It happened around 2 a.m. -- though I can't be sure. I passed out on my hardwood floor, and it's difficult to tell time when you're unconscious. I had the flu, became dehydrated and fainted. The next day, while nursing my badly bruised face and stitched lip, I had a revelation: living alone not only has its challenges (I get rid of mice how?) but also can be dangerous. Consider the perils: choking while eating alone and slipping while bathing alone.
Oh, I'd been happy enough on my own. I had even figured out how to do Indian takeout for one -- with the ingenious idea of ordering three dishes (for variety) and having the same dinner three nights in a row. But now I was falling over furniture and trowelling concealer across my cheek. I looked to the future and saw a woman who was afraid to take a bath, wishing someone would take out the garbage while she polished off the sag paneer -- that woman was me.
I had lived with a boyfriend for many years. I knew something about love, but now it was time to be practical: I needed to find a husband.
Day 1. Reality is not reality TV, where houses are completely renovated in a weekend and teenage girls become America's Next Top Model in eight weeks. Three months should do it.
Day 3. I ask friends if they know of anyone who's single. I don't feel discouraged when I get replies like "Not offhand," "Huh?" and "Don't call me when you need a bridesmaid." I am on a mission -- a mission of matrimony.
Day 12. My friend Catherine says that once you take away all the men in the world who are over 40 and married, gay, homeless, insane, over six foot eight and under five foot eight, only 1.25 percent could be my husband.
"So you mean I shouldn't count out short men?"
"Have you tried the Internet?" she asks.
Day 20. I've heard that men who post ads online are either lying about themselves or married, but why not have some fun? Click. Here's "French guy" with "Life is short; let us make it long." Ah, yes -- fun.
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Day 28. How very thoughtful. Jennifer at The Allied Network calls to say that a "friend" gave her my name and she has "quality single people" for me to meet. Why, thanks, that sounds just -- oops! Message erased.
Day 35. Finally, a date! A friend of a friend sets me up with Tom from L.A., but we don't click. A worrisome thought crosses my mind: my friends may think there's no one left for me in Canada.
Day 40. Do potential husbands congregate in one spot -- other than Italian dance clubs (average age: 65)? Can I meet someone in a bookstore or video store, or is that only in romantic comedies with Meg Ryan when she had thin lips?
Day 52. I smile at every man I see -- even the ones in tank tops at the gym. I start conversations with strangers at ATMs and grocery stores. No, I haven't joined a group or club -- are there shopping clubs and, if so, would straight men go to them? What more can I do?
Day 53. Click. I am "female." Click. I am seeking a "male." Click, click. "French guy" is still available. No. Non.
Day 58. "What are you looking for?" asks my friend Robin. Just a nice, kind, decent guy who won't bring an ugly sofa into our living room -- but we can talk about that. "Did you try the Internet?" asks Robin.
Day 65. A week of holiday parties and hot prospects. Tony thinks I should try a singles cruise. Santa Claus asks me to be Mrs. Claus. Juan, a filmmaker whom I quite like, suggests grabbing a coffee sometime. Will I soon hear the pitter-patter of big feet around the house?
Day 82. Juan has not called.
Day 86. No word from Juan.
Day 89. I'm trying to cut down on coffee anyway.
Day 90. My friend Trish says I've sent a message to the universe that has started tilting things for me and, eventually, my husband will appear. "Tilting?" I say, alarmed. I don't need more of that. Still, I wonder if she's right. I have felt a little off balance lately and I'm not sure why.
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