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After my divorce, I ran the gamut of blind dates arranged by well-intentioned friends. I  followed every tip suggested on the glossy pages of lifestyle magazines; shopped for exotic food items in swanky grocery stores, joined a local volleyball team, joined a sailing club, joined a co-ed gym - all the time flashing my ringless left hand as nonchalantly as possible. No takers. Which really baffled me, because I am really quite awesome. (It does occur to me that perhaps my over-inflated ego could be a tiny stumbling block.)            
            By my mid-forties, with no romantic prospects in sight, I decided to get professional help. Ah, you say, such wisdom. Nay, I say, not the psychological kind of  professional help.  I signed up with a ‘love counsellor’, a purveyor of perfect mates, a snake oil saleslady who promised to find me my dream man. In retrospect, I should have gone with the psychotherapy.

   The interview alone should have sent me screaming from her office. Given my suave couture and high brow demeanour, questions like “Is it important that he have a car?” were, frankly, shocking.  “As opposed to a pick up truck with a gun rack?” I asked.
            I pointed out that I was going for the country squire type, not someone who has to hitch a ride into town.
            “Do you like camping?” she queried.
            Oh, yeah, I want a guy whose idea of a romantic night out is to pay twelve bucks to sleep on the ground under a tarp. 
            Apparently the designer outfit I’d donned wasn’t sending the message.
            I recited the particulars of my ideal man. He would be tall. Fit. Have a good sense of humour. Natty dresser. Basically, I painted a picture of Richard Gere, with a personality.
            After forking over way too much money, I went home and waited for the phone to ring.
            And ring it did. And to prove the old adage “you have to kiss a lot of toads before you find a prince”, I respectfully submit the following.



TOAD #1 

            Oh yeah, I saw this one coming. Really I did. This guy didn’t speak no good English no how on the phone, but somehow talked me into a seven-minute meeting, a la speed dating. Afterwards, he said, we could route our rejection letters through the Love Goddess, as per policy, and move on. Who could argue with such reasonableness?
            Racing to the restaurant I was pulled over for speeding, and I asked the cop if I could confess to being a wanted felon. I’d make a run for it and he could shoot me.
            “Blind date tonight?” he asked, and winked. He sent me off with a warning, but no shots were fired.
            Maybe it was the ten gallon hat. Maybe it was the steel-tipped cowboy boots. Or maybe it was the fringed jacket. Although Cowboy Bob assured me he could be all the man I could ever want, I had to decline his offer while I backed out of the door.


Me:     Do you golf?
#2:       No-oo
Me:     Do you sail?
#2:       No-oo
Me:     Do you ski?
#2:       No-oo
Me:     Do you travel?
#2:       I went to Myrtle Beach once.
Me:     You went to Myrtle Beach and you didn’t golf?
#2:       Why, do people golf in Myrtle Beach?

And that’s about all you need to know.



            I did not meet Mr. Eloquent. We spoke on the phone, eh? He doesn’t work, eh, on account of his bad back, eh, so he spends his time working out at the gym, sometimes twice a day, eh. In the summer he golfs, eh.
            And collects his disability cheque every Friday.
            One can easily understand why this toad can’t work.  It interferes with his sports schedule. I’m guessing his injury precludes him from vacuuming, though, and he probably doesn’t cook, either.
            It was time to have a heart to heart with the Love Goddess, eh?


            Number 4 drove a nice car, wore button down shirts and neatly creased pants. I wasn’t smitten, but I wasn’t repulsed either which, given recent history, was a positive sign.
            Psycho-Date sized me up against his list and acknowledged that I was, indeed, presentable. Although he did not actually check my teeth,  he seemed pleased when I told him I stood a whopping eighteen hands high.
            Despite the fact that the man weirded me out, my friends convinced me that I was being too judgemental. I agreed to see him again.
            It was amazing, but he liked all the same things I did, from honey on hot dogs to hot sauce on eggs, and, like me, disliked Arnie movies and Celine Dion songs. 
            “Completely compatible!”“ he declared after our second date. Would I like to move in before he signed a new lease? Perhaps move up to a three bedroom?
            Would I like to poke a sharp stick in my ear?
            He wept, felled by the blow of my rejection. We’d known each other for seven hours.
            Rumor has it that within two months he found his perfect mate and moved in with her.  Gee, Love Goddess must really know what she’s doing after all!
            I did not renew my contract with the Love Goddess.