31. How I Stopped Looking for Mr. Right

31. How I Stopped Looking for Mr. Right

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Happily Ever After

How I Stopped Looking for Mr. Right

It’s so easy to fall in love but hard to find someone who will catch you.

~Author Unknown

I’ll never forget that Christmas season of 1986. It was the year I went into a full-fledged panic. It happened after hearing a panel of experts on the subject of single women declare on a TV talk show: “Any woman not married by the age of forty has a better chance of being shot by a terrorist than she has of finding her ‘Mr. Right.’”

I was forty-four years old and hadn’t married. Obviously, the experts were talking about me. Their words hit me like a lightning bolt, jolting me into the reality of my bleak future. A silent scream choked in my throat.

My imagination soared. Who and what was waiting for me in my future... spinsterhood... the man of my dreams... or a terrorist? That night, I found it impossible to sleep. Visions of terrorists and lonely spinsterhood invaded my thoughts. The next morning, I reluctantly but bravely walked to work, looking over my shoulder every step of the way.

At the office, my coworker Mable noticed my depressed state of mind and quickly attributed it to my advanced age. She suggested that I was probably going through “the change,” and advised me to drink a glass of vinegar and water spiked with a clove of garlic to set me right.

Change? I bristled to myself. What sort of change was Mable talking about? Was I suddenly going to sprout fangs and furry knuckles and commence baying at the full moon? Nothing less would induce me to indulge in a diet of garlic and vinegar.

Mable went on to compare my plight with that of her aged Aunt Agatha who, at my age, had begun taking daily doses of the concoction. The potent mixture had sustained the old woman well into her nineties.

Mable’s story made me feel worse. The following day, I launched a frantic campaign to find my Mr. Right. I begged for advice from all the married women I knew. Mable was quick to tell me I was too old to be particular. She said I should hang around singles bars, where she found her Benji.

My friend Jane told me her aunt had actually found her husband several years ago by reading books on “how to find a man.” There was a long list of these books available, some that guaranteed the reader a husband in one month’s time: where to go, how to look, walk and talk — all the important nuances for finding a husband. I was so desperate to find a Mr. Right before Christmas, I scoured the bookstores and immediately went on a reading binge.

I feverishly read each paragraph and page. One book suggested I hang around the frozen-food sections of my local supermarkets. The book assured me that single men were sure to be there buying their dinners. But after two weeks of buying frozen dinners, all I had to show for it was a freezer full of frozen foods, and the only people I had met were young housewives and old married couples. I also spent long, frantic hours loitering in sporting-goods shops where, the books promised, I’d find a treasure trove of rich, handsome bachelors buying sporting equipment. But the only shoppers I found turned out to be young athletic women, soccer moms and little boys in the peewee league. After weeks of lingering and loitering at these shops, the only thing I got was some strange looks from the store security.

In desperation, I followed the books’ advice and took night classes in carpentry and automotive repair; these classes were supposed to be full of men. The books were several years old and so were their statistics. The classes were filled with women. Even the teacher was a woman.

I tried beauty treatments and a whole new wardrobe, but still no luck. After months of following every instruction to the letter, the only bachelors I met were boys barely old enough to shave and men my grandpa’s age.

Finally, I surrendered to defeat. I couldn’t fight the Fates any longer. If I was going to end up an old maid, or worse, then so be it. I conceded that the experts were right and with a sense of freedom and relief, I chucked every one of books in the office Dumpster.

That night was Christmas Eve. Every year after work, the staff gave an office party for the workers. I decided to stay after work and have a cup of eggnog with the girls. The lights of the office were dimmed for atmosphere; the glow of flickering candles cast dark shadows in every corner of the room. About twenty minutes into the party, I was bored and decided to leave.

As I started down the long, darkened office corridor to the exit elevators, I was aware of someone in the shadows — a tall silhouette of a man in a dim corner of the hallway. The sinewy figure sprang toward me from the darkness. A glimmer of light reflected off a black shiny object he held at his side.

Was it the barrel of a gun? Was this the deadly terrorist the experts had warned me about? Was I about to meet my fate? I wasn’t going to wait around to find out. In sheer panic, I bolted for the exits, running as fast as my shaky legs could carry me. Down the dark corridor I ran. The tall figure followed me in quick pursuit, catching up with me at the elevator.

“Hey, wait up,” his voice shot through the darkness.

I spun around, my back pinned against the elevator door. With nowhere else to go, I faced him straight on: “Take one more step closer, and I’ll scream!” I heard my voice cry out.

A complete look of bewilderment crossed over my handsome pursuer’s face. “What did you say?” He asked quizzically, while holding in his right hand a large black umbrella.

Just then the elevator doors pulled open, putting some light on the subject. I soon realized that my overactive imagination had gotten the best of me. This very attractive man was no more a terrorist than I was. Trying to cover up my stupidity, I quickly introduced myself. “Hello, my name is Rosalie. What’s yours?” I asked, trying to change the subject.

“I’m Dan,” he answered. “I’ve been trying to meet you all month, but you always have your head buried in a book!”

That was me, all right, so preoccupied with my frantic search for Mr. Right, I’d overlooked what was right in front of me all along.

I wasted no time that night digging up some information on this handsome hunk. I couldn’t believe my ears when the girls in the office told me his name was actually Dan Wright — Mr. Wright! All the time I’d had my head buried in those books, he was working just across the hall from me. And he was single. I would have learned all these facts if I hadn’t stopped taking coffee breaks with the office girls to read those darn books.

It never dawned on me, all the while I was looking so hard for Mr. Right, that Mr. Wright was trying equally hard to find me.

We were married the following year and marked the occasion with a grand wedding celebration. Finding Mr. Wright, and marrying for the very first time at age forty-five, was a small miracle in itself. But more than that, it proved that even experts on finding true love can be wrong. And we should hang on to our hopes and dreams no matter the odds against them. And a little advice, just from me to you: If you’re looking for something, or someone, don’t look so hard for it that you don’t see what’s been right there in front of you all along.

 

~Rosalie Wright
Chicken Soup to Inspire a Woman’s Soul

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