My novel, Dare To Move is based on a true story, coming straight from the heart. The goal? Inspire you to make the changes, take the leaps and even make the MOVES you need to make in your life. Whether in dating, your career or for your family, It’s all about constant motion, and daring to do what it takes, even if you’re not sure if “what it takes” is right for you. Before the book launches, I invite you to enjoy blogs about my novel. And, to keep this uber-exciting, today I’d like to share an actual chapter with you!!! Enjoy, share, and LEAVE COMMENTS!!!
P.S. Pre-Sale for signed copies is LIVE.
Despite all the hustling I was doing, as a newly single person I felt like I had all the time in the world. My social calendar was contingent on nobody but me! You see when you’re single, all you really have is time. Time to be selfish. Time to flirt. Time to make dinner for one. Time to spend three hours at the hair salon.
You can even sit at a coffee shop for three hours on a Tuesday night and nobody will wonder where you are. In fact, you could stay there until midnight without receiving 90 text messages demanding a response. “U there?” “Where are you?”
Some of you reading this might be fantasizing about the aforementioned, but when you’re single, it kind of sucks. Especially when you’re dating– time can drag on for eternity. To prove my point here’s a quick, scientific explanation of how time feels for single people waiting to hear back from someone they’re interested in:
One minute: When you are waiting on a text, every minute is like an hour.
One day: If a full day goes by, you go through the motions of everything that would happen in a month — new projects, end-of-month reports, paying bills, cleaning the house, etc. — just to keep your mind preoccupied.
One week: Now this is tricky because if you’ve recently dated someone like Jaylen, (a Stage 5-clinger), it feels like a year. But actually, one week is known as the “accidental ghosting period.”
One month: In the dating world, this is equivalent to a lifetime. Either the person you’re waiting to hear from really did die or the amazing date you shared actually never happened and you’re 100% being ghosted. Being ghosted sucks. It’s when they cut off all communication completely, as if they died.
Now that we’re clear on how time works in the dating world, I’ll let you in on my courageous attempts at capturing a mate. Remember how bold I was during the KG-era, when I made a Google-Doc plan to seduce him? Well, I used the same aggressive mentality in Boston — and had disappointing results.
For example, the first weekend I was truly single, I went to the beach with my friend Candace. We didn’t drink; we simply observed day drinkers and caught up with each other until the heat was too much to bare. By late afternoon, we ventured off to local taco joint in Southie. For whatever reason, the waiter kept putting his hands on my shoulders, holding eye contact extra long and even went as far as to ask us about our dating lives. I took that as a hint that he might be flirting with me (call me crazy), so I left my number on the receipt.
He never called. Maybe I didn’t tip enough!
During this single phase, I also did a lot of power walking through Back Bay in my free time to blow off steam and get out of my bland apartment. I’d often wear headphones, even though I believe it can make you look unapproachable. However, every time I saw a cute guy, I would smile and turn down my headphones in case he wanted to stop and say hello. That never happened.
Confident in my online image, sometimes I’d even direct message some of my flirty Instagram friends, Instagram crushes and even Instagram celebs. (If you’re not DM-ing, you’re not trying! #nevergiveup) For the record, it didn’t work.
If I’m being honest, I also became very generous with “likes” on Facebook to cute guys’ posts.
At the end of August, my friends dared me to ask a hot Man Bun (popular douche-y hairstyle I was into) for his number at a bar in Southie. So I did, awkwardly, of course.
“Hi, I’m Nicole I wanted to come say hi. What’s your name?” I asked, juxtaposing the bold move with sheepishly shy eyes.
“Uh, hi. I’m Ben.” Awkward pause. “Maybe, uh, I could take down your number?”
That counts, right?
I never heard from Man Bun Ben.
There were times I’d stay out later than I should’ve, waiting for Prince Charming. There were also times I knowingly went home with the opposite of Prince Charming, hopeless and frustrated, but down to settle with a hot, but not-always-steamy make-out sesh. Little did I know, Prince Charming wasn’t going to magically appear at a bar.
