How to Land Your Husband

How to Land Your Husband: An easy to follow guide

This simple to use and fun guide will help you navigate the wilds of the single jungle and get you ready to meet your long-term relationship partner in no time! Just follow these simple steps[1] and voila! You’re well on your way to fulfilling your goal of being married.

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Searching For Love, Finding Myself

I’m a watcher. I observe and take in everything around me. My eyes will lazily wander over faces while my mind, reading their emotions, wonders who they are. There’s a couple in front of me on the sidewalk. They seem to be about my age. Perfectly paired with similar height and build. She’s wearing a green skirt that swishes and sways as she walks just about two steps behind him. I find myself staring at her skirt as it flounces behind. Her clipped gait easily maintaining the slight distance between them. At the stop light, she pulls up short; he edges forward just a hair. Just enough. I bring myself to the edge of the curb and glance over at them. She is frowning and he is looking up at the sky. I wonder if she walks behind him on purpose or if she doesn’t even realize she’s doing it. I think about the other couples I saw on the metro. One pair, long-limbed and athletic looking. Him wearing a garish red plaid shirt and down vest.  Her in brown riding boots and a gray flannel coat. He paused outside the sliding doors to wait for her to exit the car, grabbed her hand and kissed her softly. Another couple, who I didn’t know were a couple until he gingerly leaned over and kissed her cheek, right before heading in the opposite direction on the escalator.  I take all of this in and think about the last time someone kissed me. I almost can’t remember. Then, it rises up like a fog in my memory. There’s a dark hallway in a sparsely furnished apartment. Both of us standing before each other, knowing it would be the last time it happened.  I remember the last time I kissed someone. It was rushed and insincere. Not really landing how it should have. Not really belonging to him at all. It was just the next motion to complete in our series of fumbled movements. None of them perfect or correct, simply physical, with no emotional depth or attachment.

One thing that’s certain when you’re in your thirties and single- no one lets you forget about it. Not the television shows, the radio, the well-meaning cashier, and least of all your mom. It’s not something done maliciously or with ill intent. A simple question from the cashier, “Are these for your kids?”, while ringing up multiple fruit cups is not rude. It’s simply conversation that one starts to break up a monotonous day. It probably is odd that I buy fruit cups to pack in my lunch for work. Odd, but efficient and cost effective. I don’t take offense, my own inquisitive nature often getting the best of me.  No matter how often I struggle to change the channel in my own mind, I still find myself falling into the trap. Comparing myself to couples whose private lives I know nothing about. Wondering how they came to be. What brought them to the very same place as me, at whatever moment we all happen to inhabit together?  I look over at the girl in green and wonder if she smiled coyly when they first met. Or did she pursue him, eager and wanting. Was he a perfect gentleman when they went on their first date? Is he exacting in his movements and thoughts? All of this flashes before my mind’s eye like a movie reel. Their becoming and being. Then the light changes and I cross the street, quickly outpacing them. My mind already focused on the day ahead.

It was easy to be single at first. I have always been good at being alone. The silence doesn’t terrify me as it does others. I enjoy the peace and stillness of it. My mind can wander and run off on tangents without me having to be present. After being a set, a pair, a plus one, for five years, it was refreshing to be just me again. I have only been in two relationships. One not so easily defined – languid and loose, almost as if it wasn’t even there. The other in constant need of definition and structure. Both of us continuously building it up and knocking it down with insecurity and fear. It was there I learned to temper myself- making myself to be digested. I blended in passivity to curtail assertive looks and sarcastic tone. I quieted myself to make it easier for him to be heard. I didn’t want to “make a scene” or “start something”. I just wanted to be. I wanted us to just be.

Our romance was a flash in the dark and it quickly engulfed us. We were drawn to each other without a real reason why, him being my complete opposite. We met at work and our lives soon became entangled and we were no longer separate beings. I had recently moved back home from living away at college. I had no social circle to return to and he welcomed me into his – holidays with his family, happy hours with his friends. And, at first, I was happy. This is what a relationship was in my mind. However, things slowly began to sour. Looking back, the signs were there. Red flags on the road. Caution signs blinking brazenly. But what is there to do with love gone wrong, but simply complete the ride? Headfirst we dived into a dark pool of doubt. His secrets and my worries wrapped me up in fits of panic and desperation.  Lies and excuses weaved in and out of both of us, pushing us further and further apart from each other, yet keeping us chained and bound. It’s hard to look back now and think of the escape hatches that were there to be opened, yet left ignored. Even harder to think about what it would be like without that experience in me. For better or worse, it shaped who I am today.

