Saturday, January 27, 2007

The Hunt for a Unicorn (Part 2)

After Will, I took a break. I’d had enough heart-break and frustrations with love to last a lifetime. I wished I liked cats so I could curl up with six of them and call it a life. Then, in a moment of desperation, I signed up with Tricia told me three of her friends got engaged over Christmas, and they’d all met their mates on Match. Match? Seriously? For the cost of a dinner out, I signed up for three months.

The first month was an ego blow. None of the guys I emailed responded. I got emails from Christian guys liking my “family-oriented” side. I got emails from guys clearly not in my demographic. I said 30-40, not 53. I said 6’ or taller not 5’6”. I said lives in Los Angeles not Columbia. And a lot of days, I didn’t get any emails at all. It was hard not to run to the SPCA and get a cat.

I decided I had to be proactive. I made a plan. Every week I had to email ten guys. I thought it would be easy. It was hard. At first. Then, I stopped being so hyper-critical. It’s like shopping for dresses. Sometimes the ones that look best on the models don’t look so great on you and the ones that look like crap on the hanger look hot on you. I started reading into more of what they said and less of what they wanted me to see. I looked at their pictures. The ones with headshots or modeling shots were out. The ones who stated over and over how important physical beauty was were out. I sent out ten emails the first week and waited. One emailed me back. One. And he was the one who I thought looked like a peacenik professor who recycled a lot. He also looked hip and cool with had an underlying message of earth lover. I’m a tree-hugger and all, but I don’t want to get yelled at because I don’t compost in my small apartment with no yard.

I emailed him back, and we got a witty banter going. I was ecstatic. I looked at his pictures again. He looked pretty cute. Even hot. Burned in the past, I refused to put all my eggs in one basket so I kept emailing my ten guys a week, be it with a little less enthusiasm. Again, no one emailed me back. Well, one guy did, but he said he was getting off of Match and wished me luck. I thought that was nice.

Finally, we set a date. He asked me to sushi in Santa Monica. I was shocked it wasn’t coffee. This guy was signing up for dinner. Was he clueless or just hungry? It’s hard to get out of dinner fast, but pressed, you can gulp a coffee and make up an excuse to leave. This is commitment. Dinner.

I walked down Fourth Street looking for the restaurant. It had glass walls, and I saw a lone man sitting at the counter skulking. I didn’t want to date a hunched over, under confident man. I didn’t even want to have dinner with him. For a split second I considered walking on and standing him up. I got to the corner and looked towards the door. On the bench out front was the Peacenik Professor laughing and chatting on his cell phone. He looked as good as all of his pictures. And not at all like a peacenik professor.

It took a few months for me to realize I had found my unicorn. The past ruses left me doubtful and untrusting. He called when he said he would. He picked me up for dates on time. He didn’t complain when I never asked him into my apartment, but merely kissed him in his car before hopping out with a “thanks for a great night!’ wave.

He let a little hint out when he showed up at my door unannounced about two months into dating with a dozen red roses for me. For no reason. None. He said he was just thinking about me. And he didn’t care when I stood there stunned in a mismatched sweat suit and a banana clip looking like shit. Like I said, he was unannounced. I finally found a man who didn’t just tell me he loved me; he showed me he loved me.

Over the year, I’ve gotten a little spoiled by his unannounced roses, and like all things in life, come to expect them occasionally. My jaw doesn’t drop anymore when he helps me carry my bags at the farmers' market. I’m used to him opening the car door for me, and still appreciate it. He surprises me with sweet cards and kind words. He likes when I say cheesy things about us. The few bumps along the way, we've talked through easily. I like to say that this relationship is easy. I never knew a relationship could be easy.

Now, I have a ring on my finger and I am looking at our future. I don’t know if we’ll stay in Los Angeles. I don’t know how it will be when we live together. I’m scared there will be lots of disagreements when we move in together because that’s what I know from Bill and Larry. I’m scared things will change and we might end up divorced. Right now, I do know that he is an amazing partner who will be an incredible father. And if there is one thing that he has taught me it’s this: He isn’t like anyone else I’ve ever dated. I found my Unicorn.

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