Laughing All the Way to the Alter
When people come to me for dating advice, what they really want to know is how to get married. A couple weeks ago, I attended the wedding of one of my funniest, feistiest, and most opinionated clients. I remember that we butted heads many times during in our six months of coaching. I don’t know if she ever fully embraced the concept of Naked Dating, but I hope something sank in.
Naked Dating is my approach to attracting true love. It shows how to use dating as the catalyst to bring up any blocks or behaviors that are in the way of finding a partner and then gives you the tools to work through them. The theory is that if you keep going on dates but you don’t make changes, nothing is going to change. I am not so certain this client ever agreed with much of what I said, but she stayed in touch long after she quit coaching, so I can only assume that I did something right.
When I received an email from her saying that she’d met someone and that they were engaged, I was stunned. It appeared that she’d finally met the man of her dreams and they would be married and start having kids within a few months. We hadn’t been in constant contact, but it all seemed to be happening rather suddenly. I later learned that she and her hubby-to-be were old friends who had reconnected through Facebook. From what she told me, he was recently divorced and had agreed to move to LA to be with her. He knew that she was forty-two and that she wanted to start a family—immediately. She hadn’t hidden a thing.
I received an invitation to the wedding. Probably shouldn’t admit this being a dating coach and all, but I don’t love weddings. I’m a big fan of marriage. Even enjoy wedding ceremonies, but don’t love the festivities afterward. Still, it’s flattering to be invited.
This was one of the most beautiful weddings I’ve attended in a long time. The décor was elegant and understated—all red roses and white satin. The rabbi seemed very likeable and down-to-earth—he didn’t try to put on a show like some officiates do. It wouldn’t have mattered anyway: nothing could have upstaged this gorgeous bride. It was her show and everyone knew it—including the groom.
At forty-two, she’d never been never married. Everyone attending knew how long she’d waited and how hard she’d worked to make this happen. I don’t think that there was one person there who didn’t respect her tenacity or her sense of humor. She always managed to step back and find something to laugh about. Much of the time it was at herself. Maybe this was her saving grace. No matter what went on, she’d managed to keep laughing, all the way to the altar.
As we all mingled after the wedding, I found myself looking at the prettiest groups of people I’d seen in a long time. The invitation had read black tie optional, but everyone was dressed to the nines. The men looked dapper in their dark suits and most of the women had carted out their floor-length evening gowns. I had rushed to get dressed after working all day and was just grateful that I’d worn black and blended in. Phew!
I spotted two of my former clients among the crowd. Both looked stunning. I chatted with one of them briefly. We exchanged a couple of quick kisses on the cheek and some “Hihowareyous?” The very next words out of her mouth were, “There’s absolutely nothing happening on the man front.” My heart sank. I know how hard it must have been for her to admit this, especially at the wedding of a close friend. Then she excused herself, saying, “We’ll talk more later,” but I knew we wouldn’t speak again.
Then, I walked over to get a Perrier, but before I could join the line, my other former client waved me over. Next to the bride, she was the most stunning woman in the room. Her long dark hair had been swept up into a chignon and she was wearing a black evening gown with rhinestones and cutouts fit for the Oscars. “You look gorgeous!” I exclaimed. “How have you been?” “I haven’t met a man, if that’s what you mean” she confessed. “I’ve decided that I’m done looking. If it’s going to happen it will happen.” I smiled sympathetically, trying to let her know I understood. She invited another single friend to join the conversation and they both stood there lamenting how impossible it is to find a good man in Los Angeles. Soon I found myself talking to another rather angry single woman who told me over and over again what a great catch she was and how she couldn’t believe she hadn’t met someone.
I walked to the edge of the room and searched for some single men, but couldn’t find any. Not one. Every man there seemed to be with a woman. Here were all these attractive women telling me that they couldn’t find men in LA who were willing to commit, but every man in the room was with someone. Only the women were single.
At dinner, I sat next to another single friend of the bride. She was a sassy professional in her mid-fifties. I liked her immediately. She felt honest and real to me. When she found out I was a dating coach she told me her story. “I never wanted to get married,” she said. “I just wanted to have fun. I knew I was picking all the wrong guys but, hey, I liked bad boys. I had my three kids on my own and am raising them by myself. It’s hard, but it’s what I wanted.” I couldn’t tell if this was really what she wanted or if she had just convinced herself that this is what she wanted.
When everyone at my table got up to dance, I sat there thinking. A lot of people today aren’t finding true love until later in life, and the journey to get there can seem long and hard. I know how this feels. I didn’t meet my current husband until I was in my early forties. It was challenging and there were times when I wondered if it would ever happen, but I never gave up.
It felt to me as if these women were giving up, but most of all it felt like they’d lost their sense of humor. The bride knew what she wanted and it was no surprise to me or anyone else that she got it in the end. She found a man who would marry her and father a child. She may not have been the perfect coaching client. I still don’t know if she understands how connect in an emotionally naked way, but she taught me a few things about how to win at dating with tenacity and a killer sense of humor.
Lisa Shield, MA, CPCC
Transformational Dating and Relationship Coach