I was six. He was six and one-quarter. I aspired to be a fire truck. He dreamed of becoming a firefighter. And within minutes of establishing our shared professional vision for the future (in math enrichment class 301) I knew one thing with certainty, I had met my future husband. I immediately began planning our wedding: he would dress as the Red Power Ranger, and I, naturally, would dress as the Pink one. We’d serve fruit roll up and dunk-a-roos at our smorgasbord. And we’d walk down the aisle to the sweet tunes of the Miami Boys Choir.
But then a funny thing happened the summer after I completed my first year of college: he got married, and not to me. He wed a fellow nineteen year old girl who was ready to commit to a life of maternity. And suddenly the age old adage, “Man plans and G-d laughs” took on new meaning. Though the last time I had seriously contemplated our lives together had been amidst an argument re: the value of tamagotchi pets (I was for, he was against), news of the matrimony nearly brought me to tears.
A part of my childhood had been stripped of me; the fantasy had become an illusion. And suddenly I was forced to reconsider my future. But, to be honest, not since NSYNC sang, “Bye, Bye, Bye” had I seriously contemplated any other male suitor. Yes, there was the kid I named Curls who I quasi-stalked the summer before high school. And there was the kid I named Fruit Salad who I awkwardly gawked at from across the school bus aisle. But Curls was now in rehab, and Fruit Salad had recently joined the realm of matrimony. I, to put it bluntly, was alone—physically and mentally.
I spent the next three years embracing this loneliness. I was waving my single girl swag, and I was surrounded by hundreds of women engaging in the very same self-empowering activities. And truth be told, I hardly noticed my circumstances. That is to say I took no responsibility for my perpetual bout of spinsterdom. I expected Mr. Ivy League Educated-with-a-heart-of-gold and-a-love-of-caffeine to simply stumble onto my dorm step one magical night.
Needless to say that fantasy similarly became an illusion, and I embarked on the post-collegiate phase of my life. And like a character in a Samuel Beckett play, I stood there waiting and waiting and waiting. In between my bouts of waiting, I would blog about the process (and by blog, I mean kvetch). And then a year passed and I was no closer to replacing the six year old fantasy with a more tangible reality. I subsequently began to engage in a series of misfortunate dates. Some might even call them no-good, very-bad dates. Dates that made me wonder why I even bothered fantasizing.
But even in those moments of complete confusion, distress, and all around boredom, I knew I had to persevere. I deserved to be happy, and while I could independently achieve a level of success and external serenity, I knew my “pintele id“ would not be satisfied until I had managed to satisfy a need I had practically ignored for the last two decades—the need to love and to be loved. A need that each New York Times “Modern Love” article reaffirms the importance of. A need— that despite a continual bout of disappointment and frustration— drives me to do the impossible: continue the search to find someone who maybe someday might possibly compliment me.