A year after ending the relationship and subsequent engagement, I was happy. Filling my mouth with acerbic remarks, tinged with clever charm, I grew back into myself. Two years after ending the relationship, I dated and again enjoyed the feeling of someone new. Excitement and possibility seemingly around every corner and turn. Three years after, I am beginning to feel restless with myself. I have grown bored with going to movies alone, of cooking and eating meals in solitude. I take the advice of well-meaning friends and nosy, but kind, bartenders and “put myself out there”. Endless minutes spent swiping left or right, blurring into hours perfecting a dating profile, and becoming days spent as the third wheel with friends. Fifth or sixth wheel if you count their kids. Because everyone has kids – beautiful little creatures with senses of humor and budding manipulation techniques. I rest easy in knowing my biological clock isn’t tick-tocking loudly, scaring off potential mates. I have no longing desire to be a mother.  So, what then is it?

Too quickly, I find myself polling my male friends. Asking what I’m doing wrong and searching for clues in ambiguous texts and messages. I wonder if my snark is too much. If my quick retorts are too cutting. Not soft enough to be swallowed. I’m told I have an edge. An unapproachable air around me. A “No Bullshit Allowed” sign on my forehead. How do I change this? Do I want to change this? I look at my married friends. Full women who are themselves, always. Their husbands are accepting and engaging with every part of them. I begin to see them as the exception to the rule and I worry that I am too much of everything and not enough of the right thing. Not quite close enough.  I absorb the data and read the articles, each one making its case louder and louder in my head. I’m doing everything wrong and checking the wrong boxes. I am too loud, too ambitious, too sure of what I want. In order to rectify this, I have to smooth myself out and round my edges. Soften my laugh and purify my humor. Everyone’s message is loud and clear, “If you do it, he will come”.

Next year will be four years after.  I wonder what I will be. Will I be content in my solitude? A measured peace enveloping my entire being.  Will I stumble into a relationship? Two wholes somehow forming a We. Blending into each other, in bite-sized pieces, making it easy to consume. I try to force myself to stop thinking. Stop wondering. Just. Stop. I train my brain to shift gears and focus on textbooks for night classes and articles for newsletters. Anything but. And it works, for a while. But all too quickly, I am back on the metro, a couple before me. Him standing tall, hand grasping the pole, swaying to the pull of the subway car. Her, inches before him. Leaning in, ever so gently, countering his sway.

Best Year Ever

This time of year everyone is all about the “Best of 2013” and what resolutions they’re going to make. But, even better than those lists, are the “Things You Should No Longer Be Doing” lists because you’re a woman, a man, a twenty-something, or a woman in her 30’s. Everyone seems to know everything now that the year’s over. Where were they on April 16th when you were sitting on your kitchen counter eating a whole tub of cookie dough because that dick from accounting didn’t call you back? They were off composing those lists of course.

I could join in the ranks and talk about how I’ve got all the answers and the key to how to make your 2014, THE BEST YEAR EVER! This year will be the year you find the slimmest you! You’re going to be so slim, no one will see you! This year everyone you know is going to knock down your door because you’re going to master these 10 recipes that every 28 year old needs to know by heart. Not only are you going to be skinny and strong and a master chef, but- wait for it- this year you’ll also find your dream guy!

That’s right folks. Everything in your life means nothing if you aren’t your slimmest you! That master’s degree program you’re in is bollocks if you don’t master a signature dish this year. Next Christmas, you’ll be the girl shoving her ring finger into the camera while your bitter single friend (so sad) plots your slow death.  And all you have to do in order to have the perfect life is stop doing these stupid things you’re doing and start doing the stupid things that [ insert random website name here] tells you that you need to do this year.

Well, my resolution is to not make any resolutions. I’m not worried about 2014 being the best year ever. 2014 can just be straight up mediocre for all I care. I’m already a great cook. My body is just fine the way the it is; although I do plan to get back into exercising more. I don’t want 2014 to be the year I keel over from a heart attack because of all the burgers, cheese, and beer I consume.  I guess I should run or something.

My one goal for 2014 is to make it through it alive. My bar is so low, it’s a line on the crappy linoleum floor in my mother’s kitchen. Meeting my dream guy online has nothing to do with that goal. 2014 is the year I refuse to try online dating EVER AGAIN. My dream guy is not on OKcupid or Plenty of Fish, asking me how much I like sneakers.

