Meet Mandy Hale, The Southern Carrie Bradshaw

Photo: The Single Woman
Mandy Hale The Single Woman
Contributor

A few years ago, Mandy Hale ejected herself from a toxic relationship and found herself, once again, in Single Land. She was determined to seek out inspiring female role models for this new path ... but with the disappearance of Sex in the City's support system of solo gals, the happy single lady landscape turned out to be a bit, well, sparse. But Mandy refused to put up with the stigma surrounding her new "unattached" status, and carved out a new role for herself as @TheSingleWoman.

The Nashville resident soon took the Twitter-world by storm, using her wit and her ability to cut to the heart of the matter to produce inspirational nuggets like, "I'm not a one in a million kind of girl. I'm a once in a lifetime kind of woman. :)" and " Being single isn't merely a prologue to being married..it's a story all its own. Write it with flair!" She continues to advocate for living life to the fullest, no matter what "love stage" you happen to occupy at the moment. For more information, stop by The Single Woman website, and read on for our Q&A:

What are you working on right now? Have any exciting news to share?

Actually, I have some VERY exciting news to share! I just recently signed my first book deal with Thomas Nelson Publishers, and my first published book will be out in 2013! So keep an eye out for that. I also recently launched my new apparel line, which I'm so excited about … because finally single women can celebrate their independence and sassiness in a cute, fun way! You can check out my shop here.

Fill in the blanks: My favorite romantic movie is _____ and my favorite love song is ______

Movie: The Notebook. Song: Feels Like Home by Chantal Kreviazuk.

Do you believe in love at first sight?

I have to say that I don't really believe in love at first sight. That is not to be cynical at all, because I am a total romantic and dreamer, and I love the idea of love at first sight … but the reality is, love goes so much deeper than initial attraction, I just can't get on board with the idea that you can fall in love with someone instantly. Maybe "infatuation at first sight," but not true love. Love is so intense and passionate and has such deep roots, I just think it takes a little more than seeing someone to fall in love with them. I think you can tell pretty quickly if you're going to have a connection with someone, absolutely. But I think it takes spending time really getting to know the person on a deeper level to fall in love with them.

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What is a key requirement for someone you're dating/married to?

I always say two things are required of the person I'm going to spend my life with: That he loves God, and that he loves to dance. My thinking behind that is: If he loves God, truly loves God … that's going to take care of the respect, love, honesty, loyalty, kindness end of the spectrum. And if he loves to dance, that means he doesn't take himself too seriously and he loves to have fun. So those two qualities to me = the perfect man.

What couple do you most admire? The pair can be from real life, history, fiction, film, etc.

I've always loved the story of Johnny and June Carter Cash. I love how she stuck by him through thick and thin, and how she got down in the trenches with him and helped him battle his demons. Their love just seemed so intense, unconditional and unbreakable. It took them a while to get together and they had a bumpy road initially, but once they finally pledged to spend their lives together, they were in it through thick and thin, for better or worse … and their love seemed to make them both better people. They seemed head-over-heels in love until the very end, even passing away only a couple of months apart. It was almost like Johnny couldn't stand to live in a world without June in it. Not a lot of people fight the good fight anymore to stay together. It seems people just give up on love and marriage so easily. It's a beautiful thing to see two people so determined to make it work and to keep their love alive, year after year, through incredible triumph and tragedy and ups and downs.

If you could tell your younger self something you've since learned about love, sex or relationships, what would that be?

I would tell myself that no matter how broken your heart may be, you will get through it, and there is love, hope and happiness on the other side. When you're younger, you think every broken heart is the end of the world. It feels like you'll never love again, which is why it's so hard to let go of a relationship even when it's not working — you think you couldn't possibly ever feel that way about somebody again. But the good news is: You can, and you do, and you will. Every broken heart is just making you a little bit stronger and a little bit wiser. And even a wrong turn can take you to the right place. So feel the pain, deal with the pain, and heal from the pain … because life does go on … it does get better … and you will love again.

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So, when do you feel sexiest?

Honestly? Anytime I'm at the beach, in jeans and a T-shirt and bare feet, with tousled beach hair and not a lot of makeup … that's when I feel sexiest. Who knows if that's when I look sexiest, but that's when I feel sexiest. I just feel comfortable in my own skin, happy and carefree.

What's the best relationship advice you've ever received?

My dad told me once that not all soulmates end up together. In fact, he said they usually don't, but that it doesn't mean that the person didn't love you, or that they weren't significant or changed your life. And I've found that to be so true, time and again, as I get older. Sometimes, bottom line, the timing is off or the situation isn't quite right and no matter how much two people might mean to each other, they just can't be together. It used to seem so sad to me, but now I accept it as one of the really unexplainable, but also really beautiful facts of life. Sometimes I think love can just be too overpowering, too magical, too bright of a spark … that it's bound to burn out. Whether we like it or not, the relationships that end tend to be the ones that teach us the most about ourselves. And I like to think that's all a part of the plan.

In your experience, when it comes to romantic relationships, what is the biggest difference between men and women?

I think men really are as simple as they proclaim to be and women want to make them more complicated, because we tend to be more complicated. We tend to be overthinkers and overplanners, and we always have something deeper going on that we may or may not be willing to share. And I count myself in that category, 100-percent. The thing we have to remember is men don't usually have a hidden agenda. What you see is what you get. If they're coming around and calling and texting and showing interest … chances are, they're interested. If they're not … they're not. It really is that simple. Don't overcomplicate things too much. That's where I think the big gap between men and women lies. Women don't want to admit to ourselves that maybe a man really is just not that into us, so we try to blame everything else under the sun for his lack of interest, when really … his behavior is sending us all the clues we need. Don't go looking for clues when they're staring you right in the face, ladies. Accept that with most men, what you see is what you get. It will make your life so much simpler!