Introduction – What Is Your Half-Orange?
Well, it’s both a person and a hope so optimistic that just knowing that it’s coming your way will change your life forever—long before you begin sharing your life with yours.
Picture this: Let’s say you visit a fortune teller, a woman famous for owning the world’s only crystal ball that predicts the future with 100 percent accuracy. Now, what if this woman told you that in your future, you do find the love that is meant for you—an incredible, mind-blowing, magical, adoring, and life-altering love? What if she said that in, say, eight months, you were going to meet the perfect man1 for you?
Now, we’re talking about a guy who makes you laugh so hard it hurts. A guy who’s so attractive, you feel lucky walking beside him. A guy who thinks you’re smart, hip, hilarious and sexy as hell. A guy you could be stuck at the end of the DMV line with and still have fun. A guy who adores you and treats you like gold. A guy your friends love so much, they hug him as quickly as they hug you when you walk into a party—then tell you all night, “I want a boyfriend like yours!” How would you feel if you knew, with 100 percent certainty, that whether you socialized or not, whether you dated or not, whether your traveled or stayed in, that guy would just land on your doorstep at the end of those eight months?
Probably a sense of relief. Some giddy excitement. And most likely, it would give you a freedom and lightness to your step that you—as a single woman who has been pounding the pavement for love with heavier and heavier steps—haven’t felt in a long time.
It would mean that now, as you exit that fortune teller’s studio and walk back into the world, you can live up your last few months as a single woman! It would mean you could go out with the girls and relax instead of scanning the room every six seconds for a possible guy. It would mean you could hit the town with some cute not-the-marrying-type guys without putting pressure on yourself to move on and get serious. It would mean you could relax at home and watch reality show marathons without feeling guilty that you’re wasting time that could be spent meeting a man. It would also mean you could take a big trip, start writing the novel about your life, or learn French in case that guy you’re going to meet in eight months wants to whisk you off to Paris. The point is, your life would be a playground full of possibilities again.
Well, that’s the feeling dating optimism can give you. Once you start using the powerfully optimistic techniques I will describe here for you, you will start to feel free and genuinely happy and not have a fear in the world about your future because you know it’s all going to work out. How do you know? Because you’ll be focusing your energies on what you want in such a powerful way, it will affect your body and the world around you, so that the only place that guy can come is straight to you. When you’re happy in your own skin, someone who is right for you will be naturally drawn to you, just the way it’s supposed to be.
I wish I knew this sooner when I was single. God, I cringe when I think about the guys I pushed to like me, the dates I pushed to happen, the parties I waded through in desperation, asking all my girlfriends, “Is anyone single here?” and “Have you seen any cute guys?”
I remember once hounding my sister to arrange a set-up with her friend Rachel’s brother, who was mentioned to me in passing. (See Amy. See straw. See Amy grasping at straw.) I’d call my sister every day asking, “Did you talk to Rachel about her brother yet? Have you heard anything?” Three weeks later, the brother passed on a message to Rachel, who told my sister, who delivered it to me. “I hear she’s a brunette,” he moaned. “I don’t date brunettes.”
I felt like a fool. Not only was I trying too hard, but I was doing it for a superficial jerk. The point is, that experience was not good for my self-esteem. I felt like a desperate single woman on the prowl, willing to do anything to find a partner. And though I never admitted it, my desire to find love was affecting every second of my life: I saw weekends out of the big city as time I should have spent in it trying to meet a man. I saw my friendships with married couples as wasted valuable time away from the singles crowd. And I saw the time I spent with my best gay friend and hairdresser Todd—the Will to my Grace—as possible self-sabotage: If I wanted a relationship, why was I going for dinner every night with him?
Why is it, I wondered, that living life the way I want and finding a life partner are mutually exclusive? I didn’t want to make a choice, and I didn’t want to settle. I wanted it all! I wanted the life I had, and I wanted real, true love to go with it. Not just an average, “Yeah, sure, I love him” arrangement, but a deep, soul mate kind of love. A love that made me shine. A partner in crime. A real other half.
But I was losing hope. In fact, I remember the night I was ready to give up all of it when it came to dating in New York City.
It was a warm September night. Two dozen people were lined up outside the sushi restaurant across from my place; a flock of perfumed, giggling girls was clicking down the sidewalk in sync like toy soldiers; and the lounge on the corner opened its French doors to inhale the balmy air the way we all were. And as for me? I was about to meet Jason2 for a drink. Before I left my apartment, I told my married friend I was determined to make it work. Because my life, at the moment, needed a seriously big upper.
