Alex has planned and executed her life with laser focus since she first met her future husband at the play-doh table on the first day of kindergarten. They have a terrific life, a gorgeous house on the bay, and fantastic careers they love. There’s only one problem: Alex’s husband Michael is gay, a fact he neglected to mention in the 23 years since they first met.
Now, Alex’s perfectly planned life has completely fallen apart, her biological clock is starting to feel like the timer on a nuclear device, and she finds herself drooling over her completely-dreamy-but-definitely-off-limits client, a star chef opening a hot new restaurant. Armed with dating guidance from her oddball collection of advisers—including her gay ex-husband, a foul-mouthed political consultant, a perkily masochistic yogi, and a pot-smoking octogenarian—Alex navigates the booby-trapped world of modern dating, in her search for a second chance at love.
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Single-Minded by Lisa Daily
“There are nine guys you have to date before you meet the one you actually fall in love with. Just sleep with two of them and you’ll be all set,” says Darcy. “It’s mandatory, like leveling up in a video game … The bad boy, the quarterback…”
“… the foreign guy, the tantric sex guy, the sensitive artist…,” adds Sam.
“Don’t forget the lead guitarist, the Master of the Universe, the fireman, the guy who’s so pretty but dumb as a brick, with a body that’s just so unreal it makes you cry—he’s generally a male model, or maybe a personal trainer,” says Darcy.
“It took me ten years to get my nine,” says Sam. “You’re thirty-one, so it might take you a little longer.”
“Thanks for the reminder,” I say, tossing a cocktail napkin in her direction.
“For a second, I almost forgot that I’m old and practically undateable and that my eggs are all dried up.” I turn to Darcy. “How long did it take you?”
“Hmmm, it took almost my entire sophomore year at college,” Darcy says. “About seven and a half months.” Sam stares “at Darcy with her mouth open. “You know me,” Darcy laughs, “I’ve always been a bit of an overachiever.”
“The fish,” adds Sam
“What the hell is a fish?” I ask.
“The fish is that perfect, amazing guy it can never work out with—you know, a bird and a fish may fall in love—but where would they live?… So the fish is your total dream guy, he’s smart, he’s handsome, he gets all your jokes, he loves to talk, he gives you a nine-hour orgasm and then makes you homemade chocolate chip pancakes and serves you breakfast in bed—but he lives all the way across the country and neither of you can move, or he’s married, or next in line for the throne, or he has a terminal disease or something … the fish.”
“I need to meet someone right away, if I’m going to have enough time to date the guy, plan a wedding, get married, and have a baby before I hit thirty-five. I don’t have time to date nine inappropriate guys.”
“Sure you do,” says Darcy. “Otherwise, how else will you know exactly what you want when you find it? Besides, the Universe doesn’t just drop the perfect person in your lap, it makes you work for it a little.”
“The Universe dropped Michael in my lap, and he was the perfect guy.” I realize what I just said the second it comes out of my mouth, and Sam, Darcy, and I start cracking up.
“Yes, he was perfect except for the fact that he’s gay. But other than that…” Darcy roars. She picks up the bottle of wine on the counter and refills all our glasses.”
“I’ll make a checklist,” I say authoritatively. I make a list of the nine guys.
“Hold on,” I say. “The fish makes ten.”
“Sometimes the fish gives up his throne, or his terminal disease goes into remission,” says Sam earnestly. “That’s why the fish is worth it.”
“The checklist never works. Really, that is the worst possible way to find someone great,” says Darcy. She turns to Sam. “Who do you know on the list that we can fix Alex up with?”
Sam pulls out her iPhone and starts scrolling through her contacts.
“Oooh,” she says. “I’ve got the tantric sex guy. He takes classes at my studio. His name is Kai.”
“What, I’m supposed to just call up some stranger and ask him to have sex with me?”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” says Darcy. “Sam will do that for you.”
“Kai’s great, you’ll love him,” says Sam. “But do not let him talk you out of using a condom, and you should stay hydrated and be sure to do some good stretching exercises before and after.”
“Oh sure,” I say, matter-of-factly. “Stretching, hydration, that makes perfect sense. Are you out of your mind?”
“No.” Sam shakes her head. “Hydration is very important.”
“Set it up,” says Darcy.
“Wait,” I say, “how do you even know about the sex and the condoms? Did you sleep with him? Because I’m telling you both right now, I’m not going out with anyone either of you have dated, or slept with.”
“Kai is a client, and I never sleep with clients,” says Sam.
“Except that once,” Darcy and I chime in, in unison.
“Except that once,” says Sam. “But Kai has quite the reputation around the studio, he’s had sex with half the women there. Which is why I recommend the condom.”
“Gross. Don’t the women catch on? I mean, how does he keep finding new women to sleep with at the studio?” I ask.
“Word of mouth,” says Sam, laughing, as she does a Groucho Marx thing with her eyebrows.
“Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it,” says Darcy. “Besides, Sam’s entire freaking yoga studio can’t be wrong.”
Sam clutches her chest, “Not when it feels so right…,” she says, barely able to finish her sentence before she cracks herself up. Immediately, Darcy and I are laughing right along with her.
“My entire client list is made up of Master of the Universe types, many of whom I have slept with, so you’ll have to get over that shit.”
“I’m not sleeping with some man you’ve dated,” I say.
“First, I never date my clients. Too messy. Second, you don’t have to sleep with your nine, except your tantric sex guy. Some of them, you won’t even want to. You just have to go out with them. Besides, don’t hold yourself back on my account. If I’d thought one of these boys was the future Mr. Darcy, he’d be home decapitating rosebuds for my bubble bath, and hand-washing my unmentionables right this minute,” she laughs.
“So that’s two,” she says. “And you may not like what I’m about to say next, but I think it’s a brilliant idea anyway.”
“Don’t you think all your ideas are brilliant?” cracks Sam.
“Why, yes, yes, they are,” says Darcy. “I think we need to enlist Michael’s help in this little endeavor. We’re in the market for a quarterback, and he just happens to work at ESPN.”
“Oh no,” I say, my skin flushing with humiliation. “I can’t ask him to do that.”
“No worries,” says Darcy. “I’ll ask him.”
“No, no, no,” I insist. “Why do we need Michael’s help?”
“Where in the world are you going to get access to a quarterback in your current life?” she asks. “Are you going to start trolling the college stadiums after practice?”
“College?” I ask. “Are you kidding? I’m too old to date a college guy.”
“You’re too old to get serious with a college guy. You are not too old to go on a date with one, provided he’s of drinking age. Besides, there are a lot more available college quarterbacks around than pros. And they’re easier to acquire. Michael has unprecedented access to every QB in the country. And, he owes you.”
“Can’t I just skip that one?” I say. “I’ll go out with the other eight, I promise.”
“No skipping allowed. You want to meet Mr. Right, get married, and have babies, you’ve got to get all your rides on your ticket punched.”
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