Nor would he appear at a gym… but it took me a minute to realize this. As a fitness instructor, I often see some handsome, fit-looking guys come into my classes, but when this one incredibly sexy guy arrived early to my Stride and Strength class one morning, my jaw almost hit the floor. Nervous to give him a high-five upon entry (we do this with all clients), things got easier once class began. During class, his energy was infectious. I’m pretty sure that along with his hooting and hollering during class (clearly LOVING my playlist) that he even clapped a few times. Naturally, his shirt came off once he broke a sweat (many people go shirtless at Stride and Strength). And I had to deflect my eyes to the other side of the classroom. #Hot2touch
At the end of class, he was hanging inside the studio to stretch— a good sign. I know this because in the two prior instances of an attractive male lingering afterward “to stretch,” the situation ended with and invitation for drinks or dinner. (ICYWW: one guy ended up canceling our date without ever rescheduling and the other ghosted me after a not-so-steamy make-out).
Sexy shirtless man (also wearing a half man bun, two points!) walked slowly toward me and I gulped. His ab veins were sweating.
I smiled at him and said, “Thank you so much for coming; you killed it! I loved your energy.”
He winked at me, reached for the door to push it open and, as he did, he popped his back leg up and said, “Thanks! I’m totally a woo-girl!”
Gay. Damn it.
* * *
Having more time alone and no luck in the romance department made me start looking back (always fondly) on the relationships that didn’t end with swastikas on the floor. I specifically found my mind wandering back to Nashville. I missed the scent of Ren Man’s apartment and yearned for his loving ways — the youthful, idealistic side of him that used to piss me off now became enchanting, especially after living with Jaylen’s negativity. I finally was breaking down the walls I’d put up around my relationship with Ren Man once again, and this time something else happened, to make me shut the box quicker than ever before! (If you remember, last time I’d checked his Instagram in March I’d been #blessed with images of his much hotter, taller, skinnier, blonder new girlfriend).
And thus, my wandering, lustful and yearning mind opened Instagram…
A brilliant, sparkly, giant, gorgeous diamond on the ring finger of said Blonde.
It was really over. She. Was. The. One.
I sat there, scared to click over to her page, as if hers would tell me that this was all legit, and frantically wondered which girlfriend I’d call first to vent. Michelle came to mind, but I couldn’t do it. Not yet. Something felt weird. Not the “I need to cry” weird, because I’d been mentally checked out. But knowing Ren Man was no longer in the realm of possibility in this lifetime was hard to grasp. Plus, out of respect for her, I felt I couldn’t contact him, like, ever again.
Fortunately, I’d been busy enough to only spend late nights reminiscing on Ren Man. But now those nights made my mind wander into more what-ifs. But thank God I was busy because Busy kept me from Lonely. Lonely made me sad, and I’d choose the stressful side effects of Busy than struggling to deal with Lonely any day. The Ren Man relationship box went back to the attic of my brain.
Enter KG, who also helped pushed Lonely away.
We were FaceTiming — strictly as friends — every single day to discuss life, love and business.
“Nickyyyyy DOG!” he’d always say upon answering the phone.
“Hi to you, too,” I’d say with a grin.
He was pleasant, clear-eyed on FaceTime and dialed into a very evident self-improvement phase of his life. When he’d read something, he’d tell me about it. When he ate something, he’d tell me about it. I knew everything, and I told him everything, especially when it came to my dating life.
Frustrated, I’d divulge that I found dating much different in Boston than in Chicago. In Chicago when I was 23, I’d get asked out by nines and tens and go out with stellar guys because I was bored. I wouldn’t even like half the nice Midwestern guys who would take me on very sweet, thoughtful dates (probably because I was preoccupied chasing KG).
In Boston, I’d try to attract the attentions of fours and fives, sometimes talk a six into getting drinks and either wait 30 minutes for his late ass to show up or get a “let’s rain check” text an hour before the date.
After a number of dates ended with me coming home to FaceTime KG, I realized things were developing into an odd dynamic between us.
