Regardless if we claim (or admit) to be interested by the company of a predetermined Mr. Wonderful- somewhere, deep down, in even the most cynical, sarcastic, and bitter of hearts -lives a tiny inkling of desire for true love to prove it exists. That after the darkest of nights, there is always the hope for a dawn that (or who) will lighten up our hearts and free us from the rips and tears that haunted us since the last man who dwelt there. Even in our most independent, most sassy, and most vibrant pair of single shoes – it is against all tricks and trials of nature to not become somewhat intrigued when we notice a simple glance or curling lip from a new face in the distance.
Perhaps on the way to self-love, we learn that the appetite for passion, for partnership, isn’t really one that can be fulfilled by being single.
For a while, I became convinced that if I was going to fall in love with myself, I needed to stop being in love with the idea of love. That I needed to quench any thirst, any hope, any inclination of possibility, and focus entirely on myself. This meant dreams of happily ever after, notions of romance I eagerly wanted to experience, and seemingly meaningful moments with handsome strangers needed to fall to the wayside, and in return, I had to propel myself to the forefront.
But as life often does, a chance encounter, a meeting with someone who could spark something new in you, makes you think of the whole process in a different way. For me, this person wasn’t in a romantic sense or really even a career pursuit, but rather – just someone who has a similar story to mine.
Meet The Professional Wingman, or as I will call him, Mr. Hitch.
A few years ago, Mr. Hitch discovered his girlfriend was cheating on him. This revelation and break-up made him decide to take a step back and start focusing his attention on becoming a better person – not for a woman, or for anyone else, but for himself. To hold himself accountable and to actually stick to his guns, he created a blog that chronicled his life and what he was learning. After a short amount of time, he started receiving comments and traffic, and before long, people were asking him for advice about relationships, love, and how to make their overall quality of life and self better. And so, he came up with the idea to help others by being a dating coach, or a wingman, who helps them attract the type of people they want to meet. From there, it’s been history and he recently moved to New York to expand his clientele.
I was introduced to Mr. Hitch from one of my freelance columnist positions, and after the interview, I knew I had to meet him in person. I mean, minus being a “wingwoman” (not so sure I’d be good at that) -I started this blog for the same reason: to really fall in love with myself and not base that admiration on any outside person. And so, once I proclaimed I was the female version of him, he gladly agreed to meet up for a drink. I invited one of my great gal friends, C, to come along too.
We started out the evening at a sportsbar chatting and within an hour, he deemed me someone who probably wasn’t in need of his wingman services. That really, I was a woman who knew what she was doing – so well, in fact, he casually joked about me becoming a member of his soon-to-be team. At least I think he was joking.
Nevertheless, as we discussed our backgrounds, horrendous (and amazing) dating stories, and our desire to make a difference in the lives of singles everywhere – I realized something profound in what he was doing. Just because he was determined to grow his own confidence and stop obsessing about relationships, he didn’t lose sight of the beauty of love. In fact, his job is now to encourage others to be more secure in the dating scene so they ultimately will encounter someone who is not just what they want, but what they deserve. Like me, he has an absolutely “no settling” policy, and I dig it.
Not being obsessed with love doesn’t mean I have to not have any desires for a partner. The thirst for love is natural, is human, is healthy. It is only when it becomes the number one priority of our lives and when we condemn ourselves because we don’t have that tall drink of water, that it becomes an issue.
Really, it is a difference between wanting and needing, as Mr. Hitch taught me.
Being the true romantic I am at heart, I had to ask him if his winging ended up winning him a lady. And as the happy ending goes, of course it did. She, like him, aids others in the never-ending search for love – but instead of joining dudes and chicks at bars, she helps them weave through the online dating jungle. Both experts at the game, they somehow found their match (pun intended) and when he spoke of her, his face lit up with an admiration that no one could ever deny. As a follow-up question towards the end of the evening on the way to the train, I asked him, “What’s something that you love about her, that’s out of the ordinary?” With a quick grin and his cool, classy swagger, he replied, “She doesn’t really need me, but she wants me. If I were to leave or something was to happen, she’d be fine. But she chooses to stay with me and depend on me, just a little.” Another guy who values independence – let’s just say the North is miles ahead of the South on priding women for more than their ovaries and their signature meatloaf.
Maybe being single, even vibrantly satisfied flying solo, will never rid of the anticipation of a love to come, but having that confidence will attract the right kind of partner. The one who is worth giving up some part of our freedom that we so enjoy. When instead of thinking we must have a man to call our own, save the dates in the mail, and someone to tuck our cold toes under at night, we realize that those are things we want, but not necessairly need, is where we find our peace.
And though at times, I may feel like I shouldn’t still want those things or want to be held or want to walk hand-in-hand in the park or sit side-by-side at Dunkin’ Donuts on a blistering Saturday morning – I know that it’s okay to have those desires. It doesn’t make me weak or dependent on someone else, but rather, admitting I do still have romantic dreams gives me strength to own how they affect me. To realize that though I don’t have to insist, to myself, to him, or to others that I must be in a relationship to be happy, I can say proudly, that one day, there will be a man who brings me tremendous joy. I won’t need him to need me, but I’ll want him to want me, and love him to love me.
And he, like Mr. Hitch, will know that I don’t really need him, but I do want him in my life. That I do choose him to be lucky enough to stand by my side. What’s more…he’ll want me to feel that way, and he’ll love it.
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