COMING MARCH 2006
Sometimes a girl just can't kiss any more frogs.
By Susan Rose
Sam Emerson was never very interested in getting married. Who has time when there are cute young boys to kiss? At the age of thirty-seven, with her twentieth high school reunion months away, Sam is feeling some pressure to find a husband ‹ fast. Okay, maybe just a hunky boyfriend. Whatever. She just needs to show up with something yummy on her arm to make all the cheerleaders jealous.
Sam's challenge? Well, there are many. First, she lives in the suburbs where it is actually illegal for interesting, available men to spend their time. Second, she never goes out, so unless Mr. Right is going to come knocking on her door, it is unlikely she'll meet him. Last, but not least, Sam really sucks at relationships. That makes having them very hard.
But she's determined. The past few years were hard on her: Her mother died and she moved back home to be near her father, who then moved to Florida. She started working for a certifiably crazy person. She gained thirty pounds. And, worst of all, she's officially in her late thirties. How the hell did that happen?
Sam deserves to have some good stuff happen. And good stuff does start happening for her. She finds a new job, loses that weight, and has great friends who do nice things for her. But she still doesn't have a man. She met one, the perfect one, on her thirty-seventh birthday. Sean McLane. Tall, dark, handsome, and emotionally unattainable. Sam's dream man. For the first time in her life she could see herself married. Too bad he'd rather run off to New York and leave her sad and alone.
Sean's departure couldn't have been more ill-timed. Sam learns of her friend Alanna's engagement and, worse, her own impending twentieth high school reunion. Yikes. She can't possibly show up at the reunion single. That would be like admitting she hadn't accomplished anything in the last twenty years.
She allows herself a brief bout of depression about losing Sean, which her good friends Iona, Kate, Liz, and Gwen help her defeat by throwing her a bachelorette party ‹ the perfect excuse for Sam to let strange men in bars lick her neck. She even gets to wear a tiara. Fortified by a night of wanton debauchery, Sam settles down to the business at hand: finding a man.
By now Sam is panicked. It's January. She has wasted precious time mooning over Sean. Okay, she started a new job and spent some energy being a grown up professional, but she now has only ten months to find a date/relationship/husband. Sam is on a mission. She is determined to find a man. Then she'll never have to deal with this dating crap again.
Her girlfriends, aided by sister Josie, help her identify man-meeting opportunities, everything from Internet dating to fix-ups from friends. Over the course of the next eight months, she dates like crazy. And she meets a few charming, great guys. But the relationships don't work. And Sam doesn't understand why. Her friends are able to meet great guys and actually date them. She knows she's cute and nice and fun, all the ingredients that men say they want. So what is the problem?
It takes a failed relationship with another Sean to open Sam's eyes. She knows she's doing something wrong, and she's going to keep doing something wrong if she doesn't figure out why. She once heard the definition of insanity is making the same choices over and over, expecting a different outcome. Could she be doing that with men?
Confused, sad, and junked up on caffeine and sugar, Sam makes a matrix of all the characteristics of every guy she's had some sort of relationship with to find out what they all have in common. The results surprise her. Because when it's all laid out in a well-organized spreadsheet that she can sort by data field, it is crystal clear what she's been doing wrong all these years. And now she has to do something about it.
Well, nobody ever said self-actualization was easy. But they agree it's well worth the effort.