Two years ago, I was a finalist in the Cup-of-Comfort/Redbook YOUR LOVE STORY CONTEST. From the 63 essays chosen from over 2000 entries, they narrowed that down to 50 to include in the book, Cup of Comfort for Couples. Guess who was one of the lucky 13 cut? Ouch. I’ve sat on this monument to dashed hopes ever since, never once re-reading or even considering it for publication elsewhere. I’m finally ready to share this very personal story of how I met and married my husband. This would have been my print publication debut. Thankfully, I’m pretty tenacious and didn’t let this rejection derail me. I have had a few successes (and a lot more rejections) since then.
The Executive’s Guide to Husband-Hunting
I’ve always been a take-charge kind of person, and when I truly make up my mind about wanting something, I am a force to be reckoned with. You might think that such a cool and calculating approach does not apply to finding love, but you’d be wrong.
In college, I wanted a career. I pursued it, got it, and succeeded. As I neared thirty, I wanted a family. An expert shopper, I wondered whether a husband, the first prerequisite to having a family, could be secured as easily as a new set of cookware from QVC. Today’s Special Value: Male, early thirties, low miles, sense of humor; easy pay option available . . . Well, probably not.
So I put the word out to my friends: I was ready for blind dates; send them my way. Crickets chirped, eyes rolled, no dates appeared. Clearly, my expiration date as “a nice girl with a pleasant personality” had come and gone. This was going to be harder than I thought.
My single friends and I went to clubs and bars. I might have been a little naïve at times, but I was no dummy. I quickly learned that when it came to the men I met at these places, my higher objective ran counter to their lower ones.
After more dead-ends at my church, gym, and grocery store, I knew I had to dig deeper, take greater chances. It was time to advertise for a man. Back then, personal ads were for losers, and anyone sinking that low kept it hush-hush in mixed company. There was no eHarmony, Match.com, or Facebook then. We used crude methods unheard of by most twenty-first–century singles: newspapers and letters. I cajoled a friend into placing an ad with me, to keep it light and to minimize the social stigma. I don’t remember what I wrote, but I do remember I received many replies. It was like screening employment candidates: too needy; too many ex-wives, too many kids, too old, bad handwriting, nothing in common. The piles of “yes,” “no,” and “maybe” began to accumulate. Some sent pictures, which probably was not wise in many cases.
I read the men’s ads, too, but never had the nerve to mail my own reply. I’d pour through their ads and circle the possibilities, but that was it. I didn’t want to blindly hand over my phone number to a man based solely on a four-line ad. But I was more than willing to call a few who’d mailed theirs to me.
With a boldness born from determination, I called and set up “safe dates.” I’ll summarize what I learned early on from those first few dates: They were nothing like I’d expected. The men lied, exaggerated, and misled in their letters. Oh, I could see the kernels of truth behind their words, but sadly that’s all they were—kernels. Citing your high school weight and saying you have dark brown hair is fine if you enclose a time machine with the letter that your three-hundred–pound, bald-headed self pops in the mail. Not that I’m only about appearances, but such a blatant lie is not the best way to start a relationship.
…to be continued tomorrow!
Thank you to all who’ve visited me so far! I’m falling way behind visiting YOUR blogs, being on vacation, but I promise to do some major catching up when I return Easter weekend.
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Eleven (11) days until my debut novel, The P.U.R.E. releases!