I am going to marry this man. We’re going to adopt kids from all over the world and grow old together on some plantation in the middle of nowhere. I floated to my car after dinner with Mr. Mississippi. This was amazing.
We’d met for dinner and it was kind of like a movie. I don’t enjoy fine dining at fancy places on a regular basis, so I was a little intimidated walking into this restaurant in Jackson. I wasn’t wearing fleece, my usual attire, so I’d felt pretty dressed up. Everyone inside, though, was wearing skirts or jackets. I didn’t have those wardrobe choices, living out of my car.
I worried that Mr. Mississippi would be disappointed. I was staying with a girl named Ashley, a friend of a friend of a friend, and I’d been at her house earlier when she was getting ready to go to a fancy awards banquet. A co-worker of hers, a former Miss Mississippi pageant contestant, had loaned her two different sized curling irons and two products to make her hair look big and fabulous. She’d even written out detailed instructions on how to use the products, like “hold bottle ten inches from your head and spray onto the roots.” I walked towards the restaurant with my normally flat hair getting flatter by the second in the misty night. Miss Mississippi I was not.
If he was disappointed, he didn't show it. He was waiting for me inside and over dinner we talked about Mississippi and college and careers and travel and I formed the general opinion that he was a good guy. He was close to my age but had that old soul kind of thing that made him seem mature while still looking good. When he said he wanted nine kids, my ears perked up. I said he’d have to start dating twenty-two-year-olds if he wanted nine children, but he said he could adopt. Oh, the magic word -- adopt!! In every country I’ve visited, I’ve fallen in love with the kids. I would love to have a few biological children, but I would also love to bring home kids who just need someone to love them.
Mr. Mississippi suggested moving to one of his favorite bars, so I said I’d follow him there. I think it’s a bad idea to get into a car with a stranger, even if you do plan to marry him and raise nine kids together.
At the bar, we continued our great conversation, agreeing on everything from fiscal responsibility to stay-at-home moms. Then the conversation turned to religion. The ship hit an ice berg and started to sink. He said he'd taught Sunday School and led Vacation Bible School and sang in the church choir . . . but now he’s a theist, or maybe an agnostic, or maybe an atheist. My nine future children who had been dancing happily in my head suddenly vanished.
He was still a great guy. We still had fun. He just wasn’t the man of my dreams. I thought about how hard it is to find someone who has all the qualities you’re looking for in a partner, and how close someone can be while still being miles away. On the way home, I checked in with Alicia, my Chief Safety Officer, and shared this sadness.
“You’ll find him,” she said. “He’s out there. I’ve got this feeling that you’re going to meet him before this is over.”
This was only date number seven. I knew there were forty-three more chances to meet someone who would be a better match for me. But all I could think about was how I didn’t necessarily want fifty dates; I just wanted one who was perfect for me.