Dreamboat: Hey, your hot
Me: Thanks
Dreamboat: what r u doin?
Me: Nothing. What are you doing?
Dreamboat: just got back from the mall. got some new sneakers.
Me: Sneakers are cool. 
Dreamboat: yea   wanna make out?
Me: no [delete]

2013 was the year I found all the places my dream guy is not located. Here’s a comprehensive list:

Plenty of Fish
Baltimore County libraries
Baltimore City libraries
AMC theaters
Barnes & Noble (though I did get hit on my an older fellow who told me I looked “Good”)
Whole Foods
Local gas stations
Random chain restaurants
Flea/farmer’s markets
Local liquor stores

Now, while I am obviously super bummed I didn’t meet my dream guy at any of the above listed destinations of love, the farmer’s market kinda stung. I figured my dream guy would go to the farmer’s market and get cool sausages and fresh peppers to cook. I was so wrong. So horribly wrong.  You know what kind of guy hangs out at the farmer’s market? Guys with girlfriends. Or guys with wives and 2.5 kids in huge strollers that take up all the available space and are blocking my access to Zeke’s coffee. Can I just get a pound of Tell Tale Dark and an iced coffee without having to give your kid the stink eye?

So, I’m declaring 2014 to be the year I go to the farmer’s market without pretenses. 2014 will be the year I will stop rolling my eyes at the cute couples with their adorable interracial babies. No sarcasm here folks. Just a girl trying to get some kale and maybe a crepe. 2014 will be just another year, where things will either happen or not happen.  I’ll just be along for the ride.

That time I posted a Craigslist Personals Ad

As a single gal, I have participated in what has been known as “online dating“. Fun stuff, right! I’ve tried them all: eHarmony, Match, okCupid, Plenty of Fish, How About We, and most recently, Tinder. Do I ever go out with anyone? No. Do I ever wink, nudge, flirt with anyone? Sure, sometimes. But for the most part I am indifferent. I really don’t think I am ready for dating. Or maybe I was ready about a year ago and now that I’ve surpassed the 2 year mark, I’ve become comfortable being single. There’s an ease to being single. I don’t have to think about anyone else. I don’t have to ask or seek confirmation before making plans. If I get a last minute text to do something or go somewhere, I just go. It’s pretty freaking awesome. But, I do miss the companionship. Sometimes.

About two years ago I was working at a non profit in Baltimore city and I had just stopped seeing a guy. We were still friends, but we no longer talked online during the workday. I understood why he didn’t want to do it anymore, but I was left trying to fill a void that was not being filled with work. My job was severely boring and just lacking in daily tasks and responsibilities. I had to find something to do that would occupy my mind while my body became petrified in my cubicle. So, I decided to venture onto Craigslist and post an ad in the Strictly Platonic section. I crafted a funny, witty ad that described myself and my job and what I was looking for out of this adventure. I repeated that I was not interested in sex and that I was not interested in sex. However, even the best laid plans….blah blah blah. I genuinely wanted to find someone I could have a few good conversations with. I wasn’t interested in exchanging photos (I stated that in my ad) and I wasn’t interested in meeting up right away. I did hint at the possibility of maybe going to a happy hour at some point way, way, way down the road. I hit send and I held my breath, waiting for a response. What happened?

I have never seen so many pictures of shirtless guys.

I was not impressed. Why so many bathroom photos? I mean, really? Besides not even being able to follow simple instructions, I was irritated that instead of wanting to engage in witty banter, they only wanted to know what I was wearing and why I hadn’t sent them a picture of me as well. Sigh

There were a few outliers that made my day- and inbox. I wish I had saved some of them and the ad to look back on when I’m elderly and trying to remember the good old days. I got the chance to be completely me without worrying about anything. I was able to be funny and smart and not really care if I said the wrong thing. I had weeks of great email exchanges with a varied selection of professional guys with interesting jobs. My favorites always opened with a compliment: Your ad was hilarious! Yep, that will do it. That will definitely make me change my email spam filters. I talked with a great guy from New York who worked as a graphic designer and sent me a picture of the rainy day view from his office window. He was a long time Craigslist peruser. When I asked him why he decided to check out Baltimore, he replied that a lot of the ads he responded to in New York turned out to thinly guised ads for soliciting sex. What is it about Strictly Platonic that people don’t understand? We exchanged a decent amount of emails and let it slowly fade away. I spoke to a number of other interesting dudes who shared great bands to check out, movies to see, and happy hour bars to try. All in all, it was a great experiment. And I learned something about myself. I learned that I can be me and not worry about what he thinks- whoever he happens to be at the time. I learned that there are plenty of great guys who will not send me photos of themselves, topless, posing in front of the bathroom mirror. I also learned that Craigslist’s Strictly Platonic message board means the exact opposite of platonic and people will proposition you for sex. Often. But, most importantly, I learned that I don’t need to force something to happen. Whenever the guy I’m supposed to meet is ready to show his face (no pressure), then we’ll randomly run into each other in the Whole Foods baked goods aisle. It’ll be lust at first reach for the dark chocolate walnut cookies. Browsing through Tinder can be a fun time killer, but I’ll probably delete the app after a few more days. I am still indifferent and I am honestly not planning to stay in the Baltimore area past this year, so why even bother? Now, what I will do is head over to Whole Foods, because now all I can think about are cookies.