How was I supposed to meet someone if I was leaving the date to go talk to another guy?
Were there feelings for KG? Sure, but they’d transformed into friendship and adoration; obviously with the caveat that our friendship had the “we’ve hooked up before” past, stamped on it. Regardless, the feelings of lust were gone, the sex was not even an actual possibility. Without ever saying it, we could both feel (I’m speculating here) that we wanted to be in each others’ lives, share online business ideas and support each other in the current time and space.
And the space was Singledom, which looked very different for him than it did for me. KG wasn’t looking. Yet, women still sought him out. To get any information about his dates or drama I’d have to pry them out of him, because they weren’t on his top ten topic list. Unfortunately for him, dating was always something I wanted to discuss and to my luck, he’d always listen, constantly offering “be patient” advice and readily making jokes about all the weirdos I’d encounter. By the fall, KG had met someone and I had not; it made me want to take his care-less approach, but I was’t ready to give up.
* * *
Nothing made me feel more single than being home in Indiana. Not only was everyone over the age of 23 in a committed relationship, but even if people were single, there isn’t much of a social scene.
Okay, so there is something that can make you feel more single: being home in Iowa and going to my grandma’s 80th birthday bash on a riverboat with a bunch of 70 and 80-somethings swapping stories of 40-year marriages, their grandkids’ engagements and baby announcements.
Worse were the conversations they’d have with me, reminding me how single I was:
“Do you have a boyfriend?”
“Are you married?”
Do I look like I’m married?
“Oh sweetie, you’ll find someone eventually; it’s best you don’t settle.”
Their sweet “it’s-going-to-be-OK” comments that were supposed to make you feel better did nothing but dig into sore wounds.
I thought I’d heard it all — then along came Mrs. Beauregard.
“Hi Nicole! How are ya? How’s the dating world?” she asked with such enormous enthusiasm, making me contemplate jumping into the muddy river.
I couldn’t hide my disdain for dating any longer. She’d known me long enough to know that I was clearly upset — actually physically ill — about dating. In case she wasn’t, I gave her a quick 30-second synopsis of how many times I’d been stood up, about the guy who unasked me out and about the four guys who’d all dated me while they had girlfriends. Let’s not forget the dejected divorcés.
After an empathetic eye roll, she smiled as she prepared for what I was certain would be a great pep talk. Boy, was I wrong.
“You know, I have a niece down in Texas. Not sure if she’s well, you know, but anyhoo, she never married, always focused on her career, that kind of thing. Like you, she truly wanted her own kids. Having a family was important to her. So you know what she did?”
She leaned in closer, like her secret was gold.
“And let me caution you, I would never really advise this if you don’t have to, but you seem like the kind of girl who could do it … she went to a sperm bank.”
I stared at her, trying not to glare. Surely, she wasn’t suggesting …
“So you could totally do that, too! Don’t stress; there is always that option! Let me know if you ever have questions. Her kids are healthy,” she said, nudging me with her elbow.
I wanted to turn to a girlfriend and be like, “Can you believe that?” But there was nobody, just another older woman who’d been eavesdropping; when I glanced at her, she raised her eyebrows as if to say, “Such a great idea for you!”
And in this moment, being single felt like some type of handicap.
Could it get any worse?
I won’t bore you with anymore stories but I’ll let you in on this: by the end of 2016, I’d have 55 dates under my belt with 35 unique individuals, including a drug lord, a dentist who modeled, an ex-air force bull-rider, a gay cat lover, a guy named Nathan who was the “king of first dates,” a guy named Drake who took me out once — and canceled three other planned rendezvous — before I realized he had a full-blown girlfriend, a crazy neighbor who became a friend with benefits and a few Bumble and Hinge dates that were nothing short of horrendous.
I spent an entire year dating before I felt I’d thoroughly lived Singledom in the fullest. This phase began in 2015 ended in January of 2017. But before we get there, I’ll let you in on the journey aside from dating, which influenced who I became by the time I met Prince Charming and where exactly I’d end up meeting him.