I had worked as a magazine editor for ten years at magazines including Glamour and Maxim. But one year before, I decided I was ready for a new challenge. So I jumped off the safety dock of the “regular paycheck” to try to survive in the sea of freelance writing. By that warm night in September, I was struggling with work and I was struggling with love. And since much of my work involved interviewing women, couples, and experts about love and relationships, well, it all seemed like a cruel joke.
I looked for solace from the stress and loneliness in an overactive social life, but that was only costing me more money. And since the last few dates I had dragged myself on turned out to be big, boring no-gos, I was only becoming more depressed. I was on a merry-go-round that was sucking up my money, my energy, and my optimism. Translation: I really really didn’t want this guy to be another waste of time.
Jason was someone I’d met at my friend’s fashion show party a week before. When we met, he bumped his head into the low-lying clothing rack hanging from the ceiling and yelled at it saying, “Yo, bad rack!” It reminded me of how my mom used to scold inanimate objects when I’d bang into them, so of course my mind raced ahead, oh, a decade or so, thinking: Aw, what a good dad this guy would be. (That’s how my single mind worked, by the way; everything was a sign of what a good dad a guy would be.) Jason and I chatted for twenty minutes, he called four days later, and now, as I spread on my lucky I-blew-$25-on-Chanel-lip-gloss, we were minutes away from meeting again.
Please just let this guy be normal, I thought, as I clomped down my walk-up. I just want one nice date. Well honestly, I was also thinking, Oh my God, this could be it! Maybe he’s the One! Then we’ll fall in love and fly somewhere fabulous for New Year’s and then we’ll have kids and he’ll be such a good dad . . .
Jason was already there when I arrived and was cuter than I remembered. Wow, I thought, this really could be the last first date I’ll ever have.
Our drinks extended into dinner, and just as I started falling for how charming, smart, and clever he was, he chuckled and said, “Do you know what a sociopath is?”
“I guess,” I said. “Why?”
“No, it’s just funny,” he said, “because—well, maybe I shouldn’t tell you this—but that’s what my roommate calls me. He says I’m a sociopath.”
“Oh.” I reviewed the little I actually knew about sociopaths: They have a professionally diagnosed disorder. They’re interested in their selfish desires without concern for the effects of their behavior on others. And, um, weren’t they the ones who turned out to be serial killers?
“I just think that’s funny,” he said.
“Yeah, sure,” I said. “I guess maybe that’s funny.”
Not funny ha-ha; like funny American Psycho. Still, we finished our drinks on a high note, and he even offered to pay. I was feeling so good about it, I was careful to make the right move so he’d want to go out with me again. So I kissed him goodnight and said goodbye to him on my doorstep. Well. That’s when he lost it.
“Are you [bleep]ing kidding me?” he said. “You’re seriously not inviting me upstairs? What the [bleep]? What a [bleep]ing waste of my time!” Then Jason stormed off, never to be heard from again.
I was stunned. And confused. And bummed as all hell. So I called my married friend as soon as I got upstairs to tell her about it.
“Oh my god,” she said. “Your love life is always so hilarious!”
Once again, not hilarious ha-ha; like hilarious pathetic. Because after I hung up, I cried my way through a Saved by the Bell rerun in which the goofy, balding school principal character, Mr. Belding, fell in love. I couldn’t handle it. “Mr. Belding found love?” I whimpered. “Why not meeeee?”
That was the night I decided I was through being dragged down by my datelessness. For months—years—I’d been forcing myself to go on dates with guys I only half-liked, dragging myself to singles parties, signing up for every online matchmaking service in my zip code, and taking writing assignments about being set up by everyone from my high school friend to my mother all in the name of finding Mr. Right. I was scanning the city like a search-and-rescue dog, and no man was going unturned. But the guy of my dreams was nowhere to be found. And all I could think about was how I was going to end up old, crotchety, barren, and alone. Sure, hilarious.
Now, here’s where the magic comes in . . .
1 For the sake of consistency, I’m going to address you, my beautiful reader, as a “she,” and the half-orange you’re seeking as a “he.” But my words are intended for every person who wants to fill his or her life with love. This advice works just as well if you’re a “he” seeking a “she,” a “she” seeking a “she,” a “he” seeking a “he,” or someone keeping the gender checkbox blank to see who shows up! We all deserve a great love in our lives—a partner who brings out our best. So, please, adjust the pronouns as you need so you can still follow the path to your very own half-orange.