
That first date at The Little Door. He’d done his homework and knew I’d lived in Paris so he ordered the escargot and the French champagne and seduced me with his wit and charm. Our histories were similar. We were the same age. We had the same references. We both grew up at the beach and loved the water. We’d both been top in our fields. He was so brave, not the least intimidated by me. He didn’t try to dim my light; he wanted to hear all my stories and he was super funny. His mind just turned me on. I just thought, “Oh my god, he is so sexy, I’m going to marry this guy!” I didn’t even have marriage on my mind. I felt I had met my match.

How old were you both when you got married?
62 years old.

You two got married on an aircraft carrier. What was the inspiration for that?
Larry chose the USS Midway to host our wedding in honor of the legacy of his historical Naval Family. The Mustin Family on Lar’s mother’s side, and The Baldauf Family on his father’s side have served in the military for multiple generations.

I assumed that at this age stage of life, after we’d both been married before, we would just have a tiny little wedding on the beach and a luncheon for about 30 close family relatives. But Larry said NOPE. We’re gonna have a ripper! 

It was his idea to marry on the Midway and his huge navy family was already over 100 people. We had 185 people out of 200 invited because it was right after Covid restrictions opened up. Larry was right — why not have a big wedding? We thought, this may be the best last party we ever throw! I designed my own dress based on one of the pieces in my own Runway RunAway Collection with a mermaid crown of seashells and jewels.

The ANCHOR was our metaphor and talisman. Anchor is the safe word we use if one of us gets grumpy or unruly. We are anchored by love. Our amazing friends and family members are our anchors, too. It’s just Anchors Aweigh all the way. 

What was the wedding like?
The words our friends described it as were: surreal and epic. Like a movie. At this age we could do whatever we wanted, so we did! We pulled out all the stops. We both know what makes for a great party: the people, the food, the music, the lighting, the backdrop — so we went all out. We wanted to give our beloved friends and family an experience they’d never forget. 

What is your number one piece of advice for a healthy, happy long-term relationship?
PLAY! Set your intentions to be loving and kind to each other. Appreciate — Praise & Be Grateful for all the fun you have together.

Learn more about Lorelei here.
Connect with Lorelei on Instagram.
Learn more about Larry here.

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