People have often asked me what I hope to achieve as my 40th act or wonder why I began this journey of fearlessness to begin with and I haven’t always been truthful…until now.
I want to fall in love. There. I said it.
Admittedly, I know by expressing this truth, I am opening myself up to all sorts of judgments and comments surrounding the “search for love” department. I know there are apps and sites and couples with advice and stories and loved ones with opinions and well, I just didn’t want to hear it.
I think somewhere along my journey, I picked up the false-belief that I must be doing something wrong if what I desire most hasn’t shown up in my life. And believe me, it’s a pretty sucky feeling to be carrying around.
So, my thinking was simple: What if I went on this quest…this journey of stepping up my life by doing things that scare me, things that force me out of my comfort zone and then share my experiences in a really truthful, honest and vulnerable way?
Perhaps, then…if I were doing something unconsciously to “block” this great love, certainly all would be revealed by the end of this journey. I hate to admit it…but I was expecting a certain fairy-tale ending.
But, I have learned time and time again…living is in the present…in the moments…in the choices we make along the way. Wanting or needing a certain outcome inevitably leads to disappointment. And ultimately, it is who we become along the way to what we desire that defines us.
The reason I didn’t share these next few acts is because they didn’t produce the outcome I desired. But…they all required serious amounts of courage to perform. And that’s what needs to be celebrated.
WAIT…before I unveil these little gems…I must let you in on a little secret.
Whenever I’m inspired to do something scary in the name of romantic love, I always ask myself, “What would the girl in the movie do?”
Because no matter what the scenario, the “girl in the movie” always looks adorable even when she’s a klutz or trips and falls or messes up her words or goes into that party alone or makes a dumb joke or walks up to the cute boy. And somehow this gives me all the confidence I need to become…THE GIRL IN THE MOVIE.
Grab your popcorn. Dim the lights and enjoy! (And note: all these stories DID actually happen).
SCENE ONE/ACT ONE: CAN I KISS YOUR CHEEK, HANDSOME MAN?
(This act was inspired by someone’s dare to kiss the cheeks of thirty attractive and interesting men…as an alternative way to meeting my man. I said, “Sure!” Besides, if it did work out, what a great story it would be!)
(ENTER Handsome man. 5’10, dark hair, dimples, white shirt, tan skin, computer bag, and eating tacos.)
ME: (in yoga attire, finished eating tacos and sees HANDSOME MAN.)
“Excuse me, this is going to sound strange but…I accepted a dare to kiss the cheeks of interesting and attractive men…and well, it’s part of a bigger challenge I’m doing…40 fearless acts…because I just turned 40 and, so, (fumbling, while still looking adorable) I choose you to be my first…man…to kiss on the cheek (EEEK!).
HANDSOME MAN: (smiles) Well, I only kiss on the lips. (OMG!!!)
ME: (laughing nervously) Hahahahahhaha….hahahhaha…(Wasn’t expecting that!)
HANDSOME MAN: Why don’t you sit down and tell me more about this challenge you’re doing?
ME: uh, okay…(relieved)
(Both parties chat…asking each other questions and exchange in flirty conversation)
ME: I actually have to go and teach a class right now…
HANDSOME MAN: Oh, well, I’ll be here just working on some stuff if you want come back afterwards.
ME: (Unsure if he’s telling the truth) Okay, see you in a bit!
(After class…HANDSOME MAN is still working and done eating tacos)
ME: Hi, I’m all done with my class.
HANDSOME MAN: Great! I actually live right by here and have a nice roof deck where we can have a drink and talk more…
ME: (feeling adventurous) Okay, sounds great!
(Picturesque Manhattan roof deck, beautiful summer evening. ME is drinking wine, he’s drinking a beer.)
HANDSOME MAN: So…
(About mid-way through the evening, ME realizes while HANDSOME MAN is certainly handsome…he isn’t so interesting. Long pauses of ME asking questions while HANDSOME MAN asks ME…nothing.)
