This book has been a long time coming. One could say I’ve been gathering material for this my entire life. And let me tell you, there is NO shortage of material! Single for the better part of 40 years, I could literally write volumes about my experiences. Lucky for you, I’ve only written 11 chapters. Here’s a sneak peek at the first half of the introduction. Enjoy!
No Man’s Land: The Search for Mr. Right
by Erin Stafford
“Are you married?” she asks in a sweet voice. She glances down to look for a ring, but my hands are folded across my lap. “No,” I reply as best I can with dental tools in my mouth.
“Do you have kids? she continues. “No.” It’s clear where this is going.
“Divorced?” “No.” She pauses for a moment and I feel no need to explain myself or offer any other information. There’s an awkward silence and she feels the need to fill it, quickly adding, “My friend Jennifer never wanted to get married or have kids either. She’s had such an awesome life. She travels a ton and just bought a vacation home in the mountains and…blah blah blah.” I tune out. I don’t give a fuck about your friend. Any other questions you’d like to ask? Mmmmmkay, thanks. Just clean my damn teeth already and spare me your judgment and pity. For another ten minutes, she continues telling me all about this friend of hers in a nervous, and probably well-meaning, attempt to help me not feel bad about the plight of my life.
Isn’t it funny how people assume so much about you just by your marital status, or lack thereof? For all she knows I’m a widow who lost my husband in a horrific murder. Or have been trying to get pregnant for years with my long-time partner and suffered four miscarriages, the last of which was two weeks ago. Maybe I had cervical cancer and had to have a hysterectomy at 25 and will never be able to have biological kids. Maybe I’m a lesbian. Or maybe, just maybe, I haven’t met my person yet and still hope for marriage, kids and the happy ending. Gasp!
Yes, I’m still single. No, I’ve never been engaged, never married, and no, I don’t have any kids. Shit, I’ve never even really lived with a boyfriend unless you count the ex who moved in uninvited for a few months because he thought it would be cheaper to put his stuff in a storage unit and live in a hotel with his daughter than rent an apartment. More on that later.
At 39, I feel like I need a good divorce under my belt just to feel normal. Because how could I possibly make it this far in life without ticking off at least one achievement on society’s romantic to-do list? Surely something must be wrong with me.
I have the self-awareness to know that I can’t blame everyone else forever. It has to be me. Right? I’m the common denominator. I’m the constant. It has to be me! At least that’s what I’ve told myself repeatedly over the years.
Although the older I get, the more I realize it’s probably a combination of things, one of which may or may not be me. Actually, probably the least of which is me. Dating today is crazy. Fucking crazy! You gotta have some seriously thick skin and nerves of steel, yet still somehow remain positive, upbeat, fun and not jaded. You need to be a mind reader to decipher all the texts and emojis. An expert flirt and sex kitten without being slutty. An award-winning writer of your online dating profile and text banter. A model to ensure you look great in your photos and in person, but not high maintenance or over done. Be successful, but not too successful that you scare guys off. Interesting but not intimidating, and God knows what else. Good luck with that! … to be continued.
Leave me a comment and let me know what you think. You can also hear more of the book on IGTV. I’ve shared a ton of it there. Check out @erinmstafford to follow along.