HANDSOME MAN: You know you’re going to have to kiss me…(He gets up from his seat and plants one on ME)
(ME and HANDSOME MAN exchange in a passionate make-out session. ME starts to drift, thinking about what she needs to do tomorrow, laundry and other mindless thoughts that one ponders when they’re not “feeling” it.)
ME: (Breaks away) I think I’m gonna get going.
HANDSOME MAN: Oh, really?!?! Okay…I’ll walk you downstairs. Well…why don’t you take my number…just in case. (ME takes number and laughs…on the inside).
ME: OK…thanks for being my first…uh…you know what I mean. (ME leaves smiling while still looking adorable).
ACT 2: THE CHAT SESSION
(Virgin America Flight LA → NY. Packed plane. ME playing on the fancy computer screen of Virgin America when ME realizes there’s a CHAT option where you can INSTANT MESSAGE anyone on the flight! ME gets curious.)
ME: Hmmm…Let’s see…how can I make this flight more interesting? Maybe there’s a single, attractive man on this flight that wants to “chat” with me.
(ME starts a chat session with: 12F, 3C, 24G, 9B…”Hello, would you like to chat with me?”)
(Nobody accepts the chat).
ME: Maybe this is dumb…(Seat 12F “Accepts the chat”) OMG!! THIS IS SO NOT DUMB!!!
ME: (starts typing away). Hi, How’s your flight going?
12F: Yo…it’s good, how’s yours?
ME: It’s nice…are you from NY or LA?
12F: I’m from NY, live in Long Island…You?
ME: I’m from LA and live in Astoria. I’m Charlene, btw….
12F: That’s a pretty name…My name is Marlon.
ME: As in…Wayans? hahaha, just kidding
12F: (no comment) Yo, I love LA…it was my first visit.
ME: (Still thinking about his name being “Marlon” and if “Charlene” and “Marlon” are good together…) Yeah, it’s cool but I like NY.
(ME and 12F continue the chat session until long pauses cause the chat session to shut off and turn back on again…and then shut off. And the typing mechanism is a very small keyboard that takes about one minute to type three words. ME decides to continue on the flight home…sans the chat session and sans meeting “Marlon” in person.)
FADE TO BLACK
ACT 3: 36 QUESTIONS TO FALLING IN LOVE
(Madison Square Park. Brisk Fall Day. ME is standing at the fountain across from SHAKE SHACK when a man with the words, “LIV” on his baseball cap approaches the same fountain.)
(ME has an idea. Maybe MAN WITH BASEBALL CAP would be willing to engage in the 36 Questions That Lead to Love, according to the New York Times. ME decides to approach him).
ME: Excuse me…are you waiting for someone?
MAN WITH BASEBALL CAP: No…why?
ME: Well, I was just wondering…if you would be willing to answer these 36 questions that lead to love with me? (ME, starts to realize how ludicrous this sounds so ME offers more explanation). You see…I am doing this challenge on performing 40 fearless acts since I just turned 40…and I thought this is really scary…walking up to a stranger and asking him if he’d be willing to answer these personal questions with me…(ME unsure if she’s looking adorable or just…crazy.)
MAN WITH BASEBALL CAP: Uh…well, how long will it take?
ME: I don’t really know…I’ve never done it before…which is why I’m asking…
MAN WITH BASEBALL CAP: Wait, so what is this for? Is it an app?
(ME looks confused. This is not going well. ME wants to abort the mission altogether and starts thinking of ways to escape without…looking even more crazy.)
ME: Well, it’s not an app…it’s from the NY Times Article on Love…It says these 36 questions will lead to love (OMG, did ME really just say that!)
MAN WITH BASEBALL CAP: (searching for words…) Uh..well…
ME: (interrupts) You know what? It’s okay…nevermind! Hahahaha…I understand you don’t have time….no worries!
(ME dashes away from MAN WITH BASEBALL CAP and starts laughing uncontrollably, as if she got away with murder! Perhaps she did!)